The Mizoram government is planning to administer COVID-19 vaccine to Myanmar nationals who have taken refuge in the state following a military coup in the neighbouring country in February, a health department official said on Thursday.
Altogether 12,736 people of Myanmar are currently staying in various parts of Mizoram, particularly in districts bordering that country, according to the state police's record.
The official said the authorities of those districts are gearing up to vaccinate all the eligible refugees.
East Mizoram's Champhai district has the highest number of Myanmar nationals at 7,291, followed by the southernmost Lawngtlai district at 1,746 and state capital Aizawl at 1,622.
A large section of those who have taken refuge in the state belong to the Chin, also known as the Zo, community. They share the same ancestry and culture as the Mizos of Mizoram. They were mainly the residents of Chin, a state in Myanmar, which shares its Western border with Mizoram.
The majority of the Myanmar nationals are lodged in relief camps set up by villagers, while others live with their relatives in the state and some others in rented houses, police said.
They are provided with food, utensils, blankets and other essential items by local people, NGOs and churches, officials said.
Earlier, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to provide asylum to the Myanmar nationals on humanitarian grounds. The state government had also sent delegations to Delhi seeking assistance for those people.
However, the Centre is yet to give a response. India is not a signatory to the UN Convention on refugees.
Six Mizoram districts- Champhai, Lawngtlai, Siaha, Saitual, Hnahthial and Serchhip - share a 510-km international border with Myanmar's Chin state.