Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Tuesday said that his government has sanctioned money for providing relief to people from crisis-hit Myanmar who have taken refuge in the state, PTI reported, citing an official statement.

During an interaction with leaders of the Central Young Mizo Association, the chief minister said that the funds have already been allocated for the purpose and the money will be released soon. Zoramthanga said his government will continue to make efforts to provide relief to people from Myanmar who seek refuge in the state on humanitarian grounds.

The chief minister’s announcement came amid reports that as many as 9,247 Myanmarese citizens have taken refuge in Mizoram since a military coup in the neighbouring country in February. The refugees include the Chief Minister of Myanmar’s Chin state, Salai Lian Luai, a senior Mizoram Police officer told PTI.

He said that 24 legislators of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, including Salai Lian Luai, have taken refuge in different parts of Mizoram. The Myanmarese nationals are provided with shelter and food by civil society organisations and student bodies, while many are sheltered by the locals, the senior police officer said.

Of the 9,247 Myanmarese nationals, details of 8,683 have been collected, while those of 564 people are yet to be recorded, the police officer said.

According to the data, 1,633 people have taken refuge in state capital Aizawl, 1,297 in Lawngtlai district and 633 in Siaha district. The refugees have also taken shelter in Hnahthial, Lunglei, Serchhip, Saitual district, Kolasib and Khawzawl districts.

Six Mizoram districts share a 510 km long international border with Myanmar, according to PTI.

In March, Zoramthanga had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, pointing out that Myanmar areas bordering Mizoram are inhabited by Chin communities “who are ethnically our Mizo brethren”.

He had also said that the Union home ministry’s advisory directing four northeastern states, including Mizoram, to check the illegal influx of people from Myanmar and to start the deportation process of illegal migrants was “not acceptable” to him.

Myanmar coup

The military coup in Myanmar followed the landslide victory of the National League for Democracy and Suu Kyi in the national elections in November last year, with the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party faring poorly in its key strongholds.

The country’s military refused to accept the government, citing unsubstantiated allegations of fraud. It was also announced that the coup was the result of the government’s failure to delay the November election despite the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Security forces in Myanmar have cracked down heavily on protesters agitating against the coup. In several instances of firing at protesters, hundreds of them have been killed, drawing criticism from the United Nations, governments of several countries and human rights groups.