Mizoram fears fresh influx of refugees after Myanmar airstrikes on civilians

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The Mizoram government apprehends a fresh influx of Myanmar refugees following “bombings” by the military of the neighbouring country.

Some 150 people from Myanmar’s Chin State fled to Mizoram over the past few days in the face of the airstrikes.

The development comes after the National Unity Government in exile, formed by the deposed lawmakers, called for a nationwide uprising against the military.

Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana confirmed the bombings as well as the fresh influx of refugees.

“I had received a report yesterday (Friday) on the bombing from a villager, who lives near the Mizoram-Myanmar border. He told me that the villagers had seen a Burmese village, called Lungler, being bombed by Myanmar jet fighters,” Lalchamliana told The New Indian Express.

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He said if such actions by the Myanmar military continued, more refugees would pour into Mizoram.

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

Lalchamliana said an estimated 10,000 refugees had been taking shelter in Champhai, Lawngtlai, Siaha, and Hnahthial for the past few months.

“The refugees have been given shelter by the villagers who are also taking care of their daily needs. It is a humanitarian crisis and it is our duty to help those who are in need,” the Minister said.

The Mizoram government recently started enrolling the children of the refugees into schools. The refugees are lodged in community halls, public halls, school buildings, etc. The state government feels that they will return to Myanmar when the situation in the country improves.

People from Myanmar’s Chin community and the Mizos in India belong to the Zo ethnic group and they share the same ancestry.

“Before the arrival of the British, it was one country. The Britishers divided the Mizo-inhabited areas into Burma and India. But till today, we have inter-marriage and blood relations,” Lalchamliana added.