Mizoram govt reserves ‘Category I’ tag for ethnic Zo people
Aizawl: The Mizoram Cabinet on Monday made a bold decision by removing Chakmas and other non-Mizo communities, who are labelled as “non-indigenous”, from Category-I of the Mizoram (Selection of Candidates for Higher Technical Courses), Rules, 2016 and reserved the category for only Zo ethnic people of the state.
The council of ministers meeting chaired by chief minister Zoramthanga has thoroughly discussed the rules and unanimously decided to reserve Category-I for indigenous people, who are Zo ethnic communities of the state for the time being, information and public relation minister Lalruatkima said.
He said that the decision was made because there are no indigenous people other than Mizo communities in the state.
This means that the Chakmas and other non-Mizo communities are relegated to Category-II and III.
Meanwhile, state apex student body, the Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), lauded the state government for taking bold decision by reserving Ccategory-I for only Zo ethnic people to avail the state's quota for technical courses.
The student body has been protesting against the inclusion of Chakamas under Category-I after 38 Chakma students were selected and included under Category-I in the State Medical & Technical Entrance Examination in 2015.
The MZP standpoint, therefore, is that Category- I is exclusively reserved for the indigenous Zo- ethnic people of Mizoram and the inclusion of Chakma under this category is an encroachment upon the rights and privileges of the indigenous Mizos.
In July 2017, thousands of students staged massive protest in Aizawl against inclusion of six Chakma students in the state’s quota list under Category-I for pursuing MBBS and Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) courses.
Several students were injured during the protest, which forced the state government to cancel counselling classes to select the students.
Former Chakma minister Dr BD Chakma of Congress had also stepped down from his post to protest against denial of seat to Chakma students.
Under Mizoram (Selection of Candidates for Higher Technical Courses) Rules, 1999, applicants for State Medical & Technical Entrance Examination are classified into three categories for the purpose of seat allotment viz. children of permanent resident (indigenous) of Mizoram as Category-I; children of non-local permanent residents of Mizoram as Category-II; children of central/other state govt employees not permanently serving in Mizoram as Category-III.
The Mizoram (Selection of Candidates for Higher Technical Courses) Rules was amended on 24 March, 2015 after the MZP protested against the selection of 38 Chakma students under Category I.
The new amendment rules, however, were stayed by the Gauhati High Court on June 24, 2016 following the PIL filed by the Mizoram Chakma Students’ Union (MCSU). Thereafter the high court dismissed the petition after the petitioner failed to appear in the court.
In August 2018, the high court restored the stay order following the application filed by Chakma students to restore the petition. In February this year, the high court issued a judgement saying that placing of non-Zo ethnic people under Category-I cannot be sustained and therefore placed them under Category-I.