Reuter's Report: The secret network helping Myanmar police flee
Reuter's Report: The secret network helping Myanmar police flee
3 min • Politics & World Affairs • 2021

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A secret network of activists and volunteers is helping spirit hundreds of defecting Myanmar policemen away from the military's brutal crackdown on dissent and into relative safety in a small northeastern Indian state. Libby Hogan reports. Strung along the forested mountain tops of the Indian state of Mizoram, on the border of India and Myanmar, a group of houses have become a place of relative safety for fleeing Myanmar policemen. Since the military seized power in Myanmar on February 1st, hundreds of police have fled to India, according to a senior police official in Mizoram. Some police personnel have said they left myanmar because they feared persecution after refusing to obey the junta's orders to shoot protesters. One of the volunteers helping people escape is a teacher, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity. He has assisted around two dozen policemen fleeing Myanmar and described the stress of a group he recently helped escape. An underground network of volunteers help those fearing persecution, escape. The journey is organized with simple tools:messenger apps, SIM cards from both countries, hardy jeeps and a knowledge of smuggling routes along the Tiau River. The arrivals from Myanmar have caused some disagreement between India's federal government and Mizoram's state administration. India has close relations with the Myanmar military. The foreign ministry didn't respond to requests for comment, but it has previously expressed ""deep concer"" over the military coup. Yet India's federal government has ordered security to be tightened on four states that share a border with Myanmar. The Mizoram state government did not respond to requests for comment on this story, and neither did Myanmar's military. The junta earlier this week accused anti-coup protesters of arson and violence, while also expressing sadness for the deaths of what it said were 164 demonstrators. It added that it would use the least force possible to quell violence. Myanmar's military has said a Nov. 8 election won by Suu Kyi's party was fraudulent - an accusation the country's electoral commission has rejected. The future for those fleeing is uncertain, but all they can do is hope and wait. In one house a group raise a three finger salute borrowed from the Hunger Games films, a sign that's become a symbol of resistance in the home they left behind. (c) 2021 Thomson Reuters, unless otherwise identified