The Zomi Students’ Federation of Manipur is organizing a peaceful public demonstration on Monday at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi from 2 pm to 5 pm.
The demonstration is to demand Zoland Territorial Council (ZTC) in Manipur for the Zo people.
This is in support of the political dialogue between Government of India, Government of Manipur, United People’s Front (UPF) and the Kuki National Organization (KNO) for an honorable political settlement for the Zo people in Manipur.
The struggle of the Zo people is to regain the political status that was taken away by the British colonial regime and continued by the legatee of the colonizers in post-colonial India, stated a press release.
The Zo people, often known and recorded under various imposed names including Kuki and other local tribal identities, were never ruled by the Manipuri kings before the advent of the British colonizers, the release stated.
“Our political struggle is for the restoration of our dignity, our identity, our land and its resources to its rightful place under the Constitution of India,” it added.
“It is to fulfill our rightful claim for political autonomy. In fact, the Zo people in Manipur, together with the Nagas in Manipur, remain the only hill tribes in the entire north-eastern part of India without the provisions of neither Sixth Schedule nor a state of their own,” it reiterated.
The constitutional safeguards and protections given to other indigenous tribes in the north-eastern region unfortunately were never extended to the indigenous hill tribes of present Manipur, it rued.
The recent political developments in the Northeast are witnessing signs of tectonic shifts, it felt.
“In view of this, we, the Zo people, who were categorized by the colonial ethnographers as Kuki-Chin group, reaffirm our indigenous cultural identity, the Zo identity,” it asserted.
In fact, the Zo people in Manipur have been voicing their political aspirations under various banners to realize their longstanding demand for a rightful place under the Constitution of India since the 1960s, it also added.
The peaceful sit-in demonstration is to demand from the Government of India three points:
(i) To expedite the political dialogue with the UPF & KNO
(ii) To create Zoland Territorial Council as a political settlement to the ongoing peace dialogue as per the assurance given by NDA leadership in 2017
(iii) To hasten the process of paving the way for peace and development in the region and facilitate Act East Policy through Zoland Territorial Council.