Aizawl, Feb. 17: The “nationalist” discourse in Mizoram is taking a different turn with one of the leading Opposition parties, the Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP), demanding tribal zone status for areas under the erstwhile Mizo District Council.
This is the keystone of the ZNP’s manifesto for the upcoming elections, scheduled for November 2013, which the party plans to fight without any allies.
The party wants to revert to the Sixth Schedule-era in the erstwhile Mizo District Council areas, whose tribal area status was removed without any consultations when Mizoram was created as a Union Territory in 1972.
The ZNP also said the party would demand the same concessions given to the Nagas when talks with the Centre reach a resolution.
At a recent rally, party president Lalduhawma said this was the only way to safeguard the indigenous people of the state. “When they created a Union Territory out of our present state, the authorities abolished the tribal areas with a stroke of a pen, without even a single debate or consultation with the people,” he said.
Lalduhawma accused the then political leaders, particularly the Congress and the Mizo National Front leaders, for “blindly leading the Mizo people into slavery”.
He warned that unless the Mizo people wake up and vote a party with this in mind, government employees belonging to the indigenous community and business owners would have to pay income tax, which “indigenous people don’t have to pay in tribal areas”.
“Now that these areas, barring the southern most parts of the state (Lai, Mara and Chakma district areas), are non-tribal areas we are in danger as the protection for tribals under the Sixth Schedule is no longer there,” he said.