Like the Myanmar refugees, Mizoram government will provide similar food, relief, and shelter to the 270 tribals belonging to Chin-Kuki community, who have fled to the northeastern state from Bangladesh after the reported crackdown of the security forces against the militant outfit, officials said on Wednesday.
Around 272 Chin-Kuki tribals, including women and children took shelter in southern Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district on Sunday evening from the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in southeast Bangladesh after the reported anti-insurgency operation by the Bangladesh Army’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) against insurgent group Kuki-Chin National Army (KNA).
The KNA, also known as Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF), is a militant outfit, demanding sovereignty for the tribals.
A Mizoram Home Department official said that Chief Minister Zoramthanga expressing his sympathy has asked the concerned district to extend all kinds of relief assistance including food and basic amenities to the Bangladeshi nationals. The Bangladeshi nationals were lodged at a community hall, a school and a sub-centre in Parva-3 village in Lawngtlai district.
Meanwhile, a leader of the Chin-Kuki tribals said that more refugees from Bangladesh are likely to come to Mizoram due to the ongoing crackdown against the KNA.
The Chin-Kuki tribals and the Mizos in Mizoram belong to the Zo community and share the same culture and ancestry.
Reports from across the border said that trouble began long back in the CHT, a hilly area inhabited by tribals of various communities and Muslims, after the insurgent group KNA started their numerous activities demanding autonomy.
The minority Kuki-Chin community has a population of around 3.5 lakh in the mountainous CHT, adjoining India. The Bangladeshi nationals came at a time when the Mizoram government is struggling to provide food and shelter to over 30,500 Myanmarese, who sheltered in the northeastern state after the military seized power in Myanmar through a coup in February last year.
Majority of the Myanmar refugees, including 11,798 children and 10,047 women, are sheltered in more than 156 camps in all 11 districts in Mizoram while a large number of them took shelter in the relatives’ houses, community centres, rented houses, government buildings and shelter houses set up by various NGOs, including the Young Mizo Association.
Mizoram shares 318 km unfenced borders with Bangladesh and 510 km frontiers with Myanmar, guarded by the Border Security Force and the Assam Rifles, respectively.