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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Change policy on Myanmar refugees: Mizo MP in Rajya Sabha

The MP made a plea to the MHA to allow them to enter the country as they were fleeing in distress, and “sending them back would mean killing them”.

Written by Dipankar Ghose | New Delhi |
March 17, 2021 4:11:41 am
Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, warned that the situation facing the refugees would become more difficult over time. (File)

Mizo National Front MP K Vanlalvena told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that there were refugees that were coming to the Indian border escaping from Myanmar, and while the state government and NGOs had been helping them thus far, the MHA issued instructions to block their entry. The MP made a plea to the MHA to allow them to enter the country as they were fleeing in distress, and “sending them back would mean killing them”.

Vanlalvena, who is the sole MNF MP in the Rajya Sabha, had also met Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on the issue on Monday. In the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, he said, “Due to the protest against the Myanmar military coup by the Myanmar people, more than 300 Myanmar refugees have entered Mizoram, and more than 1,500 refugees are Myanmar police personnel…who favour the protesters.”

Vanlalvena said the government of Mizoram and NGOs were helping these refugees “without the help of the Union government”. “In the meantime the MHA has given orders to the Chief Secretaries of four Myanmar bordering states not to allow the fleeing Myanmar refugees. Moreover, the MHA has given an instruction to the Assam Rifles to stop entering Mizoram from Myanmar,” he said.

Vanlalvena said that the people of Mizoram would “not understand” if the government of India sends the refugees back. “They are our brothers. Sending them back to Myanmar would mean killing them. From a humanitarian point of view the people of Mizoram will not accept deportation of refugees until the restoration of peace and normalcy in Myanmar,” he said.

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He said that with India being the world’s largest democracy, it should encourage those that “give efforts to the establishment of democratic rights and principles”. “The whole world expects the people of India to harbor these Myanmar refugees. So I kindly request the MHA to change our policy regarding the Myanmar refugees to some extent,” he said.

As Vanlalvena finished his speech, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said, “It is not a democratic right of any foreigner to come here and demand something. They can make a request.”

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