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Mizo students’ body MZP opposes eviction of Zo ethnic tribe by Manipur’s BJP government

Mizoram's apex student body MZP protests the alleged eviction of Zo ethnic tribal people from neighbouring Manipur by the BJP government.

Mizo students' body MZP opposes eviction of Zo ethnic tribe by Manipur's BJP government

The apex body of Mizoram’s students’ organisations has alleged that neighbouring Manipur’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is annexing the land of tribal people by evicting them. Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) accused Manipur’s BJP government of grabbing the land of Zo ethnic tribal people.

Tribal people belonging to the Kuki-Chin-Zo communities have been protesting Manipur’s BJP government’s drive against alleged illegal poppy cultivation in the state. They allege that the BJP government is destroying poppy fields in reserved and protected forest areas in the hilly regions of Manipur.

The protests by the tribals against the Manipur government’s eviction drive turned violent in Manipur’s Churachandpur, Kangpokpi and Tengnoupal. The Kuki-Chin-Zo tribal communities have been residing in these areas for decades.

Having the same ethnicity, the Zo, Mizo, Kuki, and Chin tribal people are spread across Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Assam, neighbouring Bangladesh’s Chittagong’s hilly areas and western parts of Myanmar.

The MZP claimed that it’s closely observing the situation and the problems faced by the Zo tribal people in Manipur. Accusing the BJP government of Manipur of using the drive against poppy cultivation as a façade, the MZP claimed that the government of the neighbouring state wants to grab these lands from the tribal people.

The statement issued by the MZP on the Zo ethnic tribal people’s eviction

“The origin of these problems is the Manipur government’s attempts to evict ethnic Zo people from their various settlements so that their lands can be taken from them and these tribal lands can be declared reserved forest, protected forest, wildlife sanctuaries, and wetlands”, the MZP’s statement said.

Following Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s government’s demand for an inner-line permit from Zo ethnic tribes from Mizoram in the state, the MZP slammed the move and said it’s unacceptable.

“While the ILP is required for non-Mizoram residents, we never demand it from or create problems for Manipuri people, whom we treat without discrimination”, the MZP said in the statement pointing towards the Meitei people from Manipur living in Mizoram.

The MZP demanded that the Manipur government scrap its policy of demanding ILP from the Mizo ethnic tribes in the state. “We, therefore, demand that the Manipur government stop demanding ILPs from our ethnic brethren”.

While demanding the scrapping of the ILP requirement from the Zo ethnic tribe in Manipur, the MZP said if the BJP-led government in the neighbouring state doesn’t reverse the decision, then it won’t be responsible for whatever will happen to the Meitei people living in Mizoram.

Claiming that it will continue to “promote unity among ethnic Zo people because it wants to preserve the brother/sisterhood of the community”, the MZP accused the Manipur government of attempting to evict the Zo tribe, who are people of the land, which is unacceptable to it.

“We demand that the Manipur government immediately stop such initiatives that can be detrimental to ethnic Zo people”, the MZP said in the statement.

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