July 17, 2017: A separate administrative setup for the tribal people of Outer Manipur including the Zo (Chin-Kuki-Zomi/Mizo) descendants of southern Manipur was demanded by the Joint Action Committee Against Anti-Tribal Bills (JAC-AATB). Leaders of several organizations from Mizoram and the Manipur based committee have camped in Delhi for this purpose.
This report comes few days after both civil society organizations and political parties based in Mizoram submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding a “separate administration for the Zo people (Chin-Kuki-Mizo/Zomi) in the present Manipur at the same status as that of the Nagas be made outside the ambit of the Manipur Government.”
According to JAC-AATB leader Mangchinkhup, representatives from Mizoram civil society organizations and political parties along with the JAC-AATB have been camping in New Delhi since July 11, 2017 to apprise the Union Government of the situation pertaining to some of the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the JAC-AATB and Manipur Government by “emphasizing the need for a separate administrative setup for the tribal people of Outer Manipur including the Zo (Chin-Kuki-Zomi/Mizo) descendants of southern Manipur”.
Meanwhile, a JAC-AATB press note stated that a joint delegation met various Union Government officials and leaders from the North East Region including RN Ravi, the Interlocutor for Indo-Naga peace talks. “With the Indo-Naga Framework Agreement expected to conclude soon, the joint delegation from Manipur and Mizoram appraised the Interlocutor of the mounting apprehensions and concerns of the Zo people in present Manipur; the undying aspiration of the Zo people for integration of their ancestral lands was also discussed at length,” it stated.
According to the press note, the representatives from Mizoram also submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister’s Office as well as the Ministry of Home Affairs, and presented a copy of the same to RN Ravi, which describes the “historically distinct identity” of the Zo people of Manipur and stressed on the need for them to be able to determine their own future. It also dwelled on the marginalization of the Zo people in Manipur and called for the fulfillment of their enduring desire for integration of Zo ancestral lands under the same administrative unit.
It said that the memorandum was signed by various civil society organizations and political parties of Mizoram, including the Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA), Mizoram Upa Pawl (MUP), Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP), Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), Mizo Students’ Union (MSU), Zo Re-unification Organization (ZoRO), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Mizoram State, Indian National Congress – Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), Mizo National Front (MNF), Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP), and Mizoram People’s Conference (MPC).
“It may be noted here that two months have passed since the signing of the MoU between the JAC and Manipur Government in the presence of a witness from the Ministry of Home Affairs, but some of the points of understanding are yet to see the light of the day,” the JAC-AATB said. The press release also said that with the Government stating its readiness in the MoU to provide all financial assistance for the construction of Tribal Martyrs Park and Tribal Martyrs Hall, ground work for the park at Mata Dam, Lamka was initiated by the JAC with borrowed funds and contributions from well-wishers with the hope that the same may be ready for inauguration on Tribal Unity Day (August 31, 2017). “However, the State Government is yet to release any amount towards the construction of both Tribal Martyrs Park at Lamka as well as Tribal Martyrs Hall at Singngat,” it lamented.
TNT NEWS with inputs from Newmai News Network