Aizawl: Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Saturday urged the Centre to review its order directing the four northeastern states, which share borders with Myanmar, and border guarding forces to prevent the illegal influx of people from Myanmar and to deport them expeditiously, an official in the Chief Minister Office (CMO) said.

He also requested the BJP-led NDA government to provide asylum and relief to the Myanmar nationals who crossed the international border and have taken refuge in India due to humanitarian crisis, the official said. 

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The chief minister’s request came in the wake of an influx of Myanmar nationals, mostly Chin communities, who share ethnicity with the Mizos, to Mizoram following last month’s military coup in Myanmar.

In the backdrop of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) letter to Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh on March 10, Zoramthanga, who headed the Mizo National Front (MNF), wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday informing him that the MHA advisories to four northeastern states and security forces like Assam Rifles and Border Security Force (BSF) were “not acceptable” to Mizoram.

MNF is part of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), but the party does not work with the saffron party in the state. 

In his letter, a copy of which is available with Eastmojo, the Mizoram chief minister said that the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued advisories to the chief secretaries of the northeastern states bordering Myanmar and also to security forces like Assam Rifles and Border Security Force (BSF) for taking action to prevent illegal influx from Myanmar into India in the current internal situation in the neighbouring country and initiate the deportation processes expeditiously and without delay.

“This is not acceptable to Mizoram. I understand that there are certain foreign policy issues where India needs to proceed cautiously. However, we cannot ignore this humanitarian crisis,” Zoramthanga said in his letter.

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He pointed out that Myanmar areas, bordering Mizoram, are inhabited by the Chin communities, who are “our Mizo brethren with whom we have been having close contacts throughout all these years even before India became an independent country.”

He said that a human catastrophe of gigantic proportions is happening in Myanmar, and innocent hapless citizens are being persecuted and killed by the military, who are supposed to be their guardians and protectors.

According to the chief minister, every day, terrified Myanmar citizens are struggling to cross over to Mizoram in search of shelter and protection.

“Therefore, Mizoram cannot just remain indifferent to their sufferings. India cannot turn a blind eye to this humanitarian crisis unfolding right in front of us in our own backyard,” the letter also read.

Zoramthanga urged that India, as the world’s largest democracy, and Myanmar’s immediate neighbour, needs to do more and open up more in this matter.

He further urged Modi to personally intervene so that the political refugees from Myanmar are given asylum and provided food and shelter here in the country.

Meanwhile, Mizoram Rajya Sabha member K. Vanlalvena said that more than 1,000 Myanmar nationals have crossed over to Mizoram to take refuge in the state.

Quoting official record, an official in the state police’s Crime Investigation Department (CID), however, told EastMojo that a total of 547 Myanmarese have already entered Mizoram after the military coup. Of this, 86 are yet to be verified, he said.

He said that the official figure could differ against the actual figure as many have reportedly been accommodated by the locals unnoticed. 

He added that the Myanmar nationals took refuge in 8 Mizoram districts, including Aizawl and most of them are handled by local NGOs.

A leader of an organisation, who chose to be anonymous, said that more than 100, including some political leaders, are currently taking refuge in Aizawl.

Several organisations, including the apex student body Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), are raising money through crowdfunding to support the Myanmar nationals. 

Also read: Mizoram MP to Centre: Protect Myanmar refugees, not deport them