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Burmese traders sneak into India as

Burmese traders sneak into India as gates remain closed
By Bit Irom

The Asian Age (New Delhi), November 6, 1997.

Moreh, Nov. 5: Tenthonoi has crossed the Indian border at gate 3 near
the Indo-Burma border town of Moreh every day since the closer of border
trade between the two countries.  Many other traders have sneaked into
India to sell smuggled goods at Moreh in connivance with law enforcing
agencies of the government of India.

With the help of an interpreter, Tenthonoi, a poor trader from Tamu, a
small town about 4 km from Moreh, told The Asian Age that despite
warnings issued by Burmese officials, including the Army, the police and
immigration officers, not to cross the Indian border, over 100 Burmese
businessmen from Tamu and adjoining areas sell items at Moreh every
day.  They come early in the morning and return at late night.

Burmese cross the border near Magnag, Channiphai, Gagangjai, Gogoyang at
gate three and four. At gate 3 and 4, they cross over despite the
presence of BSF personnel. Tenthonoi adds that some Kukis at the border
had robbed them of their belongings a few times.  Since the closure of
border trade, hundreds of Burmese traders have been facing hardship, he
said.  Border trade was closed from October 12 till 21 following a fire
at the market complex of the Namphalong Bazar in Burma.  Trade resumed
on October 22.

But it was closed again as the Burmese allowed only Meites and Meiti
Pangals to do business at the Namphalong Market.  Other communities,
including Tamils and other Indians, were not allowed to enter Namphalong
Market. Burmese traders had set up the trading centre at Namphalong.
Although the Burmese State Law and Order Restoration Council had closed
the gate and banned trade, Burmese traders continued their brisk
business at Moreh.

Mathoi, 34, a businesswoman, told The Asian Age that the Burmese
military law enforcing officials had arrested over 300 traders,
including 160 women, for crossing the border since trade was banned. The
women were kept in the Achuk jail near Primary School, Tamu, while the
non-traders were served deterrent punishment. They were also forced to
clean the Tamu town, she said, adding that they had been given a
month-long jail term.