Thursday, February 12, 2015

Country # 29 India

To say the start of my entry into India was a bit interesting would be a huge understatement. It involved an Ebola check, bomb squads, commando units, closed borders, and a military hot zone!

After exiting Myanmar we were all ready to do the usual immigration/customs paper work on the India side only to find to that there was no one at the offices. What the heck...... how can a border not have anyone working it? So after a while we finally found a person who called the immigration and customs officers and said "hey you have some foreigners at the border". 
Half an hour later a team rolls up and they start the generator and the processing begins.

Now usually after immigrations and customs you are good to go but this time there were a few extra steps. First we needed to wait for a medical team to come assess us for Ebola. Well I am happy to say I am Ebola free!

One of the many military check points.

Can we go now? 
Well we made it just a few hundred meters more where we were stopped by the military who proceeded to enter all of our information again. Can't you just talk to the immigration guys who just did that?

So I guess we are good to go now and drive the 130 km from Moreh to Imphal. 
Well not just yet as it seems we just stepped into a hot zone with fighting between a military group called the Assam Rifles and the local Kuki tribe. 

The road is now closed due to the instability of the region! 
And how long will that be we ask........And the response we receive "can't say it could be indefinite"

So where can we stay? 
"You can camp in the police and military barracks as it is very safe."

our camp setup and hanging with the local commandos

Getting ready to pack up and head out

Now three days have passed and we realize we cannot stay here forever in no mans land. So we see an opportunity arise when we are told that the local commando unit and bomb unit will be going through the hot zone to Imphal and we have a chance for an escort. 
I don't see a better time than three buses loaded with commandos to cross the conflict area.

Photo op's with some of the great people we made friends with over the three days.

So off we head towards the road block (Bandh) and villages creating the conflict. But first we must get through two military check points and see if they will let us through. Well long story short while we are being processed at the first check point our convoy is waved through and that is the last we see of them. 
I guess we are solo now! 
Oh and did I mention it is dark out now. 

So off we go and when we are very near the Bandh we reach the second military check point and there was no way anyone was being let through the hot zone. But because we had made good friends with the commandos, the head of the military check point said he would personally go talk to the Chief of the Kuki and explain or situation. 

When he came back the chief had agreed to lets us pass through the territory as long as we spoke to him first. The chief and the villagers were all very nice and all they wanted was for us to let the world know what they are facing. But he did warn us that if we did not go now we would not get through as it was going to get worse the next day. And true to his word the following morning while in Imphal I read that they were spreading the Bandh even farther throughout the territories and tribes. And the conflict and fighting has continued on.

Yup just another day on the road never knowing what to expect.

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