Zo Reunification Organisation (ZORO), an umbrella body that works for the re-unification of Chin-Kuki-Mizo tribes of India, Myanmar and Bangladesh, has sought the Centre’s intervention to solve the Myanmar refugees crisis in Mizoram.
The organisation general secretary Lalmuanpuia Punte said on Friday that the group submitted a memorandum to Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu during the latter’s visit on Thursday, seeking his personal intervention and urging the Centre to extend its helping hands to Myanmar refugees, who fled their homes following the military coup in their country.
The memorandum, a copy of which is available with EastMojo, said the number of refugees from Myanmar taking shelter in Mizoram have crossed 30,000 due to a fresh influx since March 5 triggered by renewed atrocities on civilians by the Myanmar military.
These refugees, mainly from Myanmar’s Chin state, took shelter in Champhai, Serchhip, Lunglei, Siaha, Lawngtlai and Aizawl districts where they are taken care of by social organisations on humanitarian grounds, the memorandum said.
“As the number of refugees keeps swelling by each day, time will come when the refugees crisis in Mizoram will escalate into a situation where the people of Mizoram alone can’t handle,” it said.
The memorandum said that India, despite being the largest democracy, paid a deaf year and remained a mute spectator to the refugee crisis in Mizoram under the pretext of being not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol.
The ZORO also took strong exception to the Centre’s directives to the Northeastern states, which share borders with Myanmar, to push back the refugees and termed the directive “inhumane”.
“The ZORO earnestly appeals to the Government of India, which is the largest democracy in the world, to extend a helping hand to the Myanmar refugees who fled their country due to the overthrowing of the democratically-elected government,” the memorandum reads.
The organisation further urged the Centre to arrange appropriate hospitality for elected members of the Myanmar Parliament and state legislature members, who are seeking shelter in India.
“In this regard, we earnestly request His Excellency (Vice President) to take necessary steps under your capacity before the situation aggravates into a major crisis,” the memorandum also said.
Thousands of Myanmar nationals from Chin state have fled to Mizoram following the overthrow of the democratically elected government by the Myanmar military through a coup on first February last year.
Chief Minister Zoramthanga had recently informed the state legislature that about 24,289 Myanmar nationals have taken refuge in different parts of the state as per the government record as of February 12.
He had said that the Myanmar nationals were provided with food, shelter and other necessary assistance by the state government, NGOs, churches, student bodies and village authorities on humanitarian grounds.
State home minister Lalchamliana had also told the assembly that the state government has so far released Rs. 380 lakh to district administrations for providing assistance to the displaced Myanmar nationals.
Of the 24,289 Myanmar nationals, 9,033 people have lodged in relief camps, while the rest 15,256 live elsewhere outside relief camps, he had said. Mizoram shares a 510 km long international border with Myanmar.
The Myanmar nationals taking shelter in Mizoram are mostly from Chin state, who share ethnic ties with the Mizos.
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