Aizawl: They dismissed what they deemed ‘worldly laws’ as ungodly, but the very legal framework they criticised has now caught up with them.
In a bizzare courtroom spectacle, enigmatic leaders of a religious sect nicknamed as the ‘Deleted Church’ faced a fiery reckoning before the Mizoram State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) on Wednesday.
Summoned under section 13 (1) (j) of the 2005 Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, these sect leaders were in the hot seat for reported violations and deprivation of children’s rights by their sect members.
Amidst charged emotions, the Chairperson and members of the Commission passionately enlightened the sect leaders about the rights and privileges of children, underscoring the grave repercussions awaiting those who dare to trample upon them.
The sect members are mainly concentrated near a place in Mizoram-Myanmar border Zotlang village in Champhai district and there are an estimated 25 members below the age of 18 amongst the members of the church.
Adherents of this belief system aim to expunge their very identities from central and state records, as well as any affiliations within associations, even within their own church community. This curious behavior has earned them the moniker ‘Deleted Church’.
“As they wanted their names to be deleted from all government and societal systems, we’ve dubbed them the ‘Deleted Church,'” remarked a local leader from Zotlang.
In essence, these individuals seek to sever all connections with the mundane world and its trappings. Education is an alien concept, as they adamantly deny their children the right to attend schools or any form of educational institution, be it public or private.
Their eccentricity doesn’t stop there. Aadhaar cards, driving licenses, and electoral photo identity cards are eschewed, and they shun electoral rolls, ration cards, and even access to cooking gas cylinders. The church members are resolute in their rejection of any welfare schemes, including healthcare and other social benefits.
Former leader of the Zotlang branch Young Mizo Association (YMA) Lalhmachhuana said that the sect had made headlines earlier for the wrong reasons, prompting the local YMA chapter to implore them to break their isolationist stance. This included contributions to the ‘Chhiatni Fund’, a financial safety net for funeral and burial expenses. Tragically, the ‘Deleted Church’ members’ refusal to participate left them unsupported when mourning their departed family members.
Lalhmachhuana said, “At first, they rejected all forms of labour, claiming divine prohibition, and spent their days singing and dancing. However, the threat of starvation compelled them to begrudgingly take up work.”
Currently comprising between 80 to 100 members, this enigmatic sect coexists in a single communal dwelling—an abode that conceals more secrets than the eye can fathom.”