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MHA postponds dateline for biometric identification of Myanmar refugees

Aizawl: A day after the Mizoram government’s decision to defer biometric and biographic data collection, Ministry of Home Affairs has postponed the deadline for collection of biometric and biographic data of Myanmar refugees in Mizoram by six months, a senior state home department official said on Saturday.

State Home Secretary H. Lalengmawia told Zoram Chronicle that the government received the letter from the Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday informing the postponement of the collection of biometric and biographic data of over 30,000 Myanmar refugees taking shelter in the state for 6 months.

Mizoram government had earlier made a decision not to undertake collection of biographic and biometric data of Myanmar refugees.

Meeting of the council of ministers, chaired by Chief Minister Zoramthanga, on Wednesday made the decision as the exercise will be discriminatory as the refugees from Myanmar are the kindred brothers of the people of Mizoram sharing the same ethnicity and ancestry.

Information Minister Lalruatkima, after the meeting of council of ministers, told media persons, ““Collection of biometric and biographic data of the Myanmar refugees will amount to discrimination of the refugees who are of our blood and

kindred brothers and sisters. So, the meeting of the council of ministers decided not to undertake collection of the data of the refugees as of now.”

Lalruatkima said that the state government allows the refugees to take shelter in Mizoram and provided necessary humanitarian assistance and healthcare. “We enrolled thousands of students in schools and provided free textbooks, uniforms and midday-meal like any other students belonging to the state,” 

The MHA in April instructed both Mizoram and Manipur state government to conduct collection of biometric and biographic data of the Myanmar refugees in both the neighbouring states.

During the first wave of inflow on refugees from Myanmar in March 2021 following the February 1 military coup in the neighbouring country, the centre instructed both Mizoram and Manipur governments to push them back.

Mizoram refused to comply with the instructions and continued to allow entry of the refugees till date on humanitarian ground as well as being kindred brothers and sisters of the people of Mizoram.

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Zoram Chronicle