Aizawl: The Mizoram government has come under severe criticism after pictures and videos of Mizoram police personnel dragging Rakhine refugees out of their settlement and deporting them back to Myanmar were leaked on various social media platforms.
Fortify Rights, a Southeast Asian human rights group, has strongly criticised the state government on the deportation of 219 Rakhine Buddhist refugees, including children, who were sent back to Myanmar from Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district on July 2.
A video footage in possession of EastMojo shows refugees crying and begging officials not to be sent back to Myanmar.
Officials from Mizoram government have stated that, acting on an order from the Union home ministry, the 52 families were escorted till Varang village of Myanmar by the deputy commissioner (DC) of Lawngtlai district along with Mizoram Police and Assam Rifles personnel.
Meanwhile, Mizoram government officials and Assam Rifles personnel involved in the repatriation process clarified that no force was used in deporting the refugees. Also, five days of ration was provided.
Lawngtlai DC Shashanka Ala said that the Myanmarese authorities, who promised to cooperate in deporting the refugees, during a flag meeting on June 30, through the Sekulh river, backed off in the last minute, leaving the authorities concerned from Mizoram to resort to other means of transportation.
Ala also added that some of the refugees were sent back in vehicles while the rest, mostly the men, walked.
In 2017, over 1,500 refugees belonging to the Rakhine tribe of Myanmar fled due to ethnic clashes between the Myanmarese Army and the Arakan Army, an insurgent group fighting for a confederate Rakhine state. These families settled at Hmawngbuchhuah, Laitlang, Zochachhua and Dumzautlang villages in the southern part of Lawngtlai district of Myanmar, bordering Myanmar.
Most of the 1,500 refugees were sent back in phases and the remaining 219 members deported on Tuesday belonged to the last batch, said reports.