AIZAWL: The central committee of Young Mizo Association (YMA) or Central YMA in Mizoram would provide humanitarian assistance to the ethnic Kuki-Chin (Mizo) refugees from Bangladesh, a CYMA leader said on Thursday.

YMA is the largest civil society organisation in Mizoram having nearly 5 lakh members in and outside the state.

On Tuesday, the Mizoram cabinet had also decided to provide temporary shelters, food and other basic amenities to the Bangladeshi nationals.

CYMA general secretary Lalnuntluanga said that the organisation has decided to provide humanitarian aid to the Mizo refugees, who fled from Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) following the alleged military offensive against an ethnic insurgent group by the Bangladesh army.

“The assistance will be provided mainly in the form of money. We welcome any individual donor to contribute for the assistance,” Lalnuntluanga said.

He said that Rs 50,000 was handed over to the refugees on Thursday as initial assistance.

At least 272 people, including 137 children from Bangladesh, have taken shelter at Parva village in south Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district, bordering Bangladesh and Myanmar, a senior official in the state home department said.

The Bangladeshi nationals fled their homes and entered Mizoram on November 20 following an arm conflict between the Bangladesh army and ethnic insurgent group Kuki-Chin National Army (KNA), the official said.

KNA is the armed wing of Kuki-Chin National Front (MNF), an ethnic body that demands separate state and safeguard for the Mizo communities in Bangladesh.

Mizoram shares a 318-km-long international border with Bangladesh.

The Kuki-Chin communities in Bangladesh share ethnic ties and origin with the Mizos in Mizoram and many of them have relatives in the state.

In Mizoram, all the ethnic Zo people are known under a ‘Mizo’ nomenclature, while in Myanmar they are known as ‘Chin’ or Zomi or Laimi and in Manipur they are sometimes referred as ‘Kuki.

The influx from Bangladesh came at a time when Mizoram is grappling with over 30,000 refugees from Myanmar, with which it shares a 510-km-long border.

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