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E-Pao! Top Stories:: Hmar Student Leaders Meet Home Minister

Hmar Student Leaders Meet Home Minister
By: Lalremlien Neitham *



New Delhi, 29th April 2005: Representatives of the Hmar Students’ Association (H.S.A) met Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil on 28 April 2005 in New Delhi and submitted a memorandum apprising him of the grievances of the Hmar tribe in Northeastern India. Dr. H.T. Sangliana, M.P, led the eight student delegates.

The memorandum submitted apprised the Home Minister on the plights of the Hmars and the northeastern state governments’ negligence in improving their poor socio-economic conditions, which have brought about pains and sufferings, identity crises and exploitation from other major communities. It stated that the Hmars are being denied of civil and human rights, deprived of socio-cultural and political rights and that development works are close to zilch in their areas of inhabitance.

Zothanglur Sanate, vice-president, H.S.A. Gen. Hqrs., stressed on the necessity of setting up a common unifying administrative unit for the indigenous Hmar tribes in order to safeguard their interests, who are spread in the northeastern states of Mizoram, Manipur, Assam, Tripura, and Meghalaya.

The Memorandum also stated that while other tribes in Cachar district of Assam enjoy the provisions and benefits provided to the minorities by the Constitution of India, the Hmars are yet to be included and recognised as Scheduled Tribe (Hills) in the state. This exclusion greatly hampers the development of the Hmars in the district.

The H.S.A. also requested the Home Ministry to take the initiative in inviting the armed Hmar group – Hmar People’s Convention (Democratic), to the negotiation table for peace dialogues with the Central Government so that amicable solutions are reached to the different issues and problems they faced in the northeast. The H.S.A. also said that it genuinely believes and hopes that peace can prevail and issues resolved through democratic means.

Seeing the meeting as a positive outcome, Joseph R. Hmar, student leader and social activist, said that the Home Minister assured the delegates that he would look into their grievances and direct the state governments to look into the problems faced by the Hmars.


*Contributed by Lalremlien Neitham
This article was webcasted on 30th April 2005

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