GUWAHATI: Even as Mizoram grapples to resolve the issue of Bru (Reang) refugees lodged in relief camps in neighbouring Tripura, an influential tribal organisation in the state has now raked up the issue of Chakmas demanding the scrapping of the Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC).
The development comes just weeks ahead of Assembly elections in the state. Alleging that Mizoram is increasingly becoming a safe haven of the "illegal Bangladeshi immigrants", thousands of protestors hit the streets of Aizawl on Wednesday in support of the demand.
The YMA said it would take legal recourse if the Centre failed to address the issue.
"We know it is only through the Parliament that an autonomous council can be scrapped. However, we will not rest till the demand is met with. We also demand the deportation of the immigrants. If need be, we will move a court," YMA president Vanlalruata said.
The Chakmas trace their roots to Bangladesh. Their migration to Mizoram took place over a period of time years ahead of Mizoram's attainment of statehood in 1986.
Vanlalruata said the CADC had become a safe haven for the Bangladeshi infiltrators ever since its creation in 1972.
"The alarming growth of population in CADC areas is beyond our comprehension. The council was created without taking the people of Mizoram into confidence. Therefore, we have every right to demand its scrapping," he said.
Alleging oppression, the Zo-ethnic groups, collectively called Mizos, had taken up the gun and spearheaded a two-decade-long insurgency movement which culminated in Mizoram's attainment of statehood. However, statehood literally had no meaning for the ethnic minorities.
The Chakmas, Maras and Lais are struggling to this day to secure their rights and identity. Mizoram has seen long-running tensions between Mizos and ethnic minority tribes.The CADC was created under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
The demand to scrap the council is not new. Former Chief Minister Laldenga had once sought to dissolve it but got no success. The ethnic minorities, particularly Chakmas, have been for long demanding reservation. Last year, Mizoram's lone Chakma minister Buddha Dhan Chakma had resigned alleging racial discrimination. Four Chakma students had cleared the National Entrance and Eligibility Test but were denied seats in medical colleges.
BJP is trying to keep these ethnic communities in a good humour. The party has been successful to some extent as evident from its winning five seats in the CADC election in April this year. That was for the first time that the BJP had won a seat in any election in Mizoram.