Manipur opens border outpost

Move to stop Rohingya entry into state

By Khelen Thokchom in Imphal
  • Published 14.10.17
A Rohingya girl queues up to receive food at a relief camp near Teknaf in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. (Reuters)

Imphal, Oct. 13: The Manipur government, which has declared a high alert to check infiltration, has opened a police outpost at Tusom, a village along the Manipur-Myanmar border in Ukhrul district, to stop Rohingya refugees from entering the state.

The spillover by Rohingyas, who were displaced by clashes between militants of the ethnic community and Myanmarese forces since August, to Bangladesh has sparked concern.

"We have opened one police outpost at Tusom, a vulnerable village in Ukhrul district so as to maintain strict vigil against any attempt by Rohingyas to cross over to Manipur," an official source here said.

The official said the outpost, having a company of Manipur Rifles and police personnel, was opened last week. So far there is no report of entry by Rohingyas.

The director-general of police, L.M. Khaute, issued instructions to the police deployed in Ukhrul and neighbouring district of Kamjong to be on high alert to foil any attempt by Rohingyas to enter Manipur.

Intelligence reports, however, did not mention any movement of Rohingyas close to the Manipur border. However, security agencies are not taking any chances.

Tusom is nearly 200km from Imphal and 115km from Myanmarese town of Somrah.

Sources said Myanmarese nationals regularly enter Tusom for trade. The police deployed there started checking documents of those entering from Myanmar. They turned back those who came without any document.

Ukhrul and Kamjong share a 200km border with Myanmar. There are nearly 50 Manipur villages along this border stretch. The district administration identified six vulnerable villages along this border. These villages are thickly forested and official sources consider this border stretch vulnerable to infiltration by Rohingyas.

"We have been keeping strict vigil along the border. So far, barring the routine entry by Myanmarese small traders there is no suspicious Myanmarese nationals entering Ukhrul district through Tusom village," a police source in Ukhrul said.

The sources said the state government is working on opening another police outpost at Behiang, a village in Churachandpur district and close to the Myanmar border.

"The government is in the process of acquiring land for opening the police outpost at Behiang. Once the land is acquired, the outpost will come up. This is not only to monitor entry by illegal immigrants, but also to check cross-border smuggling," the source said.

There are reports of smuggling of drugs and other illegal items through Behiang.