AIZAWL: Over a thousand Myanmarese nationals sought refuge in Mizoram’s Champhai district following a bombing incident near Khawmawi in Myanmar, on Monday.
According to initial reports, one person is dead and 16 others have sustained injuries.
Champhai Deputy Commissioner, James Lalrinchhana, confirmed to the press that all the refugees originate from Khawmawi, and those with severe injuries have been referred to Aizawl for advanced medical care.
Lalrinchhana added that no injuries occurred within the Indian territory.
While denying reports of any casualties among the refugees, Lalrinchhana said that temporary shelters have been arranged in schools and community halls for them.
Earlier in the day, there were unconfirmed reports of a death among the injured refugees circulating among locals.
The issues of influx and rehabilitation of refugees were key points among regional parties in the campaigning of the recently concluded state polls.
And one of them was the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF).
Highlighting their efforts to rehabilitate the refugees from Myanmar, Bangladesh and Manipur in the last few years, the party had made the issue one of its core agendas in its election campaign.
On polling day, Chief Minister Zoramthanga had said that his government’s efforts to rehabilitate the refugees of the Zo community “will help the party win the Mizoram state polls”.
“These people, whether they are from Myanmar, Manipur or Bangladesh, have faith in my government. They know that we done everything to protect them, give them shelter and they would want my party to form the government in Aizawl. They feel secure under MNF government,” he told the press before casting his vote on November 7.
Again, in October, at the peak of poll campaigning, Zoramthanga, during an interview with a British new agency had equated Mizoram’s response to the current refugee crisis is similar to the Centre’s historical stance during the East Pakistan conflict.
“India had extended a helping hand to refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan, even going so far as to arm them. In contrast, while we don’t provide arms to the refugees from Myanmar, our commitment remains towards offering them sustenance and shelter on compassionate grounds,” the Chief Minister stated.