A Mizoram-based group representing the Zo indigenous people of India, Bangladesh and Myanmar has petitioned President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to impose sanctions on military-ruled Myanmar.
The Zo Reunification Organisation (ZORO) comprising the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi group of people has also asked the Centre not to turn away Myanmar nationals who crossed over to escape the military regime and provide them shelter on humanitarian grounds.
Their letters to the President and Prime Minister were submitted through Mizoram Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai on March 12, two days after the Minister of Home Affairs asked the paramilitary Assam Rifles and four northeastern States bordering Myanmar to check “illegal influx” into India.
Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram share a 1,643-km-long border with Myanmar, and people on either side are ethnically related. The Mizo people of Mizoram and the Kuki-Zomi communities in Manipur have a strong kinship with the Chins across the border.
The ZORO sought Delhi’s help for the restoration of democracy in Myanmar and immediate release of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President U. Wint Myint and other leaders of the National League for Democracy, who have been detained after the junta seized control of an elected Myanmar government on February 1.
The organisation said India should take the lead in solving the current political crisis in Myanmar by imposing sanctions on the military junta for human rights violations. “We request you to take up the matter on a war footing to save innocent lives and in the best interests of supporting democracy in line with the international community,” it said in the letters.
Six Mizoram districts – Champhai, Lawngtlai, Siaha, Saitual, Hnahthial and Serchhip – share a 404-km-long porous border with Myanmar’s Chin State. At least 100 people, including deserters of the Myanmar police and fire service department, have taken shelter in the border areas of Mizoram.
Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga had earlier announced that his government would provide shelter and other relief to the Myanmar refugees on humanitarian grounds. While some refugees are being provided with food and shelter by the district administration, several others have been reportedly accommodated by the locals in border villages.