March 21, 2021

Mizoram CM holds meeting with Myanmar's foreign minister over situation amid coup

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Sunday held a meeting with Myanmar's Foreign Minister Zin Mar Aung on the current political situation and the hardships being faced by the Zo ethnic people in the neighbouring country, officials said.

Speaking at the virtual meeting, in which U.S.-based Mizo leaders also participated, Zoramthanga expressed solidarity with the people of Myanmar.

"Had a fruitful meeting (online) this morning with Zin Mar Aung, Hon'ble Foreign Minister, Myanmar. Our thoughts and prayers are with Myanmar in these trying times," the Chief Minister tweeted.

"It is our prayer that your sufferings and mental distress died down very soon," he added.

The two leaders discussed the current political situation in Myanmar amid a coup in February, an official at the Chief Minister's Office said.

The meeting was to extend solidarity and call for peace among the Zo ethnic people of Myanmar who have become victims of "persecution and atrocities" after the military junta took power in the neighbouring country, he said.

Fleeing atrocities, over 500 people from the neighbouring country have crossed over to Mizoram in the last few weeks, even as the Centre directed the four Myanmar- bordering Northeastern States to prevent illegal immigration and ensure expeditious deportation.

Mizoram shares a 510-km-long unfenced and porous international border with Myanmar.

On March 18, Zoramthanga had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking asylum and relief for the Myanmar nationals who have taken refuge in the country.

The Chief Minister said that India cannot turn a blind eye to the humanitarian crisis.

Most areas in Myanmar that share border with Mizoram are inhabited by the Chin communities, who share the same ancestry and ethnicity as the Mizos, he mentioned, dismissing the Union Home Ministry's advisory of checking illegal influx as "not acceptable".

Most of the Myanmar nationals taking refuge in Mizoram belong to the Chin community and are being provided relief and shelter by the local NGOs, officials said.

The State's apex student body Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) in collaboration with four other outfits on Saturday organised charity concerts in different parts of Aizawl to raise money for the Myanmarese refugees.

Over ₹5.19 lakh was raised through the programme, MZP general secretary Lalnunmawia Pautu told PTI.

MZP president B. Vanlaltana along with other leaders are visiting Delhi at present to raise the issue with the Centre.

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