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Mizoram protests refusal of Kuki Chins from Bangladesh by the BSF

First Published: 9th January, 2023 20:48 IST

The Young Mizo Association (YMA) in its memorandum to the Union Home Secretary has said that pushing back the refugees is leading to starvation deaths

Thousands of people participated in the sit-in protest organised by the central committee of the Young Mizo Association (YMA) in front of the Raj Bhavan in Aizawl on Monday, protesting refusal of entry of displaced ethnic Mizos from Bangladesh by the BSF.

The protest comes in the backdrop of the death of 81 year old Pastor Sawmkhup, who died allegedly of hunger in a jungle after he was forced back by the BSF and refused entry into Mizoram along the India-Bangladesh border.

Speakers at the protest rally said that the BSF personnel did not allow the asylum seekers apparently due to instruction from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

They also said that the central government and the BSF personnel were to be blamed for pushing back the Kuki Chin refugees trying to flee Bangladesh. The Kuki Chins of Bangladesh and Myanmar are of the same ethic stock as the Mizos of Mizoram.

They accused the central government of discrimination between the Chakmas who were allowed to settle in the state and the ethnic Mizos who were forcibly deported by the BSF personnel.

The demonstrators adopted two resolutions demanding humane treatment for the asylum seekers from the central government and also providing humanitarian aid to them.

The sit-in demonstration was also held in other district headquarters in front of the deputy commissioners’ offices.

The central committee of the YMA submitted a memorandum to the Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla through the state governor Dr Hari Babu Kambhampati.

In their memorandum, the CYMA has mentioned that due to the recent military action of the Bangladesh Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) against the Kuki-Chin National Army, ever since the Bangladesh military personnel attacked the Kuki Chin (a Mizo ethnic tribe) villages in Chittagong Hill Tract in November 2022, a number of Chin Kuki communities have begun to flee to escape the atrocities for the safety of their life and many have sought refuge in a number of villages within the Lawngtlai district of Mizoram, India such as Chamdur Project, Vathuampui, Mautlang, and Parva III village.

In this regard, the first group of refugees, about 272 people, entered Mizoram and sought refuge/shelter at Parva III village in Lawngtlai District, Mizoram, India. Since then, due to the political unrest about 500 have entered Mizoram, India, seeking refuge for their safety, leaving behind all their life-long earnings, their homes, belongings, property, and source of livelihood.

The letter further mentioned that, unfortunately, on 4th January 2023 while some people were crossing the border into India, for their safety, the Border Security Force (BSF) pushed back many people to Bangladesh. The people who were pushed back by the forces were left starving, without food and water in the deep forest in between India and Bangladesh Border for many days. Tragically, among them, Sawmkhup (81 years) a resident of Chheihkhiang village, Bangladesh and a retired pastor of Bangladesh Tribal Baptist Church died due to starvation in the forest.

Earlier, Rajya Sabha MP from Mizoram K. Vanlalvena had written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla to instruct the BSF deployed along the India-Bangladesh border to allow the Kuki Chins from Bangladesh to enter Mizoram.

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