A total of 16 people of Myanmar have crossed the Indian border and took refuge in Mizoram since the neighbouring countrys military ousted the elected government in February, and 11 of them have claimed that they were police personnel, a senior official said on Friday. The figure of refugees from Myanmar could increase as many people are trying to sneak into the state through the porous international border, the Home Department official said on condition of anonymity.
The state government also sought financial assistance from the Centre to deal with a possible refugee crisis, he said.
Chief Minister Zoramthanga said that his government will provide relief to the people of Myanmar, who took refuge in the state because of the present political situation in that country.
"Of the 16 foreign nationals, 11 including a woman claimed they were police personnel of Myanmar. They possessed Myanmar citizen identity cards but it is hard to verify whether they belong to the police force or not," the official told PTI.
Two of the 'policemen' have fled and crossed the border along with their wives and children, he said.
The 16 refugees, including three women and three children, entered India in batches.
The military junta took over the government on February one, but it appears that people started fleeing the country only after the authorities began to use force to quell pro-democracy protests late that month, an official said.
A number of pro-democracy protestors were killed in clashes with security forces there.
Four people who are currently staying in Champhai district were the first to reach Mizoram on February 28. The other 12 crossed the border and took refuge in the state later. They are now in Serchhip and Hnahthial districts.
The Home Department official said that the Mizoram government on Thursday informed the Centre about the situation and possible influx of more refugees from the neighbouring country.
Mizoram is already home to thousands of Myanmar's Chin community people, who share the same culture and ancestry as the Mizos of the state.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Zoramthanga said, "We have learnt that several refugees have crossed over to Mizoram. We will provide shelter and relief to those who seek refuge in the state till their return to their country."
Addressing a programme to celebrate the ''Chapchar Kut'', a major festival of Mizoram, on Friday, Zoramthanga said, "We have sanctioned money for the purpose."
Six districts of the state -- Champhai, Lawngtlai, Hnahthial, Siaha, Serchhip and Saitual -- share a 510 km long porous international border with Myanmar. Champhai district deputy commissioner Maria CT Zuali told PTI that about 125 people of Myanmar have tried to cross the Indian border at Farkawn village and many others have attempted to enter Mizoram through other routes.
"The district administration and the Assam Rifles personnel guarding the border will continue to stop them from entering Mizoram unless there is a direction from the higher authorities to let them in," she said.
Assam Rifles Deputy Inspector General Digvijay Singh on Thursday said that the force was directed not to allow any illegal entry from the neighbouring country.
Siaha district Deputy Commissioner Kesavan R said that he has sent officials to verify reports about Myanmar refugees entering the district on Friday