Saturday, November 17, 2012

Arunachal: Uncertain future awaits the Chakmas of Papumpare

By Paritosh Chakma

Recently, I visited Chakma villages in and around Kakila Centre in Papumpare district of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering Assam’s Sonitpur district. It was my only sojourn there so far, and the experiences are exhilarating.

“Kakila Centre”, as they named it, is the main business point and is connected by a considerably good road with Gohpur, a small town in Assam’s Sonitpur district, which is the gateway. A cute “Tata Nano passenger car” (picture on the right) took us in style from Gohpur to  the Kakila Centre which is about 18 kilometres. A good number of such vehicles ferry passengers throughout the day, the last being 5-30 PM from Gohpur if you are lucky enough. And, we were. The signboard mentioned the road was constructed under PMGSY scheme.

A small dusty road that runs through the Kakila Centre is, surprisingly, the state border between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. People move freely, and we do not know whether one is from Assam or Arunachal Pradesh, and of course, it does not make any difference. For a semi-rural Kakila Centre is a bustling business hub with daily markets, where fresh vegetables of all kinds, meat and fish are readily available, throughout the day. Poor people from villages come on by-cycles to sell their vegetables. Monday has a bigger and busy Weekly Market at the heart of the Kakila Centre. Assamese is the lingua franca, although the majority of the main Kalika are the Bodos. I loved eating the “Bodo pitaa” (rice cake) prepared by the Bodo women at the Monday market. If you order and wait for some time, you can have them hot.

I enjoyed a lot of Chakma hospitality for which I am grateful. However, in this article I would like to write about the problems this small community faces in this part of the world.

Chakmas’ sojourn in these lands

The painful story goes back to the Partition of India in 1947 when the homeland of the Chakmas, the Chittagong Hill Tracts, was “gifted” by Radcliffe Award to Pakistan, despite strong resistance from the people of CHT. The interventions from Congress leaders, particularly Jawaharland Nehru and Sardar Patel couldn’t help CHT to be part of India and Buddhist Chakma tribe’s future was sealed in Islamic Pakistan.

During 1964-69 the Government of India (the process was initiated by Jawaharlal Nehru and completed by his daughter Indira Gandhi) accepted hundreds of Chakma refugee families who had to flee homes in CHT, East Pakistan due to inhuman atrocities by the Islamic State and submergence of their lands by Kaptai dam and resettled them in Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang, Lohit and Papumpare districts. More numbers are presently in Changlang and Lohit and fewer (around 2000 souls) are settled in Papumpare district’s “Chakma Settlement Area”. There are about half a dozen Chakma families living in Arunachal Pradesh’s side of Kakila Centre. Some kilometers from the Kakila Centre are larger Chakma villages, or what is called the “Chakma Settlement Area”.

I am fortunate enough to meet some living souls who were young at the time of the “Great Exodus”, or “Bor Porong” as the Chakmas call it, and they came as refugees with their parents or relatives. “We entered through Demagiri, where we remained for a few weeks in relief camps. Then, we were brought to Aizawl with full armed escorts. The people had to walk the whole journey to Aizawl, except the aged and the women who were driven in small vehicles”, recalled a lady who is now in her 80s.

An aged man informed me that they had to remain in relief camps in Aizawl for two years. “During our stay, the Aizawl was bombed by planes.. There was flames all around us. We were so afraid, but our relief area was not harmed”, he told me. Immediately after I came back to Delhi, I checked the month of this aerial attack by the Indian Air Force. It was in the afternoon of 4th March 1966.

The Chakmas recalled that the Mizos were too generous to them when they travelled from Demagiri to Aizawl. All along the road, they supplied food, and water to the refugees.

From Aizawl, they were shifted to Cachar, Assam from where they were resettled to then NEFA, a Centrally-administered region of enough vacant lands, now known as state of Arunachal Pradesh.

“Then this area was quite uninhabited, wild forests, and full of wild animals like tigers, elephants, bears. We had to face a lot of atrocities mostly from the elephants .. We cleared the jungle to make it habitable and suitable for cultivation”, I was informed during a discussion with a group of Chakma elders while the others nodded in agreement. They laughed heartily. Laughter and casual discussions over glasses of home-made wine are the routine affair. But I sensed that beneath the laughters run deep-seated sorrow and concern for their future. 

