AIZAWL, June 24 - The Mizoram Government is planning to repatriate over 200 Myanmar refugees, who are languishing at Hmawngbuchhuah village in southern tip of Lawngtlai district bordering Myanmar, on Tuesday, an official said on Monday.
The official added that earlier an attempt to push back the refugees was made on June 15, but it had to be deferred due to rain. He also said that the Centre had directed the State Government to push back the refugees as soon as possible.
District administration, Assam Rifles, police and leaders of a Lawngtlai based NGO Young Lai Association (YLA) had conducted the identification of the refugees recently as per which 219 people including minors from 54 families are still camping at the village, sources said.
“Even though their villages are safe to live, the refugees are reluctant to return because of livelihood problems as there is possibility of them being starved due to food crisis and lack of employment in their villages,” the sources added.
Over 1,750 refugees from Paletwa and neighbouring villages in Myanmar’s Arakan (Rakhine) had fled their villages and entered Mizoram in later part of November, 2017. The exodus was triggered by arms conflict between Myanmar Army and Rakhine based underground group, Arakan Army. Though majority of them have returned to their villages, some of them are still staying in Mizoram and have already settled down at Hmawngbuchhuah village.
Located at about 44 km from district headquarter Lawngtlai, Hmawngbuchhuah village is on the Indo-Myanmar border. The village is predominantly inhabited by Zakhai and Bru communities who follow Buddhism.