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‘Can’t go back to Myanmar, Army won’t let us live,’ say refugees

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Lawngtlai:Around 300 refugees, mostly Arakan (Rakhine) Buddhists, who fled Myanmar in November last year following the military crackdown on the Arakan rebels, have refused to go back despite the Mizoram government having stopped supplies of essential food items to them in February.
“The Myanmar Army will not let us live and earn if we go back,” said Khima-U, who hails from the border village of Varang in Myanmar’s Chin State.
The 46-year-old was one of the nearly 1,400 refugees who had originally taken shelter in four border villages in Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district — Laitlang, Hmawngbuchhua, Zochachhua, and Dumzautlang. More than 900 refugees have since returned to their homes, according to officials.
While the Hmangbuchhua village council claims there are 343 refugees still living there, an official of Assam Rifles said there are only 298 refugees left.
Khima-U, among the many refugees who constructed bamboo houses since moving into this village 4km away from the border in Lawngtlai district, about 300km south of Aizawl, says “life is better here”.
He works as a daily wager by helping villagers in jhum (shifting) cultivation, earning Rs 150 a day.
Some others have joined the work as daily wagers on the 87km road connecting Lawngtlai town and Zorinpui, a proposed border crossing points with Myanmar part of the ambitious Kaladan multi-modal transport project.
“They (the refugees) came in speed boats,” said Chemgsa-U, president of the Hmangbuchhua village council, pointing to the Sekulh Lui river which flows along the village.
“They are of the same tribe as us. They are Rakhine people like us,” he said, while narrating how the villagers could hear gunshots from the fighting across the border.
The fighting has since stopped but the refugees are refusing to go, something the local Lais, the dominant community of the Lai Autonomous District Council, have become wary of.
“We do not want them to live here forever. They should go back,” said J Sangahangpuia, president of Central Young Lai Association, an NGO.
“Moreover, they follow a different religion, which could lead to conflicts in the future.”
Most Lais follow Christianity and speak Mizo or the Lai dialect while the group of refugees speak Rakhine.
“We gave them hospitality for we don’t want bad relations with the Arakan people. The success of the Kaladan project depends on the cooperation from the Arakan people,” he says.
Chemgsa-U admitted to the villagers’ reluctance, saying that arranging food for the refugees has become a problem.
Some are also suspicious. “Many of them could be Arakan Army fighters,” said J Sangahangpuia. A Lai leader showed HT a WhatsApp conversation with someone who identified himself as a central committee member of the Arakan Army.
The conversation, whose authenticity couldn’t verify, shows an Arakan Army leader urging to stop the district administration from sending back the refugees.

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National

Mughal emperor Akbar was not great, only Maharana Pratap was: Yogi

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Lucknow:Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath insisted Mughal emperor Akbar was not great and that only 16th century Mewar king Maharana Pratap was. He praised Pratap’s persistence in winning back his forts after years of fight in the Aravalli hills and his refusal to accept Akbar as king. Adityanath said the Mewar ruler did not accept the Mughal emperor asking as he was a “Turk who could not be trusted”.
Adityanath maintained Pratap remained relevant even after 500 years of his death while addressing an RSS gathering to mark the Mewar king’s birth celebrations. A special edition of RSS magazine ‘Avadh Prahri’ was also released on the occasion.
He referred to the 1576 Haldighati battle and said it was unimportant who won or lost. “It is important that Maharana Pratap fought it for several years in the hills of Aravalli with his self-respect and ultimately won back his forts.” He said Pratap set an example of bravery as the fight was not for a day but went on for years.
“Maharana Pratap proved it was not Akbar who was great but only Maharana Pratap was great by ultimately winning back his forts.”
Adityanath said Akbar had asked Pratap to accept him as the king and promised in return that he would not interfere in the affairs of his kingdom of Mewar. He said even Jaipur king Man Singh came as a messenger but Pratap refused.
“I cannot accept Akbar as the king… he is a Turk and he will remain so… he will hurt our self-respect in the garb of friendship… we cannot accept a foreigner as a king,’’ Adityanath quoted Pratap as saying amid chants of “jai Shri Ram”.
He claimed there were other kings in those times who put their own self-respect at stake to accept Akbar as king. Adityanath added Pratap stood against all odds.
He said lessons from those times were still applicable. Adityanath claimed some people are ready to disturb their own society, culture and country even today for their benefits. He added that they then suffer damage.
Adityanath asked scheduled castes, tribes and backward communities to regard themselves as Pratap’s descendent. “It was actually these tribes, which made Pratap great,” he said.
“On whose strength did Maharana Pratap fight… it was castes whom we today call Dalit, backward and Vanvasi…,’’ he said. Adityanath added Pratap fought in adverse conditions and Akbar was unable to hurt him.

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CIA names VHP, Bajrang Dal as ‘religious militant organisations’ in World Factbook

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New Delhi :The Central Intelligence Agency, in its recent edition of the ‘World Factbook’, has named the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal as “religious militant organisations”. The agency, the intelligence wing of the US government, has categorised them under “political pressure groups”, defined as organisations that are involved in politics or that exert political pressure but whose leaders do not stand for legislative election.
The CIA also lists the RSS, Hurriyat Conference and Jamiat Ulema-e Hind among the political pressure groups in India. The RSS has been defined as a “nationalist organisation”, the Hurriyat Conference as a “separatist group” and the Jamiat Ulema-e Hind a “religious organisation”.
The CIA annually publishes a World Factbook which feeds intelligence or factual reference material on a country or issue to the US government. This includes information on the history, people, government, economy, energy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues. Data is available for 267 countries. The agency has been publishing this material since 1962, but only made it public in 1975. The Factbook is produced for US policymakers and coordinated throughout the US intelligence community. It is one of the types of intelligence delivered, the other two are ‘The President’s Daily Brief’ and the ‘National Intelligence Estimates’.
Khemchand Sharma, former national convenor of the BJP’s Samvad cell, on Friday rejected the CIA’s assertions. Calling it “fake news”, he said legal action will be initiated against the agency.
“We completely reject CIA reference to VHP and Bajrang dal as religious militant organizations.. these r the nationalist organizations, all knows it. Legal proceeding will be initiated against this reference soon,” Sharma tweeted.

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Cricket Score

Score updated on: 11:50:17
ENG vs AUS
3rd ODI
Starts on Jun 19 at 13:00 GMT
Australia tour of England, 2018
NED vs SCO
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SL
253/10 (79), 342/10 (91.4)
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