The Socio-Economic conditions

I must record here that I did not see a good house built by Chakmas, except two or three in Chakma Village No. 8 which were built with cement.  Most of the houses are constructed with bamboos and already in dilapidated conditions. The houses explain their socio-economic conditions.

How do they earn their living? The Chakmas have been allotted their own house plots and agricultural lands at the time of settlement in “Chakma Settlement Area” in 1964-69. But poverty, medical needs, and other reasons have forced many Chakma families to sell off their agricultural lands to the local tribes. Those who still retained their agricultural lands cultivate these lands which are the main source of their food and subsistence. Some families have betel nut and coconut gardens which they sell in the market. Some grow vegetables. Yet some others (particularly youths) saw logs for rich local tribesmen. I met some youths who, they said, went as far as China border to earn their living! 

Others survive by gathering vegetables from the Jhum fields which are one-day walking distance away from the villages to sell in the daily markets to earn a square meal for the family. Of course, for some, earning is not enough for a square meal for the family which I found is usually big. But none has been included in the Public Distribution System.

Discrimination and neglect by the State government is all-pervading. But their situation is seldom taken into account and I have a feeling that Chakmas of this part are even more marginalized than their brethren in Changlang and Lohit districts of Arunachal. Due to their population being numerically small, they are less cared for. Due to lack of high schools and above, most students are forced to drop out. Chakma children do not get opportunity to study further. Job opportunity within the State of Arunachal Pradesh is NIL. By looking at the face of this boy, I asked myself "What is his future?"

Politically, except the recognition of the “Gao Buraa” or the village headman, the Chakmas have nothing. There are around 2000 Chakmas living in this area. Only a handful of them have been granted Indian Citizenship after nearly 50 years of their sojourn. The rest are “Stateless”. They are not even “Refugees”, as they get nothing from the Central or State government. They fend for themselves. But there are restrictions. The Chakmas are not allowed to acquire land or built houses outside the “Chakma Settlement Area” but almost half of the “Chakma Settlement Area” has been captured by Arunachalese locals by way of buying from the Chakma land owners!

“The Chakma Settlement Area” will be turned into an airport

Vast swathe of fertile agricultural land will be taken over for airport

Soon the “Chakma Settlement Area” will turn into an airport, to be constructed by the Airport Authority of India. The Arunachal Pradesh government is in full swing to acquire a vast swathe of very fertile agricultural land in five Chakma Blocks No. 2, 3, 5, 6 and 10 of the “Chakma Settlement Area”, and will uproot 237 families. The process of land acquisition is being done in a very clandestine manner. So, is this a ploy to grab the Chakmas' lands in the guise of airport? We don't really know. But what we can know is that the impoverished Chakmas will have to pay the costliest price for the development of Arunachal.

As of now, all questions in the minds of the Chakmas are unanswered. As a result, fear and uncertainly were reigning in the minds of the people at the time of my visit.

Where will the Chakmas go? No idea.
Will they get compensation? May be. How much? Don’t know.
Will they get resettlement and rehabilitation? No idea.

The biggest issue is how will the Chakmas survive without their agricultural lands? Since they cannot buy lands outside the “Chakma Settlement Area” where will so many families be accommodated?

Only future will be able to tell. But the future is predictably uncertain for the Chakmas of Papumpare district! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Is Mizo Sutdents Union right in objecting to Chakma representatives in Delhi Police NE Cell

MSU objects appointment of Chakmas as Mizoram representatives

Aizawl/New Delhi ( The Mizo Students’ Union (MSU) yesterday objected to the appointment of two Chakma natives – Biny Chakma and Lokesh Chakma — to the Mizoram Co-Ordinator in ‘Special Cell For North-East’ in Delhi.

“(The) MSU strongly objects appointing (of) two non-Mizos to represent Mizoram while there are many energetic and gentlemen Mizos in Delhi from Delhi Mizo Welfare and Delhi Mizo Zirlai Pawl (Delhi MZP),” the MSU said in a press release.

The student body has submitted a memorandum to Delhi Chief Minister and Delhi Police Commissioner to replace the two people.

Meanwhile, the MSU also urged Biny Chakma and Lokesh Chakma to resign from being Mizoram Co-Ordinatorin ‘Special Cell For North-East’.

