Saturday, August 18, 2007

Chin Refugee Report, Mizoram, India

REPORT ON THE CHIN REFUGEES IN MIZORAM STATE OF INDIA



(For socio-humanitarian ground)



REPORT ON THE CHIN REFUGEES
IN
MIZORAM STATE OF INDIA


(For socio-humanitarian ground)


APRIL 2000




BY HRE MANG

















T-4/A TUIKHAUHTLANG, AIZAWL, MIZORAM-796001. INDIA
TEL;0389-325246

(RESEARCH PERIOD-MID NOVEMBER 1999 TO MARCH 200)

PRESENT ADDRESS; POST BOX.82, HARTWICK COLLEGE, ONEONTA, NY .13820
TEL; (607)431-6431
Email:hremang@dwp.ne



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The research has been done through volunteer service, hoping with the result to promote the assistance for Chin refugees in Mizoram state of India. The work had started from mid-November 1999 and it lasted till the end of March 2000. Due to several difficulties the work took one month more than the expected duration. The researcher did field study in Mizoram state through personal meetings with the state officials, local people and the refugees themselves. The report is based on both primary and secondary information. This research is not meant for profit, but the aim is to make pioneer information available about the Chin refugees in Mizoram state, by bringing out the hidden truth about the Chin people's exiled lives which is worth international intervention and global concern.
For further intervention, the facts stated in the report can be verified or elaborated through the researcher or any other concerned person. But it cannot be misused for purposes other than the aim and object of the report. It contains the common issues of the Chin people in their present situation in Mizoram state of India.
The research office was set up at Aizawl, the capital city of Mizoram. The researcher covered the surrounding villages and the border areas such as Tio River near Champhai. He also met several refugees from almost all places of Mizoram, such as Lunglei, Saiha, Lawngtlai, etc. For the sake of the security of the refugees, certain facts have not been divulged in this brief report. The report can be made available to any human rights organisation, socio-humanitarian organisation and any individual or group who would like to contribute towards the ignored, neglected and isolated Chin refugees in Mizoram state of India.
Lastly, I would like to say thanks to Thomas and Elizabeth Bracketts and Burmese relief Centre (BRC) for funding this project without which this research work could not be done.


Hre Mang
Volunteer Social Worker


Dated: 17.04.2000










CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

CHAPTER ONE - INTRODUCTION
: TITLE
: BACKGROUND
: STRATEGY
: FIELD STUDY
: THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE REPORT
: THE UNIQUENESS OF THE CHIN
REFUGEES’ STATUS IN MIZORAM

CHAPTER TWO - THE POLITICAL AND ETHNICAL BACKGROUND
OF THE CHINS

CHAPTER THREE - REFUGEES IN INDIA
:THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA'S REFUGEE POLICY
:DIFFERENT GROUPS OF REFUGEES IN INDIA
:CATEGORY I. Tamilian Refugees, Tibetan Refugees, Chakma Refugees, Bhutanese Refugees.
:CATEGORY II.
:CATEGORY II.
:CONCLUSION

CHAPTER FOUR - BURMESE REFUGEES’ BACKGROUND
: POLITICAL BACKGROUND
: ECONOMIC BACKGROUND
: ETHNIC RELIGION
CHAPTER FIVE - THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF THE CHIN
PEOPLE'S EXODUS
:I)POLITICAL TURMOIL AND BAD ADMINISTRATION
: II) FORCED LABOUR
: III) MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRACY
: IV) HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

CHAPTER SIX - THE MOST COMMON WAYS OF
THE CHIN PEOPLE'S EXODUS
: GEOGRAPHICAL BACKGROUND
: THE MOST COMMON WAYS
: SETTLEMENT

CHAPTER SEVEN - ANALYSIS OF INDIVIDUAL DATA BASE ON INFORMATION
CHAPTER EIGHT – CATEGORIES OF CHINS IN MIZORAM
: MIZORAM AT A GLANCE
: GENERAL CATEGORIES
: CATEGORY ONE – REFUGEES
: CATEGORY TWO – MIGRANTS
: CATEGORY THREE – TEMPORARY VISITORS

CHAPTER NINE – CATEGORIES OF CHIN REFUGEES IN MIZORAM
: POLITICAL REFUGEES
: HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION REFUGEES

CHAPTER TEN – HOW THE CHIN REFUGEES SURVIVE IN MIZORAM
: I) LABOUR
: II) DRIVERS
:III) SELLERS
CONCLUSION

CHAPTER ELEVEN – THE MAIN PROBLEMS AND NEEDS OF THE CHIN REFUGEES
: MAIN PROBLEMS OF THE REFUGEES
: NEEDS OF THE REFUGEES

CHAPTER TWELVE – SOME ORGANISATIONS’ CONTRIBUTION FOR REFUGEES
: I. SOCIO-HUMANITARIAN ORGANISATIONS
: II. DISTANCE EDUCATION PROGRAMME
: III. POLITICAL PARTIES AND ORGANISATIONS
: IV. CHRISTIAN ORGANISATIONS

CHAPTER THIRTEEN – SOME DISCUSSIONS WITH LOCAL AUTHORITIES

CHAPTER FOURTEEN – SOME PERSONAL INTERVIEWS WITH REFUGEES

CONCLUSION
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Chapter I : Introduction
Title : Report on the Chin Refugees in Mizoram state of India

Background :
It has been claimed that there are more than sixty thousand Chin refugees in Mizoram state of India. The reasons for their seeking refuge are the pressures of political turmoil, human rights violations and economic crisis in their native country Burma. But there has been no organisation, government or non-government, which is concerned about, or speaks for the Chin refugees in Mizoram. The state government of Mizoram, and the central government of India have ignored the real condition of the Chin refugees. Also, there has been no accurate report giving detailed information about the actual plight of the Chin refugees. As a result, the Indian government, the state government of Mizoram, the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the local people of Mizoram have received only incomplete and biased information about the refugees. The impression created about the Chin refugees is that of illegal foreign immigrants who are flooding the State due to purely economic reasons. But the fact is that they have come to seek refuge in India since their lives are constantly under threat in their motherland Burma. Therefore, it is necessary to make an accurate report about the refugees, and make clear their needs. This should serve towards gaining some social and legal protection for these people who are otherwise existing in sub-human conditions.

Purpose : To identify the approximate number, problems and needs of the Chin refugees and make any possible assistance to them.

Strategy :
I. Collecting information from the refugees
1. To study the reasons why and how they came to India.
2. To study how they live, survive and how they are treated in Mizoram state.
3. To study their basic needs and problems.
I. To collect facts from the Mizoram state government, local authorities and people and from the refugees themselves.
II. To study what assistance is being given to the refugees.

Field of Study :
The study is an attempt to address the needs of the Chin refugees in Mizoram state of India. It also tries to portray the ground reality in terms of the socio-economic and political conditions prevailing in Burma. It also looks at the compulsions of the Chins which made them seek refuge. The study also tries to identify what possible assistance can be made to the refugees, especially by the government. It also lists possible interventions by the government towards long-term solutions to the refugees’ problems.

The Authenticity of the Report :
The report is based on the research done, which relies on both primary and secondary information. To get the primary information, the refugees themselves were interviewed for the facts. The written documents and the collected data have also been verified. The study is not meant only to collect information about the refugees, but also to help bring about essential and appropriate intervention. It is hoped that this will be a step towards opening up possible interventions towards solving the Chin refugee issue in Mizoram.

The uniqueness of the Chin refugees’ status in Mizoram :
Unlike other refugees in India, or any other country, the Chin refugees in Mizoram have no specific area or camp to live in, but are scattered almost all over the state. Therefore, even the state government and local authorities have no accurate account of the number of refugees, nor is there any official record about the presence of these refugees in Mizoram. The refugees do not seek any protection or assistance from the government or the NGOs. They struggle for their survival on their own. Fearing police arrest, the refugees hide themselves from the authorities. These factors make it difficult to collect details about the Chin refugees in Mizoram.


































Chapter two : The political and ethnical background of the Chins :

Before the British colonisation, as far as Chin history can be traced, no other people had ever controlled the Chins politically. The Chins had their city-states, which had their independent regions, each with their own tribal chief. There were many tribes among the Chins and no united kingdom. Each tribe was controlled by its own chief, and there were ethnic conflicts among the different sub-tribes. Yet they were independent from the Burmese people and the Vais (Indian people), whose countries were to the east and to the west respectively of the Chin country. But in 1890, with the British conquest, the Chins fell under the power of the British. The British controlled the Chin country from Burma and India through different administrative acts. The western Chin land was called Lushai Hills and the eastern Chin land was called Chin Hills. Various rules, regulations and enactments were forced on the Chins. These included the Assam Frontier Tract Regulation Act (1880), Schedule District Act (1874), Chin Hills Regulations Act (1896), Government of India Act (1919), Inner Line Regulations (Bengal and East Frontier Act, 1873). The Chin people were a separate administrative unit, and there was a restriction on outsiders entering the Chin region. For them to cross the borderline, an inner line permit was necessary. Eastern Chin land was controlled by the British Chief-Commissioner from Rangoon, Burma, south and south-west Chin land was controlled by the Lt. Governor from Bengal and the western Chin land was controlled by the British Chief-Commissioner from Assam.

When India got its independence from the British, some part of the Chin land (western Chin land – present Mizoram state and part of Manipur state) was annexed to India. Another part, eastern Chin land (Chin Hills) was annexed to Burma. The Chins in Chin Hills decided to take their independence along with Burma, conditionally dependent on the Panglong Agreement. Some Chin leaders did not join the Agreement. The British did not consider putting the Chins together into one independent country, as it had been before they conquered the land in 1890.This could have been because of the difficult geographical terrain, which prevents the development of the Chin economy. So they divided the land and annexed them to different countries, though the British government kept the Chin land as excluded area from 3rd March, 1936.

Though I have used the name Chin here for all the sub-tribes of the Chin people, such as Mizo, Zo, Asho, Lai, Kuki, Matu, etc., it is not accepted by all of them as their common ethnic name. Each tribe calls itself by its own name. The western group, led by the Sailo chief, was called Lushai, and the land was called Lushai Hills. The eastern group was called Chin, containing various sub-tribes. The western land was controlled from Assam. In 1954, the name Lushai Hills was changed to Mizo Hills District, because the name Lushai was changed to Mizo. In 1972, it was made into the Union Territory of Mizoram. After 20 years of revolutionary struggle, it attained statehood on 20th February, 1987. Within Mizoram state, there are various sub-tribes of Chin people like the Lushai, Ralte, Paihte, Pawi, Lakher, Hmar, etc. The same tribes also inhabit the eastern Chin land in Burma. The present Mizoram state’s total area is 21,087 sq. kms, with a population of 6,89,756. Most of the tribes are Christians (83.81%), Riang and Chakmas are Buddhists (8.19%), and some are Hindus (7%) and Muslims (0.45%).
In addition to Mizo, five major languages used in Mizoram are Hmar, Chakma, Mara, and Lai. Economically it is one of the backward states of India but in education Mizoram is the second most educated state of India. Mizoram state has an international border 404 km long, with Burma and the south Chittagong Hill tract area of Bangladesh. The neighbouring states are Manipur, Assam and Tripura.

In Burma, Chin land is divided into three parts – the present Chin state, one part which was annexed to Sagaing division and the other to Magwe division. There are many sub-tribes, speaking different languages. Each tribe has a name by which it calls itself, such as Zo, Lai, Lushai, Khumi, Asho, Khami, Matu, Kuki, etc. Whatever the name, it includes all the sub-tribes of the people by its definition.

Some of the eastern Chin leaders, without taking public approval, had made an agreement with Burma, deciding to take their independence with Burma. So, the Chin people took their independence with Burman and other groups of Burma, according to the 12th February, 1947 Panglong agreement, which contained rights of secession (See 1947 constitution of Burma, article nos. 201-206). But the Burma government cheated the Chins and oppressed them using different administrative strategies. The name of the country was changed several times – Union of Burma in 1948, Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma (1974), and Union of Myanmar in 1989. Between 1947 and 1962, Burma practised democracy. In 1962, in the midst of political and ethnic conflict, the military seized power. The military rule has lasted till now. During the military rule, the people of Burma suffered much; thousands lost their lives, and lakhs left their homes fearing for their lives, and sought refuge in neighbouring countries.

During the five decades since independence, the Burma government not only nullified the Panglong agreement, but also oppressed the Chin people by applying the Burmanisation policy. They divided the Chin people’s land into three parts, and then gave so-called statehood to one part (the present Chin state). This state had no right of determining anything for itself without the previous consent of the central government. While Burma is among the poorest countries of the world, Chin State is the poorest state in Burma. The Chins have been discriminated against socially, politically, economically, ethnically and religiously. As a result, thousands of Chins took flight from their country, and sought shelter in different countries. The Chin people are very involved in the movement for democracy in Burma, which is a strong political contradiction between the Burma military government and the Chin people. There has been no record of the sufferings of the Chin people within and outside Chin State. The injustice and oppression suffered by the Chins deserves global concern and international intervention.








Chapter three : Refugees in India

The government of India’s refugee policy :

The issue of protection of refugees has international dimensions and requires global co-operation. Though it is not a signatory to the 1951 Convention (relating to the status of refugees), India hosts a large number of refugees. The Indian Supreme Court held that “the State is bound to protect the life and liberty of every human being, be he a citizen or otherwise” (National Human Rights Commission of India vs. state of Arunachal Pradesh, AIR 1996 SC 1234). However, India does not have a clear policy on determining the status of refugees. But the Constitution of India gives a clue to her obligation to the international law, in Article 51 (C) which states : “The state (India) shall endeavour to foster respect for international laws and treaty obligations in the dealing of organised people with one another.” And it is interpreted and understood that ‘international law’ represents international customary law and ‘treaty obligation’ represents international conventional law.

India’s official participation in the international community obliges India to accord equal treatment to all citizens and non-citizens, wherever possible. Moreover, India is presently a member of the Executive Committee of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and it entails the responsibility to abide by international standards on the treatment of refugees. India takes the 1951 convention as the European term, whereby non-European refugees were excluded. But when the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru showed concern at the refugee issue, and informed the Parliament about it in 1953, the Indian government affirmed the right of asylum on humanitarian grounds. Thereafter, Tibetans and Sri Lankan Tamilians were granted asylum and refugee status. India claims to observe the principles of non-refoulment.

Different groups of refugees in India :

According to the UNHCR report, there are 26 million refugees, returnees, or internally displaced persons across the world. According to the European record, in 1997-1998, the number of refugees increased 27%. Today India is host to 350,000 refugees. They are - Tibetans from Tibet, Tamilians from Sri Lanka, Chakmas from Bangladesh, Afghans from Afghanistan, Burmese, Iranian, Sudanese, Somalis, Bhutanese and Iraqis. Their situation depends upon the extent of protection they receive from either the Indian government or the UNHCR. The refugees can be categorised into three :
i. Refugees protected by the government of India .
ii. Refugees protected by UNHCR under the principle of non-refoulment.
iii. Refugees who have been assimilated into the community. They are not known to the Indian government or UNHCR.

Category one :
Tamilian refugees
Due to the political turmoil in Sri Lanka, many of the Tamilian refugees have been coming to India since 1989. There are 298 refugee camps along the Indian coastal border of Tamil Nadu. Initially more than one lakh Tamil refugees reached India. With the help of the UNHCR, the Indian government repatriated more than 30,000 refugees before 1995. The Indian government provided shelter to those refugees. Today, there are more than 56,000 refugees in the camps, and more than 45,000 refugees outside the camps. The UNHCR also takes an active part in the assistance programme for Tamil refugees.

Tibetan refugees
In March 1959, the Dalai Lama, the political, religious and national leader of Tibet came to live in exile in India. Since then more than 1,00,000 Tibetan refugees have come to India. The Indian government has a settlement programme for them, and has established them in places like Dharmashala and Bangalore. The Indian government provides them, “Indian Registration Certificate” which serves as the residential permit in India. The Tibetan refugees have better opportunities than any other refugees do in the country, not only in terms of the Indian government’s legal and social protection, but also the freedom to work and run business enterprises within the country.

Chakma Refugees
The Chakma refugees in India have come from the Chittagong Hill tracts of Bangladesh. They have become refugees because of reasons like the political insurgency among the Chakma ethnic group, which the Bangladesh government suppressed, the Kaptai Dam project, and the religious discrimination between the Muslims and the ethnic Buddhists. There are more than 53,000 Chakma refugees in Mizoram, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh states of India. The Indian government provides shelter to and has made an assistance programme for the Chakma refugees.

