Sinlung /
08 June 2015

YMA U-Turn on Census of Chakmas

Aizawl, Jun 8 : Mizoram's most powerful organization, the central committee of the Young Mizo Association (YMA), abandoned its proposed census of Chakmas scheduled to commence from the first week of June.

The YMA's U-turn came after it inked a joint resolution with the central Young Chakma Association (YCA) on Wednesday in southern Mizoram's Chawngte town in Lawngtlai district in the presence of the additional secretary for the state home department Lalbiakzama.

Both the community-based civil societies agreed to cooperate with the government, especially the task force on illegal immigrants constituted by the state government following instructions from the ministry of home affairs to detect and deport illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

YMA leaders said they would watch the activities of the task force and review its decision if they were not satisfied. YMA leaders and student organizations in Mizoram have been raising their voices for years on the issue of illegal immigrants, especially Chakmas, entering Mizoram through the porous 319-km international border with Bangladesh.

Former Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) leader Lalhming Liana said the illegal influx was aggravated by the creation of a separate Chakma Autonomous District Council in the early 1970s.

"When Mizoram, then one of the districts of Assam, was elevated to the union territory statues in 1972, the Centre converted the erstwhile Pawi-Lakher Region into three autonomous district councils without consulting the people and the then government of Mizoram," Liana said.

The separate autonomy for the Chakmas encouraged more Chakmas to enter and settle illegally in the state, he said.

Civil society and student leaders alleged that the decadal growth of the population of Chakmas was abnormal and much higher than the overall population growth in the state.

"We have no reason to doubt that the high rate of growth of the Chakma population has been due to illegal immigration," said Vanlalruata, general secretary of the central committee of the YMA.

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