India’s border state of Manipur has withdrawn an order that told officials to “politely turn away” refugees crossing over from Myanmar.
The state’s home ministry said its instructions had been “misconstrued”.
The earlier order was issued amid reports of refugees entering Manipur after a coup in Myanmar last month.
Protesters against the takeover have been met with increasing force – the military is reported to have killed more than 500 people since 1 February.
Thousands have reportedly been attempting to flee across the border to Thailand too – only to be turned back by Thai soldiers. The government in Bangkok has said it will “respect human rights” of refugees, but wants to avoid an “exodus”.
There has been outrage around the world at the bloodshed resulting from use of lethal force by the Myanmar security forces against unarmed civilians.
On Tuesday, the home ministry in Manipur in India’s north-east issued a second order saying the state government was taking “all humanitarian steps” and “continues to provide all aid”, including treating any injured refugees from Myanmar, also called Burma.
While the first order, dated 26 March, had said anyone with “grievous injuries” could receive medical attention, it prohibited the setting up of camps that provide food or shelter. It also asked officials to stop any attempts to enrol refugees in India’s national biometric ID scheme, Aadhaar.
“People trying to enter/seek refuge should be politely turned away,” the order said.
An agreement between the two countries allows Indians and Burmese to cross the border and stay up to 14 days. But the border has been closed since March last year due to Covid-19.
It’s hard to say how many refugees from Myanmar have entered India since the coup but some estimates put the number at 700.
News Source: BBC News