The influx from Myanmar could pose a diplomatic challenge for India, which has close relations with the Tatmadaw.
Vivek Katju, former secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, told Moneycontrol that what is interesting is how the Mizoram government has taken up the matter and gone public in protecting them, even when the Centre wants to keep them out.
The arrivals from Myanmar have generated some disagreement between Centre, which wants to keep them out, and Mizoram's state administration that is keen to provide assistance in line with local sentiment.
Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to personally intervene in the matter to provide asylum to the political refugees on humanitarian grounds, according to an official at the Chief Minister's Office.
In a letter on March 18, the chief minister said the March 10 advisory by Ministry of Home Affairs to Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur was not acceptable to his state. "This (MHA advisory) is not acceptable to Mizoram. I understand that there are certain foreign policy issues where India needs to proceed cautiously. However, we cannot ignore this humanitarian crisis," Zoramthanga said in the letter, a copy of which was accessed by news agency PTI.
The MHA had written a letter to chief secretaries of the four states and DG Assam Rifles to stay alert against influx from Myanmar.
The chief minister, also the leader of the ruling MNF, further said that the areas in Myanmar bordering Mizoram are inhabited by the people of Chin community who share ethnic ties and have had close contact with the people of the state even before India became Independent. Mizoram shares a 510-kilometre porous border with Myanmar's Chin state and most of the Burmese nationals, who have taken refuge in the state, belonged to the Chin, also known as the Zo, community.
Meanwhile, the Zo Reunification Organisation (ZORO) has urged MHA to withdraw its order directing four Northeast states to guard against the influx of people from Myanmar. They have also demanded that the Centre grant refugee status to these people.
Amid growing disagreement between the Centre and Mizoram government, politics has begun with the opposition Congress party backing CM Zoramthanga on the issue of Burmese nationals taking refuge there and saying that the MHA order seeking to stop illegal migration from Myanmar is unacceptable.
The MNF is a part of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), the regional version of the NDA. However, the two parties do not work together at the state government level.
Following the Mizoram government’s action, it will be interesting to see how the Centre will handle the situation, Katju said.