July 21, 2024

National

Mizoram CM tells PM that the state govt reluctant to push back refugees

Kaumimarg Bureau / IANS | July 08, 2024 11:20 AM

New Delhi/Aizawl Mizoram Chief Minister Lalduhoma discussed the Bangladeshi refugee issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and reportedly told him that the state government is reluctant to push back the refugees, officials said on Sunday.

An official of Mizoram Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said that the Chief Minister, during the meeting with the Prime Minister at his residence in New Delhi on Saturday, apprised him that the Bangladeshi refugees are belonging to Bawm community of the tribals, one of the ethnic Mizo tribes, have taken shelter in Mizoram since November 2022, while many tribals of the same community are still trying to enter into Mizoram.

The Bangladeshi refugees from Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) fled from their villages and sought refuge in Mizoram after an offensive by the Bangladeshi Army against the insurgent group Kuki-Chin National Army (KNA).

The KNA reportedly has been fighting for the autonomy of the tribals in CHT of southeast Bangladesh.

Besides the Bangladeshi refugees, around 36, 000 Myanmarese took shelter in Mizoram in different phases after the military takeover there in February 2021.

Around 10, 000 people including women and children belonging to Kuki-Zomi tribes, have also taken shelter in Mizoram after the ethnic violence broke out in neighbouring Manipur in May last year. The Kuki-Zomi-Chin tribes in Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Manipur share ethnic ties, and cultural and linguistic similarities with the Mizo people.

Most refugees stay in rented accommodation and the homes of their relatives or friends, while others live in relief camps across the border state, which shares a 510-km-long unfenced border with Myanmar and 318 km with Bangladesh.

The present Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) government and the previous Mizo National Front (MNF) government have sought financial assistance from the Centre for the relief and shelter of the Myanmar, Bangladeshi, and Manipur refugees.

The CMO official said that the Chief Minister discussed the shifting of Assam Rifles’ state headquarters from the heart of Aizawl city to the newly allocated camp at Zokhawthar, which is about 10 km from the state capital.

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