GUWAHATI: After Mizoram and Manipur, the Nagaland government has also directed the districts bordering Myanmar to treat refugees humanely.
Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio, an NDA ally, said so far there has been no news of any refugees coming to the state since the military coup began in Myanmar on February 1. Four districts of the state — Phek, Kiphire, Noklak and Mon — lie along the Indo-Myanmar border.
“At Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, we discussed the Myanmar issue and so far, we don’t have much of a problem. Some people crossed over (from Myanmar) for treatment or to buy essential commodities while some others came for weddings.
They were all allowed in and sent back. There is no refugee movement,” Rio said, adding that the deputy commissioners have been asked to deal with any refugees with “human feelings”.
Last month, the BJP-led Manipur government had to withdraw an earlier order not to provide shelter to Myanmar refugees. Ever since then, the government “has been taking all humanitarian steps” and taking care of injured refugees. Last month three Myanmar nationals injured in police firing there had crossed over to Manipur town of Moreh and were provided treatment.
In February, Mizoram CM Zoramthanga had written to PM Narendra Modi that the advisory from the ministry of home affairs to the three Northeastern states bordering Myanmar to stop the illegal influx of people and deport them was “not acceptable to Mizoram”.
Zoramthanga had pointed out to the PM that the Myanmar areas bordering Mizoram are inhabited by Chin communities “who are ethnically our Mizo brethren with whom we have been having close contacts… even before India became independent”.
MHA’s NE division had said in the advisory that state governments and Union Territory administrations have no power to grant refugee status to any foreigner in India, and India isn’t a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol.
The MHA instructions were issued amid reports of district authorities in Mizoram’s Champai district issuing a notification that people in danger of persecution by Myanmar’s military junta due to their political activities would be provided refuge in the district.