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Indians block border in protest at Tatmadaw incursions

Market area on the Burma-India border as seen from the side of Tamu in Burma's Sagaing Division. (PHOTO: DVB)

Locals in India’s Manipur state have blocked a border crossing with Burma in protest after the Tatmadaw [Burmese armed forces] earlier this month destroyed a sawmill that it claimed lay in disputed territory between the two countries.

Residents from the village of Holephai in Tengnoupal district, which lies alongside the Indian border town Moreh, have been staging a series of demonstrations recently, accusing Burmese soldiers of intruding onto Indian territory and terrorising local villagers.

Thein Zaw Oo, the director of Sagaing Division government administration in Tamu, which lies directly across the border from Moreh, told DVB that Burmese officials travelled on Sunday to meet with their Indian counterparts in Moreh, but were forced to turn back as the protestors had blocked the road.

“On 4 March, the Burmese security forces took action against a sawmill that was encroaching on Burmese territory,” said Thein Zaw Oo. “And yesterday, we travelled to meet with our Indian counterparts but were instead met with protestors and a blocked road.”

A Burmese vendor at Tamu market said, “There have been protests in India, about what I am not exactly sure. But the Indians shopping at Tamu market have been advised to return to their own country.”

The vendor said Burmese security forces on Sunday morning escorted Burmese nationals back across the border from Indian soil.