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May 15, 2011




Page: 8/40

Home > 2011 Issues > May 15, 2011

SPECIAL ON REANG REFUGEES
The ethnic cleansing of Hindu Reangs in Christian Mizoram

By Jagdamba Mall

AS per 2001 census, the total population of 4,34,140 Reangs is scattered in three neighbouring states of Mizoram. Assam and Tripura. Over 98 thousand Reangs live in 305 villages of Mizoram’s three districts—Mamits, Kalashiv and Lunglei. There are over one lakh Reangs in 57 villages of Assam’s three districts—Hailakandi, Karimganj and Cachar and 2 lakh 35 thousand population in Tripura’s three districts—North Tripura, East Tripura and Dhalai. This was an injustice done by Central Government to divide Reangs in three states. Because of that, the Reangs are utterly discriminated and marginalised in all the three states. There is no MLA from Reang community in Mizoram and Assam. In Tripura, Bajuban Reang is MP (Lok Sabha) and two MLAs Rajendra Reang and Manindra Reang are in Tripura Assembly. All the three political representatives are from Communist Party and thus are supporters of Church. Rajendra Reang is the Minister for Jail and Primitive Group.

In Tripura Reangs are categorised as primitive janjati whereas they are a devout Hindu and follower of Sanatan Dharma (Vaishnav Dharma). Their culture and traditions are unique and one of the richest and most refined. But due to discrimination and deprivation, they are left behind to the level of primitive condition with regard to the education and economic development. They may be economically poor but how can they be called as primitive with such a rich culture? But they are called so intentionally to undermine their Hindu Dharma. Their folksongs, folk dances and pious life style is superior in many ways in comparision to those who term them as primitive.

In Mizoram, though Reangs are devout in their Hindu Dharma and patriotism but are unorganised and have no political voice. Coupled with these, they are deprived and discriminated beyond imagination and they are categorised as primitive. The Church is very aggressive in Mizoram. In collaboration with political power, the Mizoram Church has reportedly planned to convert all Reangs into Christianity and merge them into aggressive and intolerant Mizo society so that Reang community gets extinct by being merged into Mizo society. When Reangs refused to do so, the Church and Christian Government of Mizoram started torturing them in inhuman ways. Today the Reangs condition is no better than a “slave” in Mizoram. This is classic case of recial discrimination on religious ground.

The genesis of Reangs tragedy in Mizoram :

Mizo Zairlay Pawl (MZP) is a student front and Young Mizo Association (YMA) is a youth front of Mizo National Front (MNF). These MZP, YMA and MNF are guided and supported by the Church. In 1997, MZP distributed a notice from time to time amongst Reang Community stating that Reangs are Bangladeshi. They have no claim over the land in Mizoram. MZP said that a land in Mizoram can be offered to Christ but never to tuikukh (gutter-dwellers meaning Reangs). Many of the Reang villages are not recognised and so, there is no village council. They are denied government facilities on this ground. No school, no medical facility, poor road conditions or no roads, no drinking water, so on and so forth. Over and above the missionary menace and threat to their life by armed Mizos hangover on their head like a sword. The Reang people demanded an Autonomous District Council for the Reang inhabited areas of Mizoram. The Mizoram Govt. was stunned on seeing this development in Reang Society. They thought of teaching them a lesson. Under this plan, they struck off seventeen thousand Reang names from voters list in one go in 1997 so that they will not have any political voice in Mizoram.

The unruly mob allegedly organised by Mizo Zairlay Pawl (MZP) and Young Mizo Association (YMA) attacked over 41 Reang villages, burnt their 1,009 houses, looted their properties and killed over a hundred innocent Reangs which continued from September to December 1997. The first case was triggered when a Mizo forest official was killed. Mizos blamed Reangs for this killing. In this ethnic cleansing programme spear-headed by Christian Mizos, 23 Hindu temples were either burnt or destroyed after defiling it. About 44 girls and young ladies were mass-raped and 87, people were inhumanly tortured. As a results fourty thousand Reangs look shelter in various make-shift refugee camps in Assam and Tripura. The 13 thousand Reang refugees were kept in Gharmora refugee camp in Hailakandi districts of Assam. The other 27 thousand were put in three refugee camps at (i) Naisingpara (ii) Hasapara and (iii) Hajaphera in Tripura. Neither Central Government of that time nor Communist State Government of Tripura could provide essential facilities for the survival of refugees. As a result, an epidemic spread in the refugee camps which, even after appreciable services rendered by some Hindu organisations, swallowed 900 people.

A team of Reang leaders visited New Delhi several time. They submitted a seven page memorandum to the then Home Minister and Prime Minister. But nothing could influence Mizoram Government. A team of National Human Rights Commission visited various refugee camps and submitted its report to Central Government but of no avail. A Reang Protection Committee was constituted in New Delhi to monitor the demand made to Central Government. A PIL was filed in Delhi High Court. The Court ordered the Mizoram Government to take back all the 17 thousand Reang names into voters list which were earlier deleted for no reason. The State Government was also ordered to take back all the refugees restoring their original status. But court order was not conceded on one plea or the other.

