TODAY -

Zoland TC demand echoes through CCpur
Source: The Sangai Express

CCpur, November 25 2019: Even as Manipur has demanded that the final pact with the NSCN (IM) should not impinge on the integrity of Manipur in any way, thousands of people today responded to the call of the Zomi Council to take to the streets and demand the creation of Zoland Territorial Council through the ongoing political talks with SoO groups - UPF and KNO.

The Zomi Council, an apex body of five Zo kindred tribes have been pursuing the demand for political autonomy under the State of Manipur ever since the Government began formal talks with the SoO groups.

Initially, they voiced the desire to have an autonomous State within the State of Manipur under article 244A of the Indian Constitution but altered it to a Territorial Council in line with the Bodoland Territorial Council.



Zoland TC demand echoes through CCpur
Zoland TC demand echoes through CCpur


Today's rally on the streets of Churachandpur assumes significance as there are reports of the Central Government likely to strike a settlement with the Kuki-Zomi groups as well, as part of their larger settlement policy in the North Eastern region.

The rally that began at Tangnuam playground wound up at Lamka public ground as planned and brought normal life to a grinding halt for about a couple of hours.

Slogans including 'We want ZTC,' 'We Demand ZTC' etc echoed as the rallyists marched along the busy Tedim Road and Tipaimukh Road.

Banners and placards echoing the same sentiments were also on display during the rally.

Members of Hmar Women Association also joined the rally mid-way from Rengkai Road, as scheduled.

A memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister was later handed over through the Deputy Commissioner.

Though no details of the memo are made public, the Zomi Council released a formal statement to the press wherein they stated the purpose of the rally and justified the demand for Zoland Territorial Council.

To 'request the Government to expedite talks with UPF and KNO; and create Zoland Territorial Council (ZTC) through the ongoing political talks as per the assurance given by NDA leadership,' was the purpose of the rally, said the statement.

It also sought to justify the demand for ZTC on four points.

Firstly, the statement said, the tribals in Manipur have been demanding extension of 6th Schedule for the past 42 years and the Government of Manipur recommended the same on three occasions.

Secondly, the existing ADCs are not only ineffective, but redundant to meet the socio-economic and political needs of the tribals.

Thirdly, the tribals in Manipur are the only exception in NE India who do not enjoy 6th Schedule provisions.

Fourthly, it claimed that the GoI has upgraded existing ADCs in North East India to Autonomous Territorial Councils.

'We also learn that the Government is in the process of creating Naga TC as part of the Indo-Naga settlement.

The Government should consider similar solution for the Zo people, who were categorized by the colonial ethnographers as Kuki-Chin group.

In 2017 the NDA leadership gave assurance to UPF leadership for the creation of autonomous TC and we reciprocated by voting BJP to power in Manipur.

Then why not this promise be fulfilled now?' it said.

The statement also termed Zoland as a logical, inclusive and non-partisan terminology for the entire Zo people.

It further noted that the people often categorized as Kuki, Chin and Lushai have all accepted that they a cultural entity and wish to restore the indigenous Zo cultural identity.

'It is within the purview of the Indian Constitution and is not against the territorial integrity of Manipur,' said the statement that went on to argue that creation of ZTC will in fact be the best means to protect the territorial integrity of the State, as the existence of administrative systems both in the hills and valley of Manipur during and after colonial period is intended not to divide but create a healthy administration and protect the tribes so that they co-exist in peace with the majority community of the State.

With these facts as its base today's rally was undertaken with due focus on the collective interest of all, declared the Zomi Council statement.

They also resolved to pursue the agenda until the Government establishes ZTC through the ongoing political talks, and through their memorandum prayed that Pu Modiji fulfils his what was described as 'his party's commitment to us' at the earliest possible time.

It may be noted that similar rallies have been conducted at sub-divisional headquarters spanning across the Zomi inhabited areas while, a demonstration was also conducted at the National Capital.

At New Delhi, Zoland Territorial Council, Delhi and Zomi Students Federation, Delhi Cell led the demonstration to demand ZTC and expedite political talks at Jantar Mantar.


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