~By Lawmsang Hmar*
Exactly 365 days ago the government of Mizoram received an order from the Mizoram Bench of the Guahati High Court to implement the 1994 Peace Accord sign between the Hmar People’s Convention and the Government of Mizoram. The order was issued on September 5, 2017, and it was received by the Government of Mizoram on September 13, 2017, stating “to implement within the period of one year, from the date of received.” The last 365 days reveals that the government of Mizoram have no tendency to give the Hmar tribe the provisional right – Hmar Autonomous District Council – under the 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
The Hmar tribesmen have settled in the present day Mizoram for over 600 years. They have made the land, their land and name the villages based on the clan settling in the particular villages. The Hmar people had stayed in the present day Mizoram for 300 years before the Lushais (Mizo) arrived and claim the land as their own by adopting expansionist policy. Due to the constant assimilation and subjugation, the Hmars are now living in fear of extinction, fear that they might soon lost their cultural heritage, language, traditional shawl and attire.
Since the beginning of Mizo Union, the Hmars have been assimilated within the Mizo fold. Therefore, the population of Hmars in Mizoram have been decreasing since 1901 till 1991. Fearing cultural assimilation, the Hmars demanded a Hmar Autonomous District Council since 1989 covering Kolasib district, Northern part of Aizawl District and part of Champhai District. In spite of the effort and movement, the government of Mizoram still refused to grand the long grievance of the Hmar people. Is it because the Mizo people feared that their game of assimilation would bear no fruit if the Hmar people have their own Autonomous District Council to protect their land, their cultural heritage and traditional attire?
Some MLA’s and social organisations went to Manipur with regards to the present political scenario of the tribal in Manipur, preaching about brotherhood and unity. Yet they turn a blind eye on the long grievance of the Hmar people in Mizoram. The Hmar people did not demand Sinlung Hills Development Council nor Sinlung Hills Council. The aspiration of the people was and is and will be Hmar Autonomous District Council (HADC). The government of Mizoram should settle with the Hmar people’s demand of HADC first and then talk about peace and brotherhood in Manipur and elsewhere. The Government of Mizoram should stop using different methods and tactics to divert the long lasting dream of the Hmar people, i.e. HADC.
The government of Mizoram should pave the way for the creation of the Hmar Autonomous District Council while the Hmar people demand calmly and peacefully. War and bloodshed are expensive and is to be avoided at all cost. The armed struggle of the Hmar people which began due to the inhumane treatment of peaceful protesters by the police is still a nightmare for many people. The future is unpredictable, as the saying goes “the calm before the storm”. It would be a wise to solve the Hmar issue once and for all by granting them Hmar Autonomous District Council under the 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
*Note: The writer’s opinion are his own and we do not reflect the views of zoramobserver.com editorial team – Editor