Mizoram’s NGO Coordination Committee on Friday urged political parties in the state not to field any candidates from the Chakma tribe in the November 28 Assembly polls, terming them as “Bangladeshi foreigners”.
Around 90,000 to 100,000 Chakmas (out of a total population of 1.1 million) live in Mizoram and constitute the second largest ethnic group after majority Mizo (Lushai) tribe. They have their own Autonomous District Council in south-western Mizoram.
Vanlalruata, president of the Young Mizo Association (YMA), the most influential NGO in Mizoram, told the media that the Committee last year itself had asked all the political parties not to field any Chakma tribals in the Assembly elections.
“Chakmas are Bangladeshi foreigners and have no political right to contest the Assembly elections in Mizoram,” the YMA chief said.
Besides the YMA, the Mizoram Upa Pawl, Mizoram Elders’ Association, Mizo Women Federation, Mizo Students’ Union are also members of the Committee.
Vanlalruata expressed disappointment after the ruling Congress declared two Chakma candidates – Amit Kumar Chakma from Tuichawng and Nihar Kanti Chakma from West Tuipui.
Sources in the BJP and main opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) said both the parties were also likely to field Chakma candidates in Tuichawng and West Tuipui.
The BJP is likely to nominate Buddha Dhan Chakma, a prominent Chakma leader, who resigned from the Congress and joined the saffron party earlier this week in presence of party president Amit Shah.
The Chakma tribals are also found in Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Assam and neighbouring Chittagong Hill tracts of southeast Bangladesh.