Indian soldiers killed a large number of militants in a gunfight along the country’s restive border with Myanmar, the army said Wednesday while the Indian Border Security Force recently pushed back four Rohingya Muslims who were trying to cross over an unfenced stretch on the Bangladesh border in Tripura, reports Indian newspaper The Hindu.
This is the first instance of Rohingya being pushed back since the home ministry circular on August 19 to identify and deport them.
An official said the BSF had identified 75 vulnerable locations on a 21-km stretch in Tripura.
The National Human Rights Commission has opposed the government’s move to deport and push back the Rohingya and sought a report from the ministry.
The Hindu reported on September 15 that Assam and Manipur had asked the state police and the BSF to push back any Rohingya attempting to enter the country.
‘This year, 17 Rohingya Muslims were caught along the Tripura and Assam border. They were handed over to the police and action is being taken against them,’ said a BSF official.
A statement posted by the army’s eastern command on Twitter said its offensive had resulted in ‘heavy casualties’ to insurgents on the Indian side of the border.
‘A column of Indian army, while operating along the Indo-Myanmar border, was fired upon,’ it said.
Indian troops fired in retaliation, killing ‘a large number’ of militants. No Indian soldier was killed in the firefight, the statement added.
The military added that the insurgents belonged to the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplan, a radical group seeking a ‘Greater Nagaland’ for the Naga tribe within India and in neighbouring Myanmar.
The Indian army has been battling dozens of separatist militant groups in the northeast for several years.
In 2015, some 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a militant ambush near the Myanmar border, prompting a fierce army counter-offensive.
Much of India’s border region with Myanmar is porous and government authority there is considered weak.
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