AIZAWL, June 17 - Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana on Monday disclosed that the Centre has directed the State Government to deport over 200 Myanmar refugees, who are languishing in south Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district, from the State.
“I did not receive any report about the presence of foreigners except those Myanmar refugees, who are currently camping at Hmawngbuchhuah village in Lawngtlai district,” the Home Minister informed the State Assembly on Monday. He also said that the Centre has directed the State Government to deport the refugees at the earliest possible by using even force.
According to the Minister, the actual number of the refugees could not be determined as the figures given by both the district administration and the Assam Rifles are quite different.
“Re-identification of the Myanmarese refugees is currently on and once the process is completed, the refugees will be pushed back to their villages in Myanmar,” Lalchamliana said.
Earlier, an official had said that an attempt to repatriate the refugees from Hmawngbuchhuah to Myanmar was made on Saturday, which had to be deferred due to rainfall. The ongoing re-identification of the refugees has also inconvenienced the district administration to push them back.
A team of officials, policemen, Assam Rifles and leaders of Young Lai Association (YLA), a Lawngtlai based NGO, visited Hmawngbuchhuah village on June 13 and identified that at least 219 people belonging to 54 families are still camping at the village, sources said.
Over 1,700 refugees from Paletwa and neighbouring villages in Myanmar’s Arakan (Rakhine) State had entered Mizoram in late November, 2017. The exodus was triggered by arms conflict between Myanmar Army and Rakhine based underground group Arakan Army (AA).
While majority of them have returned to their villages, some of them are reluctant to do so even as the Myanmar Government said their areas are now safe.
The refugees have settled down in Mizoram by constructing houses and practicing jhum cultivation, officials said.
Lalchamliana told the Assembly that at least 1,893 “non-indigenous” people were pushed back from the State for not possessing valid Inner Line Permit (ILP) between January and May this year.
Replying to a query from opposition leader Lalduhoma, Lalchamliana said there are at present 21,757 non-tribals holding valid ILP in the State.
He also said that concerned deputy commissioners, through the State Home department, have issued two years’ validity ILP to 135 non-tribals for registration under GST during May 2017 to May 2019. According to the Minister, efforts are being made to fully computerise registration of the ILP system.
He added that ILP counters at Vairengte and Bairabi on the Mizoram-Assam border are using computerised system for issuing temporary ILPs and efforts are on to computerise all the deputy commissioners’ offices where official travel permits are made.