Centre asks Mizoram to deport Myanmar refugees

Rohingya refugee camp in southern Bangladesh – The News Mill
File photograph of a refugee camp in Bangladesh. For representational purpose only.

The Union home ministry has asked the Mizoram government to immediately deport 220 Myanmarese nationals to Myanmar, officials said on Tuesday.

The Assam Kaziranga University admissions

Around 220 Myanmarese refugees belonging to 54 families are staying in four villages of Mizoram’s southernmost Lawngtlai district since November 2017 after they fled from the Arakan (Rakhine) state of Myanmar following ethnic troubles.

“The Union home ministry has asked the Mizoram government to deport these refugees at the earliest,” an official of the Mizoram Home Department said in Aizawl, refusing to disclose his identity.

Participating in a debate in the state assembly on Monday, Home Minister Lalchamliana had said the state government has ordered a verification of the identity of these refugess that after receiving conflicting reports from the Assam Rifles and the district administration.

“The re-identification process is now on and once the process is completed the refugees would be pushed back to Myanmar,” the minister told the house.

The Home Department official said that, during the armed conflict in November 2017 between the Myanmar Army and Rakhine-based militant outfit Arakan Army, over 1,700 refugees from neighbouring villages of Myanmar entered Lawngtlai district of southern Mizoram.

“Majority of the refugees subsequently returned to their villages in Myanmar, but around 220 immigrants were reluctant to go back even as the Myanmar authorities said that in their areas there is no trouble as such,” the official said.

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He said that the refugees on their own have constructed houses and are engaged in “jhum” (slash-and-burn method of cultivation) cultivation in the territory of Mizoram.

Meanwhile, over 738,000 Rohingya Muslims from the Rakhine state in western Myanmar have arrived in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh since the beginning of the ethinic troubles there on August 25, 2017, following a wave of violence and persecution described by the United Nations as an attempt at “ethnic cleansing”.

The Rohingya Muslims from the Bangladeshi refugee camps have, on and off, entered the Northeastern states of India illegally in search of jobs or after being trapped in human trafficking.

Four northeastern states — Arunachal Pradesh (520 km), Manipur (398 km), Nagaland (215 km) and Mizoram (510 km) — share a 1,643-km long unfenced border with Myanmar.

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