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YMA serves quit notice on 'benami' traders in Mizoram

Friday, August 12, 2011

/ Published by Simon L Infimate
AIZAWL,Aug 12, 201(TNN): The central committee of the powerfulYoung Mizo Association (YMA) has urged all non-tribal businessmen doing trade in the guise of tribals to end the "illegal practice" and leave the state within this month.

On Wednesday, the YMA leaders convened a meeting in Aizawl where alleged benami traders were called. Lal Chungnunga, the president of YMA, said benami transaction was an illegal practice and should be stopped immediately.

"Non-tribals doing business with valid permits will not be touched. But illegal traders would not be spared," warned Lal Chungnunga. He appealed to Mizo traders not to allow non-tribals to use their names for doing trade as it was harmful for people of the community.

Sources in the YMA said many non-tribal traders, including wealthy contractors and suppliers, were also using Mizo names to evade income tax. A press statement issued by the YMA said many ILP holders were engaged in doing business and other work which were not being allowed in their permits.

On the other hand, the Assam-based North East Minority Students' Association (NEMSA) recently submitted a memorandum to chief minister Tarun Gogoi alleging that non-tribal businessmen were harassed by the YMA and student bodies in the state.

The NEMSA alleged that many non-tribals were harassed by NGOs in Mizoram and they were being forced to leave the state. The All Madrassa Students' Association (AMSA) also threatened to enforce an economic blockade in the state if harassment meted out to Bengali-speaking residents was not stopped.(TNN)


Assam seeks end to non-Mizo ordeal

SILCHAR,Aug 12, 2011(TNN): Assam border area development minister Siddique Ahmed wants an immediate stop be put to the ongoing alleged harassment of non-Mizos, particularly Bengalis, in Mizoram. He also discussed the issue with chief minister Tarun Gogoi over the phone and requested him to take up the same with his Mizoram counterpart, Lalthanhawla.

Ahmed said Gogoi would return to the state after his visit to Bhutan on August 12 and would then talk to Lalthanhawla about the development. "After the chief minister reaches Dispur, I will also meet him and apprise him of the situation in Mizoram, where Bengali-speaking businessmen and workers from Assam are being harassed by some Mizo NGOs. I feel bipartite talks between Assam and Mizoram are necessary to solve the problem permanently," said Ahmed, who hails from South Karimganj in Barak Valley.

Ahmed, who is now on an official visit to Gujarat, said thousands of traders and workers from Assam's Barak Valley area are living and working in Mizoram on valid permits. But the Young Mizo Association (YMA) and Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), two powerful non-governmental organizations in Mizoram, are harassing them by demanding inner line permits (ILP) and asking them to leave the neighbouring state immediately.

The minister said the non-Mizos in Mizoram are now terrified and their families have been passing sleepless nights. Gogoi should intervene in the matter in order to protect the rights, life and property of the non-Mizos there, he added.

Meanwhile, Plain People Traders and Youth Federation, in a memorandum to the Mizoram chief secretary said the NGOs have no right to monitor the inner line permits of the non-Mizos. This should be done by government agencies and officials. Federation spokesman Subhash Mitra on Thursday said YMA and MZP have asked the non-Mizos to leave the state by August 20 or face the consequences. "This is against the law and is inhumane. We will start a vigorous agitation if the Mizo NGOs continue with such harassment," said Mitra.

The North-East Minority Students' Association (Nemsa) too called the Assam chief minister and urged him to take stock of the situation in Mizoram. Nemsa said if the harassment of the non-Mizos is not stopped immediately, they would start an economic blockade on NH-54 and NH-154, connecting Assam with Mizoram, for indefinite period.

At present, all domestic tourists who want to enter Mizoram need to have ILP in conformity with the East Bengal Frontier Regulation Act, enacted in 1873. A restricted area permit is necessary for the entry of foreign tourists in some places of Mizoram. (TNN)

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