NEW DELHI - Authorities in Myanmar have asked India to return several police officers who have sought refuge to avoid taking orders from a military junta that seized power in the Southeast Asian country last month, an official in northeast India said on Saturday.
Around 30 Myanmar police and their family members came across the border seeking refuge in recent days, as the junta's suppression of protesters turned increasingly violent, with dozens killed since the Feb. 1 coup.
The senior-most official in Champhai, a district in the Indian state of Mizoram, told Reuters that she had received a letter from her counterpart in Myanmar's Falam district requesting the return of eight police "in order to uphold friendly relations."
Deputy Commissioner Maria C.T. Zuali told Reuters on Saturday that she was "waiting for the direction" from the India's Ministry for Home Affairs in New Delhi.
Although there have been instances recounted on social media of police joining the civil disobedience movement and protests against the junta, this is the first reported case of police fleeing Myanmar.
In the letter, a copy of which was reviewed by Reuters, Myanmar authorities said they had information on eight police personnel who had crossed into India. The letter listed details for four police, aged between 22 and 25 years, including a female officer.
"In order to uphold friendly relations between the two neighbour countries, you are kindly requested to detain 8 Myanmar police personnel who had arrived to Indian territories and hand-over to Myanmar," the letter said.
India's federal home ministry and foreign ministry did not immediately respond to questions from Reuters.