Grant refugee status to Myanmarese people who fled to India: Mizoram body to Centre

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Aizawl, Mar 23 (PTI) An organisation representing an ethnic group present in India, Myanmar and Bangladesh on Tuesday demonstrated in Aizawl demanding that the Centre grant refugee status to the Myanmarese people, who fled to Mizoram following last months military coup in the neighbouring country.

The Zo Reunification Organisation (ZORO) also urged the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to withdraw its order directing four Northeastern states -- Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh -- bordering Myanmar to guard against the influx of people from that country.

Hundreds of refugees have arrived in Mizoram since the military seized power in Myanmar last month.

Mizoram shares a 510 km long porous border with Myanmar's Chin state and most of the Myanmarese nationals, who have taken refuge in the state, belonged to the Chin, also known as the Zo, community. They share the same ancestry and culture as the Mizos of Mizoram.

'Thousands of people from Bangladesh and other countries have illegally migrated to India in the past. The central government accepted them as refugees and provided them with asylum.

'But now it has instructed the four border states to identify and deport the Myanmarese nationals, who have taken refuge in the country,' ZORO president R Sangkawia said while addressing the demonstrators.

The Centre is discriminating against the Zo community people, he alleged.

Sangkawia claimed that around 750 people from Myanmar have crossed the international border and enter Mizoram to take refuge.

Earlier, the ZORO had urged the Centre to impose sanctions on the military junta led government of Myanmar.

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga last week called 'not acceptable' the Centre's order to prevent illegal immigration from Myanmar and ensure speedy deportation of refugees, and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide them asylum on humanitarian grounds.

India is not a signatory to the UN Convention on refugees. PTI COR NN NN