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100 Returnees Among Over 1000 Myanmar Refugees Seeking Shelter in Mizoram: Officials

Myanmarese policemen, who fled Myanmar and crossed illegally to India, sit in a temporary shelter at an undisclosed location in India's northeastern state of Mizoram on March 13, 2021. - Scores of Myanmar policemen and their families have now fled to India, security officials said on March 12, with one officer telling AFP that the authorities are "beating and torturing" protestors. (Photo by Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP)

Myanmarese policemen, who fled Myanmar and crossed illegally to India, sit in a temporary shelter at an undisclosed location in India's northeastern state of Mizoram on March 13, 2021. - Scores of Myanmar policemen and their families have now fled to India, security officials said on March 12, with one officer telling AFP that the authorities are "beating and torturing" protestors. (Photo by Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP)

A senior Mizoram home department official said that the government did not receive any further communication from the Centre on the Myanmarese refugee issue after the March 10 directive to stop illegal migration of people from that country.

The number of Myanmarese nationals taking refuge in Mizoram has crossed 1000 since last month’s military coup, and at least 100 such people were sent back to their country but they have again sneaked into the state, officials said on Monday. A senior Mizoram home department official said that the government did not receive any further communication from the Centre on the Myanmarese refugee issue after the March 10 directive to stop illegal migration of people from that country.

“As per the home department’s record, 1,042 Myanmarese nationals have entered the state till Monday. While most of them are staying in border villages and are being provided with relief and shelter by local NGOs, some are living with their relatives,” the official told PTI. Many of the people who have crossed the international border to reach Mizoram since the military seized power in Myanmar last month are personnel of the police and fire brigade, he said.

Meanwhile, a Champhai district official said that about 100 refugees who were recently sent back to Myanmar from Farkawn village by an NGO have returned to Mizoram. They crossed the Tiau river which runs along the Mizoram-Myanmar border and went to other villages this time, she said.

Till now, such an incident was reported from one village only and it is not immediately clear why those 100-odd people were sent back. Mizoram shares a 510 km long porous border with Myanmar’s Chin state and most of the Myanmarese nationals who have taken refuge in the state belong to the Chin, also known as the Zo, community. They share the same ancestry and culture as the Mizos of Mizoram.

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On March 10, the MHA wrote to the chief secretaries of Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh and the Assam Rifles guarding the Indo-Myanmar border, to check influx of people from that country and also to identify the illegal migrants and deport them. However, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga has said that since the people of his state share ethnic ties with the refugees of the Chin community of Myanmar, they cannot remain indifferent to their plight.

The opposition Congress in the state also backed him in this issue.

first published:March 29, 2021, 22:05 IST