Bhutanese Refugees
The ethnic Nepalese left Bhutan after the Bhutanese government initiated a campaign in 1990, suppressing Nepali cultural expression, revoking citizenship, intimidation, arrest, and even torture. Numbering more than 30,000 in India, they are protected by the Indian government.

Category II
There are around 20,000 refugees who are protected by the Delhi centre of UNHCR, and many more have applied for recognition by UNHCR. The UNHCR official rejects many refugees’ applications for refugee status under UNHCR. Most of the refugees under the protection of UNHCR, Delhi, are Afghans (18,600) and Burmese (500). The others are Somalis, Iranians and Sudanese. Their status is not better than the refugees who are under the care of the Indian central government. The UNHCR offers services to them such as health care programme, subsistence allowance, lumpsum payment in lieu of the refugee subsistence allowance, educational aid for under-metric students and vocational training. But, the protection, services, and assistance programme offered by the UNHCR to the refugees is insufficient, and the refugees live an exacerbating life.

Category III
In this category, Chin refugees from Burma are the most in number. They are not known to the central or the state government. No assistance is provided to them by the government, the UNHCR, or the NGOs. They are either ignored or assimilated, residing in the north-east region of India, especially in Mizoram and Manipur. It has been claimed that approximately more than 60,000 Chin refugees are in Mizoram. The exact number cannot be ascertained, as they are not taken note of by the government or any NGO. The Naga and Rakhain refugees are also living in North East India. Since the North East region is a restricted area, the Indian government does not welcome the UNHCR, or any other NGO intervention in the refugee issue. As a result, many of the Chin refugees live in sub-human conditions. They have no government, no organisation, or people’s group that is concerned about them. They live in the perpetual fear of the government getting to know about their presence in India.

Conclusion
As a democratic country, India should provide a more active intervention in the refugee issue, looking not only at immediate relief for the refugees, but also considering the root cause of the issue. This has to be done if the state has to protect the life of every human being residing in India, whether a citizen or outsider. Though India is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, the law of humanity binds her to take responsibility towards the world around her.




























Chapter four : Burmese Refugee Background

Political Background

As Burma is made up of different groups of people, ethnic strife is one of the most important issues which has caused civil war in Burma for more than five decades since independence. Prior to the British colonisation, there has been no history of the existence of a Union Country, uniting all ethnic groups into one united political country, like the present Union Country of Burma. Even during the time of the British colonisation (1886-1947), different groups of people in Burma were governed by different administrative systems. This region, which did not have a sense of oneness or unity even in the turbulent period of the Second World War, became an independent Union Country on 4th January, 1947. Some of the ethnic groups joined the country, without taking the consent of the people. Some leaders of Chin, Kachin, Shan and other tribes joined the Burman leaders in making a conditional agreement to establish a federal union country. This agreement, the Panglong agreement, was signed on February 12, 1947. According to this agreement, any group has the right of secession, depending on the will of the people. But the obstruction of the agreement created a breach of trust between other ethnic groups and Burman leaders. Though the people of Karen did not sign any agreement to join the Union country, they suffered annexation to the Union country. This resulted in a five decade long independence struggle, which involved the sacrifice of innocent people’s blood, and resulted in thousands of refugees fleeing to strange countries.

Ten years after Independence, when the Burma government failed to keep peace and order, they played a political game by which the Burma military seized power on March 2, 1962, and it has lasted till date. General Ne Win established a Revolutionary Council comprising 17 senior officers. The dictatorial Revolutionary Council replaced the previous parliamentary federal system Constitution and made its own political party, “Burma Socialist Program Party” (BSPP). The BSPP played out a farce in 1971, wherein they claimed a civilian government where the same military rulers retained the same place. And in 1974 the BSPP adopted a new constitution according to which the BSPP was the only national party.

In 1974-1975, while Ne Win was the president of the country and of the BSPP, workers’ strikes and student demonstrations arose, during which thousands of people lost their lives. Civil war continued between the ruling military dictatorship and the ethnic insurgents and the Burma Communist Party. In 1987, Ne Win demonetised three currency bank-notes, valued at almost 70% of all circulating currency, without any reimbursement or compensation to the public. This resulted in a student demonstration in September 1987. Colleges and universities were closed throughout the country. Thereafter, students, workers, religious monks and the general public agitated against the ruling party, demanding the change of central policy. On 8th August, 1988, a big public demonstration against the ruling military regime took place throughout the country. The armed forces brutally killed thousands of demonstrators. There has no longer been any binding constitution or law by which the government administers the country. Under martial law, the military dictatorship, the so-called “State Law and Order Restoration Council”(SLORC), was the decision-maker in all administrative matters of the country.

Though Ne Win abdicated the presidency and the leadership to all appearances, he has been the dictator behind the facade.

The SLORC, which was established in 1988, organised multiparty elections on May 27, 1990. The National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, won the election, winning 392 out of 485 seats. But the SLORC rejected the election results, and instead of inviting the elected party to form a new democratic government, they arrested Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and some of the elected Members of Parliament (MPs). Nevertheless, some of the elected MPs escaped and formed the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) in December 1990. The supporters of the democratic movement were arrested and put into jail. Many have died in jail without the world having any details about the end of their lives. The NCGUB continues to struggle for democratic rule in Burma.

In January, 1993, the SLORC also convened a national convention with 702 delegates, among them only 106 were elected representatives, the Army picked up the others. Their aim was to draw up a new constitution for the country, according to which the armed forces must play a political role in the State. The SLORC has been trying to suppress leaders of political parties or ethnic insurgency, whoever opposes it and supports the democratic movement. On November 15, 1997, “The State Law and Order Restoration Council” was changed to “The State Peace and Development Council”, with 14 military officers as members. The language used in the new name seemed more desirable to the oppressed people. The ideological and political conflicts among the leaders of Burma has given rise to political turmoil, which cost thousands of people their lives, and left lakhs of Burmese homeless around the world, especially in neighbouring countries like India, Bangladesh and Thailand, and some of the western sympathisers.

Economics
Some figures:
Burma
Area : 261218 sq. miles
Population : 48.8 million
Urban population : 26%
Burman, urban Chinese, Indian and non-Burman ethnic population ratio : 2:1 and area occupied ratio 3:5
Refugees : 3 lakhs in Thailand, 10,000 in China, 70,000 in India, 1lakh in Bangladesh (approximately)
Internally displaced : 2 million
Birth rate : 2%
Life expectancy : 60
Literacy : 19.4%
People per doctor : 12,000
Ethnic groups : Burman, Chin, Kachin, Shan, Karen, Karenni, Mon, Wa, Rakhain, etc.
Religion : Buddhist 85%, Animist 5%, Christians 4.5%, Muslims 4%, Hindu 1.5%
GDP growth : 5%
Per Capita GNP (NOM) : US$ 765
Reserves excl. gold : US$ 0.3 billion
Foreign debt : US$ 5.6 billion
Agricultural labourers : 68%
Rice export : 3.5 million tons (1930); 2 million tons (1962); 20,000 tons (1998)
Opium production : 1300 tons (1998), 2800 tons (1997) (70% of US market)
These figures are taken from “Burma Human Rights Report”, 1999.
Administrative regions : 7 states (Arakan, Chin, Mon, Kachin, Karen, Kaza, Shan) and 7 divisions (Irrawady, Magwe, Pegu, Rangoon, Sagaing, Tenasserim, Mandalay)

The Burma Socialist Program Party’s socialist economic policy, “Ku Thu Ku Thah” self-development policy, which is a closed economic policy, failed to maintain national economic development. This brought the country down to among the poorest and least developed countries in the world. The country’s export quantity declined as the national production fell, and the national income fell below the national consumption. For example, rice export fell from 1 million tons in 1995 to 200,000 tons in 1997. Meanwhile, the central military regime increased the national defence expenditure to 40% of the total expenditure, in order to maintain the growing number of the army (which went up to 5 lakhs), and for buying weapons from outside. Public expenditure declined, and as a result, investments in development projects and capital investment fell below the essential requirements for the national economic development. At the same time, foreign investment declined due to lack of trust in the military regime’s unhealthy policies in the areas of international relations, economics and politics.

As the public expenditure declined, the people faced unemployment and disguised employment problems, since most of the people work in the agricultural sector, using the traditional way of cultivation. The central government concentrated on the maintenance of political power in the centre, but ignored the need for the government to initiate programmes for the country’s essential development. The rate of inflation grew faster than public income, which gave rise to corruption and large scale of black market input and output. The government produced currency notes in quantities, without balancing with the national output, so that the value of money fell, while the public income remained constant or became lesser. The military regime had no sound economic policy, but it focussed only on the centre retaining political power in the midst of political crisis.

The government employees earned wages below the essential basic living expenditure. While the value of money fell, they earned the same wages, which led to corruption and frustration among the people. Like the Burmese saying goes, “Umah Matong zuih tilah Masong naing” which roughly means “Hunger will make you take any options”. For example, police constables, army constables, primary teachers, and Lower Division Clerks earned only between Ks. 1500 to 2000 per month. The prices of goods were : Rice – one bag (50 kgs.) – Ks.2500 to 3000; meat (pork or beef) – one pikta (1.3 kgs.) – 500 kyats; one egg – 30 kyats. And for the daily wage labourers could earn only Ks. 150 to 200 per day, which was not sufficient for their basic daily requirements. Job opportunities were not adequate for the daily–wage labourers, since there was no private sector to work in. Except for the agricultural fields, the government controlled all development projects, so that the capitalists worked the black market and the common people could not be beneficiaries. Army officers held all the important posts in public administration. Whenever the central government commissioned any project, the army officers compelled the public to work on the project without any wages or ration supply. The money budgeted for the project went into private pockets. Railway construction, road construction, hydroelectric project, etc. are examples of the projects. If a family could not provide its services, then they had to either pay money in lieu of the labour, or send hired labour to work on behalf of the family. This was the economic threat to the public, especially in the rural areas of Kachin, Chin, Shan, Karen, Karenni and Rakhain, where the political and ethnic insurgency movement mostly took place. The army forced the public to construct army camps, dig trenches, and to do other essential tasks in the army camp. Working as porters is a usual job that villagers do in the remote areas without any wages or compensation. Apart from that, the public had to give rice, vegetables, meat and other foodstuff to the army free of cost. The public had no right to deny anything to the army. In Chin State, the army destroyed all the crosses that the Christians built in certain places as a symbol of their religion. In some places, the army let the public destroy the crosses and establish Pagodas in their place, which are the Buddhist temples.

During the 1990s, the army took over private land for their own cultivation, without giving any compensation to the landowners. Once the army took over the land from the owners’ hands, they made the villagers work for them on the land. The SLORC tried to increase the strength of the armed forces to 5,00,000. Due to the resultant shortage in the government’s ration supply, the army had to work in the paddy fields. The lower rank soldiers who had no other source of income than their wages suffered, while the higher army officers lived in luxury, gaining their money through corruption and from smugglers. In public administration, the main caretakers are army officers. In Chin State, even at the district level, almost all departmental heads are army officers, who exploit the public. To give an example, in 1998, in Kalemyo township, one army officer asked the public to deposit three lakh Kyats each for obtaining a new telephone connection. A total of 400 connections were booked. After a year had passed, instead of giving people their new connections, he instead demanded an additional four lakh Kyats for each connection. Even after collecting the amount, the work has remained undone, till this report was completed. Moreover, from unnamed sources, there is information that the army officers are involved in the illegal trade of No.4 (heroin) and other goods. This involves carrying the heroin from the eastern side of Burma to the western side, through Tamu-Moreh to Manipur, and through Falam and Tidim way to Champhai, Mizoram. Thus, the officers enjoyed a luxurious life, while the lower rank soldiers suffered so much poverty that they used to desert the army and run away. In February 2000, three soldiers ran away from Rih army camp of Chin State, as they could no longer bear to remain in the Burmese army.

The military’s external as well as internal economic policy failed to maintain the circulation of the public economy. The gap between the oppressors and the oppressed has been growing. Many people are in jail for political reasons, many are living under threat in the country, while many have left the country in order to seek shelter elsewhere. There are many others who are suffering because of the economic downfall. Though they are not threatened by weapons, they are threatened by starvation, due to economic reasons. While serving under the military regime, they have no right or opportunity to work for their own livelihood and survival. For such people, it is possible to survive on this earth as human beings only by leaving their home country, and seeking refuge in a sympathiser country. Shall we call them refugees or immigrants? Earlier they had no freedom of expression, lacked adequate education and awareness about their rights as human beings, and lived in fear. In their exile, they still live with the fear of authorities and starvation. Do not the Burmese-Chin refugees deserve international concern?

Ethnic Religion
In the internal conflict in Burma, the Burmese leaders’ Burmanisation policy is a serious threat to the unity between the ethnic Burman and the non-Burman ethnic groups. They have been trying to convert the non-Burman ethnic groups into Burman way of living. As a result, many have been Burmanised, but there are still many non-Burmans who defend their cultural inheritance. This issue has an important and major place at the core of Burma politics. Attention needs to be drawn back to the pre-independence period and the pre-independence agreement (Panglong agreement) when only the present Burman ethnic groups were united together as one united country. For example, the ethnic Chin and the ethnic Burmese had no relationship before independence except their similarity as Mongoloid people. The Chins and the Burmans each had a distinct entity and identity as different ethnic groups. Therefore, the Burmanisation policy cannot proselytise the non-Burman ethnic people, it only creates hatred.

Since the independence of Burma, Burmese language has been the government’s official language. Other ethnic groups have no right to educate their own people in their own languages. Though the central government used the cultural diversity between the ethnic groups to divide and rule, the non-Burmese ethnic groups were never given the right or the opportunity to cultivate their socio-cultural inheritance. Moreover, in public work places and in employment opportunities, the Burmans or the Burmanised are granted special consideration. Though there are many non-Burman soldiers, there are hardly any higher rank non-Burman officers. (This is based on the information given by a person retired from the Burmese Army). Likewise, in every work place and department, non-Burmans got fewer opportunities, or no opportunities to be in high positions. This is one of the reasons why many non-Burman educated men and women left their country to seek a place where their real worth is appreciated and valued, and they can realise their potential.

Religion is another political tool used by the military regime to divide and rule the people. In the 1950s, U Nu, the then prime minister of the democratic government of Burma tried to make Buddhism the national religion, but due to opposition from the non-Burman ethnic people, it failed. Now, under the military regime, Kachin, Chin, Karenni and Karen Christians suffer religious discrimination. For any organisation or activity that the Christians want to initiate, they have to take permission from the authorities, who are Buddhists. The Christians’ activities and access to services are limited, while the Buddhists have access to everything and have the right to do anything. While the Buddhist monks have special privileges to be active and move around the country, the Christian activities are limited and many Christian organisations could not even obtain registration. Especially in Chin State and Sagaing division, where Chins occupied the land, the Buddhists in the armed forces destroyed many crosses built by Chin Christians and the Christians were compelled to establish “Pagodas”, the Buddhist temples. The Christians are thus compelled to sacrifice their labour and materials for the construction of these temples, which is against the will and faith of the Chin Christians. Moreover, the Buddhist soldiers force the Christian villagers to accept Buddhism as their faith, failing which, they ask them to leave the village. This happened especially in Sagaing division. While the Christian pastors and ministers cannot escape from doing porter work and such forced labour, the Buddhists monks are never considered for such tasks. Poor Christian children are deceived into joining Buddhist monasteries. The authorities convince the parents of these children that they are being taken to be given a proper education. But once these children are taken away from their homes, their hair is cut off and they are made to put on scarlet robes in order to be trained as Buddhist children. When their parents get to know about this, they are not allowed to take back their children. Some Chin Christian pastors are now in jail on mere suspicion, without having undergone the proper judicial procedure.

Therefore, due to religious discrimination, many have left their motherland and are living in exile in neighbouring countries. Moreover, the army utilised the religious order for their intelligence network – some of the people pretending to be Buddhist monks were in reality part of the military intelligence network. In Falam, in Chin state of Burma, there have been one or more instances of army officers disguising themselves as Buddhist monks. These officers are always armed, which is a threat to the local people.

In Chin state, the Christians cannot receive any friends or guests who are foreign citizens. No (foreign) newspapers are circulated within the state. Happenings in the Chin State are kept hidden from the outside world, no foreigners have access to the State. The Chins have no freedom of expression or faith, which is every human being's right, according to the universal human rights declaration. The Chins are oppressed, psychologically and in religious matters, within and outside the State. This has caused people to leave their country and live in exile in strange lands.













