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Former Mizoram rebels on indefinite hunger strike over non-fulfilment of promises made ahead of polls

Twenty members of the Mizoram Underground Returnees’ Association, an organisation of former Mizo National Front rebels, have been on fast-unto-death since June 8 at their office in Aizawl. 

india Updated: Jun 25, 2018 18:05 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Guwahati, Hindustan Times
Former Mizoram rebels,Hunger strike,Congress
The former rebels allege agreements between Mizoram Underground Returnees’ Association and the state’s Congress unit ahead of the 2008 and 2013 assembly elections are yet to be fulfilled by Mizoram’s current government.  (HT file photo)

Upset over alleged non-implementation of promises made to them ahead of the last two state polls, a group of former insurgents in Mizoram are on an indefinite hunger strike.

Twenty members of the Mizoram Underground Returnees’ Association (MURA), an organisation of former Mizo National Front (MNF) rebels, have been on fast-unto-death since June 8 at their office in Aizawl.

The former rebels allege agreements between MURA and the state’s Congress unit ahead of the 2008 and 2013 assembly elections are yet to be fulfilled by Mizoram’s current government.

The state’s Congress government, however, denies the charge and maintains enough have been done in the past five years to rehabilitate the former rebels. Mizoram goes to polls towards the end of this year.

“The party which in power now had agreed to provide us housing, government jobs, contracts for government supplies and overall development of our people. But these were not fulfilled,” said MURA president PC Lalthuama.

As per the agreement, members of MURA were promised Rs 20 lakhs each as housing assistance. But Lalthuama says only 43 rebels were allotted plots and 30 others given funds to build house.

MURA claims to have nearly 3,500 members in the state.

“The health conditions of some of our members, especially those above 70, have deteriorated because of the fast. But we won’t give up till our demands are fulfilled,” said Lalthuama.

Representatives of MURA had an interaction with chief minister Lal Thanhawla last Tuesday, but no resolution could be arrived at. Another meeting with other ministers and officials is expected this week.

“We have done everything in our capacity to rehabilitate the former rebels well. There is no question of non-fulfilment of promises,” Mizoram home minister R Lalzirliana said.

Lalzirliana who is also the vice-president of the Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee said the state government is unlikely to give in to the demands made by MURA.

Mizoram is the only Congress-ruled state in northeast. A keen contest is expected between the party and the BJP in collaboration with other outfits when assembly elections take place later this year.

First Published: Jun 25, 2018 18:00 IST