Lawngtlai, Mizoram: In a contradiction of its own policy, Indian government has allowed over 1,300 tribal Buddhist refugees from Myanmar’s Rakhine region to enter Mizoram.
This comes nearly a month after the Union Home Ministry had directed the northeastern states to take strict measures to prevent Rohingyas — who are Muslims — from entering Indian territory despite persecution by the Myanmar regime.
These refugees belong to the Chin and few other communities of Myanmar left their homeland because of the ongoing war between the Myanmarese Army and the Arakan Army, made up of Buddhist insurgents. They have taken refuge in Lawngtlai district in Mizoram.
According to the state administration, the refugees are being taken care of on humanitarian grounds as all of them came to escape clashes back home.
“It’s been some six days since these refugees have arrived on Mizoram territory. They currently are in four villages of the Lawngtlai district and are put up at shelter homes, Buddhist homes, temples and many other places,” said T. Arun, Deputy Commissioner of Lawngtlai.
Mizoram’s police chief emphasised that though they won’t immediately term the arrival of the refugees a security threat, they are waiting for the situation in Myanmar to normalise so that they could be sent back.
As per IANS report, “We won’t call it a security threat at this juncture. They were alllowed into Indian territory due to the ongoing fighting in Myanmar. We are taking care of it and police forces are there. However, we are making sure there won’t be any problem for the villagers due to the refugees. They have been confined to the four villages,” Director General of Police Thianghlima Pachuau said.
The current crisis in Myanmar comes nearly two months after the Myanmar Army had launched operations against the Rohingyas in Rakhine province.
More than 600,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh, the United Nations Human Rights Commission called the strike by the Myanmar Army “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.
The Indian government while taking security measures asked the states in the region to seal their borders with Mayanmar so as to prevent Rohingya refugees from entering the country.
According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees there are around 21,500 Rohingya refugees and asylum seekers in India. The central government, though, has sent a clear message that it would not be willing to accept them “because of security concerns”.
The Supreme Court on October 13 asked the Centre to strike a balance between national security, economic interests and humanitarian considerations with regard to Rohingya women, children, old, sick and infirms.