However, because of several efforts a “ tripartite” talk could have been started between State government’s of Mizoram, Tripura and Reang representatives. But the cunning Church, meanwhile constituted North-East Council for Relief and Development (NECORD) reportedly with a malafide intention of derailing the tripartite talk so that Reangs remained deprived and discriminated and thereby, vulnerable to Church crusade for mass conversion. A huge assembly of Reangs mostly Christians was organised in the Barapani Church near Shillong where the Reang representatives spear-heading the movement for Reang rights were allegedly threatened of dire consequences if they did not keep the movement within the “manageable” limit. Since there was no corresponding response from Central Government against the inimical attitude of Christian Mizoram government, an armed outfit—Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) emerged from Reang community whose 89 cadres including top ranking leaders were gunned down in one night in one go on July 9, 2000 reportedly by National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) which is a Church sponsored terrorist outfit in Tripura, trained and supported reportedly by NSCN (IM) of Nagaland. The Church mananged to push their men in garb of NECORD social workers in Reang organisations and broke it from within. As a result, the tripartite talk failed.

Today, almost all names of Reangs are deleted from voters list in Mizoram to choke their political voice whatever little they had. The village councils of most of the Reang villages have been cancelled on the mischievous plea that the villagers have been living in various refugee camps because of the fear of fresh attacks by Mizo militants. Their lands have been illegally allotted to Mizos by Mizoram government. Over and above, Mizoram Church is determined to convert all Reangs to Christianity by hook or crook.

The religious demography of Reangs :

As per 2001 census, the religious demography of Reangs in the states of Mizoram, Assam and Tripura are as under :

Mizoram – Total population of Reang—98, 225, villages – 305 ( some villages have mixed population including Mizo and Chakmas but Reangs are in majority). Hindu Reangs- 70 per cent (approx), Christian Reangs – 30 per cent (approx) Assam – Reang population – 1,00,415 , Village – 59, Hindu Reang – 98 per cent (approx), Chrisitan Reang- 2 per cent (approx), Tripura – Reang population – 2,35,500, Christian Reang – 20 per cent (approx), Hindu Reang—80 per cent.

Conspiracy of Mizoram Church :-

The Presbytarian Church in Mizoram is most dominant over political leaders, government of Mizoram and Mizo civil society. The 95 per cent Mizos are Christians. During elections it issues political and electoral diktats for Mizo civil society whom they should vote for and whom should they reject. And Church’s preference is for those who support Church agenda. The Reang Community is divout Hindu following Sanatan Dharma/Vaishanav Dharma from the ages.

Culture and traditions are most scientific and refined. They are very conservative and reject Christian conversion. They also reject Mizoisation—Christian conversion, assimilation with Mizos and finally merger in Mizo community by adopting Mizo culture and Mizo life style. This has incurred wrath of fanatic section of Mizo people which is revealed in their follow up actions. Therefore the league of Church, politicians, Mizo officials and Mizo militant organisations and fanatic civil organisations have jointly started the ethnic cleansing of Reangs (Brus).

The cause of ethnic cleaning of Bru (Reang) Community :

Because of BPL (Below Poverty Line) status of majority of Brus, they have been declared as primitive group but they are denied of even common facilities which are given to one and all. The fund meant for development of Reangs are allegedly diverted to Mizo areas. The crys of Reangs are never heard. Rather they are punished for voicing their grievances. At last they demanded for an Autonomous District Council, job reservation and two seats in Mizoram Assembly and an economic package for alround development of Reangs. Instead of showing any sympathy for poor Reangs, the Mizo communityin league with Church and militants planned to teach a lession because of which forty thousand Reangs took shelter in various make shift relief camps. Mizo Zairlay Pawl ( Mizo Student Union) volunteers went on rampage in September 1997 and the looting, burning, killing and arson continued till December 97. The arson and burning broke out simultaneously in Reang dominated three districts of Mizroam which suggest a deep rooted conspiracy. On 13 November last year (2010), a Mizo person was killed by an unidentified criminal. The Mizo community blamed Reangs for killing. In revenge, 700 Reang houses of Bungthuang village were burnt down, 5 persons were reportedly killed and crores of properties were destroyed. Over 3000 people took shelter in relief camps. Similarly every now and then, the Reangs are targeted.

It has been noticed that when ever the repatriation process of Reangs starts, burning of houses takes place mysteriously. This time also, 2,500 houses of Narsingpara refugee camp were reduced to ashes when a fire caught mysteriously on March 19 this years. Over, 15,000 people have been rendered homeless. At least 21 people including five children and 9 women were burnt to death. More than 100 people suffered burn injuries. The affected include 1,400 children and over 100 expecting mothers.

After a long and concerted efforts, Central government has given 9 crore 97 lakh to Mizoram government for Reang repatriation and rehabilitation. Here again a conspiracy is hatched. Whether Electroal Photo Identity Card (EPIC) or no EPIC every refugee alongwith his family member should be taken back. They should be kept in their original village with surrounding areas earmarked before 1997 the year of mass- exodus. Again, there must not be any attempt to convert them to Christianity and there must not be any discrimination on religious ground. The village council should be recognised and the village boundaries should be demarcated. But these are not being done. They are denied repatriation if they are not able to produce EPIC. Their children who have grown up from 1997 are denied repatriation. Their names are changed to a Mizo name. Their religion is being written as Christian. Their lands have been illegally occupied by encroachers from Mizo community. This is being done in the planned strategy of Church so that the small groups of Reangs can be easily swallowed by Mizos. The Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) submitted a memorandum dated December 2, 2010 to P Chidambaram, Union Home Minister but the things remain as it is. They have demanded that an independent statutory body be constituted with officials of Union government, State government of Tripura and Mizoram and representatives of MBDPF but nothing has so far been done in this regard. The possible conspiracy in Naishingpara inferno on March 19, 2011 and Hamshapara devastating fire on March 15,2010 is required to be investigated by a retired Supreme Court Justice.




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