NE tames COVID-19, but vigilant over threats from across borders

AGARTALA/IMPHAL/AIZAWL, APR 26 (IANS) | Publish Date: 4/26/2020 11:18:09 AM IST

Even as four of the eight northeastern states are free from novel coronavirus and its spread tamed in other four states, authorities have kept a tight vigil on India’s borders in the region as threat of the disease spilling over from Bangladesh and Myanmar looms large.

Eight northeastern states share India’s around 5,500 km borders with five countries, including China (1,300 km), but the region’s main worry lies over 1,880 km borders with Bangladesh and 1,643 km with Myanmar.

Northeastern states’ fear has deepened after Bangladesh reported more than 140 coronavirus death and over 5,000 infections.

Tripura director general of police Rajiv Singh said that while Border Security Force (BSF) further strengthened their vigil along the India-Bangladesh border, Tripura State Rifles (TSR) were deployed all along the 856 km border with Bangladesh in the state.

After Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s appeal, villagers along the international borders have been watchful to prevent anyone’s illegal entry from across the border into the Indian territory,” the police chief told IANS.

He said that special round-the-clock focus is on around 62 km unfenced border and where human habitations are just along the zero line of the frontier.

Deb said that most of Tripura’s border is with Bangladesh and the government is concerned about this.

Deb, who also holds the home portfolio, urged the people to observe the “Janata curfew’ to foil any bid to cross over into Tripura from Bangladesh.

In Aizawl, Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga has asked the Assam Rifles and BSF officials to further tighten security along Indian border with Myanmar and Bangladesh in his state.

In Imphal, Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh has stressed on the highest vigil along the state’s 398 km unfenced India-Myanmar border areas and has directed director general of police LM Khaute and Assam Rifles officials to reinforce checkpoints at various areas, particularly in the Churachandpur district.

Manipur government’s fresh directives to the Assam Rifles to strengthen security along the border areas came after media reports of 127 positive cases surfaced in Myanmar.

In Shillong, Meghalaya home minister Lahkmen Rymbui held a series of meetings with BSF officials to further intensify border security along India’s 443 km border with Bangladesh in the state.

While no positive novel coronavirus case was reported from Sikkim, the other seven northeastern states have so far reported 55 coronavirus positive cases, including Nagaland’s lone case.

Of the 55 positive cases, there are 20 active cases at present in the northeastern region -- seven in Assam, 11 in Meghalaya and one in Mizoram, besides a trader from Dimapur in Nagaland undergoing treatment at Guwahati Medical College and Hospital since April 12.

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