Aizawl: Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC) on Friday kicked off the celebration of 50 years of its existence with an inaugural programme organized at Kamalanagar helipad.

State assembly speaker Lalrinliana Sailo graced the event as chief guest. He was accompanied by assembly commissioner and secretary H. Lalrinawma and district council and minority affairs department joint secretary R. Vanlalsawta.

The celebration started with chanting of prayers by bhikkhus (monks) and release of gas balloons for peace by the speaker.

The programme showcased the varied aspects of traditional Jhumma life of the Chakmas performed by Young Chakma Association (YCA) and Chakma Mahila Samiti in collaboration with Art and Culture Department of the CADC which included different stages of Jhum cultivation, fishing, spinning of thread from cotton and weaving, dragging of a country boat over a shallow rapid and marriage rituals.

The programme also showcased cultural items presented by Chakma Mahila Samiti, Cheraw dance by residents of Saizawh (W) and traditional dance Dailo by the Bru community.

Speaking on the occasion, Lalrinliana Sailo recalled how the venue of the programme, the Kamalanagar Helipad, was once not like this but had three hillocks which were flattened to form a flat piece of land in which he took part while urging the three main communities living in the CADC to live in peace and harmony like the three hillocks.

He urged the YCA to work for the progress and development of the CADC and to stand guard to check corruption and ensure proper utilization of developmental funds.
Sailo also donated Rs 50,000 and Rs 40,000 to the YCA and Chakma Mahila Samiti, respectively, in recognition of their social service.

The council Chief Executive Member (CEM) Rasik Mohan Chakma spoke about the great sacrifice and pain endured by the pioneers of CADC autonomy movement.
He narrated how leaders like Kristo Mohan Chakma, Hari Kristo Chakma, Gaur Nitai Chakma, Baneshwar Chakma and Atul Chandra Chakma maintained a sustained demand for autonomy for the Chakmas of Mizoram through constitutional means by making trip after trip to Shillong and Guwahati.

“It is our duty that we make ourselves worthy of the great sacrifice made and the legacy left upon us,” Chakma said.

“The Chakma Autonomous District Council has restored partially the Chakmas their right to self-determination which was once enjoyed by them prior to the British, who subjugated the Chakma king by treachery,” he said.

“None of us should harbour even a trace that any favour has been done on us by having been granted the autonomy in the form of CADC, as such thinking can take a toll upon our morale and dignity,” he added. 

Rich tributes were paid to pioneers of the CADC autonomy movement and condolences offered to departed councilors during the celebration. The event was attended by many dignitaries, including Congress MLA Nihar Kanti Chakma and BJP MLA Dr. Buddha Dhan Chakma.

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