The Zo Re-Unification Organisation (ZORO), a Mizoram based Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi group representing the Zo ethnic people in India, Myanmar and Bangladesh on Tuesday blamed the Centre for allegedly discriminating the Zo ethnic people.

ZORO has urged the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to revoke its order directing four Northeast states to deport Myanmar nationals, who have taken refuge in India following the last month military coup in the neighbouring country.

The group, which seeks re-unification of all Zo ethnic people in different parts of the world and bringing them under one administrative unit, also demanded the BJP led NDA government to grant “refugees status” to the Myanmar nationals, who have escaped to India to flee the military regime in Myanmar.

“Thousands of people from Bangladesh and other countries have illegally migrated to India in the past and the Central government accepted them as refugees and provided them with asylum instead of deporting them. But now it instructed the four Border States to identify and deport the Myanmar nationals, who have taken refuge in the country. This is clear discrimination on communities’ line,” ZORO president R Sangkawia said while addressing a demonstration in Aizawl on Tuesday.

Functionaries of ZORO on Tuesday staged a demonstration in Aizawl to protest the MHA order, which directed Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, to check illegal influx from Myanmar, identify illegal migrants and immediately deport them.

A copy of the MHA order was burnt at the sit-in demonstration held in front of Vanapa hall.

Mizoram shares a 510 k long international border with Myanmar’s Chin state and most of the Myanmar nationals, who have taken refuge in the state, belonged to the Chin communities- the Zo ethnic people, who share the same ancestry and culture with the Mizos of Mizoram.

Addressing the demonstration, Sangkawia said the Centre has no concern for the sentiment of the Zo ethnic people.

He said that the British separated the Zo indigenous people by international boundaries and dispersed them in India, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

However, the Zo ethnic people in these countries came from the same ancestor, follow the same vein and share the same culture and traditions, he said.

“The Centre is discriminating us for attempting to deport our brother and sisters, who fled to Mizoram due to humanitarian crisis because it has already provided shelter to the Chakmas and Bengalis from Bangladesh in the past,” he said.

ZORO youth wing president L. Ramdinliana Renthlei said that sending back the Myanmar nationals to their country at this crisis period means killing them.

Warning the rerun of the 1966-1986 Mizo secessionist movement, he said that the Mizo youths would not hesitate to take up arms against India if it discriminates and goes against their interest.

The former Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) leader also blamed the state government for failing to provide foods and shelter to the Myanmar nationals.

According to Renthlei, more than 750 people from Myanmar have crossed the international border and entered Mizoram since late February following the military coup.

The protesters also passed resolutions demanding the Centre to revoke its order, provide asylum to Myanmar nationals and restoration of democracy in a coup hit Myanmar.

Earlier, the ZORO had also urged the Centre to impose a sanction of the military-led Myanmar government.

On March 10, the MHA had directed chief secretaries of Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh to check the illegal influx of people from Myanmar and also to identify them and initiate the deportation process immediately.

A week later, Mizoram chief Zoramthanga shot a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi informing him that the MHA advisory was “not acceptable” to Mizoram.

He had also said that Indi can’t turn a blind eye to the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar and Mizoram can’t remain indifferent to the sufferings of the Zo ethnic people, who have taken refuges in the state.

Zoramthanga had also Monday said that it was the responsibility of Mizoram to provide food and shelter to the Myanmar nationals on humanitarian grounds.

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