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Mizoram awaits Centre instruction to initiate biometric enrollment for Myanmar refugees

Earlier, Mizoram Chief Minister Lalduhoma had said that biometric enrollment portal has been in place for collection of the data and it will be utilised in near future.
Last Updated : 19 June 2024, 04:47 IST

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Aizawl: The Mizoram government is waiting for instruction from the Centre to initiate biometric enrollment for over 33,000 Myanmar refugees in the northeastern state, a home department official said.

The official said that a new biometric enrollment portal has already been prepared.

"We are waiting for an instruction from the Centre. We will start the process of collecting biometric data of Myanmar nationals once we receive the instruction," the official told PTI.

Earlier, Mizoram Chief Minister Lalduhoma had said that biometric enrollment portal has been in place for collection of the data and it will be utilised in near future.

In April last year, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had directed Mizoram and Manipur, which share borders with Myanmar, to capture the biometric and biographic details of "illegal immigrants" in their states. In June last year, it directed the states that the campaign be completed by the end of September and directed both to prepare a plan and initiate the process.

Although the Mizoram government had initially processed the Centre direction by conducting training and appointing nodal officers, the Council of Ministers in its meeting held in September last year decided not to conduct biometric and biographic enrollment for Myanmar refugees citing it is not advisable to undertake biometric and biographic preparation due to the state assembly polls to be held in November that year.

Lalduhoma said that the Myanmar and Bangladesh nationals, who took refuge in the state, feared deportation due to the Centre's directive to collect biometric data from them.

During his meeting with Shah in January, the latter had assured him that no refugees would be deported until peace is restored in the neighbouring countries, the chief minister said.

According to the state Home department, a total of 33,835 Myanmar nationals, including 12,901 children, are currently taking shelter in different parts of the state with Champhai district hosting the highest number of Myanmar refugees at 14,212.

At least 10,552 people live in 111 relief camps spread across six districts, while 9,269 others live outside relief camps by joining relatives or friends as well as staying in rented houses, it said.

More than 1,800 Bangladeshi nationals are also taking shelter in southernmost Mizoram's Lawngtlai district, it said.

Besides, around 8,000 internally displaced people from Mizoram are also currently taking shelter in Mizoram, the home department said.

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Published 19 June 2024, 04:47 IST

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