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Unfazed by protests, Zoramthanga to continue support for Kuki-Zo tribals

An effigy of Mizoram CM Zoramthanga being torched in Imphal

Aizawl: In the heart of Imphal, the very city where Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga once pursued his dreams of education, poignant and emotional scenes unfolded during the last three days, with effigies of the esteemed leader set ablaze by angry demonstrators. The protesters sought to convey their profound resentment against what they perceived as his “unwarranted interference in Manipur’s internal affairs.”

Despite the apparent hurt, evident from a video clip shared on his official Instagram handle, showcasing his effigy being consumed by flames, Zoramthanga displayed resolute resolve in his support for the Kuki-Zo community, who share a profound ethnic bond with the Mizos. In fact, it was this deep-rooted connection that strengthened his commitment to stand by their side.

Zoramthanga, rebel leader-turned politician, told Zoram Chronicle that he did not have any ill-will or anger against the protestors who burned his effigies in Manipur. “They are merely exercising their democratic rights to protest,” he said.

He categorically stated that he has not interfered in the internal affairs of the Manipur as alleged by his Manipur counterpart N. Biren Singh and others. 

The ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) chief, however, does not deny his undying political ambition of unification of all the contigous inhabited areas of the ethnic Mizos into a single administrative unit, which, in Manipur context is construed as ‘Greater Mizoram’.

“The MNF founded in 1961, the year (Manipur chief minister) N Biren Singh was born, had already have unification of all the ethnic Mizo inhabited areas under one administration as one of the most important political goals,” he said, adding that his MNF party continued to strive for achieving the unification of all the contigous ethnic Mizo inhabited areas till date.

He said that the state of Mizoram is being directly affected by the ethnic conflict in the neighbouring state as over 12,000 internally displaced people are taking shelter in the state, and it has become his problem as a chief minister.

Zoramthanga expressed surprise on the central government’s attitude in dealing with the Manipur crisis with the violence continuing unabated as well as moving in a snail’s pace in providing relief and humanitarian assistance to the Manipur’s internally displaced people in both Mizoram and inside Manipur. 

He said that the solution to the Manipur imbroglio will have to come from the Union government to settle the problem politically. The centre and the Manipur state government have to come together and undertake confidence building measures with the warring parties (Meiteis and Kuki-Zomi-Hmar-Mizo tribes), he said.

He expressed opinion that as the ripples of violence in Manipur have impacted the neighbouring states threatening to spill over in the northeastern states. 

The NDA’s prospects in the coming 2024 Parliamentary polls may be adversely affected in the northeast by the centre’s handling of the Manipur’s prolonged and unchecked violence, the Chief Minister opined. 

He said that he participated in the ‘Solidarity March’ organised by the NGO Coordination Committee on July 25 in Aizawl as the march was in support of restoration of peace and normalcy in Manipur as well as a show of solidarity with the ethnic Mizo brothers and sisters in the neighbouring state.

Zoramthanga said that he did not organise the July 25 ‘Solidarity March’ but participated as a leader of Mizoram and the Mizo ethnic people, as used to be done by his Manipur counterpart Biren Singh.

“I participated in the march as a person who wants to restore peace in the state of Manipur as well as in support of our brothers in the neighbouring state,” he said, adding that it is the duty of a leader to do so. 

As an alumnus of the reputed DM College in Imphal, Zoramthanga holds a profound and sentimental connection with the city itself.
“Imparting the very foundation of my political ideologies, Imphal holds a special place in my heart,” expressed Zoramthanga, reflecting on his journey that led him to join the Laldenga-led Mizo National Front in 1966, the same year he completed his BA in English at the college.
Recalling cherished memories, he shared, “During my college days, I had the privilege of having many Meitei classmates, and their names remain etched in my memory to this day.”
Imphal became more than just a geographical location for Zoramthanga; it became a crucible of learning and camaraderie, shaping the leader he would later become. The bond forged during those formative years continues to inspire his dedication and service to the people he represents.
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