Separated from families, Myanmar refugee women dreams lay shattered in India

By Sangzuala Hmar

Thingsai, India, Oct 19 (EFE).- Zingrampar, 17, who, like thousands of Myanmar refugees, fled to India to escape military repression, has her dreams shattered with a separated family back home.

The young girl from the western Myanmar region of Chin ran away from her home in late September after violence escalated in the Thantlang and Hakha cities due to clashes between the army and militant groups.

“We had to dig a hole and hid our money after fighting broke out between the military and the resistance group. I got separated from my Mom and Dad,” Zingrampar said.

Her family was headed to the Myanmar border town of Sihhmuh, about 20 km from the Indian boundary.

“Out of fear, I took a wrong turn and ended up here in India,” said the girl.

She is in a village in the Hnahthial district of the northeast Indian state of Mizoram.

Zingrampar has lost her family and her dreams, at least for now.

Out of money and options, she had to accept her fate. The dreams of becoming a teacher and pursue higher education are out of sight.

Since the military took power on Feb.1, citing alleged massive fraud during the November 2020 elections, security forces have brutally suppressed pro-democracy protests in Myanmar.

The junta has intensified military crackdown in Chin as clashes with civil defense groups and guerrillas increased.

The army is allegedly preparing for a major offensive against the resistance groups in the region.

The Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners alleges that 1,181 people have died in military repression.

The security forces have arrested more than 9,000 civilian protesters. Hundreds of them were set free on Tuesday after the military leader, General Min Aung Hlaing, announced a general amnesty.

The Chin Refugee Committee estimates some 20,000 Myanmar refugees have crossed over into India, which shares 1,600 km of border with the neighbor.

Locals, who share an ethnic and cultural bond with the Chin tribe in the Southeast Asian country, have welcomed them with open arms.

But the refugee situation in India is precarious.

Like Zingrampar, many refugee women have separated from their families.

They dread thinking of their future as they await an uncertain return to Myanmar from their makeshift huts in Mizoram.

“After the army bombed our neighboring Lungler village in the Chin state, we had to run to save ourselves. My husband was away looking for food in the forest when we rushed to India. We lost contact. I hope he is fine,” Tialnawn, 27, told EFE.

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