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Chakmas decry 'racist' Lalthanhawla
Chakma organizations criticized Mizoram Chief Minister Lalthanhawla for his alleged racist remarks against Chakmas and other communities. They asked the Chief Minister to desist from racial discrimination and work for welfare of minorities.
ON MAY 14, 2011, eleven Chakma students’ and social organisations strongly condemned the alleged racist statement made by Mizoram Chief Minister Lalthanhawla against Chakmas and other communities as reported in a vernacular Mizo daily.

The Aizawl Post had reported that the Chief Minister while speaking at a function organised by Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) to felicitate the HSLC toppers at Vanappa Hall, Aizawl on 27 April 2011 called the Chakmas as “hnawksak” (“nuisance”) in Mizoram, and referred to Brus as “Tuikuk” (literal meaning: “water insects”), and other mainstream non-tribals as “vai chheho”, which literally means “useless or insignificant people”.

In a joint statement, the Chakma organisations stated that such kind of “racist” remarks/references against other communities coming out from the state’s Chief Minister is uncalled for, highly objectionable and has the potential to create further sense of fear, insecurity and alienation in the minds of the minority communities in the state.

“We consider the alleged statement/speech of Chief Minister Lalthanhawla as “racial profiling” against the Chakma community and insult to all the Chakmas. Racial profiling/ racial discrimination is explicitly prohibited under national and international laws”, stated the joint statement signed by representatives of eleven Chakma organisations.

The joint statement added that “Chief Minister Lalthanhawla has alleged racial discrimination against the people of North East region by the mainstream society of India in both national and international forums. He must live by his conviction against racial discrimination and not practise the same racial discrimination against the ethnic minority communities, who are his own people, in his own home state, i.e. Mizoram.”

The Chakma organisations further stated that “peace” was the biggest contribution of Chakmas in Mizoram. Chakmas with their distinct culture, scripts, language, religion and folklore are assets to the nation’s diversity and of Mizoram.

They said the state has the constitutional responsibility to work for uplift of all the sections of the citizens, without any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, religion, language or discrimination of any other kind or manifestation; and protect and promote all their human rights and fundamental freedoms as enshrined under the Constitution of India and international documents to which India is a party.

The Chakma organisations demanded that Chief Minister Lalthanhawla make a public statement clarifying his positions on the contents of the news story appearing in The Aizawl Post and apologise to the Chakma community.

Pointing out that the Chakmas are the most backward and disadvantaged in all fields, they demanded constitution of a judicial committee in the line of “The Rajinder Sachar Committee” appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at national level, for preparation of a report on the social, economic and educational status of the Chakmas and other minorities in Mizoram.

They further appealed the state government of Mizoram to pursue an inclusive growth policy, which will lead Mizoram to a peaceful, democratic and prosperous state where all citizens, irrespective of caste, creed, language or religion, live side by side in harmony and prosperity.

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