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Myanmar refugees continue hunger strike from prison in India

A New Delhi-based group advocating for human rights and democracy in Myanmar, called India for Myanmar, is demanding the release of refugees held in prisons across northeastern India.

“Altogether, nearly 200 Myanmar refugees are currently kept in Manipur and Assam jails although they have served their jail term and paid the required fines,” said Salai Dokhar, the founder of India for Myanmar. 

Seventy-six Myanmar nationals who were held at Manipur State’s Imphal Central Jail were released and deported to Myanmar, via the border gate in Tamu Township of Sagaing Region, on June 11. 

“The Manipur prison authorities are behaving like black marketeers, exploiting the refugees for money. They charge them even for phone calls to their families which are supposed to be officially allowed once a week,” he said. 

Sixty-six prisoners from Myanmar have been on a hunger strike at Imphal Central Jail since June 16. They are protesting against deportation to Myanmar. 

“Currently, 66 men are on hunger strike, which has lasted over 16 days. They are refusing the food and other provisions provided by the authorities and surviving by eating vegetables from the jail farm,” he added.

Since the 2021 military coup, an estimated 70,000 Myanmar nationals have sought refuge in India. The Manipur State government began deporting its 5,457 refugees from Myanmar – 5,173 of which had their biometric data recorded by Indian authorities – in May.


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