What were the main features or rather the gist of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Churachandpur JAC and the State Government that brought to an end the stand off that festered from September 2015 till the signing of the MoU on May 10, 2017, after the BJP led Government came to power.
This question has been raised in the backdrop of the demand raised by the CCpur JAC and several civil society organisations of Mizoram for a separate administration of the Zo people.
Demands may be raised by any civil society organisation, but the demand for separate administration appears to have been raised on the premise of the MoU signed between the CCpur JAC and the State Government on May 10.
This is what is interesting to note.
To give credence to the demand, a leader of the CCpur JAC has been reported as stating that the demand has been raised in line with the MoU signed between it and the State Government and was quoted as stating “Emphasising the need for a separate administrative set up for the tribal people of Outer Manipur including the Zo (Chin-Kuki-Zomi/Mizo) descendants of southern Manipur.”
The MoU, a copy of which is with The Sangai Express however does not exactly say this and here is the quote, “The State Government acknowledges the demands of the JACAATB regarding the administration of the indigenous tribal people of Manipur.”
Here the operative word is separate or rather the absence of the word separate in the MoU.
Nowhere is the word ‘separate’ mentioned in the MoU and instead talks about the administration of the indigenous tribal people of Manipur.
So how did the CCpur JAC get the idea that the MoU talked about ‘separate’ administration of the tribal people, is the question that naturally follows.
The CCpur uprising against the three Bills rest on the premise that the then State Government failed to consult the Hill Areas Committee while drafting the Bills and did not consult the stakeholders, which may be taken to mean the tribal people.
It is this which can be read into the MoU.
That the CCpur JAC deemed it better to give its own understanding to the core meaning of the MoU is another matter, but it will be interesting to see how the State Government respond to the demand for a separate administrative set up for the tribal people, particularly the Zo people.
It is also interesting to see CSOs of Mizoram joining the camp at New Delhi to air the demand to the Central leaders.
The Framework Agreement signed between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India has been cited as the reason for the apprehensions of the Zo people and while this may be a valid reason, it is siginificant to note that in asking for a separate administration of the tribal people, in effect, this is a demand to politically divide the State of Manipur.
Source: The Sangai Express