Youth group Mizo wants Myanmar refugees in ‘compact’ area

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Mizoram government admits it feels pressure to take in refugees

Mizoram government admits it feels pressure to take in refugees

An influential youth organization in Mizoram has called on the state government to place more than 30,000 “scattered” refugees from neighboring Myanmar in a “compact” area.

According to the state home ministry, 30,385 Myanmar nationals, including 10,013 women and 11,650 children, have taken refuge in Mizoram’s 11 districts since a military coup in February 2021 sparked widespread unrest in the neighboring country.

While 13,201 refugees from Myanmar’s Chin State are hosted in 160 relief camps, 17,157 are living with their relatives. The Chin people are ethnically related to the Mizo community of Mizoram.

On October 27, the Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA) passed a resolution to urge the Zoramthanga-led government to establish “appropriate and compact” relief camps to prevent refugees from living scattered across the state.

“The current arrangement, in which they have been sheltered in villages and districts, could create a problem in the future,” CYMA said.

The organization did not give details, but it is believed to have taken note of suspicions from security agencies that some of the refugees may have been involved in several crime cases in Mizoram in recent months.

According to the paramilitary Assam Rifles, more than 40 Myanmar nationals have been arrested in the past seven months for smuggling and other crimes.

The state’s interior minister, Lalchamliana, said the government had no reports of Myanmar nationals engaging in crime. But he admitted the state was feeling pressure to provide “only marginal support” to Myanmar nationals.

“Wherever they are and whatever the cause, refugees are always a burden in one way or another,” he said, adding that villagers, local NGOs and churches largely supported people who left their homes and homes in Burma.

He also said it might be difficult for the state government to set up relief camps in a compact area due to terrain and financial constraints.

Calling the Myanmar refugee issue a humanitarian crisis, Zoramthanga had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking for help from the Central. The Center has so far declined, having ordered Mizoram and other northeastern states bordering Myanmar to prevent foreigners from entering Indian territory.

Among the Myanmar nationals who have taken refuge in Mizoram are a number of lawmakers and government officials. Many Myanmar nationals also have their children enrolled in schools in Mizoram.

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