With the Centre ordering the border with Myanmar sealed, many fleeing the army crackdown following the coup that deposed Aung San Suu Kyi are believed to be stuck between the two countries. The job of holding them back, as per the Centre’s instructions, is almost impossible, given the porous 510-km border along Mizoram alone.
Unlike its border with Bangladesh, the state’s border with Myanmar is completely unfenced. Since 2017 there have been multiple proposals to fence parts of it, especially around the Champhai region, but there has been no progress.
Intelligence inputs suggest 733 Myanmar nationals have made it into the state, with the largest numbers being 324 in Champhai district, 144 in Siaha, 83 in Hnahthial, and 55 in Lawngtalai. Officials believe 90 more crossed over between March 18 and 20, and are yet to be accounted for.
A top official of the Mizoram government, that has opposed the Centre’s decision to identify the Myanmar nationals and depose them, pointed out that the Assam Rifles manning the border is “not standing hand-in-hand” to guard every inch, at all times. “So if someone tries, they can come. Those encountering patrols (while seeking to cross over) are just unlucky… They are trickling in every day, sometimes in large crowds, sometimes in smaller batches.”
Senior sources in the Assam Rifles admit it is virtually impossible to man the border with just three battalions. Since it strengthened its vigil starting February 1,…