Chapter Five : The most common causes of the Chin people's exodus

Background
As the implementation of the Independence Agreement was impeded, the Chin people's inherited land was divided into three parts. Apart from the Chin State, the other parts were annexed to Sagaing division and Magwe division. The Chin people are approximately 2.5 million in number. There are many sub-groups among the Chins - Zo, Lai, Kuki, Lushai, Mato, Khumi, Asho, etc. There are nine district centres - Tidim, Tawnzang, Falam, Haka, Thlantlang, Matupi, Kanpalet, Paletwah and Mindat. The people who called themselves "Zomi" occupied Falam, Haka and Thlantlang Districts; the Matu people occupied Matupi District, Asho and Khumi people occupied Mindat, Kanpalet and Pletwa Districts; and in Magwe and Sagaing divisions different sub-tribes of Chin people occupied the land. There are many different dialects that the Chin people speak. There is no common official Chin language, but Falam (Laizo) is used for broadcasting radio programmes. 80% of the total population are Christians, the rest are animist, Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus. The Chin State is mostly hilly area. Only in Magwe and Sagaing division are there plains which can be used for cultivation.

There are no national highways connecting the important places in Chin State. It is connected to the central part of Burma by small roads. Therefore, there is no common place for the Chin people to meet. Moreover, there has been no daily or periodical newspaper circulating within the State. There is also no radio station within the State. There is only the Chin program, which is broadcast from Rangoon, the capital city of Burma. This program is 30 minutes everyday - and is the official mouthpiece - 15 minutes are for the news, and the other 15 minutes for songs. Burmese is the official language, and there is no Chin common language that all the Chin people can understand. The literacy rate is very low. While Burma is among the poorest countries of the world, the Chin State is the poorest state in Burma.

1) Political turmoil and bad administration
For several decades, against the will of the Chin people, the Burmese military regime has been controlling the Chins and their inherited land. In 1988, there was a public demonstration by Chin students, workers and the general public against the military regime. But when the military regime brutally oppressed the pro-democratic movement, thousands of Chins left their motherland to escape from the hands of the oppressors. Though the Chin revolutionary movement had started before 1988, the 1988 country-wide pro-democracy demonstration was the most significant event in recent decades in which the Chin people strongly protested against the military regime. This demonstration led to many people being killed, and to thousands leaving their country and seeking refuge in other countries.

Under the military regime, all the important administrative posts are controlled by army officers, even at the district and village level, where only the Chin people live on their inherited land. Any army officer has more authority, and is superior to any village president, or the head of the community. These army officers directly controlled the public administration. As a result, all protesters and supporters of democracy were wiped out under martial law. The armed forces, who are not bound by any laws, treat the local people brutally. Thus, the Chins live in constant fear of the armed forces and without any political freedom within their own country.

Especially in rural areas, under fear of the armed forces, people do not want to be involved in any aspect of public administration where they have to deal with the armed forces. Any community leader or administrator has to cater to the demands of both the Burmese army and of the underground insurgency group. Many village heads have been condemned with imprisonment, without having undergone the proper legal procedure for helping the underground group.

At the same time, the head of the community is the agent of the insurgents for collecting taxes and whatever else they demand from the public. The people actually pay tax twice, once to the Burmese army, and once to the insurgents. When the Burmese army comes to know about it, the head of the village is usually put into jail. Hence, the local people do not want to get involved in any administrative capacity, and the army forces somebody whom they can use as their administrative agent to become the head of the community.

The army violates the Chin people’s rights and dignity by their actions. The people are obliged to do anything that the armed forces demand, like portering, forced labour and material contribution etc. Especially in the villages, the army also oppresses the people; murders, rapes, tortures and persecutions are common. Not only does the government not initiate any development projects for the people, it does not even allow them to do any development work for themselves. In such a situation, the society becomes disorganised and the people fear the armed forces. They are unable to work towards their progress. This has caused many of them to leave their country and seek refuge in neighbouring countries. Though they are homeless and live as illegal immigrants, they prefer their exiled lives, as they have escaped fear and hunger in their hometown.

Throughout the political and economic crisis in Burma, the bad administration has affected public education. Since 1988, there has been no proper educational programme. Schools, colleges and universities have been closed from time to time. Due to the sharp political contentions between the military regime and the public, the schools could not be run efficiently. Due to poverty, teachers could not concentrate on their duties. The teachers and lecturers earn meagre salaries, which are below their minimum basic expenditure. There are many private tuition classes started by the lecturers. For students to pass their examinations, it is necessary for them to attend these classes, but the poorer class students cannot afford the fees. As a result, many people could not let their children continue their education, and many of the children are demoralised. Even the students who can meet the higher costs cannot hope to work for the military regime, because the employment opportunities are very limited and the wages are meagre. This situation crushes all expectations of the young people. As a result, the people have remained without adequate education, and most of the Chin refugees are not highly educated.

2) Forced labour
Forced labour has caused thousands of people to leave their country. It consumed the energy, money, materials and time of the Chin people, and was detrimental to their dignity and welfare. Forced labour is used for road construction, army camp construction, hydroelectric project, pottering….? and trench-digging. Not only men and women, but also animals (horse, buffalo etc.) and vehicles are also demanded by the army for their service.

Whenever the construction of roads or railways, or maintenance work was undertaken, the people are asked to give their services without being given any wages. People have to go and stay at the location of the work, and carry their own supplies for the duration of the work. At the location, the army guards them with guns.

As the strength of the army has been increased, many new army camps are opened and some old camps are expanded in the Chin state. The surrounding villagers have to bring materials for construction, and give as much labour as demanded. They also have to dig trenches within and around the army camps. The Burmese army called forced labour “Luk Aa Pi”, which means “offering service by free will”. Actually, the villagers offered their service against their own free will and due to force, which is in Burmese “Atin Luk Aa Pi”, meaning “forced labour”.

In many places, people don’t get time to work for their own livelihood because of the forced labour. Moreover, they still have to pay taxes and give materials and goods to both the military regime and the ethnic insurgents. They have no social security or medical aid. If anybody refuses to obey the orders of the army, or demands his or her rights, he or she is put in jail. Though many are not actually shot down, most of the people are oppressed and suffer economic ruin. As a result, many of them leave their country.

3) Democratic Movement
Since 1988 Chin students, workers and public have agitated for the Burmese pro-democratic movement, which has cost thousands of lives, and caused the exodus of thousands. Since the tumultuous public demonstration of 1988, many Chins left their home town and fought for the promotion of democratic rule in Burma. Some have joined the violent division, while others have joined the non-violent course for the promotion of democratic rule. Thousands of refugees are in India and other countries.

Within and outside Chin State, many have been agitating and fighting for self-determination of Chin people and for the promotion of democratic rule in Burma. Whoever supported the Chin national political movement, the Burmese army crushed them and punished them with endless imprisonment. The Burmese army has been trying to uproot all political activists working against them. There are many who have been in jail for the political movement, and even Chin pastors and religious leaders are also imprisoned on suspicion, without being allowed to undergo the proper judicial procedure in court. Among the Chin political parties and organisations, the prominent ones are the Chin National Front, Chin National Council, Chin National League for Democracy. The Chin political parties and organisations join hands with other democratic fronts of all ethnic groups for the promotion of democratic rule in Burma. Politically, Chins stand for self-determination and for re-establishment and reunification within the Federal Union Country, which is possible only with the resurrection of the Panglong agreement.

4) Human rights violations
As mentioned above, though the natural resources are more than enough for the Chin people to manage and survive within their inherited land, thousands of Chins have left their motherland and sought refuge in India and other neighbouring countries. This is due to the political turmoil and bad administration of the military regime, forced labour and human rights violations by the armed forces, ethnic and religious discrimination, and economic ruin under the military regime. Naturally, Mizoram state of India, where Chin people have sought refuge, has no better resources or means of cultivation, or any additional development project, but the governing system made it different from their inherited land. Some people escaped from the point of the gun and imprisonment, while some others from economic ruin and moral depression. Whatever the exiled Chins may claim about themselves, or however they are treated in their exile lives, the reason for their leaving Burma is not merely for a better living standard, but to escape from life-threatening situations. Others who do not know how to or cannot move to other parts of the world have stayed within their motherland, where the darkness of moral depression covers the land. In fact, the Chin people leave their own country not because it is naturally bad, or the place of their exile is good, but because they want to escape the brutal oppression of the ruling military regime. And according to the survey, almost all the Chins in Mizoram state will go back to their motherland when the military regime steps down, or is replaced by a democratic federal government, where the people rule.
Chapter Six : The most common ways of the Chin people’s exodus

Geographical Background
Chin state is located in the western part of Burma, along the international boundary between Burma and India. Besides the present Chin State, some parts of the Chin people’s inherited land are annexed to Magwe and Sagaing divisions. The Chin people’s land was cut in the west by Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram states of India, in the north and east by the Sagaing division, in the south-east by the Magwe division, and in the south by Arakhan state. Almost all areas of Chin state are covered with hills; in Magwe and Sagaing division and in southern Chin there are plains. The mountain peaks are high, the average height being 8700 feet. Arterawtlang (Victoria) is the highest peak at 10,400 feet. In the southern and some lower areas, the high peaks are between 2000 and 4000 feet high. The climate is not extreme, except at the top of the hills. The monsoon lasts from May to October. Average rainfall for the year is between 70 inches and 170 inches. In summer, the temperature ranges between 17 to 29 degrees centigrade and in winter temperatures are between 3 to 24 degrees centigrade. Due to the difficult geographical terrain and lack of development, no national highway crosses the Chin state. Only in Sagaing division the national highway crosses the Chin people’s inherited land, connecting the state with Mindat. Mindat has better connections with the central part of the country, and other towns can be reached by a path which can be traversed only by foot, and which is difficult for vehicles to go on. There is no means of air or sea travel within Chin state. Due to the difficult geographical terrain, the rivers of Chin state cannot be used for transportation.

There are various sub-tribes of the Chin people, occupying different regions. In the northern part of the Chin people’s inherited land, which is presently included within Sagaing division, Naga-Chin and Kuki-Chin occupied the land. The Naga tribe lives in Naga Hills, which connects with Nagaland state of India. And to the south of Naga Hills, the place called Kabaw valley is occupied by Kuki and some other tribes. This connects to Manipur state of India. The national highway crosses into India through the Kabaw valley, through Moreh town to Imphal, the capital of Manipur state. Below Kabaw valley is the Kale valley where mixed Chin sub-tribes live. The Kale-Kabaw valleys are mostly plains and are rich in agricultural products.

In the south of Kale-Kabaw valley is located the Kankaw valley which is occupied by Yaw Chin and some other Chin sub-tribes. From the Kankaw valley to the southern area of Asho, other Chin sub-tribes inhabit the land.

Within the present Chin state, starting from the north, specific tribes inhabit the respective districts. The people who call themselves ‘Zomi’ i.e. Paite, Sihzin etc, live in Tidim and Tawnzang districts. And in Falam district live the people who call themselves ‘Laimi’, such as Laizo, Tlaisun, Zaniat, Sim, Jahau, Hualngo etc. And in Thlantlang and Halka districts Zotung, Zophei, Lakher, Cinzah etc. call themselves ‘laimi’. In these three districts, Falam, Haka and Thlantlang, the people call themselves ‘Laimi’. Though there are different dialects, the people are able to communicate well with one another using their own dialects. Coming to the southern part of Chin State, Matupi district is occupied by Matu and other sub-tribes of Chins. And in Mindat, Kanpalet and Paletwa districts, Asho, Cho, Khumi and other sub-tribes of the Chins live. Compared to northern Chin state, the southern part of the state lacks roadways for transport. Between southern and northern Chin state there is no road fit for vehicular traffic, but only foot-paths; to this day people go by foot to the southern or northern part of the State. Therefore, there has been no socio-cultural exchange between the south and north. This has caused a lack of understanding between the Chin people.

Each of the Chin sub-tribes has its own region. Since times of unwritten history, each of the Chin sub-tribes has lived by itself with its own tribal chief within its own independent territory. Before the British colonisation, historically there were constant wars between the tribes and sub-tribes. S such, they did not have an opportunity to develop a common language with which all Chins could communicate with each other.

The most common ways
Naga-Chins, who originated in Naga Hills of northern Sagaing division, which extends into Nagaland state of India, Kukis and some other tribes go to Manipur state of India through the border trade road, which crosses from Tamu of Sagaing division to Moreh, and then to Imphal, the capital city of Manipur state. This border trade is an important road by which smugglers, business men and women cross the country. In Manipur state, there are some tribes of the Chin people : Kukis, Paite, Zomi, Hmar, Kom etc., who welcome the Chin refugees and immigrants. The refugees from Tawnzang and Tidim districts of Chin state go to Manipur state where the same sub-tribes live, who were annexed to India in the time of the British.

There are foot-paths which cross the border from Twanzing and Tidim districts of northern Chin state to Manipur state and Mizoram state : Phaisat-Hengtam, Aisih-Sialsih, Vanglai-Sialsi, Khuavum-Beheng, Haichi-Beheng, Pangmual-Kangkap, Suangbem-Sinjol; and these are foot-paths to Mizoram state : Haichin-Minbung, Selbung-Vaikhawtlang, Tuimang-Khuangphah, Bapi-Hnahlan, Dankhan-Hnahlan, Khawzimte-Tlangsam. Moreover, there is a small vehicle road from Tawnzang of Chin state to Bualkot village of Manipur, and one from Tidim of Chin state to Champhai of Mizoram. This road crosses the border to Tio village in Falam district of Chin state and then Zokhawthar of Champhai district, which are located by the side of Tio river, along the boundary.

From Falam of Chin state, there is one motorable road which passes through the above-mentioned border villages – Rihkhawdar in Chin state and Zokhawthar in Champhai district – and then reaches Champhai of Mizoram state. There are some foot-paths which connect Falam district of Chin state and Mizoram state (naming Chin state villages first and Mizoram state villages second) : Khawthlir-Bulfek, Surbung-Lianpui, Satawn-Vaphai, Leilet-Vaphai, and Farkawn Ngailan-Khankawn.

The following are some footpaths from Thlantlang district of Chin state to Mizoram state : Tlanglo-Farkawn, Zangtlang-Thakte, Dawn-Thakte, and Lungreng, Ralpel-Nagarchip, Lungler-Thingsai, Bungtlang-Bualpui, and Mullianpui, Siallam-Thaltlang, Belbar-Niawhtlang, Tluangram-Lungbun, Zephai-Ainak, Ngalang-Ainik, Lungchawi-Chakang. And some footpaths from southern part of Chin state are : Darling-Chapui, Hlungmang-Chapui, and Khopai. There are also some footpaths, which are not maintained properly, but are used for travelling to Mizoram.

There are two entrances to Chin state from the central part of Burma – The first one is from Kalemyo to Chin state crossing Tidim in one way and Falam in another way, both of which meet at Tio villages of Falam district at the border, to Champhai district of Mizoram. The second entrance way to Chin state from the central part of Burma is Mungzua-Kankaw-Haka, which reaches Thlantlang. There is only one motorable road that properly reaches Mizoram and touches the Mizoram vehicle road at the border; which is both from Falam and Tidim to Tio river. This is the main way by which the Chin people travel to Mizoram. Besides this, in Chin state, there is one border trade road from Sagaing division, which crosses the Chin people’s inherited land, and goes to Manipur state of India. This is the biggest and most important road for Indo-Burma border trade and most of the smugglers and business people use this.

Most of the refugees from Sagaing division, and northern Chin state Tidim, Tawnzang and Falam districts go to northern part of Mizoram. And those of Haka, Thlantlang, and southern part of Chin state Matupi, Mindat, Kanpalet, Paletwa go to southern part of Mizoram state. Though there is no motorable road crossing the border in the southern part, people go to Mizoram by foot.

The distances from the district centres of northern Chin state to the Indo-Burma border are below 100 miles; from Tawnzang and Tidim around 40 miles, from Falam 60 miles, from Haka around 70 miles and from Thlantlang around 40 miles. In the southern part, Matupi is the nearest to Mizoram state. While Mindat and Kanpalet are located close to the central part of Burma, they are far from the Indian border compared to the northern district centres. Paletwa, located at the Southwest of Chin state, has poor ways and means of transportation. Therefore, there are only a few refugees and immigrants from southern people of Chins in Mizoram, compared to the northern peoples. Most of the Chin refugees are from northern and central part of Chin state and from Sagaing division.

Settlement
For entering India, there are several check gates in the border area, but foreigners’ entry is not totally restricted as India is a democratic country. Moreover, due to the facial similarity between Chins and Mizos, it is very difficult to identify foreigners. In the police stations, there are cases registered against the foreigners for being in Mizoram without legal documents. There is no legal document issued to the Chins, such as temporary visiting permit or residential permit. But the Chins don’t have much difficulty in entering Mizoram state. According to the State Home Minister’s report, 901 Burmese were deported to Burma during 1999. Moreover, hundreds of Chins are stopped and pushed back everyday from Champhai, which is the main entrance to Mizoram for Chins.

