The Mizoram government has started issuing identity cards to Myanmarese refugees who have taken shelter in the northeastern state following the military takeover of the neighbouring country in February last year, a Home Department official said on Saturday.
The identity cards, which will be valid only in Mizoram, will facilitate speedy and easier identification of the refugees, besides preventing them from enrolling in the state's voters' list, he said.
Besides showing basic information about the refugee concerned, the identity card mentions that the holder is taking shelter in Mizoram on humanitarian grounds, the official said.
A total of 29,532 Myanmarese refugees have fled their homes and sought shelter in all the 11 districts of Mizoram since the military takeover, as per official data accessed by PTI.
Most of the refugees are from Myanmar's Chin state and share ethnic ties with Mizos. A majority of them live in refugee camps, while others reside with their relatives or in rented houses.
The district administrations have been tasked with issuing the identity cards. Different districts have started the process on separate dates, while some districts are yet to begin the exercise.
Serchhip started the process in February, while Hnahthial distributed 1,110 cards on Thursday and Lawngtlai, which borders Myanmar, has issued 4,794 cards so far. The exact number of such documents issued thus far is yet to be collated, the official said.
The process of issuing identity cards to refugees will start in Aizawl next week, its Deputy Commissioner Lalhriatzuali Ralte said.
South Mizoram's Siaha district has been housing the highest number of Myanmar nationals at 9,464, followed by Champhai (7,810) and Lawngtlai (5,475), the official data said.
At least 1,916 Myanmarese have taken refuge in Aizawl district, 1,986 in Lunglei, 1,732 in Hnahthial, 433 in Serchhip, 149 in Kolasib, 450 in Mamit, 64 in Khawzawl and 53 in Saitual, it said.
Six districts -- Champhai, Siaha, Lawngtlai, Serchhip, Hnahthial and Saitual -- share a 510-km-long international border with Myanmar's Chin state.
Apart from the state government, village councils, NGOs, churches and individuals have provided the Myanmarese refugees with food and other necessary assistance.
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