The Chief Minister of Mizoram Lal Thanhawla while speaking to the media today said that his government was seeking Centre’s help in providing relief to the 1,440 Myanmarese nationals who had sheltered in the north-eastern part of the state.
In the month of November last year, the Myanmarese people had crossed the border to shelter in Mizoram because of the clashes between the Myanmar Army and the Arakan Army (AA) militants in the Chin state of Myanmar.
Thanhawla said, “I have appealed to the Centre to provide assistance to the refugees, who are staying in three relief camps in southern Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district since November 25.”
The Chief Minister further added that his government was making enough efforts to make sure that all the Myanmarese refugees should return to Myanmar.
On the other hand, officials clarified that the Myanmarese nationals were refusing to return to their respective villages even after the declaration of Myanmar Army that peace had been restored and all the rebels of Akaran Army had been flushed out of their camps. Some of the Myanmarese refugees were afraid of going back because of the fear that a violent confrontation might erupt anytime between the government forces and militants. While there have been many refugees who had preferred to settle down in Mizoram, the officials added.
The refugees are mostly Buddhists and Christians and had been the residents of Paletwa and surrounding villages in Myanmar. When the clash between the Myanmar Army and the rebel group Akaran Army broke out, they eloped from home and took shelter in Lawngtlai district’s Laitlang, Zochachhuah, Hmangbuchhuah and Dumzautlang villages.
One of the officials added, when the stray bullets from Myanmar hit a house in Laitlang just ahead of Christmas, the refugees who were staying there had been shifted to the other three villages. The government is planning to send them back to their places in Myanmar. The officials in the Lawngtlai district administration said that they did not want to coerce them and to apply force on them on humanitarian grounds.
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