Mizoram emerges as an island of peace: CM Zoramthanga

Aizawl, September 7 (IANS): Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Thursday said that amidst turmoil in certain parts of the northeast region and around it, his state emerged as an island of peace.

Addressing the General Conference of the Mizo Students' Union (MSU) here on Thursday, he said that Mizoram has provided relief and shelter to those who have fled their homes in trouble-torn Myanmar, Bangladesh, as well as the neighbouring state of Manipur.

"The distressed people from Myanmar, Bangladesh and Manipur took shelter in the state and are now living peacefully with happiness. Mizo society is offering their all out support to those who sought the refugee in the state," said Zoramthanga, who is also the President of the ruling Mizo National Front.

The underground leader turned politician said that it is difficult to describe the comfort he and other erstwhile MNF leaders and cadres felt when they fled to the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), where according to him, they could live peacefully during the time of the conflict.

"Mizoram is now one of the most peaceful states in the world," the Chief Minister said.

After the signing of the Peace Accord, the Memorandum of Settlement in 1986, which ended two decades of strife and insurgency, the mountainous Mizoram became the 23rd state of India on February 20, 1987. After coming to overground in 1986, the MNF was converted into a political party and is now a recognised state party.

He said that the insurgency ridden neighbouring states often gave examples of lasting peace in Mizoram and sought the assistance to establish peace in their states. Around 35,000 Myanmar nationals, including children and women, have taken shelter in Mizoram since February 2021 after the Myanmar military, following a coup, took over the governance there.

Over 1,000 tribals have also taken shelter in Mizoram after they fled from their native villages in Bangladesh's Chittagong Hill Tracts after an armed conflict started in mid-November last year between the Bangladesh Army and the Kuki-Chin National Army (KNA), also known as Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF). The KNA is an underground militant outfit demanding sovereignty for the Chin-Kukis residing in Rangamati and Bandarban districts of CHT to protect the tribal people's tradition, culture and livelihood.

Around 13,000 internally-displaced people from ethnic violence-hit Manipur also took shelter in Mizoram.