E-Pao! Top Stories:: Interview With H.P.U President - L. Hlima Keivom

Interview With H.P.U President - L. Hlima Keivom
By: Lalremlien Neitham *

The President and Secretary of Hmar People’s Union (HPU) of N.C. Hills (Assam), L. Hlima Keivom and Ngaidam Puruolte along with the Hmar Students’ Association (H.S.A) student leaders from Northeast India, recently met the Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil in New Delhi on 28th April 2005. Here is an excerpt of an interview with the H.P.U. President L. Hlima Keivom.

Lalremlien: What is the H.P.U?

Hlima: The Hmar Peoples’ Union (H.P.U) is a political organisation of the Hmar people of the N.C. Hills district in Assam. The H.N.U mainly deals with the political issues of the Hmars.

Lalremlien: You met the Union Home Minister and also submitted a Memorandum. Did the H.P.U made any demands in the Memorandum?

Hlima: We met the Union Home Minister on the 28th of April 2005 and apprised him of the various problems faced by the Hmars of Assam. The H.P.U made a demand for political safeguarding of the Hmars of N.C. Hills and Cachar district of Assam.

Lalremlien: What are the problems the Hmars are facing in the N.C. Hills?

Hlima: The Hmars are politically discriminated in the N.C. Hills. This has crippled them in all other aspects of their lives.

Lalremlien: Do you expect positive result and development from your recent meeting with the Home Minister?

Hlima: We sincerely hope that our recent meeting with the Home Minister will bear fruitful results for the vexed problems in the N.C Hills. Yes, we expect positive development from the meeting.

Lalremlien: What is the Centre’s response to the H.P.U demands?

Hlima: The Home Minister assures us that the Government would look into the issues and problems faced by the Hmars submitted in the Memorandum.

Lalremlien: What progress does the Phukan Commission make on its enquiry to the Ethnic Clash between the Hmars and Dimasas in 2003? When will the final heading be held and where?

Hlima: The P.C Phukan Inquiry Commission had already conducted its Final Hearing on the Ethnic Clash between the Hmars and Dimasas in 2003 on the 4th and 8th of September 2004 at Guwahati and the Report on the Inquiry was supposed to be submitted by the end of December 2004. However, the Commission is yet to submit the Report to the Government.

Lalremlien: Do you have anything to say on the Dimasas’ strong opposition to a separate Administrative setup for the Hmars in Assam?

Hlima: Yes, I do. I should say that the Dimasas are against the concept of “Live and Let Live”. It is hard to understand as to why the Dimasas are tooth and nail against the demand of the Hmars in N.C. Hills for a separate administrative setup whereas they themselves are demanding for a Dimasa Kingdom (Dimaraji) out of Assam and Nagaland states.

Lalremlien: What is the H.P.U. stand on the demand for a Dimaraji?

Hlima: The H.P.U and the Hmar people in general never opposed the Dimaraji Movement. The Ethnic Clash was not the result of an opposition against the Dimasas movement. Rather, it was the result of the Ethnic Cleansing operation of the DHD upon the Hmars, which resulted in an Ethnic Clash, and which convinced the Hmars that they would not survive for long under Dimaraji if it were ever achieved. As soon as the Dimasa militant group, the DHD entered a Ceasefire Agreement with the Government of India, its Ethnic Cleansing Operation gained ground, resulting in more ethnic annihilation of the Hmars. One could only imagine what the agony of the Hmars will be under the clenched hands of the Dimasas if they were granted self-autonomy for a Dimaraji. The atrocities perpetuated against the Hmars further justifies the demands of the Hmars for an arrangement of their political safeguards in N.C. Hills.

Lalremlien: The Dimasas complain the population of the Hmars in N.C. Hills. What do you have to say to that?

Hlima: The Dimasas seem to be quite confused about the population of the Hmars in N.C. Hills. They repeatedly complain the population growth of the Hmars of N.C. Hills. At the same time, they warned the Central Government not to grant any separate Administrative unit to the Hmars, arguing that it is ridiculous to grant a separate administrative unit for such people like the Hmars.

Nevertheless, there are reasons for them to be confused. Because, there are so many clans and sub-clans under the Hmars who live in mixed population with other tribes like the Kukis, and the Dimasas could not differentiate most of the clans and sub-clans of Hmars from those of the Kukis.

Lalremlien: What is the population of the Hmars in N.C. Hills?

Hlima: The population of the Hmars (including Biete, Hrangkhol, Vaiphei, Khelma, etc) in N.C. Hills is above 30,000 (Thirty Thousand).

Lalremlien: What may be the best available solution to solve the deteriorating situation and problems of N.C. Hills?

Hlima: To solve the problems of the N.C. Hills, the Government should see that all the tribes and communities of the District get their due rights and shares as provided under the Constitution of India.

* Contributed by Lalremlien Neitham ( )
This article was webcasted on 09th May 2005

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