Chakmas representing Mizoram will not resign: NESF

Aizawl/New Delhi ( North East Students Federation (NESF) said on Thursday that two Chakmas nominated to represent Mizoram at the Special Cell For North-East in New Delhi need not resign.

The Mizo Students’ Union yesterday had opposed their nominations and sought their resignations stating that there were a good number of people from the Mizo community to represent Mizoram.

“NESF hereby stands by it’s decision and states that Lokesh and and Binny Chakma will under no circumstance resign. This is the time for us to be united and work together for the upliftment of just about anyone and everyone from the North east region by looking beyond ethnicity and region,” President of NESF, Abhijit Sharmah, said in a statement.

The NESF also stated that it was “unfortunate” that such reactions came from the MSU.

“Comments like this are unfortunate and give a wrong message…the whole purpose for selecting the coordinators for Delhi police is to provide security and mend bridges. The allegations (of the MSU) are not true and we never intended on leaving anyone behind,” the statement added.

The student federation also sought to dispel doubts over the issue with a statement that all north east student organisations were invited during the selection process for  the coordinators.

“And specially all the organization of Mizoram were contacted. Since Mizo Students Union (Delhi,DMZP) failed to respond; existing active members from the state of Mizoram (Delhi Mizoram Chakma Students Union) were nominated. We request them to take the matter with the concerned authorities to clear any doubt regarding the nomination,” NESF said.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mizoram's NLUP a 'Congress-party-only' scheme?

By Paritosh Chakma
IN JULY 2010, the Planning Commission approved Rs 2873.13 crores for Mizoram’s flagship scheme, New Land Use Policy (NLUP) whose main objective is to “develop and give all farmers in the state suitable, permanent and stable trades” and thereby, put an end to “wasteful shifting cultivation”. The NLUP aims to cover 120,000 families in the first five years.

But since day one, doubts have been raised about the implementation of the programme. The ruling Congress party has been particularly accused of handpicking its own party supporters although the tax payers’ money channeled by the Central government should have been utilized to select “Jhumia families” who met the eligibility requirements, without any bias based on party affiliations.

Now, it seems that the accusations are not without any worth. The Seven Sisters Post, published from Guwahati, today [16 October, 2012] carried a story titled “Mizoram’s flagship project ‘lacks’ market strategy”, which stated that a study conducted by Mizoram Presbyterian Church’s synod social front found that a whopping 88.6 per cent of the beneficiaries were members of the ruling Congress party. Only 0.03 per cent of the beneficiaries belonged to the largest opposition party Mizo National Front while 0 .06 per cent was from smaller party Mizoram People’s Conference. As many as 10.3 per cent of the beneficiaries were neutral voters.

The findings of the study somehow justify the opposition parties’ allegations that the NLUP was a ‘Congress-party-only’ policy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chakmas to be affected by land acquisition demand consultation

By Paritosh Chakma

IN YET another glaring instance as to how the people affected by so called developmental projects are shabbily treated in this country, the Papumpare Chakma Welfare Society has brought to the public notice that 237 Chakma families face imminent displacement due to acquisition of the lands for the proposed Itanagar Greenfield Airport at Hollongi in Papumpare district of Arunachal Pradesh.

The state government has failed to consult the affected people and there is no transparency in the proposed acquisition of the lands and the affected people are being kept in the dark.

On 13 and 14 September 2012, five Chakma inhabited villages (Chakma Blocks No. 2, 3, 5, 6 and 10) have been demarcated as proposed airport site by the magistrate/ extra assistant commissioner (EAC) Balijan Circle under the direction from the state government. But neither the government of Arunachal Pradesh nor the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has informed anything officially to the affected people regarding the acquisition of their lands. Chakmas do not know where the displaced people will be resettled, the PCWS stated in a press statement.

The proposed airport site at Hollongi is a 'Chakma settlement area' where Chakmas from the then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, had been settled by the government of India in consultation with the then local administration during 1964-69. “If the Chakmas lose their allotted lands, they stand to lose everything. In the absence of any other livelihood options as well as any government support, agriculture is the only means of survival for them,” stated Bodhisatta Chakma, President, PWCS.

The affected Chakmas have demanded that authorities make the land acquisition process transparent, and affected people be “adequately consulted” in all stages including preparation of the detailed project report.

