Mizoram defies centre’s directive on biometric data collection for Myanmar refugees

In a significant move, the government of Mizoram has chosen not to collect biometric data from Myanmar refugees within the state, disregarding a directive from the Central government. Earlier this year, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had instructed the governments of Mizoram and Manipur, both sharing borders with Myanmar, to record the biometric and biographic information of “illegal immigrants” in their respective states.

While the Zoramthanga-led Mizo National Front (MNF) government has affirmed its decision not to gather biometric data from refugees, the Manipur government has requested an extension for the process. Manipur initiated the procedure on July 29, with the assistance of officials from the National Crime Records Bureau. However, Chief Minister Biren Singh recently expressed his intention to seek a one-year extension from the Centre due to ongoing conflicts causing delays.

Mizoram’s Minister of Information and Public Relations, Lalruatkima, explained that the state has not collected biometric data from any immigrants thus far and has chosen to abstain from doing so for humanitarian reasons. The number of refugees in Mizoram, including those from Myanmar and the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh, is estimated to be around 60,000.