Over 15,000 Myanmar nationals have taken refuge in Mizoram following the military coup in February, Rajya Sabha member K. Vanlalvena informed the parliament on Tuesday.

Myanmar nationals took refuge in different parts of the state, he said. While a majority are camped in 15 relief camps set up jointly by the government and civil society organisations, some are accommodated by their relatives, he said.

According to the MP, the refugees are provided with shelter, food, clothing, utensils and other requirements by the government, NGOs, churches, political parties and individuals amid the Covid-19 pandemic without any assistance from the Centre.

He also said that many children of Myanmar nationals are enrolled in government schools across the state.

He urged the Centre to assist the Myanmar nationals even though India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol.

Earlier chief minister Zoramthanga had said that the Centre assured him that it would take measures to enable the Mizoram government to assist the displaced Myanmar nationals.

Six Mizoram districts – Champhai, Siaha, Lawngtlai, Serchhip, Hnahthial and Saitual- share a 510 km long international border with Myanmar’s Chin state.

The northeastern state has been facing an influx from Myanmar since late February, after the military junta seized power on February 1.

Most Myanmar nationals who fled to Mizoram belong to the Chin community and share ancestry and close ethnic ties with the Mizos.

Some lawmakers are also among the Myanmar nationals.

Earlier in March, Chief Minister Zoramthanga had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking the latter to provide relief and asylum to the Myanmar nationals.

A delegation from the state led by lone Lok Sabha member C. Lalrosanga had also met Union ministers in Delhi over the Myanmar nationals in mid-March.

On Monday, leaders of Myanmar nationals who took refuge in the state called on Zoramthanga, during which the latter assured them that the state government would continue to assist them.

Mizoram reports 81 new COVID-19 cases, five deaths

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