- As another round of refugee crisis brews on the Mizoram-Bangladesh border, several members of the Kuki-Chin community were “pushed back” by the Border Security Force (BSF) on Friday, according to K. Vanlalvena, a Rajya Sabha member from Mizoram.
- He said not allowing the “ethnic Mizo” from Bangladesh to enter India would amount to “discrimination on ethnic grounds” as in the 1970s thousands of displaced Chakmas (mostly Buddhists) from Bangladesh were allowed to enter India and settle in Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.
- The MP shared a video with The Hindu that shows around 150 refugees, including infants, sitting in a field near Parva village.
BSF stops Kuki-Chin’s entry to Mizoram
- The BSF personnel are seen distributing biscuits to the refugees.
- A senior government official said it was “not a case of push-back” and a BSF team stopped them on coming to know that a group was headed towards Mizoram.
- An official said the BSF had no instructions to let the refugees enter India and they returned on their own once explained that they would be treated as “illegal migrants”, if they continued to stay put in the Indian territory.
- The official said BSF doctors also provided medical assistance to a pregnant woman, part of the group, who went into labour on the border.
- “The women gave birth to a healthy baby with the assistance of BSF doctors; she returned to Bangladesh with the group the next day,” said the official.
- Vanlalvena said around 1,000 refugees were waiting to enter India.
- Kuki-Chin, the Christian community from Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts, share close ethnic ties with people in Mizoram.
- The first tranche of around 300 refugees came in November 2022. The Mizoram government has approved setting up of temporary shelters for the community.
- Vanlalvena said he had written to Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla to give necessary instructions to the BSF so that the displaced persons might be allowed to enter Mizoram.
- The January 4 letter stated that heavy fighting has erupted and is ongoing between Bangladesh Rifles troops and cadres of Kuki-Chin insurgent groups in Bangladesh.
- “Due to these clashes, the civilian tribal people of neighbouring Chittagong Hill Tracts who are our ethnic brothers and sisters have fled in large numbers into our State seeking refuge,” the letter said.
- India is not a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol and does not recognise refugees, and the undocumented migrants are liable to be prosecuted for violating the Foreigners Act.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB