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Myanmar refugee children enroll in Indian schools

Schools run by Mizoram state are admitting them as a temporary arrangement on humanitarian grounds

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: October 29, 2021 07:16 AM GMT

Updated: October 29, 2021 07:25 AM GMT

Myanmar refugee children enroll in Indian schools

Myanmar refugees cook food inside a temporary shelter at Farkawn quarantine camp in India's northeastern state of Mizoram on Sept. 24. (Photo: AFP)

Refugee children from families who fled Myanmar after the military coup have been enrolled in government schools run by India’s Mizoram state for free education.

A total of 1,972 students — 1,010 boys and 962 girls — have been attending classes in schools across the state in the northeast corner of the country bordering Myanmar.

The state is admitting Myanmar refugee children so that they could continue with their studies until the situation improved in their country and they could return, said James Lalrinchhana, the education department director, according to the Telegraph’s report.

He told the newspaper that the figures keep fluctuating because many refugees return if they find the situation back home is conducive.

“The admission [of Myanmar refugee children] to schools is a temporary arrangement on humanitarian grounds ... Language is not an issue because they understand English and Mizo. We cannot turn down the requests of the refugees to help their children. Not admitting them could also lead to criticism,” an official told the Telegraph.

Mizoram's government directed all district education officers to admit children of Myanmar refugees in a letter on Aug. 31.

The predominantly Christian region of Myanmar’s Chin state has seen intensified fighting and indiscriminate attacks by Myanmar’s military

Mizoram shares a long border with Myanmar, where the military seized power on Feb.1 after toppling Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government and putting several political leaders behind bars.

Around 16,000 people from Myanmar have crossed into four bordering Indian states — Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh — while fleeing violence and repression, according to a Human Rights Watch report.

Politicians, lawmakers, police and their families were among the refugees, mostly from Chin state which borders the Champhai district of Mizoram.

The predominantly Christian region of Myanmar’s Chin state has seen intensified fighting and indiscriminate attacks by Myanmar’s military leading to many deaths of civilians including a young Baptist pastor, compelling thousands of people to flee their homes.

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Catholic and Baptist churches in Chin state were targeted by the military, with soldiers camping in the churches and destroying them while leaving.

The Myanmar junta has killed more than 1,200 people and detained more than 9,000 activists, journalists, civil servants and politicians. Many are in hiding for fear of being arrested.

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