The Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA), Mizoram's apex NGO body, on January 9, 2023, mourns the death of Pastor Sawmkhup, 81, who died of hunger in a jungle while attempting to enter Mizoram from Bangladesh seeking asylum due to armed conflict in that country.
Notably, the CYMA organised a demonstration to extend solidarity to the Kuki-Chin (Mizo) refugees.
It is to be mentioned here that hundreds of people have gathered, including political parties, MLAs, and ministers, in front of the Governor's Resident "Raj Bhawan" to show and support solidarity with Mizo brothers and sisters seeking asylum in India from Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh.
A memorandum is also submitted to the home ministry through the Mizoram Governor by CYMA leaders. The letter was received by the Secretary to the Governor on behalf of the Governor.
In their memorandum, the CYMA has mentioned that, due to the recent military action of the Bangladesh Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) against the Kuki-Chin National Army, Ever since the Bangladesh military personnel attacked the KukiChin (a Mizo ethnic tribe) villages in Chittagong Hill Tract in November 2022, a number of Chin Kuki communities have begun to flee to escape the atrocities for the safety of their life and many have sought refuge in a number of villages within the Lawngtlai district of Mizoram, India such as Chamdur Project, Vathuampui, Mautlang, and Parva III village.
In this regard, the first group of refugees, about 272 people, entered Mizoram and sought refuge/shelter at Parva III village in Lawngtlai District, Mizoram, India. Since then, due to the political unrest about 500 have entered Mizoram, India, seeking refuge for their safety, leaving behind all their life-long earnings, their homes, belongings, property, and source of livelihood.
The letter further mentioned that, unfortunately, on 4th January 2023 while some people were crossing the border into India, for their safety, the Border Security Force (BSF) pushed back many people to Bangladesh. The people who were pushed back by the forces were left starving, without food and water in the deep forest in between India and Bangladesh Border for many days. Tragically, among them, Sawmkhup (81 years) a resident of Chheihkhiang village, Bangladesh and a retired pastor of Bangladesh Tribal Baptist Church died due to starvation in the forest.
Therefore, in view of above cited unfortunate event/incident and inhuman act which caused the loss of a precious human life due to the insensitive treatment of the forces, it is our sincere request to look into the matter on humanitarian grounds and to take urgent steps for stopping of pushing back of our brethren who have sought temporary refuge in our state for their immediate safety and security of their lives and to provide food, shelter, and other interim necessary facilities to those displaced Mizo ethnic brethren within Indian territory on humanitarian grounds. We would deeply appreciate and request your kind intervention and consideration in this matter, which requires urgent action and measures for the safety and security of our suffering brethren, the letter said.
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