Centre, Mizoram govt on collision path over sheltering Myanmar refugees

NDA ally MNF writes to Centre disagreeing with it over influx of refugees

Myanmar
Students protest on the streets of Yangon, Myanmar | File Photo: PTI

A peculiar situation has arisen between the NDA ally, the Mizo National Front, and the Centre over influx of people from Myanmar following a military coup in that country. The MNF has written to the Centre, saying the state government does not agree with it over sheltering political refugees in the state.

The Union Home Ministry has written to the chief secretaries of three northeastern states bordering Myanmar to prevent the illegal influx and initiate deportation process without any delay, media reports said.

The state government has reportedly told the Centre that its directive was “not acceptable to Mizoram.” The MNF has extended issue-based support to the NDA and wants not only to allow refugees from the neighbouring country, but also a policy to assist them.

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Also read: Myanmar junta murdered at least 70 since coup: UN expert

Sources quoted by The Indian Express said that Assam Rifles had informed the Centre that the state is “supporting the movement” of refugees and has “promulgated an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) to manage” them. The SOP, though, has been withdrawn. The Assam Rifles guards the 510-km India-Myanmar Border in Mizoram.

Chief Minister Zoramthanga has said that India needed to “do more for Myanmar and open up more.” He has reportedly sought Prime Minister Modi’s intervention to consider political asylum to the Myanmar refugees, besides assisting them with food and shelter.

The CM has also pointed out that the people living on the Myanmar border with Mizoram belong to the Chin community, who are “our brethren” since pre-Independence days.

The Assam Rifles has informed the Centre that it disagrees with the state government. The paramilitary force said the state government’s “rather contradictory” position “can result in deterioration of their working relations”.

Media reports said the Home Ministry has told northeastern states that they do not have the powers to grant the refugee status to foreigners. The Home Ministry’s instructions came amid reports that Mizoram’s Champhai town has issued a notification saying that those facing persecution from the military junta would be considered as refugees.

Also read: Nun goes to her knees to stop Myanmar police from shooting children

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