Mizoram shifts 310 Kuki-Chin tribals to safer places

Considering the security aspects and to provide better comfort, the Mizoram government relocated the 310 Kuki-Chin tribals, who fled from the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Bangladesh and took shelter in the northeastern state, to four villages, officials said on Tuesday.

An official of Lawngtlai district said that the 310 Kuki-Chin tribal refugees are being relocated in four villages – Tuithumhnar, Chamdur P, Mautlang and Vathuampui from the Parva-3 village, where the Bangladeshi refugees first took shelter since November 20.

“Considering the security aspects and to provide better comfort and shelter, the state government has decided to shift the refugees to four villages. We are also apprehending more tribal refugees from Bangladesh may come to Mizoram as the troubles are still going on in the CHT,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

He said: “The district administration along with NGOs and local bodies are making advance preparations to deal with the fresh refugees, if any. Considering the humanitarian aspects, we have to provide relief, food and shelter to the refugees, if they come to the state seeking shelter.”

The refugees have fled from their native villages in the CHT after the armed conflict started in mid last month between the Bangladesh Army and the Kuki-Chin National Army (KNA), also known as Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF).

The KNA is an underground militant outfit, demanding sovereignty for the Chin-Kukis residing in Rangamati and Bandarban districts of mountainous CHT and to protect the tribals’ tradition, culture and livelihood.

The tribals are being given shelter at community halls, schools, government buildings in the bordering villages, bordering Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Besides the district administration, churches, various NGOs, including the Young Mizo Association and individuals, are providing food and other relief aid.

The leaders of the tribal refugees said that after the armed conflict with the KNA started around a month ago, the Bangladesh Army accompanied by Myanmar’s Arakan Army raided many villages, and assaulted and arrested many tribals while some were forcibly sent to jail without any fault and prevented them from going from one village to another.

After the Army’s crackdown, many tribals are missing, one of the tribal leaders said, adding: “We were totally unsafe in our villages. The Muslim people boycotting us socially. We used to sell our agricultural and horticultural produce in the markets but the Muslims refused to buy anything from us.”

The Chin-Kuki tribals and the Mizos in Mizoram belong to the Zo community and share the same culture and ancestry besides they all are Christians. The Kuki-Chin community in Bangladesh belongs to the Mizo community and the Mizo tribal communities, which consist of different tribes, are sometimes known as Zofate or descendents of Zo.

In Christian dominated Mizoram, the tribal group is unified under one banner called ‘Mizo’, while in Bangladesh they are referred to as Chin-Kuki and Chin or Laimi or Zomi in Myanmar.

The Bangladeshi tribals took shelter in Mizoram when the state government is struggling to provide food and shelter to over 30,500 Myanmar nationals, who sheltered in the northeastern state after the military seized power in the country through a coup in February last year.

20221213-200203

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