Govt. in a spot over forced eviction of refugee

“As directed by the Centre, we repatriated the Myanmar nationals who illegally entered India,” Mizoram Home Secretary Lalbiakzama, toldThe Hindu.
On July 2, as many as 219 refugees from Chin in Myanmar, living in a camp at Hmawngbuchhua in Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district since 2017, were handed over to the Myanmar army without documentation. A senior government official told The Hindu that a high level meeting of officials from Ministries of Defence, External Affairs and Home, convened a fortnight ago, decided to send back the refugees after reaching an understanding with the Myanmar army. “A consensus was reached to send them back; the Myanmar army was taken on board and they agreed to take them back. They had come without papers, most of them went back willingly.
“There was only one aberration where a woman was forcibly taken away. It is being looked into,” said the official. Reacting to the criticism after the southeast Asia based NGO, Fortify Rights, put out the video, the State government said on Monday that the eviction was done on the instructions of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Some 1,500 Buddhist Rakhine refugees had in 2017 fled conflict between the Myanmar military and the extremist Arakan Army (AA). Most of the refugees left in a little over a year but 219 of them chose to stay back. “We made the necessary arrangement, provided them with vehicles and helped them cross over the border,” said the official. Other State officials said the MHA had instructed the Mizoram government to deport the refugees and use force if necessary. In a Facebook post, Lawngtlai’s Deputy Commissioner Shashanka Ala said the pushback was organised in the most humanitarian way possible.

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