The Mizoram Home Department is waiting for clear instructions from the Central government to carry forward the biometric identification and registration of more than 33,000 Myanmar refugees settled in the state.

Attending to this, the official said that a hi-jacking biometric enrollment portal for this purpose has been developed. An official privy to the development spoke to a news agency, stating, ‘We are prepared for the biometric exercise involving the Myanmar populace once we receive directives from the Centre.’

Earlier, CM Lalduhoma had declared that the biometric enrollment portal meant for data collection was ready and would soon will be used.

It follows an order by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in April of the previous year to identify and take biometric and biographic details of what the ministry calls ‘illegal immigrants’ from Mizoram and Manipur – both states with borders with Myanmar By June, the governments of the state were asked to prepare the modalities and start the exercise with a deadline of September. However, in September last year, the Council of Ministers of Mizoram decided not to proceed with the biometric and biographic enrollment of the Myanmar refugees as they were concerned about the state assembly elections in November.

Myanmar and Bangladesh nationals living in Mizoram sought refuge in the state, and their apprehensions were echoed by the attitude of Chief Minister Lalduhoma. As per the Central government directive, he informed the police to start collecting biometric data relating to the refugees. Union Home Minister Shah addressed this in January when they met, talking about no deportation until the order is restored in the neighbouring countries.

According to the traffic unit in the state Home Department, current statistics reveal that 33,835 Myanmarese people live in different parts of Mizoram. Out of them, 12,901 are children. Out of all the districts in Mizoram, it has the largest proportion of Myanmar refugees, 14,212. Currently, 10,552 people live in 111 relief camps, with the government providing support in six districts and 9,269 others sheltered with host families, friends or paying for their new homes.

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