Aizawl: Mizoram Deputy Chief Minister Tawnluia said on Friday that the formation of the Mizo National Front (MNF) primarily aimed to establish a homeland for all the Zohnahthlak (Zo ethnic tribes) across the region.
Speaking at the MNF’s headquarters Hnam Run here, Tawnluia, the party’s senior vice president, said, “MNF was established with the core values of upholding Mizo nationalism, preserving the rich culture and beliefs of the Mizos, and advocating for a unified administrative unit for the dispersed Zo ethnic tribes residing in the northeastern states of India, Myanmar, and Bangladesh.”
He stated, “The MNF is a party rooted in the principles of Mizo nationalism. No other political parties have Mizo nationalism enshrined in their constitutions.”
Tawnluia, former commander-in-chief of the disbanded Mizo National Army (MNA) during 20 years-long insurgency between 1966-1986, asserted that the MNF would strive to protect and promote Mizo cultures and religious beliefs, as enshrined in Article 371G of the Indian Constitution. He added, “If necessary, we will fight relentlessly to safeguard the provisions of Article 371G.”
Regarding the 1986 peace agreement between the MNF and the Indian government, Tawnluia highlighted that the accord ensures the preservation of the Inner Line Permit system, which is currently enforced in Mizoram. He emphasised, “We should always bear in mind that the peace accord provides us with essential protections.”
Talking about the much-debated issue of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), Tawnlui expressed said, “India is a secular country. But the UCC has caused great concern among religious minorities, particularly as it has already been implemented in certain states. In Mizoram, extensive consultations were held with churches and civil society organizations, leading to the conclusion that the UCC, in its original form, cannot be accepted.”
Tawnlui highlighted the significance of Article 371G, which provides protection to Mizoram from being subject to the same standards applied to other states. He called for unified efforts across party lines to oppose the UCC, stressing the need for collective action.
He emphasised Mizoram government has voiced its opposition to the UCC. “Members of Parliament representing Mizoram in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have expressed their dissent, demonstrating their stance on the issue,” he said.
On the thousands of Chin communities from Myanmar seeking refuge in Mizoram from the political turmoil in Myanmar, Tawnluia said, “Despite India’s non-signatory status to the 1951 Refugee Convention, our chief minister stood firm in advocating for their protection, as he refused to abandon our brothers and sisters in need.”
“The Mizo National Front (MNF) remains steadfast in its commitment to support and stand by our kindred tribes, whether they are from Myanmar or Bangladesh, as they once provided us shelter during our underground days. This unwavering dedication to our people is the embodiment of Mizo nationalism,” he said.
“In Manipur, there are ongoing attempts by dominant tribes to expel the Zo kindred tribes that hold influence in the hill districts. As a result, thousands of people have sought refuge in Mizoram. This situation too stems from a deep sense of brotherhood and nationalism, where we extend our support to those facing hardship and upheaval,” Tawnluia said.