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Mizoram Chief Minister Lalduhoma on Saturday urged the Centre to understand the position of Mizoram in giving shelter to refugees from neighbouring Bangladesh, an official statement said. An official of the state home department said that nearly 2,000 Zo ethnic people from Bangladesh have taken refuge in Mizoram since 2022.

During a brief meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, Lalduhoma informed him that his government could not push back or deport Zo ethnic people from Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), the statement said.

He informed the Prime Minister that many people belonging to the Bawm tribe, one of the ethnic Mizo tribes, from Bangladesh have been taking shelter in Mizoram since 2022, and many of them are still trying to enter the state.

They started entering Mizoram in November 2022 following a military offensive by the Bangladeshi army against the Kuki-Chin National Army (KNA), an ethnic insurgent group fighting for a separate state.

The two leaders also discussed other issues, including the shifting of Assam Rifles’ base from the hearth of Aizawl to Zokhawsang on the eastern outskirts of the state capital and the implementation of Mizoram government’s flagship programme, hand-holding policy, the statement said.

Meanwhile, Zo Reunification Organisation (ZORO), an Aizawl-based Mizo group representing Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi tribes of India, Bangladesh and Myanmar, slammed the Border Security Force (BSF) for pushing back the Bangladeshi refugees seeking shelter in Mizoram.