Aizawl, Apr 13 : The Mizoram government is likely to issue an ordinance to declare the northeastern part of the state, bordering Manipur, as a 'disturbed area'. The region is dominated by people belonging to the Hmar community.
The move comes after the ambush of members and guards of a state assembly committee at Zokhawthiang, near the Mizoram-Manipur border, on March 28 in which two policemen and a driver of the police department were killed by suspected rebels of Hmar People's Convention (Democrats).
A senior state home department official said the bill to declare the area as 'disturbed' is being drafted.
"As the state assembly is not in session, the governor will issue an ordinance after the bill gets the approval of the council of ministers," the official said. He added that terming an area 'disturbed' does not necessarily imply the enforcement of the dreaded Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
"The Mizoram government will declare the area as disturbed without involving the Centre," he said, adding that the concerned bill is being prepared by the state home department and the law and judicial department. He said the state government could reimburse 75% of the expenses involved in implementing the disturbed area ordinance.
Meanwhile, the Aizawl-based corruption watchdog, People's Right to Information and Development Implementing Society of Mizoram (PRISM), issued a statement condemning the government's move. It said Mizoram underwent unspeakable suffering, including rape, violation of human rights, torture, atrocities and displacement, for 20 years when it was a 'disturbed area'.
"The atrocities and excesses of the Army during the 20-year-long insurgency left an indelible scar in the minds of the Mizo people," the statement said, adding that such suffering should not be repeated in the state.
The 'disturbed area' tag will provide sweeping powers to the Armed Forces, which, in turn, would result in human rights violations, the statement said.