Aizawl: Mizoram’s apex student body, the Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) on Saturday warned the state government not to include Chakma students under category-I reservation to avail technical seat under the state’s quota.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference here on Saturday, MZP president L. Ramdinliana Renthlei said the student body is firm on its stand that category- I is exclusively reserved for the indigenous Zo- ethnic people of Mizoram and the inclusion of Chakma under this category is an encroachment upon the rights and privileges of the indigenous Mizos.
He expressed happiness for the dismissal of the dismissal of PIL filed by Mizoram Chakma Students’ Union (MCSU) on reservation of technical seats in 2016 and said that it was an important step towards safeguarding the indigenous Zo ethnic people.
Renthlei also said that the student body would continue to take efforts so that the rights of the indigenous Mizos are not encroached upon and warned that the MZP will not hold responsibility in the event of an untoward incident if such rights are encroached by communities other than the Zo indigenous.
The Divisional Bench of the Gauhati High Court has dismissed the PIL on reservation of technical seats filed by MCSU in 2016 when Chakma and other non-indigenous minorities were excluded from availing seat under Mizoram (Selection of Candidates for Higher Technical Courses) Rules, 2016 as category-I, which specified only Zo ethnic people of the state as ‘indigenous’ people.
The divisional bench consisting of justice MR Pathak and justice Michael Zothankhuma dismissed the case after the union’s lawyer repeatedly failed to show up himself before the court, public prosecutor JC. Lalnunsanga said.
He said that the registrar of the divisional bench of Gauhati High Court was ordered to inform the lawyers of the student union to appear before court. The lawyer, however, failed to show up himself despite being informed by the registrar which led the bench to dismiss the case, he added.
Mizoram Chakma Students’ Union had approached the Gauhati High Court in 2016 after the Mizoram government amended the state’s technical entrance examination rules which made 95 seat reservation for the Zo ethnic people under category-I and placed schedule tribe like Chakmas and Brus under category-II (non-indigenous).
The Mizoram (Selection of Candidates for Higher Technical Courses) Rules was framed in 1999 as per which applicants for State Medical & Technical Entrance Examination are classified into three categories for the purpose of seat allotment viz. children of permanent resident (indigenous) of Mizoram as Category-I; children of non-local permanent residents of Mizoram as Category-II; children of central/other state government employees not permanently serving in Mizoram as Category-III.
The state government was forced to amend the rules in March 2015 in the wake of agitation launched by Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) against selection of 38 Chakma students under category-I. The 2015 rules defined Category-I as Zo-ethnic people of Mizoram and relegated the Chakmas to category-II.
However, the Mizoram government was forced to withdraw the amendment rules after MCSU challenged the constitutional validity of the rules. But the Mizoram government, notwithstanding the court order, notified the same rules again in 2016 by reserving 95% seats for Zo ethnic people (Category-I), 4% for the schedule tribe like Chakmas and Brus who were placed under category-II (non-indigenous) and 1% for children of central government employees. The 2016 rules too were challenged through PIL and stayed by Gauhati High Court on 24 June, 2016.