Scores of Myanmar citizens waiting to enter India: Officials

Pro-democracy activists and Myanmar refugees living in India protest against the Myanmar coup in New Delhi on March 3, 2021. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

GUWAHATI (AFP) - Scores of Myanmar nationals have gathered at the border with India waiting to join about 50 who have already crossed the frontier to flee the country's coup turmoil, Indian officials said on Saturday (March 6).

Myanmar authorities have, meanwhile, asked India to send back eight police who fled this week.

Forty-eight Myanmar nationals, including the eight police, have entered India's northeastern state of Mizoram, a senior officer in the Assam Rifles paramilitary force told AFP.

"At least 85 civilians from Myanmar have been waiting at the international border to enter India," the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Anti-coup demonstrations have spread across Myanmar since a Feb 1 putsch ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Security forces have escalated a brutal crackdown on protesters, killing more than 50 people.

Indian media reports said those who have crossed the border include police and local officials who refused to follow military orders.

Myanmar has sent a letter, seen by AFP, asking for the eight police to be quickly sent back.

The letter was sent to officials in Mizoram's Champhai district where some of the refugees are.

"In order to uphold friendly relations between the two neighbour countries, you are kindly requested to detain eight Myanmar police personnel who had arrived to Indian territories and hand over to Myanmar," the letter said.

Indian government officials said the letter was being studied along with the cases of those who have crossed the border.

India, which has sought to build closer ties with Myanmar in order to counter China's influence, has not condemned the coup but the country's UN ambassador TS Tirumurti this week said that Myanmar's democratic gains of recent years "should not get undermined".

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