Archive for the ‘Mizoram’ Category

Mizoram-Hmar Rebels To Talk in December

November 16, 2010

Hmar rebels in MizoramJoint monitoring group to oversee ceasefire rules

Aizawl, Nov 16 : The first formal peace talks between the Mizoram government and the Hmar People’s Conference (Democratic) rebels are likely to be held next month before Christmas.

The Mizoram government yesterday announced the suspension of operations against the dreaded outfit to give shape to the terms of the ceasefire signed on November 11 at Baungkawng in Aizawl.

The ceasefire was signed between Lalmalsawma, the home commissioner of Mizoram’s Congress government, and Lalropui, the chief of the army of the outfit.

Both sides said they would adhere to the ceasefire rules to “ensure the peace dialogues in the common interests of finding a solution to the Hmar issue”. This is the second time that the Mizoram government has signed a ceasefire with the Hmar rebels in 16 years.

In 1994, the Congress government in Mizoram had signed a ceasefire agreement with the first rebel outfit, the Hmar People’s Conference (HPC), which was led by Hmmingchhungnung. Around 375 cadres of the outfit surrendered to the authorities the same year in Aizawl.

The HPC (D) is a breakaway faction of the Hmar People’s Conference. It came to the fore in 1998 under the leadership of Lalhmingthanga.

The HPC (D) had rubbished the agreement between the Mizoram government as “blank and fruitless”.

The government and the outfit agreed to constitute a joint monitoring group to oversee the rules of the ceasefire.The outfit is an intra-state gang of rebels, which operates in Mizoram, Assam’s Cachar and North Cachar districts, Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya.

The HPC (D) has staged ambushes on the police and security forces in Mizoram, Assam and Manipur during the past few years.

It has also been involved in kidnappings and extortions.

Intelligence sources in the Union home ministry said the outfit has nearly a 100 cadres, trained in the use of sophisticated firearms by the NSCN (I-M) in Dimapur.

The outfit’s main demand is the carving out of Hmar-inhabited lands under Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura and Assam and to bring these under the separate Hmar district council area according to the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

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Mizoram Police Blames Sex Tapes For Sexual Assault, Rape Incidents

November 15, 2010

By Rahul Karmakar

web_pornographyGuwahati, Nov 15 : Fairly permissive Mizoram had been wondering why ‘mainland malaise’ such as rape and pedophilia were stalking the highlanders. The police have found an answer – sex videos – after an influential students’ body blamed it on ‘sexy’ school dresses. Finding a pattern to rapes in Mizoram, the police in

this northeastern state discovered that most men caught on charges of rape were aged 40 years or above. And a majority of their victims were girls aged 10-15 years.

“Convicted rapists and others caught on charges of sexually assaulting young girls and minors confessed they watched sex videos before striking,” said Aizawl superintendent of police Lalbiakthanga Khaingte.

The study also revealed that 30.2% victims were in the 10-15 age group, 20.3% in the 5-10 age group and 18.3% aged between 15 and 20 years.

The findings followed a rally by the Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP) last week to condemn the increasing rate of crimes against women in Mizoram. MHIP is Mizoram’s apex body of women.

“We have been seeking stringent laws to check rapes, murders and other crimes against women,” said MHIP president Lalthlamuani. “The most disturbing trend in Mizoram is the rape and murder of minors.”

A 5-year-old girl was raped and murdered in Aizawl on November 11. A similar case was reported elsewhere in the state on October 18.

According to the Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) or Mizo Students’ Union, the government’s lethargy in implementing strict dress codes in educational institutions has been ‘encouraging’ sexual attacks.

Mizoram’s school education department had earlier this year formed the Committee on Indecent School Dress and Hairstyle after the MZP demanded a ban on underwear-showing low-slung trousers and micro mini skirts in schools and colleges.

