By Our National Affairs Bureau
NEW DELHI/IMPHAL: The Mizoram Chakma Alliance Against Discrimination (MCAAD) in a memorandum told Union Home Minister Amit Shah who is visiting Mizoram that the State government of Mizoram passed the unconstitutional “Mizoram Maintenance of Household Registers Bill, 2019” in March 2019 to target the Bru and Chakma minority citizens in the State, and not to identify over one lakh Myanmarese Chin refugees in the State.
“The United States-based Human Rights Watch in its report in January 2009 stated that according to Chin community leaders and long-time residents of Mizoram, the Chin population in Mizoram is estimated to be as high as 100,000 which was about 20 percent of the total Chin population in Chin State of Myanmar. The Chin refugees were housed in the camps at Champhai until 1995 but the camps were dismantled and they merged with the population of the State. Their numbers have swelled and not a single Chin refugee has been repatriated to Myanmar but the issue of the Chin refugees is never raised in the State.” – stated Paritosh Chakma, Coordinator of the MCAAD.
“The Mizoram government further passed the unconstitutional “Mizoram Maintenance of Household Registers Bill, 2019” which is pending for approval by the President of India to target minority Brus and Chakmas who are indigenous peoples of the State but vilified as alleged foreigners. The Household Registers Bill is unconstitutional because citizenship is the exclusive domain of the Union of India and the Parliament and the State legislature is not competent to enact laws relating to citizenship. The Household Registers Bill is actually politically motivated and constitutionally illegal as under Section 3(2) of the Bill, the State government has abdicated its constitutional responsibility to determine citizenship and detection of foreigners to the NGOs and vigilante groups.”- further stated Chakma.
1. The Chakmas : The Chakmas are indigenous peoples of Mizoram and in the year 1898, a portion of then Chittagong Hill Tracts covering the current Western belt of Mizoram inhabited by the Chakmas was included to the Lushai Hills which were later on made part of Assam by the British. As per 1951 census, the population of the Chakmas was 15,897 in the Lushai Hills. The Chakmas were accorded “Chakma Autonomous District Council” under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India in 1972.
2. The Brus:Mizos call the Brus/Reangs as foreigners even though official census record stated that Rengdil lake in Mamit district was created by the Reang Chief in 1600 AD while the Mizos settled in “Chin Hills in the middle of the 16th century” before their arrival in current Mizoram.
3. The Chin refugees from Myanmar:The Chakmas and Brus are often vilified as foreigners in Mizoram while majority Mizos seldom raise the presence of over 1,00,000 Chins from Myanmar which was about 20 percent of the total Chin population in Chin State of Myanmar. The Chins had fled following the repression in Myanmar after 1989 and Chin refugees were housed in the camps at Champai which were dismantled in 1995 to naturalise them in Mizoram. India never officially repatriated any Chin to Myanmar.