AIZAWL: A small section of the 30,401 Myanmar nationals, who have taken shelter in Mizoram in different phases since the military junta seized power in February last year, is trying to purchase lands and conduct petty business, or open shops forced the State Government to issue strict order restraining the migrants from doing so.
Mizoram police officers said that after the starting of the arrival of refugees, the smuggling of varied and highly addictive drugs, arms and ammunition, exotic animals, dried areca nuts, foreign cigarettes, various tobacco products and much other contraband from Myanmar increased to a large extent.
Police and paramilitary officials on condition of anonymity said that both the nationals of Myanmar and India are involved in the illegal trades.
In the latest such smuggling case on September 21, Assam Rifles troopers seized huge quantities of Myanmar-bound arms, war-like items, air guns, air gun pellets, combat uniforms, radio sets, tactical vests, tactical gloves and boots valued at around Rs 16 lakh from Mizoram's Siaha district and arrested seven people, including five Myanmar nationals.
The alarming increase in smuggling activities involving Myanmar in Mizoram has also prompted the Central Committee of the Young Mizo Association (CYMA) to form Central Anti-Drug Squad (CADS) recently to deal with the growing illegal trades of contrabands, especially drugs.
The Mizoram government has instructed the Myanmar refugees, presently taking shelter in all the 11 districts of the state, not to purchase land, house and run a business without prior permission from the state government.
The government order has come after several reports that the Myanmar migrants are trying to purchase lands, open up small shops and run up a small businesses in the districts along the Myanmar border.
The State government order also barred refugees from any attempt to enrol for an Aadhaar card, voter identity card, driving license or any other government documents.
The Mizoram government has provided temporary identity cards to the refugees for identification purposes to differentiate the holder from Indian citizens and the ID card is not valid for availing of the government's scheme and outside Mizoram.
As per official records, the majority of around 30,400 Myanmar refugees including 11,798 children and 10,047 women are sheltered in Mizoram in over 156 camps in all the 11 districts while a large number of them took shelter in their relatives' houses, communities, centres, rented houses, government buildings and shelter houses set up by various NGOs including the CYMA, northeast India's one of the largest NGOs.
There are 14 lawmakers of Myanmar who are also among those who fled the trouble-torn country and took refuge in Mizoram.