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Aizawl: A Mizoram-based Zo Reunification Organisation (ZORO) on Wednesday said it will stage a sit-in-demonstration on March 23 to protest against the Union Home Ministry’s letter, which directed four Northeastern states to take prompt steps in identifying illegal migrants from Myanmar and initiate their deportation process expeditiously, a statement by the organisation said on Wednesday.

ZORO is a Chin-Kuki- Mizo-Zomi group, which seeks the reunification of all Zo ethnic people in different parts of the world and bringing them under one administrative unit.

The meeting of the organisation in Aizawl on Wednesday blamed the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for its order asking four Northeastern states of Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, which share a border with Myanmar, to take appropriate action to prevent the illegal influx of people from Myanmar, identify them and deport them immediately to their country, the statement said.

It asked the Home Ministry to revoke its order.

The statement said that the ZORO, which is a Chin-Kuki- Mizo-Zomi group representing all the Zo ethnic people in different parts of the world, stands for the re-unification of the Zo indigenous people and will continue to extend solidarity to the Zo communities of Myanmar, who faced atrocities and humanitarian crisis after the military junta had taken power in the neighbouring country. 

“The organisation is hurt and takes seriously the Home Ministry directive to identify  and send back our brothers and sisters from Myanmar, who have taken refuge in Mizoram in the wake of pro-democracy movement following the military coup in the neighbouring country,” it said.

It added that a sit-in demonstration will be held in front of Vanapa Hall in Aizawl on March 23 during which a copy of the MHA order will be burnt in protest against its decision to deport the Myanmar nationals, who fled their country due to the present political situation in the neighbouring country.

Earlier on March 12, the organisation also wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging them to impose a sanction on military-led Myanmar government.

It had sought Delhi’s help for the restoration of democracy in Myanmar and immediate release of state counsellor  Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Wint Myint, other leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and anti-coup protesters, who have been detained after the military coup in February.

The group had also urged the Centre not to send back the Myanmar nationals, who have taken refuge in Indian territory and instead provide them with shelters and other humanitarian aids.

Four Northeastern state- Mizoram (510), Manipur (398), Nagaland (215) and Arunachal Pradesh (520)- share 1,623 km long unfenced and porous international border with Myanmar.

Recently, the MHA has asked the four northeastern states to take appropriate action as per law to check illegal influx of people from Myanmar in the wake of massive civilian protests in the neighbouring country following the last month military coup.

In the letter sent to chief secretaries of the four northeastern states on March 10, the home ministry has reminded that states and union territories have no power to grant ‘refugee’ status to any foreigner and India is not a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol.

“As you are aware, there is a possibility of large scale illegal influx into Indian territory through India-Myanmar Border due to the current internal situation in Myanmar. In this regard, MHA has already issued an advisory (dated February 25) to chief secretaries (of these four states) to stay alert and take appropriate action to prevent a possible influx into Indian Territory,” the letter said.

The MHA has also reminded state governments about its communication in 2017 in which states were told to “sensitise all law enforcement and intelligence agencies for taking prompt steps in identifying illegal migrants and initiate the deportation processes expeditiously and without delay”.

Mizoram Rajya Sabha member K. Vanlalvena on Tuesday informed the parliament that more than 300 Myanmar nationals, including 150 police personnel, have already crossed over to Mizoram seeking refuge in the state. 

He urged the Centre to review and change its foreign policy towards Myanmar refugees and give shelter in India saying “sending them back to their country would mean killing them.” 

Earlier on Monday, a home department had said that at least 383 Myanmar nationals have already entered five Mizoram districts to take refuge.

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