Former Mizoram chief secretary and Mizo Peace Accord signatory, Lalkhama addressing a seminar on ‘Special status granted to Mizoram’ organized by state’s apex student body, Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) on August 12. (NNN Photo)
Newmai News Network
Aizawl | August 12
Fear of scrapping Article 371(G) is high in Mizoram after the Centre abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories on August 5. Though Home Minister Amit Shah had said that no changes would be made regarding Article 371(G), many people in Mizoram feel that Article 371 is under threat.
This apprehension was echoed in a seminar held in Aizawl on Monday.
Addressing a one day seminar on ‘Special status granted to Mizoram’ organized by state’s apex student body, Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) on Monday, former Mizoram chief secretary and Mizo Peace Accord signatory, Lalkhama said that a small state like Mizoram, which is pre-dominantly inhabited by a small community like Mizos, needs special protection to prevent "assimilation from outsiders". He also said that the people of Mizoram, majority of them are tribals, should work and unite with other tribal people of the Northeast in order to safeguard their rights and protect their lands.
Lalkhama said that Article 371(G) of the Constitution, which came into effect after the signing of the historic Mizo Peace Accord in 1986, states that the Parliament cannot decide on matters relating to the religious and social practices of the Mizos, civil and criminal law of the land, land ownership and transfer, and customary law procedure without the consent of the state Assembly".
Citing that the "Mizo tribals" who have distinct cultures and traditions are vulnerable to assimilation and need protection, the former bureaucrat said the most valuable thing about article 371(G) is that it indicates the acceptance by the Union government that the Mizo people have their own (distinct) culture, tradition and customs.
The Mizo Peace Accord was signed on June 30, 1986 by Mizo National Front (MNF) chief Laldenga, the then Union Home secretary RD Pradhan and Lalkhama who was the Mizoram chief secretary then, after 20 years of violence and disturbance in the state.
In today's seminar, MZP legal adviser T. Lalnunsiama and Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA) general secretary Lalhmachhuana were also the resource persons.
Lalnunsima talked about the Begal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 (BEFR) and said that the ILP was extended by the "colonial government" under BERF to Mizoram in view of fear of socio-economic, cultural and political assimilation by outsiders in early 1930s.
He suggested that the government should enforce the ILP in a "stricter manner".
Speaking on the occasion, Lalhmachhuana said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, if re-introduced, will be harmful for a small stake like Mizoram as it will attract "illegal influx" from Bangladesh.