Capitalising on the growing clamour for an Assam-like National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Mizo National Front (MNF) in its poll manifesto has promised village-level citizens register if voted to power in the November 28 Assembly elections.
The MNF, which came into being in 1986 following a 20-year-long violent Mizo uprising, said it would introduce village-level register for the "purpose of determining genuine citizens and detecting illegal migrants."
The promise comes at a time when the powerful NGOs and student bodies have demanded an NRC-like system to detect "illegal migrants" following the release of a draft NRC in Assam on July 30. More than 40.07 lakh people of the total 3.29 crore applicants found their names missing from the draft.
Mizoram has 510-km unfenced borders with Myanmar and 318-km with Bangladesh.
The manifesto also promised that Mizo culture and religious practices shall always be upheld and protected, as per provision in the Mizoram Peace Accord. It also seeks to draw up a special scheme for the ‘martyrs’ and their families, including rehabilitation and resettlement of all members of the armed group, which had laid down arms in 1986 and signed the accord.
It also promises to protect Mizoram borders and welfare of the people living on the borders, a strong demand by various civil society organisations including the powerful NGOs and churches.
The MNF, a part of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), has announced names of 39 of the 40 seats it plans to contest with an eye to wrest power from the Lal-Thanhawla-led Congress government. The party, however, announced that it would have no pre-poll alliance with the BJP, which aims to make Mizoram ‘Congress-mukt.’
The MNF led by rebel leader Laldenga had first formed its government in 1986 and later between 1998 and 2008 under the leadership of Zoramthanga before the Congress came back to power in 2009.
The Congress on Wednesday again alleged that the BJP and the MNF had a ‘secret understanding’ to form a coalition government in case of a hung Assembly and the MNF was not disclosing it before the polls as ‘Hindu BJP’ is not accepted in the Christian-majority Mizoram. The Congress will release their manifesto on Thursday.