India on Friday condemned the use of violence by the military in crisis-stricken Myanmar and made its case in favour of democracy in the country, PTI reported.

“Let me be very clear, we condemn any use of violence,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing. “We believe that the rule of law should prevail. We stand for the restoration of democracy in Myanmar.”

Bagchi also said that India has urged for the release of political prisoners in Myanmar and voiced its support for any attempt to resolve the prevailing situation, PTI reported.

Myanmar has been in a state of turmoil since the military took control of the country on February 1 and detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior figures from the ruling National League for Democracy.

Following the coup, demonstrators have taken to the street, protesting against the military and demanding the restoration of democracy. The army has intensified its crackdown, trying to take control of the situation by opening fire on protestors and imposing internet cuts and curfews.

Responding to a question on whether India will allow people from Myanmar to cross over through the border between the two countries, the foreign ministry spokesperson said that New Delhi was dealing on the matter “as per laws and humanitarian considerations”.

His comments came days after reports emerged that the Manipur government has instructed officials of five districts to “politely turn away” people people from Myanmar trying to seek refuge in the state. The order was later revoked. Mizoram, Manipur’s neighbouring state, on the other hand, has shown willingness to help people from Myanmar. Chief Minister Zoramthanga had said last month that it was his government’s duty to provide food and shelter to people from Myanmar.

Meanwhile, Bagchi also responded on the matter of a diplomat from the Indian embassy in Myanmar attending an army event in the country on March 27, the day when security forces killed more than 100 people in a crackdown on the anti-coup protests.

“We have a functioning embassy in Myanmar,” Bagchi said, according to PTI. “Our ambassador, defence attache and other diplomatic officers continue to discharge their regular diplomatic responsibilities.”

Myanmar coup

The military coup in Myanmar followed the landslide victory of the National League for Democracy and Aung Suu Kyi in the national elections in November last year, with the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party faring poorly in its key strongholds.

The country’s military refused to accept the government, citing unsubstantiated allegations of fraud. It was also announced that the coup was the result of the government’s failure to delay the November election despite the outbreak of the coronavirus.

However, General Min Aung Hlaing said on February 8 that “free and fair” elections will be held after the completion of the emergency period, and the military will hand over power to the winner.