“But the government is yet to issue orders to the schools to ensure a decent dress code,” MZP president Khraws Hmehova told HT from Aizawl on Monday. He added the MZP was mobilizing its units for implementing strict social codes aimed at checking involuntary sex and punishing men who cross the line.

Mizoram Doing Wonders With Rural Job Scheme

November 15, 2010

By K. Balchand

MNREGS has given them the leeway to club a number of schemes

Primary importance is attached to construction of roads

Aizawl, Nov 15 : The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) has been adopted as a community work by the well-knit, classless society in Mizoram.

Unlike in other States, people in Mizoram do not apply for jobs; it is the village council or local administration which sends out invitations to each household to send at least one job card holder to execute the work in their village or area.

The village council, an elected body, has been created under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and exercises control at the grassroots level. However, dissolution of some of these councils falling within the jurisdiction of the capital city of Aizawl is on the cards now with its transition towards governance through a municipal body. The first election to its 19 wards was held earlier in the week.
Mizoram National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme

The proposal for dissolution of some of the councils is meeting opposition not because almost 40 per cent of the State’s population inhabit its capital but also because it plays a crucial role in the life of the small population of 10 lakh Mizos who are otherwise sparsely spread on the treacherous though beautiful terrain of this mountainous State.

In villages, however, the councils are evolving the development process with greater ingenuity, particularly after the introduction of MNREGS which has given them the leeway to club a number of schemes.

A case in point is Sakeiram—Tiger Land. Sakei means tiger in Mizo language and Ram stands for land as in the case of Mizoram–land of the Mizos. More than 700 men and women of all ages are collectively cutting a 6-km pathway in the mountains with the objective of setting up an altogether new locality in Serchhip district. The village council had issued a call and the job card holders responded as if they were taking up a community work. Of course, the wage rate is Rs.110 per person day.

It sure is a multipurpose road suggestive of a unique model of convergence of various schemes taken up with the idea of not only linking Thensal village with the main road but also to facilitate construction of an AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) hospital, ring in a new mode of agriculture and give a fillip to horticulture and floriculture.

Several programs are thus clubbed, but primary importance is attached to construction of roads. MGNREGS doubles up even with Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) as the hilly terrains are still inaccessible.

Horticulture and floriculture are among the schemes permitted under the MGNREGS to develop the land of BPL and Scheduled Tribes households. This is being used to wean them away from jhum cultivation which typifies the shifting cultivation.

To save ecology, the government last week launched a New Land Use Policy (NLUP) with the promise to provide at least two hectares to 1.2 lakh families over the next three years. The government also intends to provide help to develop their land for tilling purpose. With people living on the higher slopes of the mountain, water is a major problem despite several rivers crisscrossing the State. MGNREGS has come in handy for taking up water conservation schemes. It is being combined with other structures for setting up reservoirs.

Rape Cases On The Rise in Mizoram

November 15, 2010

stop rape in mizoramAizawl, Nov 15 : Mizoram has witnessed an increase in rape cases during the last few years, Aizawl Superintendent of Police Lalbiakthanga Khiangte said here today.

Police registered 66 cases of rape in 2007, while there were 70 rape victims in that year. Fifty-one rape cases and 56 rape victims were registered in 2008, which increased to 68 rape cases and 71 victims.

This year the police have registered 76 rape cases and the names of 69 victims, the police official said.

He was speaking at an observation of a ‘black day’ by the states apex women’s body Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl here to show its strong condemnation of the recent rape and murder of two five-year-old girls in Aizawl and a spurt in violence against women.

Explaining the difference between the number of rape cases and victims, Mr Khiangte said in some cases the same accused victimized more than one person while in some cases, a victim got raped by more than one persons.

The police official believed that it was possible that more cases of rape went unreported due to the parents and the victims fear of stigmatization.

Most of the rape victims were aged between 10 and 15, the police official said, constituting 30.2 per cent of the victims.

This was followed by 15-20 age group who accounted for 18.3 per cent. He said girls aged between 5 and 20 are the most vulnerable to rape.