Indian Chakmas protest attacks on Buddhists in Bangladesh

The Buddhist world erupted in protests against the attacks on Buddhist & Hindu temples by Muslim religious fanatics in Cox's Bazar and Chittagong Districts of Bangladesh on the evening of 29 September to the next morning.  According to New Delhi based Asian Centre for Human Rights, 24 temples, including 22 Buddhist temples and two Hindu temples were attacked and burnt down, while at least 100 minority houses were torched in the attacks by Muslims that lasted from the evening of 29 September upto the next morning. One of the Buddhist temples which were burnt down was 250 years old! See photos

The Chakmas of Mizoram joined the worldwide protests today as thousands marched peacefully in the heart of Kamala Nagar, Chakma Autonomous District Council of Mizoram, holding banners and placards with different slogans. The protest was organized by the Mizoram Bhikkhu Sangha and Mizoram Buddhist Association and supported by all NGOs in the Chakma heartland.

The Buddhist Chakmas also submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Ms Sheikh Haisna through its High Commissioner in New Delhi. The Memorandum stated, “the recent well organized atrocities on 29th September 2012 which caused destruction of several Buddhist and Hindu Temples and attacked on religious minorities in Ramu and in some other minority domain places under Cox’s Bazar District of Bangladesh is … a gross violation of humanity”. They sought protection of the religious minorities under the Constitution of Bangladesh, reconstruction of the damaged temples, compensation and proper rehabilitation of displaced families, and swift punishment of those involved in the gruesome attacks.

Yesterday, the Chakmas and Hindus of Tripura took out a massive protest rally in Agartala. Some photos below:

Also read, "Mizoram Chakmas protest attacks on Buddhists in Bangladesh",

Friday, August 31, 2012

Fire razes Kamalanagar College and school; leaves behind a strong message

By Paritosh Chakma

The only symbol of educationally-backward Chakma tribe’s higher learning and a very popular private school in the heart of Kamala Nagar, headquarter of Chakma Autonomous District Council in southern Mizoram, were burnt to ashes in an accidental fire at the midnight of 29 August 2012.

The devastating fire reportedly started at Kamalanagar College and quickly engulfed the adjacent Vijoy Giri Academy, a flourishing private school.

According to official estimate, properties worth Rs.3.5 crores of the college and Rs. one crore of the Vijoygiri Academy were destroyed besides all kinds of records and documents. The college had six structures constructed out of wood and tin roofing, while Vijoygiri Academy had three two-storied partial concrete buildings.

The Kamalanagar College, which is the only college within CADC, established in the year 1992, has about 270 students in various disciplines.

Vijoygiri Academy, one of the private schools drawing the highest number of students from all over CADC, this year had enrolled about 425 students from nursery to class VIII.

“Water hose of the fire tender is smaller than a baby’s urine stream”

The tragedy totally exposed the inefficiency of the fire fighting services in the Chakma Autonomous District Council. The most shocking part of the story is that while the buildings were burning, there was no sight of the fire tender. It is alleged that one small fire engine came but its water hose was very small, prompting helpless onlookers to remark that “Ekko cigon guror mudo nalo'ttun bech cigon”. (The water pipe is smaller than a baby’s urine stream)

Nothing was learnt from the major fire devastation at a bazar in Saiha, the headquarters of the Mara Autonomous District Council (MADC) in southern Mizoram, not very far away from the CADC, that burnt 47 houses in February this year.

Obviously, people are both angry and sad. “Mone nw hoye guri puri jeyedeh!” (the buildings burnt reluctantly) was how one person summed it up, meaning that if fire engine was effective and timely, the fire could have been subdued, and major damage prevented.

A “message” survived:

Nothing could be saved, but a message survived. Among the burning debris was discovered a half burnt answer sheet of a Class-V student that said “A working ant is better than a sleeping elephant.”

I believe this message was both for the Fire Department and the CADC administration as a whole.

Relief and reconstruction:

On a positive note, an otherwise lackluster government of CADC swung into action. Today, an emergency meeting of the Council’s Executive Committee was held with local Member of Legislative Assembly Nirupam Chakma as special invitee. The Executive Committee pledged to sanction Rs.50,000 to each of the institutions, the MLA agreed to release Rs.50,000 to each of the institutions as furniture grant under MLALAD fund. Mizoram Member of Parliament, C L Ruala assured assistance to the tune of Rs.12 lakhs to the College and Rs.3 lakhs to Vijoygiri Academy. It was also proposed to provide grants from MsDP towards reconstruction of the Vijoygiri Academy. Meanwhile, in New Delhi, CADC Chief Executive Member Kali Kumar Tongchangya met DoNER Minister Pawan Singh Ghatowar who agreed to release the 1st Installment against the construction of Kamalanagar College.

