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Three arrested in Manipur in attempt to smuggle COVID-19 vaccines and medicines to Myanmar

Infamous for cross border smuggling of contrabands both to and from Myanmar, the Moreh route in Manipur is also being used to smuggle out COVID-19 vaccines and medicines to the neighbouring country.

Manipur police had on Sunday arrested three youths in Canchipur, outskirts of the sate capital Imphal along with Covishield vaccine, Remdesivir and other medicines in a vehicle meant for Moreh, about 100 kms from there.

The youths have been identified as — Mohammad Feroz Khan, 30, Imran Khan, 22 and Shubham Kumar Anand, 23. While Feroz and Imran are residents of Manipur, Shubham is a resident of Katihar district of Bihar presently staying in Imphal.

“During a routine checking of vehicles led by Officer-in-Charge of Singjamei police station Inspector N. Jadumani Singh in Canchipur area near Heijingang Super Market along National Highway-2, the three youths were apprehended with the medicines in their vehicle and the contraband goods were seized,” the official said. The detainees, who have been later remanded to police custody for further questioning on Tuesday, have confessed that the medicines were to be transported to Myanmar through the Moreh border.

Officials said that interrogation of the youths is on to find out the source of the seized medicines, vaccines and whether any more people are involved in the racket.

Myanmar had been facing its highest surge in COVID-19 cases and a dearth of vaccination due to the ongoing clashes against the Junta that ousted Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government on February 1.

Recently, Britain had asked the Junta to halt the clashes in order to inoculate Myanmar’s people.

Several corridors along the 1,643 km unfenced India-Myanmar border with four northeastern states — Mizoram (510 km), Arunachal Pradesh (520 km), Manipur (398 km) and Nagaland (215 km), had been used to smuggle contrabands such as arms, narcotics, gold etc for several years now.

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