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FB ends 60-yr separation

Aizawl, Nov. 16: Social networking site Facebook has helped 82-year-old Kapthanga, separated from his family for 60 years, to be reunited with them.

A post on Facebook about him was sighted by his nephew, Remfela, who then got down to getting him back home to Mizoram from Myanmar. Kapthanga today returned to his village, Mualpheng, 37km from here. His nieces, nephews and other family members gave him a warm welcome.

Kapthanga had left his native village at the age of 22 to seek his fortune across the border in Burma after the British had left.

The Facebook post on a Mizo page described him as one who had served in the Burmese army, got pensioned off in 1983, lived in Yangon but now wanted to return home. He did not know how to trace his family as they had lost touch.

Remfela, who was working in Kathmandu, saw the post and immediately recognised “the uncle who had disappeared”. He said his parents had received a letter from Kapthanga in 1983, saying that he was pensioned and thinking of returning home. But after that there was no more news from him.

Remfela contacted his family in Aizawl, who, in turn, reached out to the Mizos in Myanmar, particularly welfare organisation the Yangon Zomi Thalai Pawl (YZTP). The members of this group sought him out through their own network and found him living in a rented house in a marketplace in Yangon, having a tough time with his residence undergoing reconstruction.

The Zomi organisation, along with Yangon Mizo Welfare, collected money from the Zo community to send him to Tahan in Mynamar’s Chin district, adjoining Mizoram.

Two persons were assigned to escort him to Zokhawthar, the border outpost in Champhai district of Mizoram, where he arrived last and was received by his relatives. He could barely speak Mizo Tawng and was pleasantly surprised to suddenly have such a huge family, but saddened that his siblings had passed away. He will live with his niece Lalpiani in his ancestral home.

“I’m so glad to find my uncle again; we all thought he was dead,” said Lalchhuanawma, his grandnephew.

Speaking to The Telegraph over phone from Mualpheng, C. Lalthlamuana of YMA said Kapthanga had told them that he was “very happy to be back in his native land”.

This is the second homecoming of a “lost” relative from Myanmar. In July this year, a woman, Ng Chhaidy, who had got lost as a four-year-old child during a trip to the jhum fields with her mother, had returned after 38 years.