AIZAWL- Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Wednesday wrote another letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking humanitarian assistance for Myanmar refugees, as more and more people pour in across the international border with Myanmar following fresh clashes between pro-democracy protestors and the military, an official said.
Mizoram’s lone Lok Sabha member C. Lalrosanga also called on Home Secretary (Border Management) Sanjeeva Kumar and Additional Home Secretary (North East) Piyush Goyal in Delhi on Wednesday urging assistance to the refugees as several hundreds more trekked across the forested border since a fresh military crackdown which started after a call for uprising made on September 7.
Zoramthanga had earlier too sent letters to the central government seeking help in housing and feeding the refugees who are being looked after by voluntary organisations.
The state planning board vice chairman H. Rammawi, who is closely dealing with refugee affairs, said the chief minister on Wednesday sent a reminder to the Prime Minister over the plight of the Myanmar nationals, who fled their country after the military junta seized power in February this year.
“The Chief Ministers has written several times to the Centre and sent delegations since March seeking asylum and humanitarian aid for the Myanmar nationals, who crossed over to Mizoram due to the humanitarian crisis triggered by a sudden political turnover. But the Centre has ignored the appeal and remained silent on the issue till now,” Rammawi told PTI.
Apart from official letters, the Chief Minister has also communicated telephonically to the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister Amit Shah requesting them to extend humanitarian assistance to the Myanmar nationals, who took refuge in the state, he added.
Rammawi, said he along with two MPs from the state had also met with Union Ministers and officials of the Home and external affairs Ministries several times between March and April.
“During our meeting with officials of the MEA, they told us that the state deserves to receive assistance from the Centre. But not a single penny has been sanctioned in aid of the Myanmar refugees till date,” the Mizo National Front leader said.
According to Rammawi, the state is now reeling under a financial crisis and also a health infrastructure and manpower crunch due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which had already crippled the state”s economy.
“(Nevertheless) we can’t ignore the plight of the Myanmar nationals with whom we share ethnic ties and common ancestry. We can”t ask them to return as they came here to take shelter for fear of their lives,” Rammawi said adding the community leaders and NGOs are providing shelter and food to the Myanmar people despite the pandemic.
He said that the Centre should provide asylum to the Myanmar nationals and help them although India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol.
According to Rammawi, over 20,000 people from Myanmar have already crossed over to Mizoram after the military coup.