The Catholic Church in India’s Mizoram state has joined other Christian denominations and youth associations in assisting Christian refugees fleeing unrest in Myanmar.
According to media reports, over the past six months thousands of Christians from Myanmar have sought refuge in Christian-dominated Mizoram after the military junta intensified its crackdown on rebels in Chin state bordering India.
“At present there are around 15,000 refugees from Myanmar living in Mizoram, mostly in Champhai on the Indo-Myanmar border, a strategically important location,” Bishop Stephen Rotluanga of Aizawl told.
“The Church is engaged in humanitarian work along with several other denominations, Caritas India, Catholic Relief Services, the Young Mizo Association and NGOs. Our top priorities are to give them shelter, medicines and food and we have successfully executed our program along with the help of our partners.
“There is no problem for us to help the refugees because people from Myanmar
have been coming back and forth to Mizo-ram for decades. Many have relatives on both sides of the border, hence people can understand their suffering and welcomed them with open arms.
“Many refugees are staying with their relatives and others are in relief camps managed by churches and NGOs. The Young Mizo Association is very active and helping all the agencies to fulfil the requirements.”
Bishop Rotluanga said the state government has encouraged and appreciated the relief work and Mizoram’s chief minister had even asked the prime minister to help with emergency relief funds.
“There are several issues that have to be tackled with love and care as the refugees are in shock and are in trauma leaving their country. Many have lost their near and dear ones. Most of them are Christians at our camp but there are also a few Muslims,” he said.
“We are expecting more refugees in our state after fresh conflict flared up. We already have around 11,500 refugees in our state at present,” said C. Lalrosanga, a member of the lower house of parliament.