From 1988 to 1994, there had been a refugee camp in Champhai, which is 20 kms from the Burma border. But that is no more. Thereafter, there have been no refugee camps or registration offices in Mizoram state. Hence, refugees seek their own shelter using their own means.

According to the Chin tradition, begging is a shameful act. As such, even as refugees, the Chins do not beg or ask for help from the Mizoram people, but try to survive by their own means.

As mentioned above, most Chin refugees from Sagaing division, Kukis and some other Chin tribes go to Manipur state of India, especially to Lamka district of Manipur state. Lamka district was originally owned by the Chin people. And from Tidim and Tawnzang districts of Chin state, people also go to Manipur, which is geographically and ethnically close to the land and the people.

People of various sub-tribes from Kale Valley of Sagaing division, Tidim, Tawnzang and Falam districts of northern Chin state go to places in northern Mizoram such as Champhai and Aizawl districts. The people from Tidim and Tawnzang who call themselves ‘Zomi’, speak the same language as that of the Zomi language in Mizoram and Manipur. There are some tribes in Mizoram state that are the same as Zomi tribes of Chin state. Falam people easily speak Mizo language because Falam language is close to Mizo language. Moreover, Hualngo tribe of Falam speaks the same Mizo language of Mizoram state. Falam people call themselves ‘Laimi’, but there are several sub-tribes such as Laizo, Tlaisun, Zangiat, Sim, Zahau, Hualngo etc. Likewise, there are sub-tribes among the Zomi – Paite, Sihzin etc.

Most of the people from Haka, Thlantlang and Matupi districts go to middle and southern part of Mizoram i.e. Saiha, Lunglei, Lawngtlai districts. In the villages of the border area, there is a concentration of Chin refugees, since most of the refugee families settle there so that they can easily get the kind of work (farming and cultivation) they are already familiar with. According to a council member of a border village in Champhai district, there are 60 Chin refugee families in one particular village. In some places, the local people share their land with the refugees for cultivation. As there is no refugee resettlement programme, nor a registration office that restricts the movement of the refugees in Mizoram state, many people move around the state wherever they can get jobs for their survival. The refugees and the local Mizo people do not use the term ‘refugee’, since they find it strange. Also, for the sake of their own security, the refugees try to be assimilated by the local Mizo people as soon as they settle within Mizoram.

In the southern part of Mizoram, there is one district called Lai district, which is occupied by the same tribes as those which inhabit Haka and Thlantlang districts of Chin, and they speak the same language and have the same social customs and culture. Therefore, most of the refugees go to Lai district areas where they are welcomed and are not identified by the Mizo people. At the same time, in Saiha, Lawngtlai and Lunglei area, there are groups of people who are closely related to Haka and Thlantlang and Matupi peoples, which opens opportunities for many refugees. From the southern part of Chin also the refugees go mostly to the southern part of Mizoram due to geographical and ethnic proximity.

This ethnic relationship makes way for the Chin refugees to live not as refugees, but to be assimilated by the local Mizo people. The Mizo people also accept them as their own race, but do not treat them as one of their own, because of the differences in language and social status. Most of the Chin refugees do not fight for anything except food for survival. They do not approach the Mizo people for help as refugees, but try to be like the Mizos themselves. As a result they do not want to identify themselves as refugees and hide themselves from the authorities. Thus, the refugees are spread throughout the state and almost every village has some Chin refugees. This makes it difficult to collect any information about the Chins in Mizoram, and prevents any attention to be focussed on their issue.
Chapter Seven : Data based information about Chin refugees in Mizoram

( Collected by FRIENDS OF BURMA, NEW DELHI )

The Chin Refugees are living in several towns and villages in Mizoram, India. Generally the research indicated three districts : Aizawl district, Lunglei district and Chimtuipui district. And the data was collected from the three main district areas mentioned above and 42 villages of those districts. And it was collected from 5047 refugees individually from their own places.
The following information is based on data analysis :
1. Number of people : 5047
Number of females : 2018
Number of males : 3029
2. Ratio
Age Group Number of people
Percentage
1-5 935 18.5%
6-10 858 17.0%
11-15 670 13.3%
16-21 884 17.5%
22-30 1405 27.9%
31-45 909 80.0%
46-59 257 5.0%
Above 60 86 1.7%
3. Names of places/villages where Chins come from Chinland.
There are 10 districts and 269 villages where Chins come from: Eight district areas from Chin state - Matupi, Thlantlang, Haka, Falam, Tidim, Tonzang, Paletwa and Mindat, and two district areas from Sagaing division - Tamu and Kale Myo. The refugees are from these ten district areas.
1. Villages/Districts which seem to be the common entry point for Chins into Mizoram, India.
There are five district areas : Aizawl, Lunglei, Champhai, Saiha and Lawngtlai. There are also 42 villages from where the data was collected.

5. Common reasons for coming to India.
-Afraid of military rule
-Against Burmese government/rule
-Burma is not a democracy
-Fear of arrest by SLORC government
-Opposition to SLORC government
-Because their life is not safe in Burma
-Due to political turmoil in Burma
-Due to economic hardship in Burma
-Due to tax by Chin National Front (C.N.F.) and Burmese army
-Due to human rights violations
-Due to religious discrimination
-Due to involvement in 1988 uprising
-Wanted by SLORC army
-Due to involvement in democratic movement
-Martial law is dangerous
-To avoid arrest by the army
-To evade forced labour
6. The three most common reasons :
i) To evade forced labour
ii) Participated in pro-democracy movement
iii) Due to bad administration by the government
7. Number of people who have come to Mizoram with their families : 1083 - 21.4%
Number of people who have come alone: 334 - 6.6%
8. Number of people married :1035 - 20.5%
Number of people unmarried : 444 - 8.8%
9. Number of people employed: 524 - 10.4 %
Number of people unemployed: 1004 - 20.0%
10. Nature of jobs that refugees do:
Blacksmith, Bookseller, Broker, Business Commission, Construction Worker (building), Construction Worker (road), Bicycle Repairing, Carpenter, Church Evangelist, Cultivation, Daily Labour, Distributing Newspapers, Driver(private car, private truck, ferry boat), Electrician, Farmer, Goldsmith, Hair dresser, Handloom Weaver, Hawker, Housemaid, Knitting, Labour, Mechanic, Meat-seller, Nursing, Photography, Private business, Private school teacher, Private tuition, Motor-repairing, Self-employed, Shifting cultivation, Shoe repairing, Shop-keeper, Subcontractor, Tailoring, Tea stall owner, Tea stall waiter, Radio-Repairing, Vegetable grower/ hawker, Wage earner, Waiter in restaurant, Watch repairing, Weaving, Church ministry.
11. Educational background
Number of people with primary school education: 471 -8.9 %
Number of people with middle school education : 471 -8.9 %
Number of people with high school education : 309 -7.7 % Number of people with college education : 42
Number of people who have attended a university: 29
12. Different skills of refugees :
Evangelism, Farming, Carpentry, Cooking Chinese Food, Cultivation, Driving, Electronics, Photography, Hand Labouring, Handloom Weaving, Home-maid, Knitting, Mechanic, Nursing, Tailoring, Teaching, Watch repairing, Weaving.
13. Brackets of income per month:
Rs. 20 : 1
Rs. 85 : 2
Rs. 200-400 : 43
Rs.540-500 : 126
Rs. 550-600 : 6
Rs. 600-1000 : 944
Rs. 1000-1500 : 267
Rs. 1600-2000 : 26
Rs. 2000-2700 : 6
Rs.4000 : 1
Rs.5000 : 3
Rs. 7000 : 1
Rs.10,000 : 1
14. Religions and Denominations :
A.B.N. (4-0.08%), Assembly of God ( 45-9%), Apostal ( 1-0.01%), Baptist ( 853-17% ),Buddhist ( 1-0.1% ), C.C.I.(N) ( 222-4.4% ), Catholic ( 21-41%),Church of Jesus Christ(16-31%),C.R.C.( 2-04%),Evangelical Church of Mara Land( 23-.45%),E.G. ( 2-.04%),E.P.C(5-.09%),E.P.L(1-01%),Free Methodist ( 4-.08%),Gospel Baptist ( 3-.05%), Holy Net (2-.04%),Isua Krista Kohran( 26-.51%),J.C.C ( 3-.05%), Jehovah's Witness ( 10),Jewish(1), Khrista Kohhran ( 2-.04%), Laipianism (1-.01%),Lairam Baptist (2-.04%),Lalchhungkua( 1-.01%), Methodist(35-.69%),P.C.M.(1-.01%),Presbyterian (297-5.8%),R.C.M.( 3-.05%), Reform (2-.04%),REN(1-.01%),Seven Day Adventist (26-.51%), Sabbath (17-.33%),Salvation Army(19-.31%), Thuthlungfa (14-.27%), United Pentecostal Church(88-1.7%), Zoram Baptist(1-.01%).
15. Number of people who are members of church : 1118-22.15%
Number of people who are not members of church : 276-5.5%
16. Number of people who have health problems : 337-6.6%
Number of people who do not have health problems : 1212-24%
17. Number of people who go to government hospital : 1473-29.18%
Number of people who go to local clinic for health problems : 17-0.33%
Number of people who go to private clinic for health problems : 54-1.06%
18. List of illnesses :
Abdomen, Asthma, Backache, High-Blood pressure, Low-Blood pressure, Blindness, Chest Pain, Cough (Vomiting blood),Deafness, Dizziness, Ear problem, Epilepsy, Eye defect/problem, Fever, Gastric problem/ulcer, Genetic problem, Headache, Heart Problem, Injury in shoot out, Jaundice, Kidney problem, Malaria, Nose problem, Piles, Stomach ache/pain, Swelling in the eye, leg and hand, Sciatica, Tuberculosis, Typhoid.
19. The most common diseases :
Malaria, Stomach ache/Ulcer.
20. Staple meal of the Chins : Rice, Vegetable, Maize.
21. Number of times Chins eat in a day : two times ( morning and evening )
22. Number of Chins who want to go back to Chinland : 1477-29.2%.
23. Number of Chins who do not want to go back to Chinland : 78-1.5%.
24. The number of Chin refugees is approximately as follows :
1) Aizawl district-total villages 38 -23740 refugees
2) Lunglei district-total villages 53-9720 refugees
3) Chimtuipui district-total villages 55-7270 refugees
Total = 40,730.
25. The distances of Aizawl to some towns
-Aizawl to Lunglei - 1 day/night by Bus
-Aizawl to Saiha - 1 day/night by Bus
-Aizawl to Champhai -1 day/night by Bus
-Lunglei to Lawngtlai - 1/2 day by Bus
-Lawngtlai to Saiha - 1/2 day by Bus

CONCLUSION
Three most common reasons for coming to India :
i) To evade forced labour
ii) Participate in the pro-democracy movement
iii) Due to political turmoil and bad administration by the government

Reasons for not leaving India :
i) Afraid of Burmese Army
ii) Afraid of being arrested
iii) Life/Family will be in danger
iv) No freedom in Burma

There is a marginal preponderance of males in the composition data of the migrants. The large number of children indicates a high birth rate, but the general health leaves a lot to be desired; not many people live beyond 60.
The employment statistics are dissatisfactory, and the primary reason, I felt, is the discrepancy between the training the refugees have received, and nature of employment that is available to them, i.e., the Chins are skilled in mechanical and domestic spheres, whereas the opportunities available in India are really in the labor category. The remuneration is paltry. The social activists and voluntary organizations need to concentrate and generating awareness about themselves, as such the situation doesn't took hopeful, with only 7 people having approached them for help. The aid supplied to them by the government agencies and others has been sporadic, insufficient and negligible. The health organizations need to work hard since the incidence of disease is high, and health care is mainly sought with the government agencies. The sanitation and hygiene have to be improved since the illnesses are mainly water-borne. Government indifference and disease have made India a desirable option in only as much as it means life as opposed to death in Burma, due to government atrocities. Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority wants to go back. Awareness and extreme dedication is necessary on the part of voluntary organizations to successfully rehabilitate the Chins.




MAP!!
CHAPTER EIGHT : CATEGORIES OF CHINS IN MIZORAM

MIZORAM AT A GLANCE :
Total Area : 21,087 sq.kms.
Rural : 20,761 sq.kms.
Urban :325,37sq.kms.
Population : 6,89,756
Male :3,58,978
Female :3,30,778
Sex Ratio :921 female per 1000 male
Density of population: 33 per sq.km.
Literacy rate: 87.49%
Languages spoken: Mizo & English

No of assembly constituencies : 40
No of seats in Parliament : 2


DISTRICTS:

AIZAWL
Head Quarter : Aizawl
Area: 12,581 sq.kms.
Population:4,78,465.

LUNGLEI
Head Quarter: Lunglei
Area: 4,563 sq.km.
Population : 1,11,415

CHHIMTUIPUI
Head quarter: Saiha
Area: 3,957 Sq.Kms.
Population: 99,876



It has international borders with Chin state of Myanmar on the east and south 404 km. long
Religions : Christians (83.81%), Buddhist(8.19%), Hindu(7%) and Muslim(0.45%)

General Categories
The total number of Chins in Mizoram is not known, so we can only generally categorise them. The Chins themselves do not know how many of them are living in Mizoram, and the state government and local authorities also do not have a list of the Chins in Mizoram. The ethnic relationship between the Chins and Mizos plays an important role in ensuring that many Chins are assimilated by the society, and not identified as Chins or illegally entered foreigners. Moreover, since the initial decades after the independence of India, many Chins who have come to Mizoram become Mizo local citizens. While Mizos and Chins are historically the same ethnic generation, being composed of sub-tribes of the same group, Chin is the officially recognised name for the group of people in Burma. The Chins who have recently come to Mizoram can be categorised into three : Refugees, Migrants and Temporary visitors. But the exact number cannot be figured out because the Chins are scattered throughout almost all villages and towns in Mizoram state. No departmental office or organisation has any record about the entry of Chin people into Mizoram. But the presence of Chin refugees, migrants and temporary visitors is undeniable, as is proved by their very presence in Mizoram.

Category one : Refugees
Some people may deny the existence of Chin refugees in Mizoram. In this research paper, based on primary as well as secondary information, these people are termed as refugees not according to how the state or central government or local people treat them, or what the refugees claim about their status. It is based on the reasons for and causes of the Chins leaving their home country and seeking refuge in Mizoram. In 1994, one of the Chin political leaders claimed to the UNO office that there are more than 40,000 Chin refugees in Mizoram state; former Art and Culture of Mizoram state said that there are about 60,000 Chin refugees in Mizoram; the South Asian Human Rights Documentation centre recorded that there are more than 40,000 Chin refugees are in Mizoram. Moreover, according to some of the Chin leaders in Mizoram there are more than one lakh Chins in Mizoram, but they do not clarify the categories of the Chins. So the presence of the Chin refugees in Mizoram is undeniable.
There are many Chins who try to be assimilated into Mizo society and do not want to identify themselves as Burmese-Chin refugees. They seek only those benefits that the Mizos might share if they live like Mizos. But many of the Chins who have assimilated into the Mizo society, according to the research, are willing to go back to Burma when Burma opens the way for them and practices democratic rule. The people who have assimilated into the Mizo society might have better privilege to live and mingle with the Mizo local people. There are many Chins whose presence is not recognised and registered by any local or state government. They live as ignored refugees without being the object of concern of any government or non-governmental organisation.

The reasons for these people becoming refugees are political turmoil and bad administration, forced labour, human rights violations, social and religious discrimination in Burma. Though the refugees live without the attention of any governmental or non-governmental organisation, according to the refugees’ response to the research, it is much better for them in Mizoram than to be treated brutally, even to the point of death, in Burma. This category of Chins, the refugees, deserves and needs international intervention and global concern.

