Aizawl/Guwahati, December 27: An official communique from the Assam Rifles on Wednesday stated that the repatriation process of around 1,500 people who had taken shelter in Southern Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district to Myanmar was most likely to commence.
The statement said that “Assam Rifles has contacted all the stakeholders in repatriation including Myanmar Army, local Indian villagers, refugees as well as district administration so as to commence repatriation of refugees at the earliest”.
The exodus of civilians from Myanmar to Lawngtlai district began on 25 November last after armed clashes between the Myanmar Army and the Arakan militants.
The refugees, majority of them women and children, crossed the border and took shelter in Hmawngbuchhuah, Zochachhuah, Laitlang and Dumzautlang villages after the Myanmarese Army launched a major offensive against the Arakan militants in Myanmar’s Chin State near the Mizoram border.
Sources confirmed that the refugees who took shelter in the four villages — Hmawngbuchhuah, Zochachhuah, Laitlang and Dumzautlang — belonged to Khumi and Rakhine province of Myanmar, known to the local populace inside Mizoram as ‘Zakhai’ tribes.
The Myanmarese nationals, mainly belonging to the Zakhai and Khumi tribes, began to cross the Mizoram-Myanmar border on November 25 and took shelter in four villages – Zochachhuah, Hmawngbuchhuah, Laitlang and Dumzautlang – and the number of refugees crossed 1,600 at one time.
The Assam Rifles troops were keeping a close watch on the border areas to contain any ingress of Myanmarese insurgents in hope of a safe haven inside the Indian soil, the statement said.
Lawngtlai district administration, local populace and the Assam Rifles personnel earlier had been engaging in giving humanitarian assistance to the displaced people including food, water, solar lamps and other basic amenities.
Edited by: Arnab Jyoti Das