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The repatriation process had to be deferred due to rainfall, said officials
The repatriation process had to be deferred due to rainfall, said officials|Representational image
MIZORAM

Mizoram: Repatriation bid to send 200 Myanmar refugees deferred

Attempt to repatriate refugees from Lawngtlai district in southern part of state to Myanmar was made on Saturday; postponed due to bad weather, said officials

Henry L Khojol

Aizawl: A repatriation process to send over 200 Myanmar refugees back to their villages in Myanmar has been postponed due to bad weather, an official said on Sunday.

The attempt to repatriate the refugees from south Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district to Myanmar was made on Saturday.

The official said the repatriation process has to be deferred due to rainfall that will create inconvenience for the refugees to reach their respective villages.

Moreover, the refugees, whose re-identifications were conducted recently, have already settled down in Mizoram by constructing their own houses, so using force would not be practicable, he said.

“The government as well as the district administration will re-consider and make another arrangement to repatriate the refugees,” he said, adding the refugees are likely to be pushed back after rainy season.

Other sources said that the refugees are still reluctant to return though their villages are saved to live.

They also complained about a livelihood problem in their country as most of the families are highly depending on agriculture and manual labour.

Fleeing arms conflict between Myanmar Army and Arakan Army (AA), nearly 1,750 refugees mostly Zakhai community from Paletwa and neighbouring villages in Myanmar’s Arakan (Rakhine) state entered Mizoram in November, 2017.

Initially, they took refuge in makeshift camps in four villages — Zochachhuah, Laitlang, Dumzautlang and Hmawngbuchhuah in Lawngtlai district. Later, they were grouped and shifted to Hmawngbuchhua village in the Bumthlang subdivision for administrative convenience.

Though majority of the refugees have returned to their villages, some of them are still languishing at Hmawngbuchhuah in Lawngtlai district and settle down by constructing houses.

As of now, the refugees have to support themselves as the Mizoram government has stop giving food and other relief aids after the Myanmar government declared that their villages are safe to live.

According to re-identification conducted by officials, policemen, Assam Rifles authorities and leaders of Young Lai Association, a Lawngtlai based NGO on June 13, 219 people belonging to 54 families are still camping at Hmawngbuchhuah.