73 Chins to be Repatriated by Mizoram Govt.
31 October 2012: India’s Mizoram government said it will soon send 73 persons of 11 households, identified as foreigners, residing in Saikhumphai village of Champhai District back to Burma.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Champhai District with other government officials made a decision at a meeting held yesterday, saying 11 out of a total 52 households in the village are Burmese nationals and therefore be pushed back to their own country.
“The government said members of the 11 households are from Burma and they haven’t got any proof of evidence that shows they are Indian citizens. They came to Mizoram State on their own will and they can be sent back or driven away anytime,” said a source close to Champhai DC.
Only members of 41 households are recognized as Indian citizens. However, 73 individuals, who have lived in Saikhumphai village for over 10 years are not even accepted as refugees, let alone Indian citizens, according to the source.
On the other hands, members of the 11 households are officially known to be holders of Mizoram family ‘ration card’, issued to them by Mizoram government.
Concerns have been raised for safety and security of 73 Chins who have no Burmese national identity cards if they are repatriated to Burma.
“Now they are not accepted in India and they don’t have any documents to prove that they are Burmese nationals either. They are in a very difficult situation,” said one of the community leaders based in Mizoram.
In the past, the government of Mizoram State had expelled them two times, according to the leader, whose name is kept anonymous.
Mizoram government said 180,000 rupees have been set aside to support relocation of members of the 41 households to a nearby village of Vaiphai bordering Falam Township of Chin State, Burma.
In addition, the families would also be provided 48 roof tiles for their new houses in Vaiphai and other necessary assistance would be given, according to sources from the government.
Earlier this year, dozens of Chin villagers took refuge in the jungle near the Indo-Burma border following destruction of their houses in Saikhumphai on the direct orders of Mizoram authorities.
Reporting by A Hmun with Thawng Zel Thang