Mizoram Chief Minister Lalduhoma on Thursday said that his Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) government would continue to provide shelter and support to over 45,500 people from Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Manipur who have fled to the state after conflicts.
Participating in the discussion on the vote of thanks to the Governor’s speech in the Assembly, he said that he had already discussed the refugee issue with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar over phone before he was sworn in as the Chief Minister on December 8.
He said that he would meet Shah and Jaishankar in Delhi soon to discuss the refugee issue and seek the Centre’s support.
“The refugee issue is a sensitive matter. We would deal with the issue in consultation with the Central government,” the Chief Minister told the house and added that the refugee issue is not a political affairs, it is purely a humanitarian aspect.
After the military took over the reign in neighbouring Myanmar, many of its people fled to Mizoram and now their numbers rose to around 32,000 while more than 1,100 Bangladeshi tribals have taken shelter in Mizoram after ethnic trouble in Chittagong Hill tracts of that country.
Around 13,000 tribals from riot-hit Manipur also took shelter in Mizoram since ethnic conflicts broke out in the neighbouring state on May 3.
The Myanmar, Bangladeshi nationals and Manipur tribals belong to the Chin-Zo-Mizo community, who share ethnic, cultural and linguistic ties with Mizos of Mizoram.
The previous Mizo National Front (MNF) government had urged the Centre to provide financial assistance and logistical support for the people from Myanmar, Bangladesh and Manipur who are now living in Mizoram.
A majority of the refugees live in relief camps and government buildings, while many others are accommodated by their relatives and a large number of people of Myanmar have been staying in rented houses.
Mizoram shares 510-km and 318-km unfenced international borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh, respectively.
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