GUWAHATI: Thanks to his national flag, a "lost" Vietnamese, who is physically and mentally-challenged and had strayed in Mizoram for reasons not known, could be identified by the locals.
But unlike how Mizoram usually deals with illegal immigrants, special considerations have been reserved for him because of his special needs and challenges.
According to official sources, the Vietnamese, identified as Niang, strayed into the land-locked state about a month ago when the COVID-19 lockdown had begun.
He was first seen in the state on March 28 when he wanted to venture into Thekte, a village in Champhai district bordering Myanmar, but was denied entry by village authorities.
He kept moving around places in Champhai and its adjoining Serchip district. Although the locals gave him food and clothes, they refused to give him shelter. Eventually, it was at East Lungdar village in Serchip district that the village task force provided him with shelter.
People did not accept him at some villages ostensibly due to language barriers.
“As he speaks a different language, nobody knew which country he was from. So, some villagers hit upon the idea of showing him the flags of countries. He gestured he was from Vietnam when he was shown the flag of his country,” an official of Serchip told this newspaper requesting anonymity.
When his nationality was confirmed, the villagers got together to find a person from Mizoram who works or is settled in Vietnam. Soon, they could reach out to a Mizo lady, who works as a missionary in Ho Chi Minh City.
What followed next was a chat through WhatsApp video between the two. What the lady could understand was that he was named Niang. Further investigations carried out by the woman with the help of his photo revealed he hails from Can Tho, a city in southern Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region.
He is now with Mizoram Police. The matter has been already taken up with the Ministry of External Affairs. The Vietnam Embassy in India has agreed to take Niang’s responsibility. It was not known as to how he landed in Mizoram. Countries that lie between Can Tho and Mizoram are Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.