Mizoram refuge

Aizawl, May 23: Thousands of individuals have fled the violence-stricken state of Manipur, seeking refuge in Mizoram. Reports indicate that over 7,500 people, predominantly ethnic Zos, known as Kukis in Manipur, have crossed the border into Mizoram in search of safety.

These displaced individuals have sought refuge in various districts across Mizoram. According to official figures, the district of Kolasib has the highest number of displaced individuals, with 2,685 seeking shelter there.

Aizawl follows closely with 2,386 displaced individuals, and Saitual has provided refuge to 2,153 people. Additionally, smaller numbers have found shelter in districts such as Champhai, Khawzawl, Serchhip, Mamit, and Lunglei. Temporary relief camps have been set up to accommodate the displaced persons, while others have found support from local families.

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga, from the Mizo National Front (MNF), expressed his commitment to uniting all ethnic Zo tribes under one governmental authority. The recent demand by Manipur’s 10 Kuki MLAs for a separate government in the state’s hill territories aligns with the MNF’s vision of a unified administrative body encompassing Zo-inhabited regions across states.

Zoramthanga revealed that discussions with the central government indicated the possibility of such unification under Article 3 of the Constitution. However, he emphasized that Mizoram cannot actively intervene in Manipur’s internal affairs, stating that the initiative should come from the kindred brothers in Manipur.

Mizoram and Manipur share a boundary of approximately 95 kilometers, and the Kukis, who have ethnic and cultural connections with the Mizos, reside in the hill regions of Manipur bordering Mizoram.

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The recent violence in Manipur erupted following a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ held across the state’s hill districts in opposition to the Meitei community’s aspiration for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

The Meiteis constitute the majority of Manipur’s population, accounting for around 53%. The remaining 40% comprises tribal communities, including Nagas and Kukis, who primarily reside in the hill areas.

The influx of displaced individuals from Manipur to Mizoram highlights the urgent need for peace and stability in the region.

The governments of both states, as well as the central authorities, must work together to address the underlying causes of the violence and ensure the safe return and resettlement of the affected individuals. It is essential to promote dialogue, understanding, and inclusivity among the different communities to foster a harmonious and united society in the Northeast region of India.