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Mizoram shelves biometric identification of Myanmar refugees

Myanmar refugees (file photo)

Aizawl: The Mizoram Council of Ministers’ meeting on Wednesday decided decided not to go ahead with the proposed collection of biometric and biographic date of Myanmar refugees taking shelter in the state.

Talking to media persons after the meeting of the council of ministers at the Chief Minister’s Office, Minister for Information and Public Relations, Lalruatkima said that the Ministry of Home Affairs had instructed the Mizoram government to collect biographic and biometric date of the Myanmar refugees.

The matter had been taken up with the MHA, but the centre insisted on collection of data, he said.

He said, “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.”

Refugees from neighbouring countries cannot be given refugee status in Mizoram as India is not a signatory to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the protocol, he said, adding that repeated appeals to the centre for humanitarian aid to the Myanmar refugees also did not yield positive results.

He, however, 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,” he said.

Meeting of the council of ministers chaired by Chief Minister also approved the Mizoram Journalists’ Pension Scheme, 2023 as well as the proposal for upgradation of various categories of schools, revision of rates of lump sum Grant -in- Aid, Provisional Adhoc GIA and provincialisation of school. 

The meeting of the council of ministers is most likely the last meeting before announcement of election to the 40-member state legislative assembly most probably undertaken by the Election Commission of India during next week or the second week of October. 

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Zoram Chronicle