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18 May, 2021 13:44

15,000 Myanmar refugees flee to India as violent clashes rage amid post-coup crackdown

15,000 Myanmar refugees flee to India as violent clashes rage amid post-coup crackdown

The number of Myanmar citizens seeking refuge in India has risen to more than 15,000, an Indian government official confirmed, as violent clashes amid the junta’s post-coup crackdown continue throughout the country.

Individuals have been fleeing over the mountain border from Myanmar into the Indian state of Mizoram since police officers used the route to escape after refusing to participate in the violent efforts to suppress pro-democracy protests in the wake of the February 1 coup.

In April, only around 1,800 individuals from Myanmar had fled into India but the vice chair of Mizoram’s state planning board, H. Rammawi, confirmed on May 18 that the number has now risen to more than 15,400 and is “increasing day by day.”

Mizoram and parts of Myanmar are tied ethnically, with some families split across both sides of the border, hence the decision for many to seek refuge in the Indian region.

Rammawi said 6,000 Myanmar residents have settled in Mizoram's capital, Aizawl, and the rest are spread out across the state's five districts. While the influx into the region is being supported by residents and non-governmental organizations, officials have requested additional support from federal authorities.

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Monitoring groups in Myanmar have reported that thousands of residents from areas along the border have fled to neighboring countries or into the jungle to avoid the fighting that’s broken out in the wake of the coup. Mindat, near the Indian border, has been put under martial law in recent days as armed forces have sought to suppress the pro-democracy uprising.

Since the military seized power and detained the democratically elected civilian leadership, including Aung San Suu Kyi, on February 1, at least 802 anti-coup protesters have been killed in violent clashes and around 4,120 activists have been detained.

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