There are many reasons for the Chins not claiming their refugee rights and requesting assistance from the state government or any NGO. Firstly, the Chin refugees do not have the adequate education needed to know their essential and basic rights as human beings, whether in their original citizenship or in their refugee status. Having lived in fear of the rulers, under constant oppression, and with no access to education, the refugees do not have the courage to ask for anything beyond what is given to them. Moreover, there has been no refugee- and migrant- assistance programme in Mizoram, hence the refugees have to struggle on their own for their livelihood. Knowing that there is no benefit to claim as refugees, no one is willing to identify themselves as refugees.
Secondly, the way they are treated by the Mizoram government and the local people discourage them from claiming their refugee status. Any foreigner can be arrested by the state police according to the Foreigner Act. According to the Home Minister's report, in 1999, 901 Burmese were deported to Burma. Moreover, especially in rural areas, the local people do not want to hear the word 'REFUGEE', so that if anybody is a refugee then (s)he is supposed to be treated worse than ordinary mankind. Therefore, any Chin who has come into Mizoram hides the fact of his or her entry into the state. Not only does the state government have no immigrant- and refugee-assistance or - resettlement programme, but also they do not question why the refugees have come to Mizoram, leaving their own homes. Instead, whenever and wherever any Burmese or Chin is arrested, (s)he is treated as an illegally entered foreigner and is liable to deportation. This made the Chin refugees hide their presence in Mizoram state of India. In such circumstances, if any Chin refugee identifies himself or herself as a refugee to the local and state authority, (s)he is liable to be arrested or ill-treated and also has to face alienation by the local people. Apart from the fact that they do not receive any assistance, it is also dangerous to identify oneself as a refugee in Mizoram. For these reasons people keep silent about their presence as refugees in Mizoram.
Most of the refugees live in rural areas where they can get jobs that they are already familiar with i.e. farming, cultivation, woodcutting, road construction etc. Whether they are in towns or villages, the Chin refugees are scattered all over Mizoram. Even if the refugees do not claim to be refugees, and are not regarded as such by any NGO or other group, the facts as related by them proves that they are REFUGEES in English language, and in Burmese language DUKKHAHTE. Their lives are in danger in Burma and now they have sought temporary refuge in Mizoram State of India. They will surely go back to their home country, Burma, when their lives are no longer under threat by the military regime.

Category Two : Migrants
If ‘migrants’ are defined as people who move from one place to another of their own free will, to reside permanently in their final destination, because they are unable to satisfy their human needs in their original place of residence, or as people who have no place of residence at all, and move to another place or country, then there are no such Chins in Mizoram state of India. The Chins have their own inherited land, which is enough to satisfy their needs, but they are compelled to leave their homeland against their will by the brutal oppression of the military regime. But this category includes the Chins who have left their homes and entered Mizoram without the appropriate documents, or without undergoing the proper legal procedure, and have stayed in Mizoram for an unlimited period of time, without having any sharp contentions with the Burmese soldiers under the military regime’s administration. These people can even go back to Burma, but are not willing to go back under any circumstances. Though the exact number of Chins in this category is not known, they are definitely lesser in number than the first category of Chins.
It is worth giving some consideration to the reason why the Chins migrated to Mizoram. It is not that Mizoram is richer in natural resources and agricultural products or modern industrialised products; Chin land in Burma is much richer in natural resources and in agricultural products.
And it is not because of the peace and order in the society, for the Chins have no enemy within an outside; they live peacefully with other ethnic groups of Burma, as it is in Mizoram in India. And it is not because of any dearness of the Chins to Mizos, as the Chins traditionally prefer to live within their own society, without being disturbed by any outsider or disturbing any neighbouring group. Moreover, when they are in Mizoram the Chins are socially ill-treated by the Mizo local people though they accept the ethnic relationship between them. Therefore, all Chins who have left their own land are directly or indirectly affected by the political turmoil under the military regime.
But ‘migrant’ is the term the local Mizo people use and the refugees prefer to use to refer to themselves. So that they can hope to become part of the local people, even as they themselves try to be assimilated by the Mizo society, hoping to be treated well by the Mizo people within Mizo society.


CATEGORY THREE : Temporary visitors
In this category, businessmen and women, labourers and visitors are included. As hundreds of Chins cross the border every day, going to and fro, this category contains a large number of people. There are traders who bring foreign goods from Burma and carry Indian goods back to Burma. There are some people who used to come to Mizoram, work for a while and go back to Burma; among them are included labourers, wood cutters, handloom weavers, road construction labourers etc. These people have no problem getting in and out of Burma and India. These people mostly reside temporarily in urban areas where they can conduct their business and sales. But woodcutters, road construction labourers etc. work in jungle areas. For them there is no problem within Burma and in India even if they are deported to Burma that is simply to send them back to their country. It is usual in every international border that people going and coming to and fro cross the boundary. Therefore, it is necessary to give due consideration to why the Chins left their country, and not to treat all Chins alike in India.

CHAPTER NINE : CATEGORIES OF CHIN REFUGEES
IN MIZORAM
In this chapter the Chin refugees are categorised according to the reasons that caused them to leave their home country. There are mainly two causes : Political turmoil and Human Rights Violations.

FIRST CATEGORY : Political Refugees
Even before the recent Burma democratic movement, there had been some Chin political refugees sheltering in Mizoram state of India. But during this last decade (1990-2000), the number of Chin political refugees has increased to thousands. The term political refugee is used for the people who have had to leave their home/mother country due to their political opinions and their involvement in any political activity, and have had to seek refuge in another country. Chin people have believed that federal democratic rule is the best and the only policy by which the union country may be governed without ethnical conflict among the different peoples of Burma. The Chins openly expressed their political opinion in the 1988 public demonstration against the military dictatorship. They demanded federal democratic rule as the only acceptable and possible policy, which would govern the nation with peace and order. Moreover, in the 1990 national election, in Chin state mostly Chin democratic parties won the contested seats for Parliament. This was a strong expression of the people's political opinion. But the brutal reaction of the military regime resulted in thousands of Chins leaving their home town.
Apart from this, the present Chin national political movement within and outside Chin state has caused thousands of Chins to leave their home country and seek refuge in India. In trying to uproot any opposition and supporters of the democratic movement, the military dictators put many Chin leaders, politicians, and even pastors and religious leaders in jail. There are no rights to express one's political opinion at all if it is against the ruling dictators. Though the Chins in Burma, under fear of the military regime, do not openly indulge in any political activity against the ruling party, many are arrested on suspicion. The Chins who are exiled in Mizoram are unable to continue their political activity due to lack of assistance, either from any outsider or from the place they have sought refuge in. The exceptions to this are a few hundreds of Chins who have sought refuge in Delhi under UNHCR protection, as they receive subsistence allowance and medical aid. The Chin political exiles, especially, in Mizoram state of India receive no assistance from the Mizoram state government or the local people and NGOs. Therefore, many of them exiled in Mizoram face severe financial difficulties in earning a livelihood and in sending their children to school. While the Chins who are exiled in western countries receive much better privileges. In USA, Australia, Switzerland etc. they receive financial assistance and other privileges for education and employment. Therefore, the Chin political asylum seekers who are exiled in Mizoram have to struggle for their own survival and keep their presence in India a secret, as the state and central government have no similar assistance programme, either for aid or for legal protection. The political asylum seekers also work together with the migrants and temporary visitors, therefore many people cannot distinguish between political refugees/asylum seekers and migrants and temporary visitors. In such circumstances it is not easy to find out the numerical figure for the three categories of the Chins in Mizoram state of India. It requires a longer and bigger project, with further research giving the details about the Chin refugees of Mizoram state. But the certain information that can be given here is that these refugees left their home country due to life-threatening oppression under the military dictator's martial law and that they are subject to be jailed with unlimited sentence or even execution under the powerful martial law.

SECOND CATEGORY : Human Rights Violation Refugees :
Most of the Chin refugees fall in this category, since the majority left their country to evade forced labour, portering, and social and religious discrimination and persecution which led to economic starvation and moral frustration. Forced labour is a threat to public life as it consumes their time, money, energy, materials and usurps the rights of the public and destroys family welfare. Not only are they forced to work without any pay or compensation, but also they are badly treated at the work place. They are forced to work beyond their capacity and ability to do hard labour. Many are beaten and wounded in their work place, which ruins their health, and they are no longer able to work for their family when they return home. And if any one cannot go for forced labour, then that family has to pay money worth the labour. If it is not possible for them to pay, then that family is tortured. Likewise, many left their home due to social and religious discrimination as mentioned in the previous chapter. The public is forced to offer not only their labour but also materials for army camp construction, road construction and any other departmental housing and development project. Especially in rural areas, whenever soldiers go around the place on patrol, the public has to give them food and lodging. Rice, meat, vegetables etc. are given by the public to the soldiers without getting anything in return. While the people face food scarcity, they have to feed soldiers who are many in number. In some places, like Lungler of Thantlang township, Tibual of Falam township etc. the people used to carry water in their own buckets or water jars every day for the army. This was in places where the army built their camps on the top of the hills where there was no vehicle to carry water.
Thus the people are forced to do anything demanded by the army, and any failure to do so would be immediately and severely punished. They are treated as less than human, which leads to thousands of Chin going to live in exile in Mizoram. But those people whose moral rights have been violated are caught in an inferiority complex and are morally downcast. As a result, even in their exiled state they live in fear of any authority and lack the knowledge of their own rights as human beings. They never ask or demand anything for their own benefit from any body, and struggle for themselves even to the point of death. Therefore, if anybody shows concern for his or her fellow human beings who live in sub-human conditions, then the Chin exiles in Mizoram deserve it. And anybody who is concerned for the Chin exiles in Mizoram should keep in mind the Indian central government's refugee policy and the attitude of the local Mizo people toward the exiles.
CHAPTER TEN : HOW DO THE REFUGEES SURVIVE
IN MIZORAM?

The kinship between Mizos and Chins plays an important role in the status of Chin refugees in Mizoram. Though there is no assistance programme for refugees and they themselves struggle, each for his/her own survival, many are soon assimilated to the Mizo society. This happens more easily for the Chins than any other refugees in Mizoram state, like Chakma refugees whose society, culture and religion are different from that of the Mizos. The local Mizo people welcome Chin refugees for employment as hired servants, and many are accepted by the local community, especially educated and talented persons who would be useful to Mizo society. But most of the refugees work in return for low wages, which are not sufficient for their livelihood. There are several types of work that the refugees do, but only a few sample types of work that most refugees do in Mizoram are given below :

1) Labourers :
In this category people who do several types of hard labours are included. Such as road construction labourers, building construction labourers, wood cutting labourers, handloom weavers, housemaids, house servants.

i) Road construction labourers :
Many labourers who work on road construction and repairing are either daily-wage labourers, earning Rs.50 to 80 per day, or contract labourers under sub-contractors. Single labourers don't usually have rented rooms, but move around the work place and depend on the employers. Most of the married labourers have temporarily rented rooms for their family. This type of work is temporary because of which the labourers face problems. The people have to move from place to place searching for jobs, which is a big hardship for them. The worse part is that after they have done the work, they have to wait until the government department releases the bill to the contractor before getting their wages. While they wait, they lose their time and money.
In order to give an idea of how the labourers survive, some clues of their wages and the prices of goods they consume are given here.
Approximately, labourers earn Rs.800 to Rs.1500 per month. Some prices of goods that are daily consumed by labourers :
Rice : 1Kg Rs.12 to 16
Meat : Beef, Pork, 1Kg Rs.100.00
Chicken, Fish
Tomato : 1Kg Rs.20.00 to 30.00
Potato : 1Kg Rs.8.00 to 10.00
Cabbage : 1Kg Rs.7.00 to 10.00
Egg : (Farm Egg) 1 Rs.2.00
Local Egg 1 Rs.5.00
Tea : 1 Cup Rs.2.00
Milk : 1 Lit. Rs.30.00

Chins eat twice in a day. The Chin people mainly eat rice and vegetables. The labourers especially eat more rice; one person approximately eats 20 to 25 kgs per month. And the labourers who have families rent houses, which cost Rs.800 to Rs.1500 per month. Therefore, most of the labourers can hardly survive, especially those who have families.
For medical care, though the refugees can go to the government hospital and clinic, they have to buy all medicines from private drugstores. There is no relief programme or any assistance for the refugees. Therefore, this group of labourers lives as the poorest social class in Mizoram. Most of the road construction labourers are Burmese-Chins and Vais (Dumkas). But Dumkas are permanent labourers whom the government pays a salary on a monthly basis. Since Burmese Chin labourers work under the Mizo sub-contractors without any security, many labourers are exploited.

The problem this type of labourers face :
They are only partly working employees, not fully employed. These labourers are not adequately employed, since they have to shift from one place to another and from one employer to another. The work they find is only temporary. On one hand, there is no provision for medical aid in their work place, on the other hand, the people working in the jungle areas have to work without mosquito nets. These areas are thick with malaria-bearing mosquitoes, and most of these workers fall ill with malaria, the effects of which last for several years. They are unable to have a proper diet sufficient for their physical vitality. Since they have no social and legal protection, the Mizoram state police catch them and put them into lock-ups, where they have to either pay a fine or face deportation. They live in fear of the authorities and under the pressure of economic starvation. Moreover, another problem they face is of not getting their wages on time, or sometimes not getting them at all, when someone cheats them. While waiting to receive their dues, the labourers have to spend their money and wait a long time, which results in many young labourers becoming morally dejected.
Under these pressures many young Chins become hopeless and helpless wanderers, and are compelled to do anything at all which can earn them some money for their survival. This is one reason that many Chins become wine (Rice-wine, made by rice fermentation) producers, which is totally prohibited in Mizoram. According to the Excise Department report, 60% to 80% of wine producers are Burmese-Chins, who first tried to find jobs, but turned to illegal wine production when they failed to find other means of survival. This group of people has no government or organisation which is concerned about their problems in their work place or their livelihood. They have no way of escaping from the kind of work they do, except to continue till they die or are stopped by the authorities by being put into jail. This labour group does not join any of the social and religious rituals of the local community, since they are looked down upon.

ii) Wood cutters:
This labour group is similar to the first group. They mostly work in jungle areas where most of them get malaria. They work under private employers. They earn a good income, between Rs. 1000.00 and Rs. 2000.00 per month. But their basic food expenditure is also higher, since it is hard work.
iii) Handloom Weavers :
Most handloom weavers are females. They live at their work place and do weaving, cooking, eating, and sleeping within a very congested room. In some places, they sleep on their handloom machines. The place is not hygienic, the rooms in most of the place are open space where more than 10 to 15 handloom machines are kept together in one small room. They work from early morning 5 or 6 a.m. until 9 or 10 p.m. every day. These labourers earn Rs. 800 to Rs. 1500, depending on the skill of the worker.
iv) Farmers :
Here ‘farmers’ means the agricultural employees who work mainly in cultivation areas. Especially the refugees who settle in village areas do farming. Most of the refugees are familiar with cultivation work in the village areas, because the way Chins in Burma and Mizos in India cultivate rice and vegetables is the same. Most agricultural areas still use the traditional method of cultivation, whether in Chin state of Burma or in Mizoram state of India.
The acceptance of the local people is limited in that they (refugees) can stay in the village, but do not get any assistance from the local authority or people. The people do no share with them any government supply, such as rations. As such, the refugees mostly depend on their daily wage labour. They do not have any government or organisation to which they can place their demands or to whom they can turn to when they are ill-treated. As such, the refugees live in fear.
v) Housemaids (house servants)
Housemaids are mostly temporary visitors who have come from Burma. They work for a while and then go back to Burma. But many refugees are also working as house servants, though usually they do not claim to be refugees. They work mostly in urban areas and have a close relationship with their employers. They earn mostly Rs.500 per month but they don't have any opportunity for improving their social lives, since what they earn is not enough to be used for further improvement. Most of house servants are between 15 and 30 years old and they are mostly females. According to the survey, there are many teenagers who have been working as house servants but are willing to take any other vocational training for their future careers. After they marry, they can no longer work as house servants and have to change their profession and earn their livelihood by any possible way. But these labourers have a more comfortable lifestyle compared to other labourers, because they eat and stay in their employers' houses. But the work is a form of slavery.
The problems this type of labourers face :
As most of them are female workers, they have no security or any assistance for their future career. Once they get married they can no longer work as housemaids. They can be fired for any reason without any compensation. As long as they can work well they can earn their livelihood but have no provision for the future, when they are ill or old. Since they live in a state of near-slavery, they have no opportunity to develop themselves. The best of them may continue as housemaids till the end of their lives, without marrying. But the unfortunate ones face economic starvation in their homeless, hopeless and helpless state. Some even had to suffer ill treatment within their local community. Therefore, they need delivering hands in order to escape from their situation.

2) Drivers :
There are many Chin drivers who are working in Mizoram. They have much better chance than other labourers do to mingle with the Mizo people and for developing themselves morally and financially. There are taxi drivers, private vehicle drivers and truck drivers, etc. Most of them earn Rs.1500 per month. They can eat and live at their employer's house. These drivers and home servants have a much better deal with their employers, and are protected from the police by their employers many times. Therefore, drivers and house servants are the safest refugees in Mizoram, as long as they are hidden by their employers and are under their protection. They have access to the local community through their employers in case of an emergency. They easily learn the Mizo language and mingle with them.
3) Sellers:
There are many Chin sellers, hawkers and business commissioners in Mizoram. Most of the migrants and temporary visitors take up this kind of job. It requires an ability to speak in Mizo language and to be assimilated into the Mizo society. This type of work is done both in villages and in towns. They have no suitable shops in market places, but sell their goods on the roadside while some others sell them house to house. These labourers earn around Rs.1000 to Rs.2000 per month, but their income is not regular. Many refugees who do this type of work live in great poverty, especially those who live with a family face financial difficulty in surviving. Many are unable to send their children to school and cannot meet their basic expenditure.