In order to ensure that the students do not suffer, the CADC government has reportedly made temporary arrangement by providing one school each to run their classes. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Border PHC lying sick for 20 years in Mizoram

The Government of Mizoram must do something about this rural PHC urgently.. 20 years is a long time, and countless people have died due to lack of life saving drugs and doctors at this PHC !!

The Seven Sisters Post, 3 August 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

Online petition to appoint doctors, staff at a rural health centre in Mizoram

Paritosh Chakma

THE MIZORAM Chakma Development Forum (MCDF), a social organization working for the development of rural areas in Mizoram, has launched an online petition at to get a rural primary health centre (PHC) start functioning. This particular PHC at Borapansury village, near India-Bangladesh border, within CADC in Lawngtlai district of Mizoram has been defunct for the last 20 years, it is said.

The online petition calls upon the Minister of Health and Family Welfare of Mizoram, Lalrinliana Sailo to immediately appoint doctors and staff at this rural primary heath centre. Recently, Mr Sailo had confirmed in the Mizoram Assembly that no doctor is posted at Borapansury PHC but he failed to initiate any further action on this.

Many people, mostly the poorest who cannot go to towns to receive medical care, die in this area each year due to lack of basic healthcare facilities. If functional with doctors, staff and medicines, the Borapansury PHC can cater to a neighbourhood of 17 villages having a combined population of more than 12,000 tribal people, MCDF’s petition claims.

The online petition,launched on Friday, quickly received 42 signatures. The petition is available at

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Online campaign to appoint doctors, staff at Borapansury PHC in Mizoram

The Mizoram Chakma Development Forum (MCDF) has launched an online petition to make the Primary Health Centre at Borapansury village in Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC), Lawngtlai district in southern Mizoram functional. MCDF said, this PHC has been lying non-functional for the last 20 years and officials or politicians are not bothered about it. Only poor people who cannot go for medical treatment in towns are suffering and a lot of people die every year due to lack of medical facilities. 

"The lone Primary Health Centre in the entire Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC) in southern Mizoram is lying non-functional for the last 20 years without officials or politicians being bothered about it. The said PHC is located at Borapansury, a border town situated on the India-Bangladesh border, under CADC in Lawngtlai district of Mizoram.
In the entire Chakma Autonomous District Council, created under 6th schedule to the Constitution of India in 1972, there is only one Community Health Centre located at headquarter Kamala Nagar and one defunct PHC at Borapansury.
Recently, Mizoram’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare Lalrinliana Sailo confirmed in the Mizoram Assembly House that no doctor is posted at Borapansury Primary Health Centre. However, he failed to initiate any further action on this.
In the name of Primary Health Centre, all we have is an empty building.
Many people, mostly the poorest, die in this area of CADC each year due to lack of basic healthcare facilities. If functional with doctors, staff and medicines, the Borapansury PHC can cater to neighbourhood 17 villages having a combined population of more than 12,000 tribal people.
So, Mizoram Chakma Development Forum (MCDF), on behalf of the local population, is calling onMizoram Health Minister Pu Lalriana Sailo to appoint doctors and staff in Borapunsary Public Health Centre. 
Please Sign and Share this petition with your friends."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A primary health centre in Mizoram is an empty building

By Paritosh Chakma

THE LONE Primary Health Centre in the entire Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC) in southern Mizoram is lying non-functional for the last 20 years without officials or politicians being bothered about it. The said PHC is located at Borapansury, a border town situated on the India-Bangladesh border, under CADC in Lawngtlai district of Mizoram.

In the entire Chakma Autonomous District Council, created under 6th schedule to the Constitution of India in 1972, there is only one Community Health Centre located at headquarter Kamala Nagar and one defunct PHC at Borapansury, apart from a number of health sub centres to cater to a population of over 40,000.

