Aizawl: More than 300 people from Bangladesh belonging to 74 families have taken refuge in south Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district since they fled their homes due to arm clashes between Bangladesh Army and an ethnic insurgent group in November, an official said on Monday.
The Bangladeshi nationals belong to the ethnic Kuki-Chin minorities from Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) and they fled their villages following arm clashes between Bangladesh Army and Kuki-Chin National Army (KNA), the official said. KNA is the armed wing of the Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF), an ethnic group that demands a separate state comprising the areas occupied by the Kuki-Chin or Mizo community in the CHT.
The first batch of the Kuki-Chin refugees numbering 272 entered the state on November 20, followed by 21 people in the second batch and another 15 people (third batch) fled to Lawngtlai district recently, the official said on condition of anonymity.
He said the government has recently decided that the Bangladeshi refugees be relocated to four nearby villages from Parva-3 village where they are currently taking shelter.
While 30 families would be relocated at Tuithumhnar village, 20 families would be shifted to Vathuampui village and 14 and 10 families would be shifted to Chamdur project and Mautlang villages respectively, he said.
He added that village level committees on refugees have been formed to deal with matters, including accommodation and food, relating to the Kuki-Chin refugees.
Mizoram shares a 318-km long international border with Bangladesh.
The central committee of state’s largest civil society organisation- Young Mizo Association (CYMA) on Monday urged the state government to provide proper shelter to the Bangladeshi refugees, who are also ethnic Mizos.
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The Kuki-Chin community in Bangladesh actually belongs to the Mizo community and the Mizo tribal communities, which consist of different tribes, are sometimes known as Zofate or children or descendents of Zo.
In Mizoram, the tribal group is unified under one banner called ‘Mizo’, while in Bangladesh they are referred to as Kuki-Chin and Chin or Laimi or Zomi in Myanmar.
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