Mizoram is bracing for a second wave of refugees from Myanmar as supporters of the Burmese government-in-exile, National Unity Government, which called for a nationwide uprising earlier this week , clashed with the military junta's forces.
Already over 150 more people have moved across the border in the wake of the military crackdown after the uprising call on Tuesday, September 7.
Sounds of a fierce gunfight between the supporters of NUG and Myanmar army, which took place at a Myanmar village, was heard from Thingsai, the nearest border village in Mizoram's Hnahthial district, on Friday morning, officials said.
The Myanmarese NUG has been formed by elected legislators who were ousted by the military.
Hnahthial district deputy commissioner H. Dolianbuaia said that about 60 Myanmar nationals entered the district since Thursday fleeing armed struggle between civilians and the Myanmar military.
"Our district has already hosted about 700 refugees from Maynmar. More people are likely to enter following the nationwide uprising in the neighbouring country," he told PTI over phone.
Mizoram, which shares a 510 km long international border with Myanmar, is already home to thousands of Myanmar nationals, who fled their country after the Myanmar Army (Tatmadaw) seized power from a democratically elected government on February first this year.
Maria CT Zuali, the deputy commissioner of Champhai district, which borders Myanmar, also told PTI that at least 35 people from the neighbouring country sneaked into the district on Wednesday following the national wide uprising.
Officials in Lawngtlai, the southernmost district of the state bordering Myanmar, also said that around 60 people from the neighbouring country crossed over some two days ago.
Majority of Myanmar nationals were given temporary shelter and food by local organisations and individuals on humanitarian ground while others are living with their relatives, officials said.
Most Myanmar nationals live in temporary shelters set up by NGOs, he said.
The district administration could not help them formally as they are yet to be granted refugee status by the government or international agencies, he added.
Earlier in March, Chief Minister Zoramthanga had urged the Centre to officially provide asylum to Myanmar nationals.
Home Minister Lalchamlian has recently informed the state assembly that a total of 10,229 people from Myanmar have entered Mizoram since the military coup as per the official records maintained by the state government till August 28.
"These Myanmar nationals have taken shelter in different districts. Some of them were living with their relatives while others were living in temporary shelters set up by the local people inside their villages," Lalchamliana said in a written reply.
Highly placed sources said that more than 20 lawmakers are among the Myanmar nationals, who took shelter in Mizoram.
The state government has however despite the lack of official recognition of the refugee status of the Myanmar nationals, started enrolling their children in schools since August.
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