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Quota row: Mizo Zirlai Pawl opposes inclusion of Chakma students under Category-I

Mizoram

Quota row: Mizo Zirlai Pawl opposes inclusion of Chakma students under Category-I

Aizawl (zoramobserver.com): Reviving its agitation against the inclusion of Chakma community under “indigenous category” to avail Mizoram’s quota for pursuing medical and engineering courses in different institutions across the country, the state’s apex student body – Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) – slammed the government’s decision to include 6 Chakma students in Category-I (as indigenous people) for pursuing MBBS and Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) courses.

The Mizoram government recently short listed 75 students including 6 Chakmas and one non-tribal (read as vai) who cleared  National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) to pursue medical courses (MBBS&BDS) in different colleges across the country under Mizoram quota. The Chakma students were included under Category-I which specified them as indigenous people of Mizoram permanently residing in the state.

The MZP standpoint, however, is that Category- I is exclusively reserved for the indigenous Zo ethnic people of Mizoram and the inclusion of Chakmas under this category “an encroachment upon the rights and privileges of the indigenous ethnic Mizo/Zo tribes”.

PROTEST BY STUDENTS

Mizo Zirlai Pawl activists try to stop the counselling session for medical courses in Aizawl on July 19, 2017.

Tension prevailed on Wednesday in front of the Higher & Technical Wing office at Chaltlang in Aizawl when some student activists belonging to the MZP with their leaders tried to stop Chakma candidates from attending counselling class.

This resulted in a tussle between the students and police who allowed the Chakma students to enter the interview room. Angry over the police action, over 20 students stormed the office gate and tried to enter the counselling room. They demanded that Chakma students should not be allowed to participate.

Mizo Zirlai Pawl activists try to stop the counselling session for medical courses in Aizawl on July 19, 2017.

However, no one was injured in the clash.

The situation, however, was put under control when officials agreed to postpone the counselling class after meeting with the student leaders.

EMERGENCY MEETING

Meanwhile, the MZP called an emergency meeting in the afternoon under the leadership of its president Lalsangzuala Ngente to decide on its future course of action. The students blamed the government for the “creating unnecessary controversy” by including Chakma students in the same category as Zo ethnic tribes.

“We would not allow the rights and privileges of the indigenous Zo ethnic people of Mizoram to be encroached upon by non-indigenous or non-Mizos and we would never allow the Chakmas to be placed under category-I,” a statement issued by the student body said.

While urging the state government to stand with the indigenous Zo ethnic tribes, the student body asked the state government to keep its promise not to include the Chakmas and other non-Mizo/Zo ethnic communities under category-I.

It further asked the state government to immediately arrange counselling class so that the selected students from Zo ethnic tribes complete their interview.

The Mizoram government cleared the state’s quota on July 11. Altogether, Mizoram has 49 seats, 38 for MBBS and 11 for BDS. The non-tribal (vai) was however, dropped from the list.

The MZP has been protesting against the inclusion of Chakmas under Category-I after 38 Chakma students were selected and included under Category-I in the State Medical & Technical Entrance Examination in 2015.

WHO COMES UNDER WHICH CATEGORY

Under Mizoram (Selection of Candidates for Higher Technical Courses) Rules, 1999, 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 govt employees not permanently serving in Mizoram as Category-III.

The Mizoram (Selection of Candidates for Higher Technical Courses) Rules was amended on 24 March, 2015, following the agitation launched by the MZP against the selection of 38 Chakma students under Category I in state technical entrance examination, which relegated the Chakmas to Category-II.

The new amendment rules however, was stayed by the Gauhati High Court on 24 June, 2016 following the PIL filed by the Mizoram Chakma Students’ Union (MCSU).

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Co-Editor, Zoramobserver.com. Mr. Khojol is a journalist based in Aizawl, Mizoram. He writes for various national and regional media houses. In his free time, he can be caught reading books and watching movies.

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