14 lawmakers among more than 2,200 Myanmar nationals taking refuge in Mizoram

All 14 belong to Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD, which won the November 2020 election

14 lawmakers among more than 2,200 Myanmar nationals taking refuge in Mizoram

Myanmar nationals including those who said they are police and firemen and recently fled to India flash the three-finger salute at an undisclosed location in Indias northeastern state of Mizoram, near the India-Myanmar border, on March 15, 2021. Reuters file photo

Aizawl, April 12

At least 14 lawmakers are among over 2,200 people from Myanmar who have taken refuge in Mizoram after fleeing their country to avoid detention following the military takeover in February, a police official said Monday.

The police official said that the 14 members of Myanmar Parliament are from Chin state and Sagaing region and they belonged to Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD)—the party that had won the November 2020 election.

He told PTI that at least 2,223 Myanmarese had sneaked into Mizoram and are currently taking shelter in different parts of the state.

Of the 2,223 people, 80 per cent are police personnel, while the rest 20 per cent are other government servants like teachers, firemen and bureaucrats, he said.

He said that majority of the refugees are being provided food by the local NGOs, while some are sheltered by villagers. Champhai district housed the highest number of Myanmar nationals at 558, followed by Siaha district which housed 414 of them, he said.

According to the official, the Myanmar nationals are currently taking refuge in nine districts, including the state capital Aizawl.

“There are 310 Myanmar natives in the state capital Aizawl,” he said.

Six Mizoram districts—Champhai, Siaha, Lawngtlai, Serchhip, Hnahthial and Saitual—share a 510 km long international border with Myanmar.

Meanwhile, North East Students Organisation (NESO), an umbrella body of various student organisations in the Northeast has urged the NDA government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop bloodshed and loss of lives in the trouble-torn Myanmar, a statement by the student body said.

The meeting of the organisation held via video conference on Monday urged the Centre to prevail in its capacity to the Myanmar military junta in order to stop bloodshed and loss of lives in the neighbouring country, the statement said.

It also urged the Centre to seek immediate restoration of democracy in the coup hit country.

The NESO urged Modi government to properly address the plight of the Myanmar nationals who have taken refuge in Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh to escape possible persecutions, with the consent of respective state governments.

It said that the ethnic groups from Sagaing region and Chin state of Myanmar shared the same culture, ethnicity and history with the indigenous communities of the four northeastern states, which share international boundaries with the neighbouring country.

The student organisation further urged the centre to provide necessary temporary support to the Myanmar nationals till they are sent back to their country as the situation improved.

In a statement issued in Meghalaya, expressing shock at the heavy loss of life after the bloodshed that is continuing, NESO chairman Samuel B Jyrwa said: “The NESO decided to urge the Central Government of India with the consent of state governments of Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland & Arunachal Pradesh to properly address the plight of the Myanmarese nationals who are seeking shelter in these four states”.

Mizoram has been kind towards the Myanmar nationals running off this side to escape persecution in the hands of the military junta in that country after their February takeover of the country.

Chief Minister Zoramthanga had shot a letter to the Prime Minister in March, stressing that India should not be turning a blind eye to the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar.

Recently, Union Home minister Amit Shah had stated that the Centre would give food and medicines to the Myanmar nationals who have taken refuge in India, but the state government is yet to receive any “clear-cut direction” in the matter.

Shah, during an interview with India Today TV, had said that the union government is ready to help the people of Myanmar with ration and medical supplies but won’t encourage illegal infiltration. — PTI


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