Points to study from Mizoram Mechanism to monitor refugees
Standing by the reality and there is a lesson for the State Government to learn from this. Mizoram today has 30,401 Myanmar refugees and this is the official figure. It could be higher, but at least Aizawl has been able to keep a tab on those who have entered Mizoram following the unrest at neighbouring Myanmar and this is something which should be acknowledged as noted and there is a lesson to be learnt here. Manipur and Mizoram share a long porous border with Myanmar and many of the tribes settled in either of the two States share a close kindred tie with the people of Myanmar and it is for this very reason why Aizawl was able to tell New Delhi that it would not be in a position to deport the refugees who have sought shelter in Mizoram. At least there seems to be a system in place to keep a close tab on the movements and activities of the refugees from across the border. In Manipur too there are tribal groups which share close ties with the people of Myanmar and given the long porous border the State shares with the neighbouring country, keeping out all those who try to enter Manipur on the sly may just prove to be too difficult. No wonder at least 80 such refugees from across the border were detected at Churachandpur on June 28 this year. The last thing that was heard was that the Myanmarese refugees were housed in a hostel at Churachandpur and their present status is not clear at all. Blame it on the weakness of the media here but this is the reality, a reality which is akin to staring straight at the possibility of the foreign Nationals merging with the local population. That this should happen when the State Government has announced that 1961 would be the base year for ILP and based on this the National Register of Citizens would be worked out. Wouldn’t the Mizoram model work better for that would at least help the Government and the different CSOs here to keep a tab on the movement and activities of the refugees from Myanmar ? This is a point which The Sangai Express had already raised on June 29, one day after reports of the 80 Myanmarese refugees detected at Churachandpur made it to the news but nothing seems to have moved the Government at Imphal. Or is it a case of some steps being taken up by the Government not spelt out to the media ? Again it was disturbing to note that on August 9 at least 5 other Myanmarese refugees were detected at Ngathei village in Churachandpur. More than enough indications that refugees from across the border have surreptitiously made their way towards Manipur.
These are the detected cases but the more crucial point is the possibility of more such refugees who have made their way to the State undetected. What is happening at Myanmar is a humanitarian crisis and with so many tribes here sharing many things in common with the people of Myanmar, it would not be possible to expect them to turn a blind eye to what is happening across the border. Perfect script for refugees from across the border to make their way into the State. Acknowledge their presence and in the process set up mechanisms to identify them and monitor their movements and activities. At least this way, their merging with the local population can be checked to a good extent and this is where it becomes a bit surprising to see the many CSOs which have been at the forefront championing the indigenes of the land not saying anything substantial on this point. The Mizoram example has been cited here for the situation is very much similar. Just like the people of Mizoram there are many tribes here too which have a kindred tie with the people of Myanmar and since Manipur shares a long and porous border with the neighbouring country, it is but logical that many from across the border would seek safer havens here. The next best option here may to be acknowledge the reality and work out mechanisms to monitor the activities and movements of the people from Myanmar.