Aizawl: Mizoram home minister Lalchamliana on Monday said the state government is still waiting for “directions” from the Centre on Myanmar refugees, who fled their country and crossed over into the Indian territory following the military coup in their country in February.
He informed the state assembly that some people from Myanmar have sneaked into Mizoram in recent days due to the present political situation in the neighbouring country.
“As the foreigner issue is solely a Central subject, we are waiting for directions from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs,” Lalchamliana said.
“A detailed record of the identities and other particulars of the Myanmar nationals who enter Mizoram due to the humanitarian crisis will be prepared and all available relief will be provided to them by the state government for the time being. And thereafter, how they should be provided shelter and relief will be decided as per the Centre’s directives,” he said.
According to the home minister, four northeastern states – Mizoram (510 km), Arunachal Pradesh (520 km), Manipur (398 km) and Nagaland (215 km) – share a 1,643-km long international border with Myanmar.
Apart from Mizoram, the three other northeastern states are also believed to face refugee influx from Myanmar triggered by last month’s military coup, he said.
Lalchamliana added that India is not bound by the legal obligations to protect refugees as it is not a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 protocol.
Fleeing persecution, several people from Myanmar, including some policemen, have crossed the Indian border and are currently taking refuge in Mizoram.
A top police official said on Monday that more than 100 Myanmar nationals have entered Mizoram since late February.
“The exact figure of the refugees could not be ascertained now as some people are living with the locals (Mizos) and Myanmar’s Chin people who are already settled in Mizoram,” he said.
Earlier on March 5, the Myanmar government had asked Mizoram’s Champhai district administration to return the eight Myanmar policemen who allegedly fled their country to take refuge in Mizoram.
An official of Mizoram home department said they have informed the Union Ministry of Home Affairs about the matter and the state government awaiting “directions” from the Centre.