Aizawl: Days after writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking asylum for the deserted Myanmar nationals, Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga on Monday said it was the duty of his government to provide food and shelter to the Myanmarese, who fled their country to take refuge in the state, on humanitarian grounds, an official statement said.
“It is our responsibility as human beings to provide food and shelter on humanitarian ground to our fellow humans (Myanmar nationals), who have taken refuge in our state in the wake of political turmoil following the military coup in their country,” the chief minister said while speaking to a foreign news outlet and leaders of Chin Churches in the United State via video conference.
Zoramthanga, however, said that the state government has “no say in the international affairs” and can’t deal with the refugees on its own as the matters rest with the Centre, the statement said.
He said he had already urged the Centre to provide political asylum to the Myanmar nationals and had also sent a delegation to Delhi in this regard.
On Sunday, Zoramthanga held an online meeting with Myanmar foreign minister in exile Zin Mar Aung to discuss the current political situation and the hardship being faced by the Zo ethnic people after the military junta had seized control of the democratically elected Myanmar government.
The Mizoram chief minister had shot a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 18, informing the latter that Mizoram can’t remain indifferent to the plights and suffering of the Chin communities in Myanmar, who share the same ancestry and ethnicity with the Mizos.
He had also said that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) advisories directing four Northeastern states, including Mizoram, to check the illegal influx of people from Myanmar and to immediately initiate the deportation process of illegal migrants was “not acceptable” to Mizoram.
A delegation from Mizoram led by Lok Sabha member C. Lalrosanga also met Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai on March 18 urging the centre to provide food and shelter to the Myanmar nationals in Mizoram.
Mizoram shares a 510-km long unfenced and porous border with Myanmar’s Chin state.
Officials said that nearly 600 people from Myanmar entered Mizoram after the military coup, with most refugees belonging to the Chin communities.