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A former Navy sailor from Mizoram who is contesting coming Lok Sabha elections is pledging to introduce ‘Right to Secession Bill’ if the BJP attempts to re-introduce the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016. Lalvenchhunga who is campaigning for the People’s Right to Information and Development Implementation Society of Mizoram (PRISM) said that it is the only regional party capable of fighting against the contentious bill and protect the identity of the Mizo people.
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“I have imagined Mizoram as a self-determining country and nation. That is why I joined politics – spending more than 15 years in mainland India, I came to know that there exist vast cultural and language differences, and we need to uproot our people and tell them of their rights,” said Lalvenchhunga.
Meanwhile, the office of the chief electoral officer, Mizoram on Friday asked for a clarification from PRISM on their party’s stand in this issue citing a report that appeared in Deccan Herald.
“The said matter pertains to your party and the issues raised involve questions on the unity and integrity of the country. It has also been observed that earlier statements issued by your party in Aizawl and Champhai districts have openly spoken about secession from India,” wrote Krishna Mohan Uppu, Additional CEO, Mizoram.
Replying to the official letter from the state election commission, PRISM president Vanlalruata stated the party remains committed to introduce the Secession Bill if the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 is re-introduced.
“Government of India is trying to legislate Citizenship Amendment Bill which clearly divides Indian people, especially Northeastern people. But, the bill is now pending in Rajya Sabha. President of BJP earlier said that if his party wins the upcoming Lok Sabha general election, the Citizenship Amendment Bill will be re-introduced, and we think that this is against unity and integrity of India. We strongly oppose it.”
Lalvenchhunga, who has been associated with social work as an ex-serviceman maintains that championing the rights of Mizo people would be his main political agenda and that his party is in agreement with his views.
“British India divided us from our own brethren living on the other side of Myanmar. They gave us the Free Movement Regime (FMR), which continues even after Independence - from 40km, it has now been reduced to 16km across the border. They included the Christian community of Bangladesh that has no connection with Mizo people but left out the Burmese. Before the British came, we were not Indian or Burmese, but dignified Indigenous people. If they try to divide us by bringing CAB, we can once again be one nation,” said Lalvenchhunga.
He added that as per UN declaration of rights of indigenous people, Article 3 of 2007, the indigenous people have the right of determination and that his party is committed to the cause.
Earlier, anti-Bill protests in Mizoram had people demanding for a separate Mizo nation. Even former Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla took part in a rally holding a banner that read ‘Hello independent Republic of Mizoram’.
(With inputs from Kimi Colney)
First Published: Mar 23, 2019 12:05 AM IST