zoland

Amid the ongoing talks between the Manipur government and the Kuki umbrella groups, as many as nine Zomi tribes have raised the demand for the creation of Zoland Territorial Council (ZTC) in the wake of the demands for Nagalim and Kukiland Territorial Council.

Zomi council is an apex body of the Zomi tribes which include Gante, Kom, Mate, Paite, Simte, Tedim Chin, Thangkhal, Zou and Vaiphei.

Zomi identified themselves as descendants of the Zo, the Tibeto-Burman people that speaks Chin-Kuki language group. They are scattered in Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Assam. There are over 2 lakhs Zomi population in Churachandpur district alone.

The slogan “We demand ZTC” reverberated in Churachandpur district headquarter as hundreds of people took out a peace rally Monday in solidarity with the United People’s Front (UPF) and Kuki National Organisation (KNO).

The rally, which started from Tangnuam public ground concluded at Lamka public ground, where the Zomi Council leaders submitted a memorandum addressed to the prime minister. A public meeting was also held at the venue.

Sanga R, the speaker of the Zomi Council (ZC), said that the objective of the rally is to pursue their demand of ZTC and send a message to the government to expedite the ongoing talks with the UPF and KNO.

Explaining why the Zomi wanted the ZTC, Sanga said that the tribals in Manipur are the only exception in northeast India who do not enjoy Sixth Scheduled provisions.

The tribals in Manipur have been demanding the extension of Sixth Schedule provision for the last 42 years which is still a distant dream, he added.

The speaker further claimed that the existing Autonomous District Council (ADC) in the tribal areas are for namesake. “As such, the ADC has miserably failed to meet the socio-economic and political needs of the tribal in present time,” he added.

“Centre has recently upgraded the existing ADCs in the NE India into autonomous Territorial Council. We also learnt that the government is in the process of creating a Naga Territorial Council as a part of the Indo-Naga settlement. The government should consider a similar solution for the Zo people who were categorized by the colonial ethnographers as Kuki-Chin group”, Sanga said.

Sanga further asserted that the demand for ZTC is not divisive as it under the purview of the Indian Constitution and is not against the territorial integrity of Manipur state.

A similar rally was held in New Delhi which was organised by the ZTC Demand Committee, Delhi and Zomi Students’ Federation Delhi Cell.

~IndianExpress

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