A villager from Borapansury told this citizen journalist that the first PHC building was constructed two decades ago, but the PHC was never operationalized. Instead of being a health centre, it was used as shelter by cows and other animals until it dilapidated. A new building was constructed sometime in 2010. Staff quarters have been built alongside the PHC building. Yet, no doctor or staff has been posted as of date. There is also no medicine.

Recently, Mizoram’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare Lalrinliana Sailo confirmed in the Mizoram Assembly House that no doctor is posted at Borapansury Primary Health Centre. However, he failed to mention that just an empty building is continuing to exist as Primary Health Centre on official papers.

“In the name of Primary Health Centre, all we have is an empty building,” lamented a local while speaking to this citizen journalist on the phone.

Many people, mostly the poorest, die in this area of CADC each year due to lack of basic healthcare facilities.

Now, a social organization Mizoram Chakma Development Forum (MCDF) has said, it will launch a campaign to make the Borapansury PHC functional as soon as possible. On its Facebook page, it has already announced, “MCDF will adopt a well-devised strategy to make the PHC functioning with staff, doctors and medicines and other facilities which is extremely important for the poor people in the area.”

Published in

Monday, July 9, 2012

Corruption in Chakma Council: Mizoram Governor orders investigation

By Paritosh Chakma

TAKING SERIOUS note of the allegations of the opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) regarding alleged destruction of evidence by the Congress-ruled Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC) in southern Mizoram, Governor of Mizoram, Shri Vakkom Purushothaman has ordered a time-bound investigation by the Deputy Commissioner of Lawngtlai district to be completed within one month.

The MNF has alleged that the crucial papers that could have nailed high level political corruption in awarding of compensation in India-Bangladesh border fencing were destroyed under the directives and consent of the incumbent Chief Executive Member of the Council Mr Kali Kumar Tongchangya in order to save themselves from CBI’s inquiry.

In the morning of 25 June 2012, Mr Zoramthanga, MNF chief, met the Mizoram Governor and sought the dissolution of the CADC’s Congress government and arrest of all Members of Executive Committee of the Chakma District Council alleging that all papers, files, registers, receipt books etc bearing correspondences of land passes issued from the year 1972 to 2005 were destroyed following an order by Mr Tongchangya, the incumbent chief of CADC.

In his defence, the Chakma District Council chief has issued a statement denying all allegations. 

However, the allegations are so serious that the Mizoram Governor acted almost immediately. In his letter No. F. 23015/58/2009-GS dated 25th June 2012, a copy of which is with this citizen journalist , addressed to B Lalhmingthanga, the Deputy Commissioner of Lawngtlai, the Secretary to the Governor writes, “His Excellency, Shri Vakkom Purushothaman, Governor of Mizoram has received a complaint from Pu Zoramthanga, President, MNF, bringing to his knowledge irregularities in the Chakma Autonomous District Council regarding destruction of records pertaining to compensation for construction of Indo-Bangladesh Border Fencing. His Excellency desires that an enquiry be conducted immediately by you and a report is submitted within a month.”

It is important to mention here that the CBI in its preliminary enquiry has found prima facie evidence against sitting Members of District Council, including Executive Members, officials of CADC and their relatives. It registered a case No. RCSHG2010A00007 dt 30/12/2010 u/s 120-B, 420, 468, 471 IPC and Sec 13(2) r/w Sec 13(1) (c) & (d) of P.C. Act, 1988 and started investigating in December 2010.

The CBI preliminary enquiry report has made explosive revelations against sitting Executive Members of the CADC. For example, at Page 3 (I) of the CBI report it is mentioned thus,
“Enquiry further reveals that apart from above fake claim by different persons, the family members of the Executive Members of Chakma Autonomous District council and Officials are getting compensation against fake land pass certificates even though they do not have land over the affected areas.”
This is a case seen by many as acid test for CBI’s impartiality and effectiveness in dealing with cases of high level political corruption in one of the three Autonomous District Councils in Mizoram, which enjoys autonomy under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This is a "state shame", must stop

The rising sexual abuse against children, including rapes, in Mizoram is a "state shame" for all the people of Mizoram. (Left: a news clipping from The Seven Sisters Post, 28 Feb 2012)

It is tragic that our children are becoming unsafe on the streets and homes in peaceful, beautiful state of Mizoram.

This kind of child abuses, in particular child rape must STOP immediately. The state government and civil society must ensure perpetrators are given exemplary punishment.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mizoram: Are we going to lose our “peaceful state” tag soon?

