A Manipur based Gangte Students’ Organisation (GSO) on Thursday expressed concern over the deletion of the ‘Gangte’ tribe from Mizoram’s Scheduled Tribes list.
A statement issued by the organization said confusion was heightened when the Gangte tribe hitherto included under ‘Any Kuki tribe’ of the Schedules Tribe list 1950 and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Lists (Modification) Order, 1956 was allegedly deleted from Mizoram’s tribe list as contended by the State Government following a resolution passed in the state Legislature in March 2011.
It said that the Gangte tribe having their own distinct social, cultural and ethnic identity, which have been maintained and preserved from time immemorial, have been recognized as distinct tribe in Manipur and elsewhere in the country.
The students’ body, headquartered in Manipur’s Churachandpur claimed that Gangte is a distinct ethnological tribe to denote a cohesive group of people who have a rich cultural heritage with a separate language of their own.
“Like other cognate tribes, the Gangte tribe, by virtue of being a Gangte first, has the freewill to choose Mizo or Kuki or Chin as a generic name for their ‘national entity. However, choosing any of Kuki/Chin/Mizo as their generic name/nomenclature does not warrant the ‘merger’ of Gangte tribe per se into that particular group or entity,” the statement issued by the organization president S. Paulallien Gangte said.
Upholding its stand for maintenance and preservation of Gangte as a distinct tribe, the student organisation said no individuals or organizations other than the Gangte apex bodies such as the Gangte Tribe Union (GTU), Gangte Youth Organisation (GYO), and Gangte Students’ Organisation (GSO) have the mandate to speak or act for and on behalf of the Gangte tribe.
It further appealed to all concerned to consult the Gangte associations on matter concerning the Gangte tribe and said that any decision arrived at concerning the tribe without the knowledge and consent of the associations will stand null and void.
In March 2011, the Mizoram Assembly had adopted a resolution recommending the Gangte tribe, which hitherto came under ‘Any Kuki tribes’ to be placed under ‘Mizo tribe’ of the Mizoram scheduled tribe list along with renaming of Zo ethnic tribe-Pawi into ‘Lai’.