India deports first group of Myanmar nationals for alleged illegal entry – JURIST

India deported Friday the first batch of Myanmar nationals who are alleged to have entered India illegally. The deported nationals are reported to have entered India in the aftermath of the Myanmar military coup in 2021, which has caused an increase in violence in that country.

Chief Minister of the Indian state of Manipur, which borders Myanmar, N. Biren Singh, announced the deportation via his X (formerly Twitter) account. He stated, “Although India is not signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, it has given shelter & aid to those fleeing the crisis in Myanmar on humanitarian grounds with a systematic approach.” Singh added in an interaction with the press:

The number is huge, so we cannot deport them altogether at one time. So part by part, we are deporting, and there are some legal procedures that we have to follow; we are following them and are deporting them & will continue to deport.

Commenting on the implementation of the controversial National Register of Citizens (NRC), Singh added:

The decision has to be taken by the central government. Our Assembly has passed the resolution and recommended but now the rest of the work is in the hands of the Union Ministry so I will make the request and I will follow it.

The NRC is a register maintained by the Indian government containing names and certain relevant information for the identification of Indian citizens residing in the state of Assam, with the aim of identifying undocumented immigrants.

According to the local news source Imphal Free Press, the first batch of deported individuals consists of seven individuals who were deported from Manipur’s capital city to the Imphal International Airport and finally to the border town of Moreh on Friday morning.

In February, Indian Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah announced the discontinuation of the India-Myanmar Free Movement Regime (FMR), which allowed unrestricted movement between the two countries. Shah cited the decision as essential for bolstering internal security and preserving the demographic structure of India’s northeastern states. He claimed the termination of the FMR aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to securing borders.

The Indian government plans to erect a fence along the 1,643-kilometer India-Myanmar border and establish a patrol pathway for enhanced surveillance. Following the fence’s construction, Myanmar nationals will be required to have visas and can only enter India through designated border points or by air.

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