CONCLUSION :
Apart from the above mentioned sample types of labour, there are thousands of Chins who do the lowest types of jobs with the poorest income, which is below the basic daily expenditure for survival. In chapter seven many different types of work that the Chin refugees engaged are mentioned. The details of these jobs cannot be given in this chapter. But the manner in which the refugees survive in Mizoram can be generally described: as there is no aid, assistance program, or resettlement program for Chin refugees in Mizoram, the refugees themselves struggle by their own methods to earn enough for survival. As a result of their poverty, they are undernourished. Their impoverished appearance and dejection draws them back from mingling freely with the Mizo people, who have high social self esteem. The refugees live in very congested rooms and eat poorly, which is not conducive to good health. Thus most of the refugees have health problems, the most common sicknesses being malaria and stomach pain and headache. Not only is their income below their essential daily living expenditure, but also job opportunities for them are very limited. They are not fully employed, most of them are only partly employed. Therefore just to earn enough for their survival is a daily struggle. Faced with the prospect of starvation, they engage in illegal activities (wine production, drug peddling) which causes conflict and hatred between the Chins and Mizos. Since they do not have any legal protection, they have to hide their identity as refugees; even if they are ill-treated, they have to be silent under fear of being produced in the court. Thus, the Chin refugees live in sub-human conditions, without any government, organisation or law recognising their presence.
CHAPTER ELEVEN : THE MAIN PROBLEMS AND
NEEDS OF REFUGEES

The main problems of refugees :

i) Legal and social insecurity :
As the Chin refugees in Mizoram are living as ignored refugees, without any legal registration, recognition or protection, they need legal and social protection. Many refugees live in fear of both the state and local authority. Since they have no legal residential permit, they are liable to be arrested and put into jail or fined or deported, which makes their status unstable and fearful. Moreover, knowing their illegal status, their employers or the local people can exploit them in the local area and in their work places. Therefore the lives of refugees are legally and socially insecure in Mizoram state of India.
ii) Limited job opportunities and unstable labour status :
For their survival, Chin refugees depend on hard labour under private employers. They work without guarantee or security in case of exploitation, accident, sickness, dismissal, even death, and in the case of fluctuation in labour wages. The labourers have no right to speak or move according to their own will, but their destiny depends upon their employers. Therefore, they can be expelled at any time for any cause, and can be exploited and mistreated. The refugees have no place to go to if they want to demand their rights. Moreover, the kinds of jobs the refugees can get are limited. Since they basically survive on temporary and hard labour, they have to shift from one employer to another and one place to another, searching for jobs. They cannot take up any permanent jobs. While waiting and searching for jobs, the refugees face difficulties for their daily survival. They have to live by digging into their savings, or by borrowing from their nearest and dearest. They pay them back when they get their wages from the next job. Moreover, some labourers take some amount of money in advance, which is cut from their wages. Thus, many live with debts that they may not be able to pay back. One of the worst things is that after the work is over, the labourers have to wait for their wages until the employer get his bills cleared by the government, or has enough money to pay his or her employees. While waiting for their wages they have to spend on their daily needs. Many cannot wait for their wages and leave without receiving any money for the services they rendered. In many areas, the refugee labourers get less than the Mizo labourers do for the same work. In their work place any Burmese labourer is looked down upon and mocked at, so that in many places if they ask for their wages, the employer points out to the labourers their illegal status in Mizoram state to silence them from demanding their wages.
As the refugee labourers have no permanent residence, they stay at their work places. For example, the road construction labourers stay by the roadside and the woodcutters stay near their work places in the jungle, which is not a healthy practice. Even when they fall ill, they have no place to rest, but depend on their relatives and friends who are also working. Whatever they spend for their medical treatment has to be paid from their wages, because of which many cannot afford proper medical care when they fall ill. They have no proper shelter, food or drinking water. In Mizoram jungle area malaria-carrying mosquitoes are many, and most of the jungle labourers suffer from malaria. When they fall ill, they are fired from the jobs and cannot get any other work. In such conditions, the labourers work to their maximum capacity to earn their daily food, with limited opportunities. In an emergency, they have no government or organisations to turn to for help, but have to struggle on their own till their death. Therefore, there is no way to improve their living conditions unless some sympathiser intervenes for their social and economic upliftment.

iii) Financial Problems :
As they work depending on their own physical strength to earn their daily livelihood, the refugees are unable to earn enough for their basic needs. As a result, they have no opportunity to improve their lifestyle. They cannot afford proper food, which is essential for physical health, cannot afford medical care, do not have proper shelter, and cannot send their children to school. These conditions cause severe depression among the refugees. If they do not receive any assistance, they will remain the lowest class in Mizoram state of India.

iv) Social Problems :
Since the refugees have a very low standard of living, and do anything (including illegal businesses like wine production) to earn a livelihood, many are disliked and rejected by the local people. According to the Aizawl Excise Department report, while wine is totally prohibited in Mizoram State, 60% to 80% wine production workers are Burmese-Chins. Moreover, there are several crimes that the refugees, migrants and temporary visitors have committed in Mizoram. According to an unnamed source, even in Aizawl Central Jail there are many Burmese-Chin prisoners. And according to the RAHBI's daily newspaper which was broadcast by All India Radio, Aizawl on 20/1/2000, the Burmese people taught Mizo people many evil things and the presence of the Burmese had caused an increase in the number of criminal cases in Mizoram. Moreover, as Mizoram also has unemployment problems, the Mizo people do not want the foreigners to have any opportunity to work.
Therefore, any refugee, migrant or temporary visitor is not allowed to take up good posts in the business field. According to the 30th November, 1999 morning news aired by All India Radio, Aizawl, 20 shops run by Chins were closed down by the Young Mizo Association (YMA) in Lunglei and they were given a strong warning that if they reopen, they would be dealt with seriously. According to the President of Mizo Handloom Association, no Burmese (Chin) can become an entrepreneur owning a handloom machine. They are allowed to be only labourers, and not employers. Thus, the Mizo people do not allow them to possess any property or become any kind of employer.


NEEDS OF REFUGEES :
i) Legal and social protection :
The refugees need legal and social protection. Presently, they are treated as illegal foreigners who have come to Mizoram state for business purposes and better prospects for survival. The Mizoram state government and local authorities have never recognised the existence of Chin refugees who need and deserve such protection within their state. Therefore, all refugees, migrants and temporary visitors are treated alike, and are subject to the Foreigner Act. Therefore, many refugees live with the fear of the state and local government authorities and never speak up for their rights. Therefore, it is necessary to provide legal and social protection to the Chin refugees who left their inherited land due to ill-treatment by the military regime. They must have a right to live in exile in Mizoram state of India or in any other country. If India cannot host the Chin refugees in Mizoram state, then they should be provided the opportunity to go to a third country where they may find a sympathiser.
ii) Resettlement Programme :
If the Mizo people are bound by the international law of hospitality, then there should be a resettlement programme for the thousands of Chins wandering around Mizoram state of India. The state should relocate them to an appropriate place. It is not right to treat all Chins in Mizoram as the same. Some of the refugees deserve the state's concern and assistance for their lives in exile. And the Mizo people also should respect and honour whatever the state grants to the deserving refugees. If the Mizoram state government has no policy, no capacity, or willingness to host the refugees, then the state should give allow them to go to a third country.

iii) Job permits :
Knowing that the refugees do not have a legal job permit, any employer or local person can exploit the refugees. The state should give job permits to the recognised refugees so that they can also work and contribute towards the development of the state. According to Mizo tradition, it is improper to have a guest at home living in fear, without sufficient food and appropriate shelter. And the Mizo Christian leaders should look into who their neighbours are, whose problems and sufferings are listened to by the international community. If this human resource is managed properly, it can be utilised for state development projects. Therefore, the refugees should be given legal job permits and be allowed to work peacefully for Mizoram state. This way, the refugees can also state their status while the state also benefits by the contribution of the refugees. The refugees must be allowed to practice their skills for their own survival.

iv) Vocational Training :
Chin refugees are mostly uneducated and their skills are very limited. But they can be given several types of vocational training to improve their prospects. There are thousands of young Chins who would like to undergo vocational training but are unable to afford it due to their current financial and social status. If these young Chins are given appropriate and suitable vocational training, they will be able to make a better contribution to the state and also improve their living standard. For example : many young girls, who have been working as house servants, are willing to take tailoring training which can give them better prospects.
v) Educational Aids :
Many Chin refugees left their home country without adequate education. In their state of exile, they cannot pursue adequate education, which is necessary for their improvement. If they are granted educational aid, they can be educated. The Mizoram state government should allow the refugee children to continue their educational career within Mizoram. The state also should grant educational aid to the refugee children whose parents cannot afford the educational expenditure due to their low income. Moreover, the state should also permit non-governmental organisations to work towards helping refugee children and to conduct workshops for adult refugees.
vi) Medical Aid :
Due to financial difficulties and proper medical guidance, the refugees do not get proper medical treatment. Though they can go to government hospitals in towns, they have to buy all medicines with their own money, which is beyond the reach of their meagre income. Therefore, the refugees should have free clinics where they can get free medical treatment and medicines.
vii) Shelter :
Information centre or common place :
The homeless refugees do not have any place to go to and rest for a while in case of accident, sickness, financial emergencies, death, expulsion by the employer, and any other unexpected event. They should be provided a centre or information centre where they can obtain and give information to their nearest and dearest for help. For example : in August 1999, when Biak Hlei Lal, of Cekan, Kalemyo township, Sagaing division Burma was killed in Phunchang village, there was no place to keep his dead body. So we had to keep him outside Vaivakawn Police Station, Aizawl, while it was raining heavily. This was a matter of great shame for both the local people and the refugees. Therefore, there must be one common place for the refugees in each region where the refugees can obtain and give information and rest in an emergency.

viii) Assistance Programme :
There should be an authorised assistance programme for Chin refugees in Mizoram. The refugees should be issued suitable documents about their refugee status and given assistance and proper guidance for their lives in exile. To ignore the Chin refugees in Mizoram is to ignore the truth that the state should have an assistance programme for the refugees. Not having the ability to help the refugees is not a matter of shame, but it is shameful to ignore the truth about them.

ix) Relief Programme :
The relief programme must provide relief to the refugees who need help urgently due to inescapable circumstances in their lives in exile. For example, when Phunchawng village was burnt in the summer of 1999, the Chins were left without food, clothes, cooking vessels, or shelter. While the four Mizo families received some amount of money as compensation, the Chin victims received nothing. Therefore, there must be a relief programme for the needy refugees and in case of emergencies.

Conclusion :
These are sample problems and needs that the refugees face in their exile. There are many more problems and needs that could be listed, if it would be solved by any alternative means. In this pioneering report only sample views of the refugees' lives in exile are given, in order to inform some sympathisers who can take an initiative for further studies. CHAPTER TWELVE : SOME ORGANISATIONS'
CONTRIBUTION FOR REFUGEES

There are some organisations among refugees who focus mainly on socio-humanitarian and relief assistance for the refugees. But no organisation has been able to effectively assist the Chin refugees in Mizoram. The contribution by the refugees themselves is very limited, while the Mizoram local and outside NGOs’ contribution is negligible. At present, the Mizoram and central governments have no refugee assistance programme. Refugee Christian organisations, socio-humanitarian services and political parties have made very small contributions for the refugees. Some of those organisations and their achievements are mentioned below:

I. Socio-Humanitarian Organisations:
i) Chin Refugee Committee (C.R.C)
Chin Refugee Committee was first formed in Delhi by Chin refugees who had taken legal protection under UNHCR, New Delhi Centre. Later on, it was also formed in Aizawl, Champhai, Lunglei. The C.R.C. also co-operates with another Chin refugees’ indigenous humanitarian organisation, i.e., Lai Chiatni Thatni Zohkhennakbu, in Lawngtlai of Mizoram. C.R.C. was organised by some Chin volunteer social workers who wanted to work for Chin refugees' social and economic upliftment, being open to work with any NGO, or individual in India. C.R.C. has an independent unit in each region, but the units work in co-operation with one another.

Some achievements:
C.R.C. concentrates on relief projects and income generating projects for Chin refugees. In Mizoram, they distribute food in some areas: Aizawl, Champhai, Lunglei, and Lawngtlai. During 1999, 1000 kgs of rice was distributed in each region. In January 2000 also, 1000 kgs were distributed in each region. C.R.C. plans to continue food distribution for the refugees who badly need it in Mizoram. Moreover, C.R.C. also has income-generating projects, the funds from which are used for relief work. Champhai, Lawngtlai, and Lunglei CRCs have shops for income generation. Thus, C.R.C. intends to continue with food relief and income-generating projects for the social and economic upliftment of refugees in India.
ii) Aizawl Chin Education Committee (ACEC)
It was formed in January 2000 to help educate Chin refugees. Since there are thousands of young Chins who live without adequate and vital education, the Aizawl Chin Education Committee focuses upon the educational upliftment of Chin refugee children. It presently has a student scholarship programme, and 7 students have been assisted for their academic fees for the academic year 2000-2001. Moreover, ACEC has a program for giving moral and social guidance to the Chin refugees in Mizoram. It also gives educational guidance to those refugees who would like to continue their educational career. Having limited resources, the ACEC is open to co-operation with any individual, group, NGO, or government agency.



iii) Chin Women’s Organisation (CWO) :
Chin Women’s Organisation was formed for Chin women's affairs and children’s education. There are several places that CWO has offices - Delhi, Aizawl, Champhai, Lunglei etc.
In Aizawl, CWO has a school for children, and also conducts English speaking classes. Some of the refugee children are studying at the CWO's school. They are taught, besides the usual school subjects, Chin cultural and historical subjects and the Burmese language.
Wherever the CWO has an office and a committee, they help Chin women refugees through all possible means. But their resources are very limited and their achievements are very small compared to the needs of the Chin women refugees.
Moreover, there are some indigenous social organisations that have been formed by sub-tribes of Chins, each focusing on their own group. For example, Matu Free Society which was formed by Matu people of Chin for the social welfare of the Matu society in Mizoram; Lai chiatni Thatni Zohkhannak bu, which was also formed by and focuses on the Lai society in their exile. Cho Youth Association, Lai Youth Association, Zomi Youth Association, Khumi Youth Association were also formed by each tribe respectively to help each other within their own respective society for their social welfare. They help each other by the contributions of their own community and most of them do not have any outside contributor for their activity. They could not achieve more for the refugees due to their financial and social status.

iv) Distance Education Program (DEP)
It was organised by some of the Burmese fighters for democracy in order to assist the Burmese refugees' education in their exiled state. DEP has some branches in Mizoram, with English-speaking classes in different places in Aizawl, Champhai, Lunglei, Lawngtlai.

v) Chin Refugees/Migrants Research Committee
It was formed in December 1999 to do research about the exiled Chins in North-east region of India.

II. Political parties and organisations:
i) Chin National League for Democracy (CNLD)
It was originally formed as the Chin National Democratic Party and participated in the 1990 national election within Burma. But when the military regime seized power, its members flew to India and they continue its political movement for the promotion of democratic rule in Burma. CNLD has medical aid programme for the Chin refugees of the border area. It distributed some medicines once in 1999 and once in March 2000, which was sponsored by National Health and Education Committee (NHEC).

ii) Chin National Council (CNC)
The Chin National Council was formed in 1996 in New Delhi by some Chin revolutionaries as a non-violent political organisation, which focuses upon the promotion of federal democratic rule in Burma. It has an office in Aizawl to carry on its political career.

iii) United Nationalities Democratic Congress (UNDC)
It was formed by non-Burman fighters for democracy in Delhi. It also has an office in Aizawl for its political movement for the promotion and re-establishment of Federal Union in Burma.

iv) Chin National Front/Chin National Army (CNF/CNA)
It was originally formed in 1988 by Chin students and revolutionaries as the Chin National Revolution Party. It has been struggling for the self-determination of Chin people and for the promotion of democratic rule in Burma.

v) Chin liberation Council (CLC)
It has been struggling for self-determination of the Chin people and for the promotion of democratic rule in Burma.
Moreover, there are some political parties who work and struggle for the people of Burma. These political parties contribute a little for the refugees. They give moral and social guidance to the refugees. They also help the refugees through all possible means. But due to their social and financial status their contributions are very limited compared to the needs of the Chin refugees in India.

