From David Buhril
AIZAWL, Nov 14: The 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.