The Mizoram government has not only requested financial assistance of at least Rs 10 crore from the Centre to extend relief to the internally displaced people (IDP) from violence-hit Manipur but has also urged the BJP-led central government to share the burden of looking after the affected.
Violence since May 3 has left 98 persons dead and over 45,000 affected in Manipur. Of those affected by the ongoing unrest, around 8,658 have taken shelter in neighbouring Mizoram till June 1 evening.
Sources told The Telegraph that Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga has requested financial assistance in a letter submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office for Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 29.
A letter with similar content was also submitted to the office of the Union home minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on the same day.
Sources said Zoramthanga, who also heads the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), an ally of the BJP, had requested Modi’s "personal intervention" so that the Centre extends the financial assistance of Rs 10 crore to ensure the IDPs continued to be "well looked after" in Mizoram.
Zoramthanga has said his government was finding it very difficult to look after the thousands of IDPs on its own and the state government apprehends a bigger humanitarian crisis unless the Centre steps in to share the burden of looking after the IDPs.
Clashes between the Meitei and Kuki communities rocked Manipur soon after a solidarity rally held in 10 hill districts on May 3, opposing the demand of the majority Meitei community for inclusion in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) list.
In the letter, the chief minister cited the problems his government was facing in providing relief to refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh besides the IDPs from Manipur.
Over 35,000 Myanmerese and 700 from Bangladeshis have entered Mizoram to escape persecution in their respective countries.
The Mizos share close ethnic ties with the Chin people of bordering Myanmar (about 404km) and Bangladesh (about 318km) as well as the Kukis of Manipur with which it shares a 95km border.
Till Thursday evening, IDPs from Manipur are taking shelter in nine of Mizoram’s 11 districts with the state capital, Aizawl, accommodating 2,807. The other districts which have “warmly welcomed” the IDPs are Kolasib (3,128), Saitual (2,282), Champhai (209), Khawzawl (77), Lunglei (64), Serchhip (50), Mamit (33) and Hnahthial (8). Saiha and Lawngtlai districts have not reported any IDPs till now.
The letter has flagged the financial burden the Mizoram government is facing in extending relief to both the refugees and the IDPs.
Moreover, the upcoming Assembly elections, in which about Rs 350 crore will be required, has further accentuated the burden on the state exchequer that is already reeling under the impact of the Covid pandemic, the sources said.
The violence in Manipur, according to Kuldiep Singh, security adviser to the Manipur chief minister, has left 98 persons and 310 injured. Altogether 65 persons have been arrested and 3,734 FIRs have been lodged with around 4,014 arson cases. The Manipur government is providing relief to 36,450 affected taking shelter in 272 camps.
Admitting to stray firing incidents taking place in the state, Singh on Friday said that altogether 144 looted or snatched arms and 11 magazines have been surrendered till now.