AIZAWL, March 15: Mizoram’s lone member to the Rajya Sabha, K Vanlalvena, felt that India’s policy towards Myanmar needs to be reviewed in a show of solidarity with anti-coup protests across the neighbouring country.
“India is the largest democracy in the world. It must do something to put an end to military dictatorship in Myanmar and to support the people’s struggles for democracy,” Vanlalvena told India’s Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu during a meeting at the lawn of the latter’s official residence in New Delhi today.
Vanlalvena called on the Rajya Sabha chairman to apprise him of the inhumane treatment meted out to anti-coup protesters by Myanmar military who overthrew the democratically-elected government in a military coup last month.
Many have been killed and scores of people jailed by the military junta, and the death toll is sure to rise in the coming months unless the “gun-toting military” are stopped now.
Vanlalvena also informed Naidu that over 100 Myanmar citizens, including several policemen, have fled Mizoram to take shelter. He underlined the need to provide food and shelter to these Myanmarese refugees in Mizoram.
Officials estimated that more than 370 people from Myanmar have fled to Mizoram since February 1 coup in the neighbouring State.
Border villages like Farkawn and Vaphai in Champhai district and Lungkawlh village in Serchhip district currently house the largest number of refugees.
Farkawn village which situated a few kilometres from Tiau river that divides India and Myanmar alone has 116 refugees from Myanmar, the village council president Ramliana said. Several of them were from Myanmar police and fire services, who refused to obey their superiors’ order to shoot at the civilians.
PTI adds: At least 383 Myanmar nationals, including women and children, have so far sneaked into Mizoram seeking refuge since late February following military coup and subsequent crackdown on pro-democracy movement in the neighbouring country, a State Home Department official said on Monday.
He said that about 98 per cent of the Myanmar nationals entering Mizoram claimed that they belonged to police force and fire service.
But, they don’t have documentary proofs in support of the claim, the official said.
Of the 383 foreign nationals, 297 have been already verified while 86 are yet to be verified or confirmed, the official said.
“As per the State Home Department record as on Monday, 383 people from Myanmar have already entered five Mizoram districts and 86 of them are yet to be confirmed,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Six Mizoram districts – Champhai, Lawngtlai, Siaha, Saitual, Hnahthial and Serchhip – share a 510-km long porous international border with Myanmar’s Chin state.
According to the official, among the six border districts, only Saitual district has not reported any influx of refugees from the trouble-torn country after the coup.
He said that many of them were accommodated by the locals as a mark of showing hospitality towards strangers, which is part of tradition of the Mizos.
Though the State government and Assam Rifles were trying their best to prevent illegal influx, the Myanmar nationals, who had already entered the State due to humanitarian crisis, could not be prevented due to the porous border.
The State government could not immediately push them back on humanitarian ground, he said.
Lalramnghaka, village council president of Lungkawlh village in Serchhip district, said that at least 19 Myanmarese are currently taking refuge there.
While three persons were accommodated by a family in North Vanlaiphai village, 16 others are being provided foods and other reliefs by residents of Lungkawlh village by raising community fund, he said.
Chief Minister Zoramthanga and Home Minister Lalchamliana had earlier said that the State government will on humanitarian ground provide relief to the Myanmar nationals, who have entered the State due to the humanitarian crisis.
The Union Home Ministry on Friday cautioned four northeastern States – Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh – bordering Myanmar against influx from the neighbouring country in the wake of largescale protests following a coup there, and asked them to take appropriate actions as per law.
In a communication, the home ministry told the four States to guard against influx of civilians and government officials from Myanmar and take all precautions to deal with any such situation.