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Aizawl: Over 1,000 Myanmar nationals have sneaked into Mizoram in the wake of a crackdown on pro-democracy protests triggered by military coup in the neighbouring country in February, an official in the state home department said.

Meanwhile, about 100 people who were sent back to Myanmar by Indian authorities have returned to Mizoram again.

The Myanmar nationals, majority of them police personnel and firemen, have taken refuge in border districts and state capital Aizawl, the official said.

“As per Mizoram home department’s record, a total of 1,042 Myanmar nationals have so far entered the state till Monday. While majority stay in border villages and are being provided with relief and shelter by local NGOs, some of them live with their relatives,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.

The official also said that the state government did not receive any communication from the Centre apart from the directive it had received from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on March 10.

Meanwhile, a Champhai district administration official said that about 100 Myanmar refugees were pushed back from Farkawn village on the Indo-Myanmar border by an NGO recently.

However, the Myanmarese have reportedly returned to other Mizoram villages again through different routes after crossing the Tiau river, which runs along the Mizoram-Myanmar border, he said.

The official also said that the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has recently communicated with the Champhai district administration over the Myanmar refugees, who have taken refuge in Mizoram.

No Kap Thang, a Burmese migrant and leader of “NGO for Myanmar” based in Champhai town, said they have sent an advisory to the Myanmar citizens in Chin state, urging them that no civilian barring policemen and enforcement personnel should come to Mizoram to seek refuge unless facing a threat to their life.

He said his organisation has already received more than 160 people from Mynamar, who sought shelter in Mizoram following last month’s military coup.

Earlier in March, the Falam district administration in Myanmar asked authorities in Mizoram to hand over eight Myanmar police personnel, who have taken refuge in Mizoram.

On March 10, the MHA also wrote to chief secretaries of four Northeastern states- Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh and Assam Rifles to check influx from Myanmar.

The home ministry also reminded its communication in 2017 in which states and Union Territories 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”.

However, chief minister Zoramthanga had told Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 18 that the home ministry advisory to send back the Myanmar nationals was “not acceptable” to Mizoram because it can’t ignore the suffering of the Myanmar citizens, especially the Chin people, who belonged to the Mizo communities.

While Mizoram shares a 510-km long unfenced border with Myanmar’s Chin state, the Mizos also share strong ethnic ties with the Chin people of Myanmar. 

Meanwhile, the Manipur government has reportedly instructed its five border districts to “politely turned away” refugees from Myanmar.

No district administration and NGO should open relief camps nor provide food and shelter to the refugees, the Manipur home department said in its confidential letter to deputy commissioners of Chandel, Tengnoupal, Kamjong, Ukhrul and Churachandpur districts on March 26.

More than 450 people have been killed in Myanmar since the military takeover on February 1. 

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