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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Chakma bodies slam Mizoram CM Zoramthanga after he calls them ‘Bangladeshi infiltrators’

In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, All India Chakma Social Forum (AICSF) and All India Chakma Students Union (AICSU) termed CM Zoramthanga’s comment in an interview as ‘racist’ and ‘outrageous’.

india Updated: Oct 09, 2019 17:27 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
In the interview to the news magazine, the CM had said, “I want National Register of Citizens (in Mizoram) because Bangladeshis infiltrators are here in the form of Chakmas.”
In the interview to the news magazine, the CM had said, “I want National Register of Citizens (in Mizoram) because Bangladeshis infiltrators are here in the form of Chakmas.”(HT Photo)
         

Ten Chakma organisations have slammed Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga for terming the community as ‘Bangladeshi infiltrators’

In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, All India Chakma Social Forum (AICSF) and All India Chakma Students Union (AICSU) termed Zoramthanga’s comment in an interview to the news magazine as ‘racist’ and ‘outrageous’.

“We have taken a strong note of the statement of Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga as reported in the national media. We find his statement calling the Chakmas as ‘Bangladeshi infiltrators’ racist and outrageous and we condemn the same in strongest terms,” said the statement.

In the interview to the news magazine, the CM had said, “I want National Register of Citizens (in Mizoram) because Bangladeshis infiltrators are here in the form of Chakmas.”

The Chakma organisations have also objected to Zoramthanga’s remark stating that Mizoram needed NRC as there was a need to check people from the neighbouring country “coming over and settling here”.

“Such an outburst from the Chief Minister will only end up emboldening the fringe elements to violate the fundamental human rights of Chakma minorities who are already being targeted as alleged Bangladeshi foreigners,” the statement said.

“There is no doubt that this statement of the Chief Minister has put the lives and liberties of the Chakmas at serious risk and repression will increase in coming days,” it added.

As per 2011 census, Chakmas, who number around 97,000, comprise more than 8% of the total population of Mizoram’s total 1.1 million. While most Mizos are Christians —87% of total population, Chakmas are primarily Buddhists — 8.5% of the population.

Mizoram has an autonomous district council for ethnic Chakmas that has a population of over 45,000 with headquarters in Kamalanagar. The state’s lone BJP MLA Buddha Dhan Chakma, who got elected from Tuichawng seat last year, is only legislator from the community.

Chakmas have alleged discrimination and targeted violence for past many years. In a recent incident, 34 Chakma students ran away from the hostel of a Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya in Serchip last month following alleged torture of another student from the same community.

Following the incident, AICSU had urged union home minister Amit Shah - who was on a visit to Mizoram on October 5 - to ensure a safe and secure environment for Chakma students in the school.

First Published: Oct 09, 2019 16:20 IST

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