The Centre has provided no assistance in "cash or kind" for the displaced people from Manipur sheltering in Mizoram despite "repeated" requests from the government in Aizawl, a Mizoram government official told The Telegraph.
This at a time the Union government has been "very prompt in sending" in-kind assistance to Palestinians caught in the Israel-Hamas conflict in the Gaza Strip, the official said.
Mizoram has sought central assistance towards providing relief to about 12,000 refuge seekers from Manipur, a state wracked by violence between the Meiteis and the Kuki-Zo since May 3. The unrest has claimed at least 183 lives and displaced over 67,000 people.
The Mizoram government, civil society organisations and the Church are working together to help the people who have arrived from Manipur.
The Mizos share the same Zo ancestry with the Kuki-Zo people of Manipur and the Chin and Bawm refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh, respectively, who have taken refuge in the state.
The Mizoram official said chief minister Zoramthanga had written two letters to the Centre in May and June, seeking Rs 10 crore towards providing relief to the displaced people from Manipur. He later sent a minister and the home commissioner to New Delhi to follow up on the letters.
The duo met the Union home ministry top brass and other officials "but, unfortunately, even this exercise didn't bear any fruitful results".
Later, a senior home ministry official telephoned the Mizoram chief secretary "two or three days before September 21", expressing "inability" to provide financial aid but saying that assistance in kind was possible, the Mizoram official said.
"Our chief secretary conveyed what transpired with the home ministry official to the state home commissioner, following which we immediately wrote to the home ministry, formally seeking in-kind assistance for the (people arrived from Manipur) to last six months from October to March," the Mizoram official said.
"There was no response to this, which left the people of the state baffled. There is a negative mindset about the Centre in relation to the treatment of the displaced people from Manipur (in Mizoram) and the refugees (from Myanmar and Bangladesh)."
The official asked: "When the Government of India is very prompt in giving in-kind assistance and relief materials to Palestinians, why is the Centre having difficulty in rendering assistance to its own citizens who have been internally displaced from Manipur to Mizoram within India?"
The first tranche of in-kind assistance for the people of Palestine was sent in October and the second reached Egypt on Sunday on its way to Palestine.
Asked whether the Centre may have desisted from releasing the assistance because of the November 7 Assembly elections in Mizoram, the official said the state had written to the home ministry “well before” the Model Code of Conduct came into force on October 9.
“So, it is irrelevant,” the official said. “Polling is over now and the votes are sealed in the EVMs. To use the Model Code of Conduct as a pretext is bereft of logic. Moreover, these (displaced people from Manipur) are not voters here in Mizoram.”
A key poll plank of the ruling Mizo National Front for the November 7 elections was the help its government had provided to the displaced people from Mizoram and the refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Many Mizos have been anguished by the poor handling of the Manipur unrest by the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in Imphal. Mizos also appear unhappy with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not visiting Manipur since the violence broke out over 200 days ago.