The police official further revealed that in most cases, the accused and the victims were near or dear ones.

Stating that there is high incidence of child sexual abuse, the Aizawl SP stressed the importance of imparting sex education to children.

HPC (D) and Govt of Mizoram Signed SoO

November 15, 2010

By David Buhril

hmar militants mizoramThe Government of Mizoram and the Hmar People’s Convention (Democratic) signed the ‘Suspension of Operation’ (SoO) on November 11, 2010 at Mizoram’s Aizawl for ensuring “peace dialogue in the common interest of finding political solution” to the Hmar issue in Mizoram.

Dissatisfied over the 1994 accord signed between the Hmar People’s Convention and the Government of Mizoram, which was seen as ‘blank and fruitless accord’ by the HPC (D), the armed group quest to find a “permanent solution” to the “unfinished agenda” by carving out “Hmar Territorial Council” in Mizoram.

The team, representing the Government of Mizoram, constituted by the Governor was headed by Lalmalsawma, Home Secretary. On the other side, the HPC (D) was headed by Lalropui, Chief of Army. The SoO document was signed by the two leaders “to build confidence and trust in the common pursuit of finding permanent solution”.

While agreeing to cease all operation against each other, the Government of Mizoram categorically “reserves its right to continue operation against other militant groups who are not a party to the Suspension of Operation agreement. The two parties agreed to set up a Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) with equal representation “to enforce an effective implementation of SoO ground rules.

Paving the way for a meaningful and honourable political dialogue, “the HPC(D) shall have the liberty to appoint any respectable person(s) to assist them in their dialogue with the Government”. Moreover, in the interest of building peace, trust, confidence and goodwill, “the HPC (D) shall be allowed free movement in Mizoram and to conduct peaceful political activities in its demand areas.”

Taking into account the harsh reality of the Hmar people who are divided by five State boundaries, the Government of Mizoram has taken into its obligation to request the Government of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Manipur to allow free movement to the HPC(D) during the suspension of operation. The Government of Mizoram will also issue appropriate direction to security agencies to stand down and cease offensive operation against the HPC(D) during the period of suspension of operation.

While the core issues are yet to climb the table, the suspension of operation has not only paved the way but also put the two engaging parties in the same direction for finding a political solution to the Hmar issue in Mizoram. In a State where identity, culture, tradition, language and memories are dying fast the table for political dialogue has already raised high expectations for the Hmar people, one of the biggest Mizo tribe.

It may be remembered that the 1994 accord between the Hmar People’s Convention (HPC) and the Government of Mizoram was signed by Lalthanhawla, the present Chief Minister of Mizoram. Leaders of the HPC (D) expressedly said that the present Government of Mizoram headed by Lalthanhawla must be responsible for the infamous accord, which only resulted in creating a divisive political wheelchair. “We have a strong resolution, we are serious and we have high expectation”, Lalropui, Chief of Army, HPC(D) said. Representatives of the Government of Mizoram also said that signing the Suspension of Operation document was a smooth affair.

For a State blessed with the manna of peace bonus, it would more than justify the purse if the Government of Mizoram goes beyond the suspension of operation to find real solution to the issues at stake.

Quit Notice to Myanmarese Nationals in Mizoram

November 15, 2010

mizoramAizawl, Nov 15 : Close on the heels of the gruesome incident of rape and murder of a five-year-old girl in Muallungthu village allegedly by a Myanmarese national, village councils under Aizawl South III assembly constituency issued quit notice to all Myanmarese migrants residing in the constituency.

A joint committee of the village councils of the constituency, which included the village council of Muallungthu issued an order asking Myanmarese nationals not to enter the constituency and asked all those currently staying to immediately leave.

Justifying its order the joint village council committee said yesterday that the eviction order was issued to prevent re-occurrence of such ghastly incident within the constituency.