IV. SOME OF THE CHRISTIAN ORGANISATIONS

A) Aizawl Area
i) Lai Christian Fellowship (LCF)
It was established by Chins in Aizawl, regardless of their denominational background, to promote fellowship, conduct worship services and to help needy Christians in Aizawl and in all of Mizoram. Besides its religious service, it also has relief programme for the sick and needy. For example: in cases of sickness, LCF grants relief money of Rs.100 to the sick, and in case of death, Rs.200 to the grieved family. And in case of accidental events, like when Phunchawng village was burnt, LCF granted some relief to the victims such as clothes, and money. It contains around 600 Chin members, mostly from Falam group.

ii) LAl Christian Fellowship (Halkha Holh Pumnak) (LCF, HHP).
They also give spiritual, moral and social guidance to their fellow believers. Containing 200 to 300 members of Haka people group of Chin, it is not a denominational congregation.

iii) Gospel Baptist Church (GBC)
It was established by Gospel Baptist Church believers who had their origins in Burma. It has connections with Burma Gospel Baptist Church and has religious function as denomination. It has around 200-300 members, and most of them are from Falam group of Chins.



iv) Bethani Baptist Church (BBC)
It was established by some of the Baptist believers in Aizawl. It has around 100 members of Falam group of Chin. It is the last congregation to emerge within the Chin society in Aizawl. It is joined to the Mizoram Baptist Church. It is located at Bazar Bungkawn Aizawl.

v) Bethel Baptist Church (BBC)
It was also established by some of Baptist believers of Haka group of Chins. Having around 100 members, it is joined to the Mizoram Baptist Church. It is located at Tuikual, Aizawl.
vi) Zomi Baptist Church (ZBC)
It was established by Baptist believers of Zomi group of Chins. Having around 200-300 members, it is located at Chanmari, Aizawl.
vii) Jehovah Shalom Assembly of God
It was established by Zomi group of Chins. With around 300 members, it is located at Electric veng, Aizawl.

viii) Elsadai Assembly of God
It was also established by some Assembly of God Church believers of Falam group. Having around 200 members, it is located near Main Market, Aizawl.

ix) Carson Baptist Church
It was established by Baptist believers of Haka people group of Chin. Having around 150 members, it is located in Bazar Bungkawn, Aizawl.

x) Wesley Methodist Church
It was established by some Methodist believers of Lushai-speaking group of Chins. With about 200 members, it is located at Chanmary, Aizawl.

All religious organisations have moral, social, and spiritual functions among the Chins in Mizoram. These religious segments play very important roles within the Chin society, because it is the segment freest to be involved in any activity towards assisting the Chin refugees. As the Mizo people are Christians, they can somehow accept any religious service and programme. But the religious segments' contributions for the refugees are very limited and focus especially on spiritual movement, not on social and humanitarian services. Therefore, those religious organisations should concentrate on the socio-humanitarian needs of the Chin refugees.
B) Champhai Area :
i) Lai Christian Fellowship (LCF)
LCF was run by Lai group of Chins in Champhai. Besides religious functions in Church, they also have assistance programme for the needy refugees. Especially in case of sickness, they grant a small amount of money.

ii) Revival Baptist Church:
It is run by some Chins in Champhai, to conduct spiritual worship in their own dialect. It was established recently in 1999.
iii) Assembly of God :
It also has a religious function among the Chins in Champhai.
Moreover, apart from the Christian organisations, the Chins have humanitarian organisations such as Chin Refugee Committee and Distance Education Programme.
i) Chin Refugee Committee (CRC)
The CRC has one income-generating shop, the proceeds from which are used for assistance programmes to help the Chin refugees who badly need help. They are also involved in food relief work, such as distributing rice to the needy refugees.
ii) Distance Education Programme (DEP)
DEP has English language programme for the refugees. Here, the refugees can learn the English language free of cost. As Champhai is the border area, many foreigners face deportation to Burma. And almost all the time the Champhai police arrest foreigners, and many are compelled to go back to Burma. Any refugee who is identified as a foreigner has to face deportation.
C. Lawngtlai Area :
i) Lai Chhiatni Thatni Zohkhennak bu (LCTZ)
LCTZ has been formed for Lai Social Service among Lai people group of Chin and co-operates with the Chin Refugee Committee. Lawngtlai also has a shop as income-generating project for the refugee assistance programme.
ii) Distance Education Programme (DEP)
The DEP has an English-speaking class in Lawngtlai, where the refugees can learn English free of cost.
iii) Christian Organisations
Lariat Kalvary Local Church, which is affiliated to Kalvary Baptist Church, has religious function among the Lai group of Chins in Lawngtlai.
D. Lunglei Area :
i) Chin Refugee Committee (CRC)
The Chin Refugee Committee runs socio-humanitarian services among the Chins in Lunglei area. As an income-generating project, they run one shop, the interest from which is used for refugee social aid.
ii) Lai Christian Fellowship (LCF)
The LCF does religious service among the Chins in Lunglei area. The religious segments play a very important role in getting the refugees together and sharing their burden with each other.
iii) Matu Free Society
The Matu Free Society runs social welfare assistance programmes among Matu group of Chins. They help each other through any possible means.
iv) Chin Women Organisation (CWO)
The Chin Women have an organisation to explore any possible means for development in their exile lives and to contribute towards social welfare among the people in exile.





SOME CONTACT PERSONS AND ADDRESS
I. Aizawl
i) Chin Refugee Committee (CRC)
Pu Hleisum (President)
Chin Refugee Committee
First Floor, J.Sangvunga Bldg.
Chhinga Veng, Aizawl
Mizoram-796001
Tel: (0389) 329089
ii) Aizawl Chin Educational Committee (ACEC)
Hre Mang
President
Aizawl Chin Educational Committee (ACEC)
T-4/A Tuikhuahtlang, Aizawl, Mizoram or
P.O Box 69, Main Post Office, Aizawl, Mizoram-796001.
Tel : (0389) 325246
iii) Chin Women Organisation (CWO)
President
Chin Women Organisation
Neihi Handloom Industry
Chanmari East, Aizawl
Mizoram-796001.
iv) Distance Education Programme (DEP)
P.O. Box 106, Main Post Office or
5/A High School Veng, Khatla,
Aizawl, Mizoram-796001.
Some Christian Organisations:
v) Lai Christian Fellowship (LCF)
President, LCF, Canteen Square,
Aizawl, Mizoram-796001.
vi) Lai Christian Fellowship (Haka Holh Pumnak-LCF, HHP)
LCCF, Electric Veng,
Aizawl, Mizoram-796001
vii) Bethel Baptist Church
Tuikual, Aizawl, Mizoram-796001
viii) Bethany Baptist Church
Bazar Bungkawn, Aizawl, Mizoram-796001
ix) Gospel Baptist Church
Chanmari, Aizawl, Mizoram-796001
x) Jehovah Shalom Assembly of God
Electric Veng, Aizawl, Mizoram-796001
xi) Zomi Baptist Church
Chanmari, Aizawl, Mizoram-796001
xii) Elsadai Assembly of God
Main Market, Aizawl, Mizoram-796001
xiii) Carson Baptist Church
Bazar Bungkawn, Aizawl, Mizoram-796001

Some political organisations :
xiv) Chin National League for Democracy (CNLD)
Zion Street, Aizawl, Mizoram-796001
xv) Chin National Council
Seven Day Tlang, Aizawl, Mizoram-796001
II Champhai Area :
i) Chin Refugee Committee
President
Chin Refugee Committee
Kanan veng, Champhai, Mizoram-796001
ii) Distance Education Programme
Kanan veng, Champhai, Mizoram-796001
iii) Lai Christian Fellowship (LCF)
Kanan veng, Champhai, Mizoram-796001
iv) Revival Baptist Church
Kanan veng, Champhai, Mizoram-796001
III. Lawngtlai Area :
i) Lai Chhiatni Thani Zohkhennak Bu (LCTZ)
ii) Distance Education Programme
Pu T.Thang Chhuaka
181/A.L-4, Chanmari, Lawngtlai, Mizoram-796001

CHAPTER THIRTEEN: SOME DISCUSSIONS WITH LOCAL AUTHORITIES

I. Some discussions with local authorities :
The researcher met with several government officials, local authorities, non-governmental organisations, political parties and Christian leaders of the Mizoram people, apart from meeting the refugee organisations and individuals.

i) Meeting with Mizoram state government officials :
The researcher met some Mizoram government officials from various departments, such as : Mizoram Police (Crime Branch and Prisoner Branch), Excise Department and Special Narcotic Department, Special Intelligence Bureau, Press Information Bureau; and some offices of the Mizo political parties. The researcher also spoke to some non-governmental organisations : Young Mizo Association (Y.M.A), Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) which is the Mizo Student Union, and Mizo Handloom Association; and some Christian organisation : Presbyterian Synod Office (Mission Department Secretary), and the office of Mizoram Baptist Church.

ii) Some notes on the discussions with the Mizo officials :
1) Excise Department
Date : 2nd December, 1999
Notes : According to the survey, approximately 60% to 80% of the labourers in wine factories in Aizawl District are Burmese-Chins. Wine production and sale is totally prohibited in Mizoram State. But many of them take Mizo names and give their Mizoram address when they are arrested, so it is difficult to distinguish between the Chins the Mizos. This is a serious reason why the Mizo local people dislike the Chin labourers in Mizoram. One of the reasons for their engaging in such illegal wine production is that they can earn money easily, compared to other kinds of work. So some business minded people want to earn easy money, while some Chins who could not find other means to survive become engaged in such illegal work.
2) Special Narcotics Department
Date : 3rd December, 1999
Notes : Many of the Chins are engaged in the drug trade, but it is difficult to identify and list the Chin drug traders.

The evidence that the Chins are involved in the drug trade :
i) Date : 2nd March, 2000
Source : All India Radio, Aizawl (In Mizo)
News : 1.55 kg of heroin was caught at the Vairengte outpost check gate by the Mizoram police. It was brought from Burma and was supposed to be sent outside the state of Mizoram by Mr. Lala of Tahan, Kalemyo, Sagaing Division, Burma and his Mizo friend.
ii) Date : 23rd March, 2000
Source : Vanglaini, Daily Newspaper
News : 60 grams of heroin, which costs Rs.2,40,000, was caught by the Criminal Investigation Department in Chanmari, Aizawl. The owner is one businessman from Tidim of Chin State, Burma. It was caught at around 5:00 p.m. on 22nd March, 2000.

3) Mizoram Police Department (Crime Branch)
Notes : There are some Burmese-Chin criminal offenders, but the police station has no list of those Burmese-Chin criminal offenders; they treat them all alike with the Mizos.

4) Mizoram Police Department (Prisoner Branch)
Notes : There are some Chins who suffer imprisonment for committing crimes. Those who are kept in judicial custody as foreigners who have gained illegal entry into the country stay in jail from 3-4 days to one week, or are deported to the Burma border. The prisoner department has no list of the Chins who are in jail. But according to one person who had been in Central Jail, Aizawl in a heroin trading case, 1/3 of the Central Jail prisoners are Chins.
5) Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB)
Date : 30th November, 2000
Notes : Approximately 50,000 Chins are living in Mizoram State. Many of them are migrants and the number of political refugees may be in thousands. The Mizoram state government has no record about the number of Chins in Mizoram. The reason for the Chins residing in Mizoram is obviously the political problems in Burma.
The reason for the Chins engaging in illegal wine production is that both the Chins and Mizos are in connivance and therefore it is convenient for them to do it.
Making official the Chin refugee issue would not serve any useful purpose. If all the refugees are recognised as such, they might face more discrimination, and their social status might be worse than before. The local people would not honour any legal and social protection granted to the refugees.
6) Press Information Bureau (PIB)
Notes : It may be difficult to make official the Chin refugee issue in Mizoram in order to grant them legal protection, if the local people don’t understand, appreciate and honour it. But local and international NGOs can work for the needs of the Chin refugees in Mizoram.
ii) Discussion with the local NGOs
The researcher met several local NGOs and Christian organisations: Young Mizo Association (YMA), Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) which is Mizo student's Union, Mizo Hmeichhe Insuikhawm Pawl (MHIP), Mizo Handloom Association; and also some Christian organisations : Mizoram Baptist Church and Presbyterian Church of Mizoram.
But almost all organisations and associations do not recognise the presence of the Chin refugees in Mizoram, but regard all Chins alike as illegal immigrants or temporary visitors. They do not show much concern for the refugees.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN : SOME PERSONAL INTERVIEWS
WITH THE REFUGEES
INTRODUCTION :
The researcher met and had several discussions with Chin political, social and religious leaders in Mizoram and encouraged people who wanted to work for the Chins in their state of exile. Moreover, the researcher met several businessmen and women, who have come from Burma, in order to confirm the information received from the refugees who live in Mizoram. The researcher also looked at the work places of the refugees such as handloom weavers, road construction labourers, etc.
1) Hlei Sum
Name : Hlei Sum
Age : 54 (Male) Married
Address :(in Mizoram) J.Sangvunga Building, Chhinga Veng, Aizawl, Mizoram -796001.
Tel. (0389) 325246
(in Burma) B-Group, Tahan, Kale Myo Dist., Sagaing Division, Burma.
Family Members : 5
Ethnic group : Chin
Religion : Christian (Presbyterian)
Q-1 : What is the reason for your leaving Burma ?
Ans : The Burmese military government tried to arrest me three times. In order to escape from the hands of the Burmese soldiers, I came and took refuge in India.
Q-2 : What was your occupation? What was your position in the political movement in your country?
Ans : I was a clerk in the District Council Office and earned 275 kyats per month. I was one of the executive members of National League for Democracy in Kale Myo District, and also election campaign manager in the 1990 national election.
Q-3 : Why did you choose to take refuge in India?
Ans : Because India is the nearest country that I could reach from Burma, to seek political asylum.
Q-4 : Did you approach anybody for asylum in Mizoram state?
Ans : No.
Q-5 : Why?
Ans : I never knew if any political asylum seeker is granted asylum. I came to know that some of the Chin political leaders like Hrang Nawl and John No Than Kap and his men were deported to Burma. So I was worried that I may be deported to Burma just like them.
Q-6 : Did any government official record your presence in India? Did you face any questions from the authorities in India?
Ans : In 1995, I met Military Intelligent Department Officials and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) officials. But I don't know whether my presence is recorded in their office or not.
Q-6 : Do you encounter any harassment in India?
Ans : I do not involve myself in any local activities, and have no benefit from the state. I just keep quiet and make my presence insignificant to the local people and hide my identity. So I do not suffer any harassment in India.
Q-7 : How do you earn money for survival?
Ans : By business commission.
Q-8 : What is your income?
Ans : I have no regular income.
Q-9 : Could you please explain how you eat and expend your income?
Ans : We six of us eat together in my family; my three children, and my relative who is dependent on us, and my wife. My approximate monthly expenditure is as follows :
i) House rent : Rs. 1,600.00 ;
ii) Rice : 120 Kgs. = Rs.1440.00;
iii) Vegetables : Rs. 500.00
iv) Meat : 6 Kgs = Rs.600.00;
v) Fire : Rs.90.00 ;
vi) Water : Rs.75.00 ;
vii) Others : Rs.600.00 ;
Total expenditure for one month is Rs.4905.00.
Q-10 : What professional skill do you have and how is it useful in Mizoram ?
Ans : I am skilled in office clerical work. But it is not useful in Mizoram due to lack of job opportunity/permission.
Q-11 : According to you, what are the problems that you and your refugee contemporaries face in Mizoram ?
Ans : We have no legal and social protection, no temporary residential permission, no job permission and we can be ill-treated. Therefore we all live in fear and without adequate job opportunity, which causes financial difficulties in our daily survival.
Q-12 : What do you think is the number of Chin refugees in Mizoram, who are living in exile in Mizoram due to political turmoil, bad administration and human rights violations in Burma under the military regime.
Ans : I think the number of Chin refugees is more than one lakh.
Q-13 : Why has the Mizoram state and India central government never recognised such a large number of refugees in Mizoram ?
Ans : Because the Chin refugees hide their presence in Mizoram and try to assimilate into the Mizo society. While they fear the state government's arrest if they claim to be refugees, they also have no benefits as there is no refugee assistance programme. Moreover, they can be arrested and put in jail or fined or deported to Burma. The Chin refugees in Mizoram are much more vulnerable than any other refugees in India.
Q-14 : Do the refugees who have assimilated into the Mizo society receive any benefits?
Ans : No, they cannot be partakers of the state benefit. But they can hide their presence in India as foreigners who have gained illegal entry into the country.
Q-15 : Is it possible for all Chin refugees to be assimilated into the Mizo society?
Ans : No. Only those who can speak Mizo fluently can be assimilated into the Mizo society, while many others face deportation. During 1999, according to the Mizoram state government Home Minister's report, 901 foreigners were deported to Burma.
Q-16 : Do you think making official the Chin refugee issue would help the refugees in Mizoram?
Ans : I don't think so. Because the state government or any NGO wouldn't be able to grant assistance to the present Chin refugees. It will only cause the local people's alienation.
Q-17 : What do you think would be the best possible way to gain assistance for the Chin refugees in Mizoram state?
Ans : I think that the state government should allow the refugees to have their own socio-humanitarian organisations and work for refugee assistance programmes and allow NGOs to work for refugees in Mizoram.
Q-18 : What health problem do you have and how often does it occur?
And : I have been suffering due to high blood pressure. Sometimes, it used to occur three to four times a month, but the occurrence is not regular.


