Mizoram sheltering 12,000 Manipur IDPs and 33,000 Myanmar refugees
First Published: 30th November, 2023 17:37 IST
Mizoram has been witnessing massive influx of Myanmar refugees since the military coup of February 1, 2021
Over the past few months, Mizoram has been sheltering not just the violence-hit people of Manipur but also thousands of Myanmar nationals who have fled their country due to fierce fighting in the Chin state bordering Mizoram.
Mizoram has been witnessing massive influx of Myanmar refugees since the military coup of February 1, 2021.
As present, the State records approximately 12,000 IDPs from Manipur and 33,000 Myanmar refugees.
Since the ethnic clashes started in Manipur on May this year, the State is hosting IDPs in various districts with over 10 relief camps at Aizawl and Kolasib.
The Central YMA Hall, located at Tuikhuahtlang, Aizawl has been used as a transit camp for the IDPs and many YMA branches in Aizawl had lent out their halls in their respective localities to house the displaced persons.
Latest report from Home Department officials is that 369 Myanmarees are putting up at Laki village of Siaha district after November 28, 2023.
The State also shares a 722-km border with Myanmar, and 95 km with Manipur, as well as a 318-km border with Bangladesh, which has made it a perfect haven for people fleeing violence, persecution and instability from Manipur as well as across the international borders. Mizoram is home to the Chin-Kuki-Mizo ethnic group, which has close cultural and linguistic ties with the people of the Chin Hills in Myanmar and the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Bangladesh, and the Kukis of Manipur.
Officials from the State Home Department have confirmed that the government had spent approximately 380 lakh for assistance of Myanmar refugees and the Central Young Mizo Association, the largest NGO body in the state has given Rs. 5780534 for supporting the refugees.
The Chief Minister of Mizoram, Zoramthanga during his visit to New Delhi on May 26 wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah where he requested for a financial support of ₹10 crores from the Government of India so that the State of Mizoram can extend proper support to the of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). The MHA had agreed to provide for support in kind.
Though the people of Mizoram are welcoming these refugees from the two neighbouring countries, India has not officially recognized Myanmar or Bangladesh refugees as such, and has asked the state government to prevent illegal immigration and deport those who do not have valid documents.
A study team formed by Mizoram’s biggest NGO, the Young Mizo Association (YMA) revealed in June that there are a few Myanmar refugees illegally possessing Indian Document at Mizoram’s Kolasib district, with some having have federal bank account.
The previous President of Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA), R. Lalngheta on June said, “We welcome them here as our brothers, but since they are not citizens of India, they cannot forge documents; and authorities will have to take actions.”
“Whatever they need and require in terms of food, shelter, medicine and even education, we are providing it to them. So, it is best for them to live as law abiding citizens.” he added.
Furthermore, on May 3, Assam Rifles officials had raised an alarm saying “Many illegal immigrants who have entered from Myanmar and Bangladesh have managed to acquire fake identity cards. They have even managed to travel out of the state and one has recently been apprehended with a fake ID in Bengaluru.”
Moreover, there are claims that drug peddling has increased with the influx of Myanmar nationals; and particularly since the ethnic conflict erupted in Manipur this year, as many stated that Mizoram now becomes a new peaceful route for smuggling of drugs. Seizure of drugs in large quantities by various forces- State police, Narcotics and paramilitary force also added weight to these claims.
Mizoram’s refugee crisis is a reflection of the complex and dynamic realities of Northeast India’s borderlands, where ethnic ties transcend national boundaries, and where conflicts persist despite peace agreements. It is also a reminder of the need for compassion and solidarity among people who share a common history and destiny.
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