Monday, May 16, 2011

Chakmas decry 'racist' Lalthanhawla

Chakma organizations criticized Mizoram Chief Minister Lalthanhawla for his alleged racist remarks against Chakmas and other communities. They asked the Chief Minister to desist from racial discrimination and work for welfare of minorities.

By Paritosh Chakma

ON MAY 14, 2011, eleven Chakma students’ and social organisations strongly condemned the alleged racist statement made by Mizoram Chief Minister Lalthanhawla against Chakmas and other communities as reported in a vernacular Mizo daily. 

The Aizawl Post had reported that the Chief Minister while speaking at a function organised by Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) to felicitate the HSLC toppers at Vanappa Hall, Aizawl on 27 April 2011 called the Chakmas as “hnawksak” (“nuisance”) in Mizoram, and referred to Brus as “Tuikuk” (literal meaning: “water insects”), and other mainstream non-tribals as “vai chheho”, which literally means “useless or insignificant people”.

In a joint statement, the Chakma organisations stated that such kind of “racist” remarks/references against other communities coming out from the state’s Chief Minister is uncalled for, highly objectionable and has the potential to create further sense of fear, insecurity and alienation in the minds of the minority communities in the state.

“We consider the alleged statement/speech of Chief Minister Lalthanhawla as “racial profiling” against the Chakma community and insult to all the Chakmas. Racial profiling/ racial discrimination is explicitly prohibited under national and international laws”, stated the joint statement signed by representatives of eleven Chakma organisations.

The joint statement added that “Chief Minister Lalthanhawla has alleged racial discrimination against the people of North East region by the mainstream society of India in both national and international forums. He must live by his conviction against racial discrimination and not practise the same racial discrimination against the ethnic minority communities, who are his own people, in his own home state, i.e. Mizoram.”

The Chakma organisations further stated that “peace” was the biggest contribution of Chakmas in Mizoram. Chakmas with their distinct culture, scripts, language, religion and folklore are assets to the nation’s diversity and of Mizoram.

They said the state has the constitutional responsibility to work for uplift of all the sections of the citizens, without any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, religion, language or discrimination of any other kind or manifestation; and protect and promote all their human rights and fundamental freedoms as enshrined under the Constitution of India and international documents to which India is a party.

The Chakma organisations demanded that Chief Minister Lalthanhawla make a public statement clarifying his positions on the contents of the news story appearing in The Aizawl Post and apologise to the Chakma community.

Pointing out that the Chakmas are the most backward and disadvantaged in all fields, they demanded constitution of a judicial committee in the line of “The Rajinder Sachar Committee” appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at national level, for preparation of a report on the social, economic and educational status of the Chakmas and other minorities in Mizoram.

They further appealed the state government of Mizoram to pursue an inclusive growth policy, which will lead Mizoram to a peaceful, democratic and prosperous state where all citizens, irrespective of caste, creed, language or religion, live side by side in harmony and prosperity.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It's like epidemic but no medical facilities in this Mizoram village

By Paritosh Chakma, 7 May 2011,

AT LEAST 3 tribal children including two girls have died during the first week of May 2011 due to malaria and unknown diseases in remote village of Parva I under Chakma Autonomous District Council area in Lawngtlai district in southern Mizoram.

Mizoram Chakma Development Forum (MCDF), in a petition to the Mizoram authorities yesterday, claimed that these children died due to lack of medical facilities. Over 50 persons, including women and children are ill at Parva I and neighbouring villages such as Siminesora and Kamtuli, and they have not been receiving any medical aid. The only health centre at Parva I village has been lying defunct and unused. (See Photos on the right)

“It is like epidemic. So many have fallen sick. We do not know why people are dying”, informed a villager at Parva I to this writer over phone.

“Several patients could die as they are not receiving any medical aid,” stated MCDF’s petition signed by its president Hemanta Larma. “MCDF had conducted a fact finding visit to Parva areas between 28 February to 3 March 2011 and found the health situation to be extremely terrible. This area is extremely remote, inaccessible and prone to epidemic each year during the monsoon but there is absolutely no health care facility. The health sub centre at Parva I village has been lying totally unused and without any staff or medicine ever since it was established some years ago”, further stated Larma.

The three children who died at Parva I village have been identified as Miss Renuka Chakma, aged 1 year, daughter of Kinasur Chakma who died at due to suspected malaria on 1 May 2011; Master Mono Agosh Chakma, aged 3 years, son of Guno Sindhu Chakma who died on 3 May 2011 due to unknown disease and Miss Hojpana Chakma, aged 1 month old, daughter of Guno Ban Chakma who died on 6 May 2011 due to unknown disease.

MCDF sought the immediate intervention of Mizoram’s Chief Secretary, the Chief Medical Officer, Lawngtlai; the Director, Health & Family Welfare; and the Chief Executive Member of Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC) to immediately send a team of doctors with adequate medicines to the affected villages and establish a Health Sub Centre with adequate number of staff and medical facilities at Parva I village.

Larma informed this writer over phone that Lawngtlai CMO, R B Dey has assured him that immediate action would be taken to provide medical facilities to the affected people and Senior Medical Officer in Kamalanagar, CADC, has been instructed to dispatch a medical team to Parva areas immediately.

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