GUWAHATI: Over 200 refugees from Myanmar’s Rakhine state, who are mostly Buddhists and Christians and presently settling in Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district, are yet to return Myanmar.
Ever since the conflict erupted between the Myanmar Army and Arakan militants in 2017, these 200 odd Myanmar refugees that entered Mizoram after fleeing from their homeland in the aftermath of armed conflict are still languishing in south Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district.
Notably, following the crackdown launched by the Myanmar Army against the Arakan militants, around 1,700 Myanmarese refugees entered Mizoram on November 25 last year and took shelter in Lawngtlai district spreading across four villages – Zochachhuah, Laitlang, Dumzautlang and Hmawngbuchhuah.
The conflict erupted at Paletwa following the killing of 11 soldiers of the Myanmar Army on the Kaladan River after being ambushed by the Arakan Army along the border of Myanmar’s Chin and Rakhine State. Eventually, the Myanmar Army launched a heavy retaliation in which many civilians became victims of the retaliation and were forced to desert their villages.
Presently, despite repeated directives issued by the Myanmar government to return to their respective villages, these over 200 refugees from 60 families still settling in Mizoram and are reluctant to return. They have been settling in Hmawngbuchhuah village under Bumtlang subdivision ever since then and are supporting themselves as the Mizoram government has stopped giving them relief aids.
Moreover, the Government of Myanmar earlier declared that normalcy has returned to their native villages. Contrary, their tales of sufferings seem to have won the sympathy of the locals at Hmawngbuchhuah. According to a source, one of the main reasons for the reluctance of these refugees to return to their villages was fear of landmines being planted in their areas.