Returnees coming from Mizoram State in India back to Burma won’t be allowed to cross the border unless they have travel permission documents from both governments, according to a statement released over the weekend by the Rih Lengtlang Youth Association (RLYA).
The RLYA published the statement on May 31. The restriction affects Burmese nationals who are migrant workers or students in India and have been stuck there during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many are hoping to return to Burma through the India-Burma No. 2 Bridge—known as the Rih-Zokhawdar border trading gate—but won’t be allowed to enter Rihkhawdar town if they don’t have the required permission documents from the Mizoram government, the Chin State government, and the Burmese embassy in India.
“There are many Burmese nationals in Mizoram state in India who want to return. If they have travel permission from the agreement of the two governments or official travel documents from the Burmese embassy, our youth association and department will welcome them,” Lerpet Lawmma, head of Rihkhawdar town’s information and public relations department, told Khonumthung News. “Some people tried to cross the river and illegally came into Rihkhawdar without any travel documents. That’s why we do not allow those people to pass to our Rihkhawdar town.”
Rihkhawdar town is located at the border between Chin State and Mizoram State. People must pass Rihkhawdar in order to travel onward.
“Our main objective is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our town. Therefore, our youth guard at the entry and exit place of our town 24 hours a day. Our youth also guard along the border stream in the Rih area,” Lerpet Lawmma said.
At the time of reporting, 15 returnees from Mizoram State were staying at a quarantine center in Rihkhawdar town.