More Myanmar nationals take refuge in Mizoram

State government issues a standard operating procedure for identification of refugees

March 05, 2021 11:11 pm | Updated 11:55 pm IST - GUWAHATI

A Chin refugee from Myanmar protests in New Delhi on March 3, 2021.

A Chin refugee from Myanmar protests in New Delhi on March 3, 2021.

Villagers in Mizoram’s border districts said more than 100 people have crossed over from Myanmar to escape a military crackdown there.

Local authorities have, however, confirmed the arrival of 23 people who fled the Tatmadaw — as the Myanmar military is called — that took control of the country following a coup on February 1. At least 50 people have been killed in clashes with the Army since.

“The numbers keep on changing. But the report I have is that 15 people took refuge in Champhai district and eight in Serchhip district. It is quite possible they are from the Myanmar police who deserted the force,” Mizoram’s lone Lok Sabha member C. Lalrosanga told The Hindu on Friday.

Residents of border areas in Champhai district said people from across the border have been trickling in after crossing river Tiau that runs along a long stretch of Mizoram’s 404 km border with Myanmar.

The refugees belong to the Chin ethnic group who inhabit the Chin State of Myanmar. Chins are ethnically related to the dominant Mizo people of Mizoram as well as the Kuki-Zomi group in Manipur.

“More than 100 people must have come in and more are desperate to come. We are trying to help them on humanitarian grounds after following the guidelines of the local authorities,” Rama, the president of Farkawn village council, said.

Farkawn is in Champhai district and close to the border with Myanmar. Villagers there said Assam Rifles personnel have prevented some 80 Myanmar nationals from entering.

“We are following the normal procedure since we do not have any instructions from either our seniors or the government of India,” an Assam Rifles officer said, declining to be quoted.

Mr. Lalrosanga also said the Mizoram government has issued a standard operating procedure for the identification of the refugees.

Champhai’s Deputy Commissioner Maria C.T. Zuali had in a notification earlier said those who are in danger of persecution from the Myanmar military junta due to their involvement in political parties or any other organisations, would be regarded as refugees and should be provided shelter and protection in the district.

All the village authorities were instructed to maintain records of people who fled Myanmar and entered the district, including their conditions by filling in a prescribed proforma.

The district administration would register the refugees and issue identity cards to them. Officials said the refugees would be lodged in relief camps from where no one would be allowed to venture out without permission while the sick would be issued movement permits in accordance with a health certificate issued by the chief medical officer of the district.

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