2) Robert Van Biak Sang
Name : Robert Van Biak Sang
Age : 29 (Male)
Address :(in Mizoram) Chanmari, Aizawl, Mizoram - 796001
(in Burma) Farthawk veng, Falam, Chin state, Burma.
Q-1 : When did you come to India ?
Ans : In 1998.
Q-2 : Why did you come to India?
Ans : In order to escape the ill-treatment of Burmese soldiers.
Q-3 : Why did the Burmese military soldiers want you ?
Ans : Because I had been involved in Burmese pro-democratic movement since 1988.
Q-4 : What role did you play?
Ans : I was working as informer.
Q-5 : What was your occupation? And qualification?
Ans : I studied upto 10th class. And I was an electronic employee.
Q-6 : What injustice did you suffer in Burma?
Ans : I was falsely accused on mere suspicion for political reasons. Also, forced labour.
Q-7 : Have you ever applied for political asylum or assistance?
Ans : No, I never knew that any Chin political refugee received political asylum or assistance from the state or central government.
Q-8 : What is your occupation in India?
Ans : Electronic employee.
Q-9 : What are the injustices you suffer in India?
Ans : I suffer social discrimination. Sometimes I only get part of my wages, and sometimes I don’t get my wages at all.
Q-10 : Any problems that you face in your work place?
Ans : As I have no legal job permission, I used to suffer local people's harassment. I do not get the same wages as the Mizo labourer.
Q-11 : Do you have any employment problem?
Ans : I do not have sufficient job opportunity. And the work I do is not permanent but temporary, so that I have to go from place to place seeking employment.
Q-12 : What do you basically want to request as a refugee?
Ans : I want to get legal protection, job permission and I am willing to take electronic training, if possible.
Q-13 : Why can you not go to Burma now?
Ans : Because I would be arrested by Burmese soldiers.

3) Tha Kulh Luai
Name : Tha Kulh Luai
Age : 28 (Male) Married
Address :(in Mizoram) Electric Veng, Aizawl, Mizoram-796001.
(in Burma) Cawmpi, Falam District, Chin State, Burma.
Family Members : 7 (5 children)
Religion : Christian (Gospel Baptist Church)
Occupation : Farmer
Political Involvement : Village Council President (Since 1996-99)
Q-1 : Why did you leave Burma ?
Ans : I was falsely accused and I had to escape from the military and so I took refuge in India.
Q-2 : What was the case?
Ans : I was Village Council President called Yah Yah Kah president. Chin National Army (CAN) came to our village and collected donation. They (CNA) asked Kyats 500 per family. It was reported to Tibual Army camp (which is the Army camp nearest to our village) on 20th May, 1999. I was supposed to be arrested, since many people had been arrested earlier for the same reason.
Q-3 : Who reported it to the Army Camp?
Ans : Some of our villagers.
Q-4 : Through which way did you come to India?
Ans : I came through Leilet-Farkawn road and settled in Mizoram.
Q-5 : What is your occupation in Mizoram ?
Ans : Business commission.
Q-6 : Have you ever approached the Mizoram state government or local people for help? If not, why ?
Ans : No, I have never asked anybody for help. Because I do not know that anybody is there to help any foreigner refugee in Mizoram.
Q-7 : What did the reporters report about you to the army ?
Ans : They reported about me that the YAH YAH KAH president collected money for CNA..
Q-8 : How do you know that?
Ans : Because my father who lives in Zawlte village was also village council president (Yah Yah Kah, President). The soldier came first to Zawlte where my father lived and enquired about me. The letter was shown to my relative in Zawlte village. So they came secretly and told me.
Q-9 : What problems do you mainly face in Mizoram?
Ans : I live as a homeless, jobless, landless, person and I have to work every day for my survival. As I have no permanent job, sometimes I have difficulty in getting enough money for survival. Moreover, I live in danger of being arrested by the state police and being deported.
Q-10 : If assistance programme were available, what help would you like to ask?
Ans : I would like to take vocational training for my future career.
Q-11 : What kind of vocational training would you like to take and how much does the training cost?
Ans : I would like to be trained in driving. It would take one month, and the training cost is Rs.3500.00.

4. HRANGPUIA
Name : Hrangpuia
Age :32 (Male) Married
Address :(in Mizoram) Ramhlun 'S', Aizawl, Mizoram
(in Burma) Chawhte, Falam District, Chin State, Burma
Family members : 3 (wife & one child)
Reason for leaving Burma :To evade forced labour and unfair taxes , which caused economic starvation.
Time of leaving Burma : 1990
Religion : Christian (Wesley Methodist Church)
Educational Qualification : Class VIII
Occupation : Farmer

Q-1 : What are the main problems you faced that made you leave your home country.
Ans : Forced Labour : Forced labour is a threat to the individual as well as to the family. There are several types of forced labour that we did in Burma. Firstly, Army Camp construction. Our village is located near the Rih Army camp. So all of us villagers were compelled to go and work for the construction of Rih Army camp. We were compelled to fence the army camp with bamboo and wood. We had to carry bamboo and wood from the jungle and fence the army camp. This used to take upto three weeks. Moreover, we were compelled to dig trenches around the army camp and then cover them with stone and wood. For doing all this work we had to take our own ration and seek a place to stay around the army camp. Per family, we were compelled to bring 1,000 bamboo thorns to fence the army camp. As the material used were bamboo and wood, they used to last only one rainy season. Whenever a new army camp was established or repaired, the surrounding villagers were compelled to contribute materials and labour.
Secondly, road construction. For the construction of the road between New Lianhna and Rih Khawdar, all the surrounding villagers were compelled to work using their own materials and ration. We used to work continuously upto three or four weeks at a time. The government supplied nothing except the order to the villagers. Likewise, the surrounding roads and ways were constructed by the surrounding villagers.
Thirdly, Rih Lake cleaning. Rih Lake is the largest lake in Chin state. The army has a camp near the Rih Lake. So they compelled the surrounding villagers to clean the Rih Lake and the surrounding area. We used to stay two nights by the Rih Lake for cleaning the lake.
Fourthly, Portering. As the army used to go for patrolling around the area, the villagers were forced to carry their luggage, as there would be no vehicle to carry it.
Therefore, this forced labour consumed our time, money and food. We had no time to work in our fields on which we depended for our survival by cultivating rice and vegetables. Besides forced labour there is another threat to us. This is the unfair tax. Whenever the army went for patrolling across the village, they used to take anything they wanted from the village without paying even a single coin. Such as chicken, eggs, vegetables, oil etc. Even from the army camp, the soldiers used to ask the villagers for such foodstuff.
Whenever we had to sell our own product such as chicken, rice etc. the army used to levy an unfair tax beyond the people's capacity to pay. For example, since there was no motorable road, the men had to carry their goods to sell them in the bigger village. While doing so, the men had to cross the army duty camp, and were forced to pay the unfair tax. For one chicken carrier, one chicken would be the tax, while one person can carry only 10 chickens. And for every animal like ox or buffalo, kyats 2000 has to be paid as tax. And corn - per horseload - Kyats 500. As a result, the farmer makes no profit from selling his goods.
Therefore, I had no means to survive in my hometown, no time to work for my own family, and even what I produced from the field was taxed beyond my capacity to pay. As I was the only one in the village who could speak the Burmese language, I was always called by the army to play the role of interpreter. Whenever the army called for forced labour or collected material from villagers, I was always called to be interpreter and the leader of the forced labour, and so on. So, I was living in fear of dying from economic starvation. I had no right to deny anything that was asked of me – to pay or to offer even my services. I felt enslaved living under the control of the military regime. So I took the decision to leave my home country and take refuge in India.

Q-2) : Have you ever asked for assistance from the India government?
Ans : No.
Q-3) : Why?
Ans : I have never known that any assistance is granted to any Chin refugee in Mizoram state of India.
Q-4) : Do you suffer any injustice in Mizoram state of India ?
Ans : We do not have equal or vital rights for job and service. They (the Mizo local people) look down on whoever has come from Burma. I have suffered social discrimination as a refugee.
Q-5) : What is your main problem as a refugee in Mizoram state ?
Ans : I do not have adequate opportunity to earn enough money for my family’s daily needs.
Q-6) : What is your future plan ?
Ans : I plan to go to Delhi to seek legal protection and financial assistance under UNHCR mission.
Q-7) : What is the reason that you have been living in Mizoram and for not having gone to Delhi to seek legal protection ?
Ans : I have to feed my family, and I have no money to reach Delhi.
Q-8) : What do you think are the problems that other Chin refugees are facing in their lives in exile?
Ans: : As they live without legal protection, job permission, and without residential permission, many suffer police arrest, imprisonment, fine and deportation. And many of the Mizo landlords do not want to rent out their house to refugees. Many refugees do not get their labour wages properly. Since they have no legal job permission, many cannot earn enough money for survival.

5) Za Neih Tluang
Name : Za Neih Tluang
Age: 26 Single
Address : (in Mizoram) Chaltlang, Aizawl, Mizoram
(in Burma) Leilet, Falam Dist., Chin State, Burma Qualification : B.Sc.
Occupation : (Present) High School Teacher
Time of leaving Burma : 1989
Religion : Christian (Presbyterian)
Q-1) : What is the reason that you left Burma?
Ans : Because the schools and colleges were closed, and I had no place to study. I came to India to study.
Q-2) : Did you suffer any injustice in India?
Ans : I was deported to Burma along with the Chin National Front (CNF) President John Khaw Kim Thang
Q-3) : When and how did it happen?
Ans : It was in 1996. An Indian official called us to Vairengte outpost while we were in Aizawl. After we reached Vairengte, we were deported to Burma by helicopter to Tamu of Sagaing division, Burma.
Q-4) : Were you involved in any political movement?
Ans : Yes, I was a member of the Chin National Front Party.
Q-5) : Are you still a member?
Ans : No, I am no more involved politically.
Q-6) : How were you released from jail in Burma, and how long were you in jail?
Ans : I was in jail for seven months. And I was made to promise that I would not get involved in any political movement.
Q-7) : So when did you come back to India.
Ans : Right after I was released.
Q-8) : What difficulties do you have in India?
Ans : It is a homeless, landless life. And the Mizo local people look down on the Chin people.
Q-9) : What do you think is the reason the Mizo people look down on the Chin refugees?
Ans : It is because the Chins have no legal permission to live in Mizoram, and they are socially and economically backward.
Q-10) : Do you think that making official the Chin refugee issue in Mizoram would help work out something for the refugees?
Ans : I think so.
Q-11) : Have you ever known that the Chin refugees in Mizoram receive any assistance?
Ans : No.
Q-12) : What do you think are the main problems faced by the other refugees?
Ans : The refugees have no job permission or opportunity, what work they can get is only in the labour category.
CONCLUSION

The research has been done through volunteer service and against several difficulties. The most accurate possible and authentic report has been written, focussing mainly on the socio-humanitarian conditions of the exiled Chins living in Mizoram state of India. The aim is to promote assistance for the Chin refugees, and it is hoped that this report will make the Chin refugee issue clear to the concerned people and organisations.
As Burma has been ruled by military dictators for several decades, the exodus of the Chin people is as natural a consequence as that of other groups of Burmese people to Thailand, Bangladesh, and India. The common reasons for the Chin refugees living in exile are the same as for the other Burmese refugees doing the same : political turmoil, bad administration, human rights violations, forced labour, social and religious discrimination, and economic starvation in Burma under the military regime. As it is natural for oppressed people to flee to the nearest neighbour country, most of the Chin refugees fled and took refuge in India.

There are many sub-people groups of Chin, each with their own respective inherited region. Most the northern Chin groups flew to the northern part of Mizoram and Manipur state of India. There are only two motorable roads crossing the Indo Burma border along the Chin people's inherited land in Burma. One is from Sagaing division of Burma to Manipur state of India, and the other one from Chin state of Burma crossing Tidim and Falam to Champhai District of Mizoram state of India. Other roads are only footpaths, and many Chins have come to Mizoram by foot across the Indo-Burma border. The kinship between the Chins and Mizos plays an important role in the Chin refugees’ issue. On one side it made it easier for the Chin refugees to assimilate into the Mizo society, on the other hand, the Chin refugees lost the state and central governments of India and NGOs' concern and recognition as needy refugees. Thus the presence of the Chin refugees is still ignored and neglected. So the assistance that the Chin refugees receive from the local people, NGOs and the refugees' organisations is very small and negligible compared to the needs of the refugees.
The exiled Chins live without being able to state their status to any government or organisation. Therefore, the vulnerability of the Chin refugees in Mizoram is much higher than any other group of refugees in India. They are in need of legal and social protection, residential and job permission, refugee assistance program and socio-humanitarian aid in their state of exile, if the Chin people are to be treated like any other people of the world. As most of the Chin refugees are poor and illiterate in their exile, and do not have an appropriate legal or social status, they themselves cannot make any essential improvement in their living unless the state or central government of India, NGOs and socio-humanitarian workers intervene on their behalf. Therefore, all concerned legal and socio-humanitarian organisations and individuals are urged to discover the actual plight of the Chin refugees in Mizoram state of India and contribute towards the ignored and neglected Chin refugees who live in sub-human conditions.
Appeal to International community:

1) The international communities, non-governmental organization and any human rights concern group and individual are urged to contribute their concern for the neglected and isolated the Chin Refugees in Mizoram State of India.
2) As it has been the affect of the Burma military regime’s bad administration and life threatening brutality the international communities are urged to give more pressure to the regime government of Burma to allow the implementation of democratic rule in Burma.
3) The international humanitarian organizations are requested to contribute their financial and legal assistance for the Chin refugees in Mizoram state of India for the upliftment of the refugees who are living under sub-human standard
4) UHNCR is urged to investigate the real situation of the Chin refugee issue in Mizoram State of India and run legal assistance and humanitarian services program for the Chin refugees in Mizoram State of India.


Appeal to the Indian government:

1) The central government of India is urged not to neglect the presence of the Chin
Refugee in Mizoram State of India and to make official refugee registration and assistance program.
2) The government of India is urged to open office which issues legal status and travelling document for Chin (Burmese) refugees for their safety and travelling to their third country for asylum.
3) The central government of India is urged to allow UNHCR and other NGOs to set office and Operate fund in Mizoram State of India
4) The central government of India is urged not to deport any Chin refugee to Burma.
5) The government of India is urged to allow the refugee form their own organization and have their own movement for their social, humanitarian development and political opinion.
6) The government of India is urged to allow the Chin political refugees to have movement for the promotion of democracy in their mother country, Burma.

Appeal to the Mizoram state government:

1) The Mizoram state government is urged to open official refugee registration office and make refugee assistance program.
2) The government of Mizoram state is strongly urged not to deport any refugee to Burma where his (her) life is in danger.
3) The government of Mizoram state is urged to allow the refugees form and their own social, religious, humanitarian and political organization and have function for their own betterment.
4) The government of Mizoram state is urged to watch human rights abuses and social discriminations against the Chin (Burmese) refugees within her state.


BIBLIOGRAPHY



1. State, Citizens and Outsiders, the Uprooted People of Asia :
Edited by Tapan K.Bose

2. Burmese Refugee in New Delhi :
Issues and Concerns by Mr.Gl.Romuan Paite, 1999

3. Human Rights Year Book 1988-99 :
Burma

4. Chinland Qua Vadis:
by John No Thap Kap

5. Zo History:
by Dr.Vumson

























end

21 comments:

Beita Jr said...

Hello Bro. Hre Mang,

Well done. This is a very comprehensive report on Chin refugees in Mizoram. You've done a good job. Wishing you all the best to succeed in your studies.

God be with you.

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Dear Hre Mang,

Myself Ms. Sujata Bhattacharyya, a research scholar doing research on the refugee protection laws with special reference to chin refugees in the state of Mizoram under Gauhati University,Assam.

It will be a great help to me if i get some valuable guidence from you regarding chin refugees in the state of Mizoram.

looking forward to your kind reply.

Regards
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