We have heard of it in Manipur, in Maoist dominated areas in mainland India and in Kashmir. Alas, it now happens in Mizoram also.

Are we the people of Mizoram going to lose our “peaceful state” tag soon?

After militants’ diktat, civic polls postponed in Mizoram


Aizawl: The state election commission of Mizoram on Wednesday indefinitely postponed civic polls in 15 villages following underground outfit Hmar People’s Convention-Democratic (HPC-D)’s alleged diktat to vote for the outfit-favoured candidates.

All the 15 villages, two under Kolasib district and 13 under Aizawl, fell under the HPC-D demanded area for Hmar autonomous council, in the northeastern parts of Mizoram predominated by the Hmar community.

As per reports received by the SEC, “One insurgent group” had summoned leaders of all political parties of the area to Dholakhal in Assam and Thingpuikual in Manipur a few days back where they told them to ensure that the HPC candidates, supported by the HPC-D, get elected and warned them against dire consequences if negative results occur.

“The state election commission, after taking all intelligence inputs and various reports from district authorities into consideration, it is of the opinion that it would not be possible to hold elections in some villages within Kolasib district and Aizawl district,” state election commissioner C Ropianga said at a press conference here.(UNI)

Source; The Shillong Times , 23 February 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

False propaganda against Chakmas on social media

By Paritosh Chakma

The internet is both an evil and a Good Samaritan. It is the source of all information, good and evil. In recent times, internet, in particular the social networking sites, have played (and are still paying) critical roles to usher in revolutions in India and abroad, particularly in the North Africa and West Asia.

However, apparently, as anything else in this world, social media too has its own negative sides. It is often used by people with vested interests to spread misinformation and promote hatred towards particular groups or communities against whom they are prejudiced (for whatsoever reasons).

One such recent example I have come across was in Facebook group “Tribes of North East India”, where a member (apparently a “native” of Arunachal Pradesh) made a scathing attack on Chakmas in his state.

“Chakmas are not marginalized … they live like a BOSS in Diyun circle of changlang district. Rape, murder, kidnapping are the way of life by CHAKMAS there,” he wrote in one of his comments.

I was horrified to read this. I am not from that state but I keep myself abreast with the situation of the Chakma people there.

“Rape, murder, kidnapping” are the “way of life” of the Chakmas? I can only imagine of this in my wildest dreams. Way of life? The way of life of the Chakmas is economic impoverishment, statelessness and going to bed every night with the hope of a new beginning the next day which is, however, yet to come. For the last about half a century they have been putting their hopes against hopelessness.

Only refugees know what it is meant to be “refugees”. But Chakmas' life is worse than the refugees of India. Technically, the government of India does no longer consider them as “refugees” and therefore they do not receive any free ration (or at subsidized rates) or cash doles, housing assistance or any other facilities from the government. They do not live in refugee camps; they live in “villages” and they fend for themselves with the limited resources available locally. To be fair to the Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh who have been treading through an uncertain path, unsure of their destiny, for the past about five decades, they have shown considerable patience, perseverance and wisdom against all odds. Lack of livelihood sources and lack of employment opportunities can drive any community, in particular the youngsters, to go awry. But Chakmas have displayed great wisdom and civilizational traits in being able to remain peaceful in trying times and circumstances such as the one they have faced.

Therefore, I challenged the commentator to show any example of rape committed by Chakma against indigenous women. He could not. Instead, he told me if at all I am so concerned I could shelter three-four Chakma families from Arunachal in my home state.

That is not the issue here, I retorted. I exhorted him to come out with the facts and educated him saying that people only should believe him on the basis of facts he produced and not by his mere allegations. While he stated that rape was the way of life of the Chakmas, he couldn’t produce a single example of rape, and therefore stood exposed. 100 per cent.

This is one of the examples how the social media, in particular the Facebook, is being used by a gaggle of people with vested interests to spread misinformation about other communities based solely on their perception but without any facts. We must counter those thugs everywhere we meet them - be it on the street or on the online forums.

It is our duty to educate such people on the Chakma community. I hope you agree with me on this.

Brief report on Chakma Bizu 2017 celebration with Gandhian institute in Delhi

For the first time the Chakma Buddhist Society (CBS) has organised Bizu Miloni programme in partnership with Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Sam...