34 Chakma students leave Mizoram school citing threat

Representative image. (Photo/Pixabay)

As many as 34 students of a Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV) in Mizoram, including nine girls belonging to minority Chakma community left their school citing threat, days after one of them was allegedly beaten up by a group of Mizo students.

Confirming the development, E Abraham Abednago, principal in-charge of JNV, Thenzawl in Mizoram's Serchip district told DH that the students left the school on Thursday despite assurance of security by the school and the district administration.

The All India Chakma Students' Union (AICSU) on Friday claimed that the students left their hostels fearing threat and intimidation by students belonging to majority Mizo community. The union on September 30 said the students were under fear after Nolin Bikash Chakma, a class XI student was brutally assaulted by a group of Mizo students. 

Although the union did not clarify the reason of the attack, the principal (in-charge) said a scuffle broke out after one of the students suspected that his money was stolen by the victim. "We condemn any such violence and assured them to take action. But they started demanding seperate dormitory. I kept two other persons to sleep with them in the dormitory to prevent further trouble. The Serchip district administration officials also tried to pacify the students. But the students were rigid, adamant and they made up their mind to leave, despite our reassurances," Abednago said.

The Chakma student body alleged that Nolin was called to a room by a group of Mizo students and was attacked with iron rod. The union also released three photographs showing serious injury marks on the student's body. 

It said four such attacks on Chakma students have been reported since 2016 in the JNV situated in Mizo dominated area. The student body said two Class XI students, Poribotan Chakma and Prem Jyoti Chakma were brutally beaten up with bamboo, wood, and belt by a group of Mizo students at JNV Thenzawl on November 14, 2016, while Sunil Chakma became a victim in the same JNV on October 12 that year. Jumjum Chakma, another student was also beaten up similarly on February 8, 2016. 

The torture of Chakma students in the JNVs is regular and in 1997, the JNV authorities had to shift all the Chakma students (43 students) to JNV at Mou Gate in Senapati district of Manipur after brutal incidents of torture and harassment of Chakma students at JNV hostel at Hrangchalkawn in Lunglei district, Mizoram, the union said.

“There is an immediate need to end such torture in the educational institutions and create conducive atmosphere for the return of all the 34 Chakma students studying at JNV Thenzawl," said Tejang Chakma, vice president of the AICSU while seeking Home Minister Amit Shah's intervention to ensure safety to the Chakma students. 

Shah is visiting Mizoram on Saturday. 

Foreigner tag: 

The AICSU said Chakmas are indigenous peoples of Mizoram. In 1898, a portion of then Chittagong Hill Tracts covering the current Western belt of Mizoram inhabited by the Chakmas was included to the Lushai Hills, which were later made a part of Assam by the British. As per 1951 census, the population of the Chakmas was 15,897 in the Lushai Hills. In 1972, a Chakma Autonomous District Council was set up under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. But the Chakmas are often vilified as foreigners in Mizoram by the majority Mizos, the union said.

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