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Mizoram rules out Hmar autonomy

Sunday, April 29, 2012

/ Published by Simon L Infimate
Aizawl (Zodinsanga): Mizoram home minister R Lalzirliana has made it crystal clear that an autonomous district council for the Hmar-dominated areas in north and northeastern Mizoram is not on the cards.

“Three autonomous district councils (ADCs) had been created in Mizoram without our consent. As Mizoram was a Union Territory at that time, we could not do anything (to prevent the creation of the ADCs). We are not giving any more ADC for any tribe,” Lalzirliana told a meeting of officials and representatives of major political parties and NGOs here on Wednesday.

The home minister’s statement came in the wake of a misunderstanding between underground outfit Hmar People’s Convention-Democratic (HPC-D) and the central committee of Young Mizo Association (YMA), Mizoram’s biggest and most influential civic organisation, over the HPC-D’s demand f or ADC for the Hmars.

A  non-official who attended the meeting said, on condition of anonymity, that the home minister even encouraged the central YMA leaders not to quail at the militants’ threats but to stand firm (on their opposition to the HPC-D’s demand for ADC).

Even as the central YMA president has denied having said the central YMA had implored the Mizoram government not to fulfill the HPCD’s demand, the home minister said, “You must stand by your words.”

Meanwhile, the imbroglio between the HPC-D and the central YMA has worsened with all the 16 branches under Tuisual group YMA tendering their resignation on Wednesday as the April-25 deadline for the central committee of YMA to find peaceful solution with the militant group ended without any positive move from the central YMA leaders. Tuisual group area is the core of the HPC-D’s demanded area while three other YMA groups – Tuivai, Serlui and Chalfilh – have a few branches falling under the demanded area.

Formed by the European missionaries in 1935 as a social institution, the YMA has a total of 46 groups and 787 branches within and outside Mizoram where a sizeable Mizo community lives. “With the dissolution of the YMA, Sakawrdai Youth Association was formed this morning,” said Lallianzuala, the resigning vice-president of Tuisual group YMA, from Sakawrdai. “However, this is an ad hoc committee. We will reconstitute the YMA once the central YMA and HPC-D find a peaceful solution to the imbroglio,” he added.

It may be recalled the militant outfit had on April 17 served a diktat to all YMA branches under the Sinlung Hills Development Council (or HPC-D demanded area for Hmar autonomy) to resign before the end of April, in a strong reaction to the central YMA president T Sangkunga’s alleged remarks in his public speech that the central YMA had implored the government not to grant ADC to the Hmars.

A few other branches under the three YMA groups will decide their future on Thursday, the resigned YMA leader said. Meanwhile, rubbishing the central YMA’s claims that it had communicated with some leaders of the H Zosangbera faction of the HPC-D which had served the diktat to dissolve the YMA branches and negotiations were in progress, the HPC-D said in a press handout on Wednesday that none of the central YMA leaders talked to any HPC-D leader.

“After all, any negotiation will be meaningless unless the central YMA stops to spread falsehood that creation of a H mar ADC will divide Mizoram into smaller states,” the communiqué, signed the outfit’s information secretary John F Hmar said. The Sinlung Hills Development Council (SHDC) was a result of a settlement of peace signed between the HPC and the Mizoram government in 1994. Unsatisfied with the peace accord, some HPC leaders formed HPC-D to continue an armed struggle for the Hmars’ autonomy.

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