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Fresh efforts on to push Myanmarese refugees back

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Press Trust of India  |  Aizawl 

After the proposed deportation of over 200 Myanmarese refugees from Mizoram were deferred two days ago, the administration has taken up fresh initiative to repatriate them, state Home Minister Lalchamliana said Monday.

A total of 219 Myanmarese refugees belonging to 54 families are staying in four villages of southernmost Mizoram's Lawngtlai district since November 2017.

"The Centre instructed us to deport the foreigners who were in Lawngtlai district's Hmawngbuchhuah village and even use force if necessary," the minister said.

Lalchamliana said identification of the refugees was being conducted again as the figures given by the Lawngtlai district administration and the Assam Rifles authorities did not tally.

Inspector General of Police John Neihlaia told PTI that the government took firm stand on the issue of foreigners entering the state illegally and that stringent action would be taken against illegal immigrants.

The district administration on Saturday deferred the proposed repatriation of the refugees to Myanmar on 'humanitarian ground', Lawngtlai district officials said.

They said a team of officials, policemen, NGO leaders and Assam Rifles personnel went to Hmawngbuchhuah village on Thursday to deport the refugees.

But inclement weather and the reluctance of the refugees who included women, children and elderly people compelled the officials to defer the repatriation.

Over 1,700 refugees from Paletwa and surrounding villages in Myanmar fled the country during the later part of November in 2017, entered Mizoram and took shelter in four villages in Lawngtlai district following armed conflict between the Myanmar Army and the Arakan Army (AA) militants.

While majority of the refugees have returned to their homeland after the Myanmar Army sanitized the area, some of them refused to go back and settled down by constructing houses and taking up livelihood.

The remaining refugees claimed that though their villages were now peaceful but it would be difficult for them to earn livelihood.

The refugees mainly belonged to the Rakhine community.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mon, June 17 2019. 17:10 IST