An official in northeast India said on Saturday that Myanmar has asked India to return several police officers who sought asylum in the country to avoid obeying orders from a military junta that took power in the Southeast Asian country last month. Around 30 Myanmar police officers and their families have crossed the border to seek shelter in recent days, as the junta's crackdown on protesters has become increasingly brutal, with dozens killed since the coup on February 1. According to media, the highest-ranking official in Champhai, a district in the Indian state of Mizoram, received a letter from her counterpart in Myanmar's Falam district demanding the return of eight police officers "in order to maintain friendly ties." On Saturday, Deputy Commissioner Maria C.T. Zuali said she was "waiting for guidance" from India's Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi.
While there have been reports of police joining the civil disobedience movement and anti-junta demonstrations on social media, this is the first case of police leaving Myanmar. Myanmar authorities said in the letter, which media obtained a copy of, that they had information on eight police officers who had crossed into India. The letter listed the names and contact information for four officers, all of whom were between the ages of 22 and 25, with one of them being a female officer. The Indian government's federal home ministry did not immediately respond to media's questions. In response to a request for comment, India's foreign ministry referred to a statement given at a media briefing on Friday, which said that the ministry was still "ascertaining the truth."