Myanmar Quandary: Refugee parents in India, children resist military rule

By Sangzuala Hmar

Thingsai, India, Oct 14 (EFE).- When Tial Hnin, a Burmese refugee in India, learned about a gunfight between guerrillas and the Myanmar Army back home, the first thing he did was to contact his two sons, who joined a revolutionary rebel group.

The assistant professor at the University of Hakha, the capital of the Chin region in Myanmar, fled to the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram on Sep 10, after the military regime intensified the crackdown on civilians to suppress an anti-coup uprising.

His two sons joined a civil militia, known as the Chinland Defense Force, one of the groups fighting the Myanmar military after the Feb.1 coup.

“We all worked very hard to make Myanmara democratic state. And then, just in a flash, it disappeared. I knew my sons had to stick around for the cause of democracy,” Hnin told EFE.

The Myanmar Army seized power in February, alleging massive fraud in the November 2020 general elections.

The military coup that ousted an elected government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kuo triggered a civil disobedience movement and street protests across the country, calling for the restoration of democracy.

The security forces brutally suppressed the peaceful protests.

The military repression claimed at least 1,170 civilian lives, daily data from the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners showed. The security forces have arrested more than 8,900 so far.

A staunch supporter of the pro-democracy movement, Hnin is wary of what the future might hold for him and his family.

“On Sep.9, 2021, Myanmar fighter jets bombed the town of Lungler. We were helpless, we had no other choice but to seek refuge in India,” he said.

The armed conflict in the country has worsened, with the birth of new resistance groups, triggering the exodus of thousands of Myanmar citizens into neighboring India.

The Chin Refugee Committee estimates some 20,000 Myanmar refugees are in India, which shares 1,600 km of border with the troubled neighbor.

The conflict in Myanmar, especially in the Chin State, reminded Hnin’s wife, Sung Ki, of the previous military rule between 1962 and 2011.

“We were exhausted from running and refugee camps, being on high alert constantly. And now it looks the same, there is nowhere safe for us in Myanmar,” Sung Ki said.

“I pray for my two sons who volunteered to fight the Myanmar Army.”

She said the elder one had just finished his masters and had made many plans for the future.

“Now everything has gone down the drain.”

Architect Chan Myae Lwin, who worked working on housing projects back home, has ended up seeking charity.

Lwin took refuge in New Ngharchhip in the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram.

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