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The students’ body urged the refugees to return to their villages in Myanmar.
The students’ body urged the refugees to return to their villages in Myanmar.|Representational Image
MIZORAM

Myanmar refugees’ attempt to contest elections in Mizoram opposed

Lai Students’ Association on Monday expressed strong opposition to the attempt by Myanmar refugees to contest village council election in Mizoram.

Henry L Khojol

Aizawl: Lai Students’ Association (LSA), the lone student organization of Lai tribes based in south Mizoram’s Lawngtlai town, on Monday expressed strong opposition to the attempt by Myanmar refugees to contest the upcoming Village Council elections slated for May 8.

A statement issued by the student body alleged that the refugees belonging to Zhakai community from Myanmar are not only claiming for inclusion in the voter list, but also tried to contest the forth coming Village Council polls in Lai Autonomous District Council (LADC) area in Lawngtlai district.

Election to 95 village councils in LADC area will be held simultaneously with by-polls to six village councils in Chakma area on May 8.

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Opposing the move, the LSA said that it would not allow the refugees to share constitutional rights with the natives.

“We will oppose the move till the end to ensure that the Myanmar refugees do not cast their votes and contest the VC elections,” the statement said.

The student body asked the state government not to enroll the refugees in VC roll and issue birth certificate to them.

It further urged the refugees to return to their villages in Myanmar.

Meanwhile, Lawngtlai district deputy commissioner Shashanka Ala told EastMojo that she did not receive report of such move.

She said that the district administration would take measure if such case arises.

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Fleeing arm conflict between Myanmar Army and Arakan based militant group Arakan Army (AA) more than 1,700 refugees, mostly Buddhists and Christians belonging to the Zhakai community from Paletwa and neighbouring villages in Myanmar’s Arakan (Rakhine) state, had fled their homes and entered sMizoram’s southernmost Lawngtlai district in November, 2017.

Though many families have return to their villages, about 250 are still camping at makeshift camps at Hmawngbuchhuah village bordering Myanmar.

The refugees have to support themselves as the Mizoram government has stopped giving them food and other relief materials after the Myanmar government declared that it was now safe to return to their villages.