A month on, mixed signals from Indian govt keep Myanmar ‘refugees’ in limbo

Myanmar nationals,
Myanmar nationals flash the three-fingered defiance salute against the military junta, at an undisclosed location in northeast India | All photos by Ezrela Dalidia Fanai

It was well past midnight on March 26, when sudden sounds of gunshots and explosions jolted M Mohan out of his bed.

Mohan, a businessman in Manipur’s bordering town of Moreh, is no stranger to such sounds. The bustling commercial town, around 110 kilometres from Manipur’s capital Imphal, has been a witness to several gun battles between insurgents and Indian security forces, and at times, between warring militant groups.

That night the commotion, however, was on the other side of the border. The international border between India and Myanmar is just about 150 metres from Mohan’s residence.

“I immediately realised the exchange of fire and explosions were taking place on the other side of the border, maybe just 500-600 metres from my house,” Mohan said.

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