A Myanmarese national, Henry Vanneichung was accused of murdering a five-year-old girl after raping her on November 8 near Muallungthu village.

Vanneichung was nabbed at nearby Sateek village by the villagers and was lynched after he was handed over to the search party from Muallungthu the next day.

The incident shocked the whole state which was recovering from the rape and murder of another five-year-old girl at Thakthing locality in Aizawl on October 18. The accused, Lalrammawia, is now incarcerated at the central jail near Aizawl.

The two incidents and other recent incidents of sexual molestation and rape prompted the Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP) or the Women Federation to observe ‘Black Day’ yesterday and a massive protest rally was organised in Aizawl.

The demonstrators at the rally offered mass prayer asking for an end to violence and crime against minors and women.

They demanded that the harshest punishment should be awarded to the rapists and murderers in accordance with the laws of the land.

There have been 331 incidents of rape since 2006 till November this year in the state and the number of rape victims were 344.

Hmar Rebel’s Make Peace With Mizoram Govt

November 13, 2010

dove-symbol-of-peace-on-earthAizawl, Nov 13 : Peace talks between the Mizoram government and the Hmar Peoples Convention-Democratic (HPC-D) began in Aizawl yesterday at Mizoram State Guest House.

At the talks, a ceasefire agreement was signed by both the parties and ground rules were also prepared by the Mizoram government which the HPC-D agreed to abide by the ground rules agreed. The ceasefire will validate till the next round of talks to be held in near future.

As per the ground rule, both sides agreed not to undertake any offensive action against each other, said a government official today.

The Mizoram government team was headed by Lalmalsawma, Home Commissioner who was assisted by C. Thanchhuma, Aizawl Deputy Commissioner, PC. Lalchhuanawma Assistant Director General of Police, C. Laldina, SP CID and Lalhriatpuia ,Under Secretary Home.

Five representatives of the HPC(D) who participated in the talks were the Army Chief Lalropui Hmar , the Political Affair Secretary Lalbeise Hmar, the Information and Pulic Relations Secretary David Hmar, the Defence Secretary Robert Hmar and the Public Relation Officer Lalthanglien.

The sources said that the talk was in the initial stage and the discussion covered only the modalities for resumption of the peace talks which will show the two decade old HPC-D problem.

Home department officials said after the talks said, the HPC(D)’s demands and conditions would be submitted to chief minister Lalthanhawla and home minister R. Lalzirliana for arriving at a decision on their surrender.

The HPC(D)’s main demand is a separate Hmar area, comprising the Hmar-inhabited areas of Mizoram, Manipur and Assam’s Cachar and Dima Hasao districts, to be administered through their proposed autonomous district council. Mizoram, a hub of the Hmars, is a stronghold of the rebel group.

Mizo Body Concerned Over Rising in Child Sexual Abuse

November 12, 2010

child-abuseAizawl, Nov 12 : In the wake of the recent gruesome incidents where two five-year-old girls were raped and murdered, the shocked Child Welfare Committee (CWC) today underscored the need to introduce sex education to children to protect the children against the menace.

Urging the government to put more thrust on child protection, the CWC implored that let the recent two incidents be the eye-opener to the need and urgency protecting the children.

Of all the complaints against child abuse the CWC has received since 2005, cases of sexual molestations topped the list, the CWC said, adding, ”there were a number of cases of sexual molestation against boys.” A total of 641 complaints on child abuse have been received by Mizoram’s Child Welfare Committee since its inception on September 22, 2005, CWC Chairman Lalengruali Sailo said.

”The highest is sexual abuse against children and we have identified 127 child sexual abuse during the past four years,” Sailo said.

Out of the 127 cases, reported in over four years, a high 107 were incidents of sexual abuse by adults, she said.

CWC, working in coordination with the administration and human rights’ bodies, has registered 22 cases of physical abuse and two cases of child labour while there were 18 cases of sexual abuse perpetrated by minors.

