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Mizoram can't remain indifferent to sufferings of Myanmarese refugees fleeing coup: CM to Centre

By The Assam Tribune
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Aizawl, March 20: Urging the Centre to review its order to four Myanmar-bordering northeastern states including Mizoram to prevent illegal immigration from the neighbouring country and ensure expeditious deportation, Chief Minister Zoramthanga has asserted that the people of his state, who share ethnic ties with the refugees from Chin communities, can't remain indifferent to their plight.

The Mizo National Front (MNF) chief, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 18, requested him to personally intervene in the matter to provide asylum to the political refugees on humanitarian grounds, an official at the Chief Minister's Office said on Saturday.

He said the MHA's March 10 advisory to Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur was not acceptable to his state.

Though the MNF is a part of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), it does not have an alliance with the saffron party in the state.

"This (MHA advisory) is not acceptable to Mizoram. I understand that there are certain foreign policy issues where India needs to proceed cautiously. However, we cannot ignore this humanitarian crisis," Zoramthanga said in the letter, a copy of which is available with the PTI.

He said the areas in Myanmar bordering Mizoram are inhabited by Chin communities who share ethnic ties and have had close contact with the people of the state even before India was independent.

Zoramthanga said a human catastrophe of gigantic proportions is happening in Myanmar and innocent citizens are being killed by the military, which is supposed to protect them.

Every day, terrified Myanmarese people are struggling to cross over into Mizoram in search of shelter and protection, he said.

"Therefore, Mizoram cannot just remain indifferent to their sufferings. India cannot turn a blind eye to this humanitarian crisis unfolding right in front of us in our own backyard," the letter read.

Zoramthanga said that India, as the world's largest democracy and Myanmar's immediate neighbour, must act in this matter.

Meanwhile, Mizoram Rajya Sabha member K Vanlalvena told PTI that the number of Myanmarese refugees taking shelter in the northeastern state has soared to over 1,000.

An officer in the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID), however, said that as per official records, a total of 547 Myanmarese have entered Mizoram since the coup on February 1.

He said that the actual number may be higher as many Mizoram residents have accommodated Myanmarese refugees without informing the authorities.

Myanmarese people fleeing the coup have taken shelter in eight districts and most of them are being handled by local NGOs, he said.

Several outfits, including the state's apex student body Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), are raising money to support the refugees. - PTI

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