Manipur starts collecting biometrics of illegal immigrants from Myanmar

Manipur starts collecting biometrics of illegal immigrants from Myanmar

As the situation in Manipur remains tense even though incidents of violence have come down, the process for the collection of biometrics of illegal immigrants from Myanmar started in the state today. The state home department announced that the campaign for biometric capture of illegal Myanmar immigrants will be completed as per the instructions of the union home ministry.

A team of the National Crime Records Bureau have already arrived in Imphal for the process and will train and handhold the state officials on the process.

The collection of biometric data started at the Foreigners’ Detention Centre at Sajiwa in Imphal East from 10 am on 29th July. The press release issued by the state home ministry said that the team of officials of the National Crime Records Bureau (CRB), deputed by the Ministry of Home Affairs for training and handholding of State Government Officers in this campaign, assisted the State Government officials in capturing biometric data.

The ministry said that the campaign will continue in all districts until biometric data of all illegal Myanmar immigrants in the State are successfully captured. The campaign is targeted for completion by September 2023.

In a notification issued yesterday, Peter Salam, Joint Secretary (Home), directed all SPs to immediately commence the campaign for biometric capture of illegal Myanmar immigrants in Manipur for timely completion of the process by September 2023. Districts requiring further training and handholding have been further asked to depute their concerned officers to observe the biometric capturing process at the Foreigners Detention Centre in Imphal. A training program was also organised for all DCs and SPs on 26th July.

It is notable that the union home ministry has directed the states of Manipur and Mizoram to complete the process of capturing biometric data of illegal migrants by September this year. The centre had issued the directions to governments of Manipur and Mizoram in this regard days before the ethnic violence erupted in Manipur.

Under the campaign, the biometric data of anyone who enters India from Myanmar will be collected. This will help the government identify illegal immigrants easily. Reportedly they will be included in a “negative biometric list” so they cannot become citizens of India later.

Along with this, the process of completing the fencing of the Indo-Myanmar border is also going on. Fencing along 10 km of the Manipur-Mizoram border has been completed so far, and agencies responsible for the projects have been instructed to complete the border fencing as soon as possible.

It is notable that illegal immigration from Myanmar is a major cause behind the ongoing violence in Manipur. The Meiteis have alleged that a large number of Kukis from Myanmar have entered the state with the help of local Kukis, and have settled in forest lands. It is also found such immigrants are carrying out large-scale poppy cultivation on forest land.

The Manipur government recently said that at least 718 Myanmar nationals illegally entered the state in the last week alone. A statement issued by Home Department said that the illegal influx was reported on July 22 and 23 in Chandel district by Assam Rifles.

Manipur shares a 398-km-long porous border with Myanmar, and illegal immigration is rampant in the region. Unrest in Myanmar has increased such immigration in the recent years.

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