Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A story repeats itself: Three Chakmas assaulted in Mizoram

By Paritosh Chakma

It is a story which has repeated itself once again on 13 July 2010 at Demagiri in Lunglei district of Mizoram. The typical story involving a Chakma goes like this: a Chakma is beaten/abused by a Mizo or a group of Mizos, heightened communal tension fills the air, and ultimately the victim “enters into a compromise” with the culprit(s) to escape further threats and assaults, although the victim is on the right side. To many people this would sound filmy (they have seen too many such scenes in films featuring dacoits and dons etc) but this is for real in Mizoram.

Initial information stated that Sneha Kumar Chakma, son of Direndra Chakma of Silkur village in Mizoram, was brutally assaulted by a personnel of Mizoram Armed Police at Demagiri bazaar in Lunglei district of Mizoram on 13 July 2010. However, later as the story was further investigated, it was credibly learnt that Sneha Kumar Chakma’s wife and another Chakma man were also assaulted by the MAP personnel and two other Mizos in the same incident.

It all happened when Sneha Kumar Chakma and his wife came to sell “dry fish” at Demagiri market. An MAP personnel forcibly took away “dry fish” without paying its price from them. Later, the MAP personnel accused the Chakma couple of being Bangladeshi nationals and assaulted the Chakma couple (The victims are permanent residents of Silkur village, Lunglei district, Mizoram). They both suffered injuries.

In Mizoram, does a Chakma mean a Bangladeshi? If anyone thinks so, then he or she is outrightly disrespecting the Constitution of India which has created the Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC) under the Sixth Schedule in Mizoram. It is nothing but a tactic of alienation, or at least the Chakmas feel that way every time they are branded/ treated as "foreigners" in their own land. Worst, the allegation and assault is committed by a member of the security forces, who should have been defending his country men in times of need. If a member of Mizoram security forces assaults innocent Indian citizens who belong to a minority community, then he has no right to serve the country in uniform. Reason: He has a sick mind. Protectors cannot be predators, can they?

Sneha Kumar Chakma was later again assaulted on the pretext of taking him to police station but he managed to escape. As Sneha Kumar Chakma could not speak Mizo language well, another Chakma tried to interpret but he was assaulted by the accused.

The next day (July 14) some village leaders went to the accused’s house. The meeting ended in a "compromise". However, the victim was so frightened that he refused to send any of his family members to sell goods in the market. Ultimately, on July 17, he and his wife decided to “gift” a big fat hen as a means to obtain “goodwill” of the accused (the MAP personnel), who otherwise should have been facing the law.

The Chakma community expressed shock and concern. A Chakma social activist (who requested anonymity) told this writer on the phone -
“This is surely an open discrimination against the Chakmas. The Mizoram Armed Police personnel beat up the victim only because he is a Chakma and later defended his action saying that he mistook the victim to be a Bangladeshi Chakma. If Chakmas of Mizoram cannot enjoy their basic rights in Mizoram soil, this is a serious matter. I wonder what will happen to the Chakmas of Mizoram once they fall outside the border fence and denied rehabilitation inside?”
The Mizoram Chakma Development Forum (MCDF) has strongly condemned the incident. It stated what appears to be obvious:
 “The matter might have reached a compromise but a scare is left on the minds of the Chakmas every time such incident takes place. Every measure should be taken by the Mizoram government to restore faith of the Chakma community that they can also live in peace and prosper along with other communities in Mizoram.
Very true.


Why>! said...

Quite a strange story....
It seems that the Chakmas are unable to ensure justice....

I visited Tlabung (demagiri) a few years ago. The main town is inhabited by Mizos while Chakmas live in the surrounding villages.

Perhaps the issue should be taken to the Chakma MLA's.

Maraland said...

Another Very unfortunate event. Let's hope this will be a learning lesson for the authorities and everyone involved. My sympathy goes to the victim(s).

Sugar said...

Why don't you look at both sides of the story. Your articles are against the Mizo people. It seems that Chakmas are always right in your blog. What you are trying to do here is cheap publicity. I have heard incidents of Chakma brutality like burning of BBS school in Chawngte, killing a political opponent by a MDC, Mizos cannot own land in Chawngte C, your people are enroaching our land. Your CADC leaders are more interested to travel to Aizawl and Delhi rather than giving good governance to Chakmas. The lists goes on

Paritosh Chakma said...

@sugar: Kindly tell me the other side of the story in this case (Three Chakmas assaulted in Mizoram"). Do you really expect me to say "the accused must be let go because they are Mizos of Mizoram", or "Chakmas who were beaten up should ask forgiveness from the accused", or "Mizoram police are right even when they beat up anybody"?

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