CWC secretary Zodinpuii said a high incidence of child sexual abuse, was by older relatives of the victim like uncles, step-fathers and people close to the family.

She felt there could be more cases of abuse as many parents and victims dare not approach the CWC for fear of stigmatisation of the victims. It is said that if a child is taught all the rules of ‘stranger danger’, the child is protected to a great extent from chances of being sexually abused.

In both the cases of rape and murder of two five-year-old girls in Aizawl, the first on October 18 and the second on November 8, the victims were lured by strangers.

Myanmarese Nationals Asked to Leave Aizawl South-III

November 12, 2010

Aizawl mizoramAizawl, Nov 12 : In the wake of the rape and murder of a five-year-old girl allegedly by a Myanmarese national, village councils under Aizawl South-III constituency of Mizoram have served an eviction notice to all Myanmarese migrants staying in the constituency.

A joint committee of village councils of the constituency today issued an order telling all Myanmarese nationals living in Mizoram to never set foot again within the Aizawl South-III constituency and asked all to leave immediately.

The village councils reiterated that it severely condemned the gruesome rape and murder of the five-year-old innocent girl, while justifying that the eviction order was necessary to prevent repetition such in human acts in the area.

The Myanmarese national, identified as Henry Vanneihchung, aged 35, who was accused of raping and killing the five-year-old girl of Muallungthu village under Aizawl South-III constituency on November 8, was lynched by the mob the next day.

The man arrived in the village about a week back in search of employment.

Mizoram-Hmar Rebels Talks On in Aizawl

November 12, 2010

hmar militants mizoramAizawl, Nov 12 : The peace talks between Mizoram government and the Hmar People’s Conference (Democratic) got under way today at the state guesthouse in the capital town of Aizawl.

The team of senior state government officials was headed by home secretary Lalmalsawma while the HPC (D) was led by its President Lalhmingthanga.

The home secretary said over phone from Aizawl last night that the Mizoram government had agreed to hold peace talks with the Hmar militant outfit after closely examining the “feelers” sent by it.

He said the HPC(D) leaders reached Aizawl last night from two places in a fleet of cars — from Sakardawi, the headquarters of Hmar Development Council in northeast Mizoram, and Hmarkhawlien, a Hmar colony in Lalkhipur subdivision under south Assam’s Cachar district, bordering Manipur. Mizoram, a hub of the Hmars, is a stronghold of the rebel group.

The HPC(D) came into being about three years after the main Hmar insurgent group, Hmar People’s Conference (HPC), surrender arms in Aizawl in January 1994. The HPC, led by Hmingchhungnung, had masterminded a series of attacks on government-owned targets in Mizoram, Assam’s Cachar and North Cachar Hills (now Dima Hasao) districts and Manipur’s Tippaimukh and Churachandpur areas. They also carried out a series of bank robberies and extortion drives for seven years since 1988.

As part of its surrender package, the HPC had watered down its original demand for a Hmar Autonomous Council under the Sixth Schedule, and agreed to a Hmar development Council, with its headquarters at Sakardawi. But soon after this much-publicised surrender ceremony, a few disgruntled HPC cadres floated the HPC(D) to carry forward the armed struggle and demanded a Hmar autonomous district council. The HPC(D) has been carrying out ambushes, extortions and abductions for nearly 13 years now, since its formation in 1997.

Home department officials said after today’s talks, the HPC(D)’s demands and conditions would be submitted to chief minister Lalthanhawla and home minister R. Lalzirliana for arriving at a decision on their surrender.

The HPC(D)’s main demand is a separate Hmar area, comprising the Hmar-inhabited areas of Mizoram, Manipur and Assam’s Cachar and Dima Hasao districts, to be administered through their proposed autonomous district council.

Home department officials said there was no possibility of the Mizoram government agreeing to this demand. Instead, the proposal of a revamped development council for ensuring the development of the Hmar areas may be put forward to the rebels.