Thousands of people fleeing the junta’s crackdown in Myanmar have crossed into India’s far-flung eastern states, leading to worries among officials there that the region could become a staging post for pro-democracy activists and stoke instability.
Three Indian states – Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland – are currently sheltering around 16,000 people from Myanmar, civil society groups and government officials estimate, with the number expected to rise in coming months.
In Mizoram, where the most number of people from Myanmar have sought sanctuary, authorities are keeping a close watch on pro-democracy fighters joining refugees moving across the unfenced, densely forested border marked by the Tiau river.
“We are monitoring this very closely,” a state government adviser told Reuters. He said that some Myanmar fighters had earlier crossed over with the support of local people in India but had since returned.
“We will never allow them to train in Mizoram,” the adviser said. “If you disturb Mizoram, there will be a problem for the refugees.”
In early May, a group of at least 50 people from Myanmar held a training camp in Mizoram, a state police official and a resistance member told Reuters.