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Chronology for Mizos in India

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Mizos in India, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f3897c.html [accessed 22 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

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Date(s) Item
Jul 1990 Laldenga, insurgent leader and politician, Chief Minister of Mizoram state in India (1986-88), died of lung cancer in London on July 7. As President of the Mizo National Front (MNF), Laldenga secured statehood for Mizoram after a 25-year struggle for the ethnic identity of the Mizo people whose territory was annexed by the British in 1891 and made part of the state of Assam. After years of active involvement in the insurgency (since the early 1960s), 10 years of exile in neighboring Dhaka and Karachi, years of house arrest in New Delhi, and decades of tough bargaining with three successive Indian Prime Ministers, Laldenga won the battle in 1986. Mizoram became India's twenty-third state. Laldenga also persuaded the warring Mizos to lay down their arms, initiated the MNF into the national mainstream as a political party and ensured his election as Chief Minister. In 1988 the ruling Congress-I party led by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi brought about defections in the MNF resulting in Laldenga's dismissal as Chief Minister. Since then he has been a potent, yet powerless figure in Mizoram (The Independent, 07/13/90).
Aug 1992 Rescue teams have recovered 30 bodies and another 68 are feared buried after a huge landslide destroyed a village in Mizoram. "Massive rocks and boulders ran down the hills followed by tons of mud", said Victor Zairema, secretary of the Young Mizo Organization, whose volunteers are helping in the rescue. The Chief Engineer of the Border Roads division stated that private quarrymen may be to blame for the disaster, as they often set off explosions in the hills to loosen boulders (Reuters, 08/10/92). However, landslides are common in Mizoram's jungle-draped hills.
Dec 1993 India's ruling Congress-I party and a local ally, the Mizoram Janata Dal (MSD, Peoples' Party), won a majority in the 40-seat state assembly elections. Official results showed Congress winning 16 of the 40 seats, with its ally, the MJD, taking 8. "With more than 80 percent literacy in the state, Mizos are conscientious voters", a senior Congress official told Reuters (12/05/93). But the Congress lost 7 seats that it had won in 1989. The party's local leader, Lalthanawla, called the losses "unexpected setbacks". The victory of the two-party coalition in Mizoram will further boost embattled Indian Prime Minister Rao's political fortunes. The MNF won 14 seats and pro-MNF independents captured 2 seats.
Jan 1994 The world's largest drum, weighing over half a ton, dominates the week-long centenary celebrations marking the advent of Christianity in Mizoram. The drum, 1.9 meters long and weighing 700 kg, has set the rhythm for hymns sung daily by thousands of Mizos in the state capital, Aizawal, as they eulogized the arrival of Welsh Presbyterian and English Baptist missionaries in January 1894. Today the Church in Mizoram is the most dominant institution. Drums symbolize freedom to Mizos and are an integral part of their religious and social life, pre-dating the arrival of Christianity. Throughout the week, government departments and private establishments were paralyzed.
Feb 1994 Some 30 families claiming to be descendants of the lost tribe of Manasseh are waiting in Mizoram for final approval to immigrate to Israel. This follows the immigration of 90 Mizo Jews to Israel 2 years ago. Scholar Mrs. Zaithanchhungi suggests that the Mizos were one of the 10 lost tribes of Israel who drew God's wrath for disobeying him and are currently dispersed over 72 countries (The Jerusalem Post, 02/21/94). The nearly 5,000-strong Mizo Jewish community is spread over the regions of Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland in India and north Myanmar.
Feb 17, 1994 C. Silvera has been appointed as a federal Minister of State for the Health and Family Welfare Ministry. Silvera is the first person from Mizoram to become a federal minister (Reuters, 02/17/94).
Jul 1994 An outbreak of malaria has led to the deaths of 12 people in Mizoram and another 46 in West Bengal state (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 07/05/94).
Jul 15, 1994 The government of Mizoram and the Himal People's Convention (HPC) have reached an agreement which is viewed as a vital step toward ending the HPC's five-year insurgency. The government has agreed to temporarily suspend all police operations against the HPC; the agreement is expected to be signed later this month (BBC, 07/15/94).
Jul 20, 1994 The central government plans on strengthening security in the northeastern provinces. Along with reinforcing police forces, the government plans to issue photo identity cards to all citizens (Xinhua News Agency, 07/20/94).
Aug 1994 The prospect that up to 300 million Indians could claim to be Israelites and seek entry into Israel has raised alarm bells among Israeli officials. Thousands of Mizos claim that they are descendants of the tribe of Manasseh, one of the ten tribes of Israel that have been lost for the past 2400 years. But Israelis are not convinced that the Mizos, among other Indians, are actually Jewish. Under Israeli law, all Jews and their families are entitled to settle in Israel. Recently, 57 immigrants from Manipur and Mizoram arrived in Israel and another 60 have applied for visas (Xinhua News Agency, Aug. 28/94; Deutsche Press-Agentur, 09/03/94).
Feb 1995 A massive campaign will be undertaken in the northeastern states against AIDS and drug addiction. New Delhi plans to mobilize over 25,000 youths to generate awareness among all sections of society (Xinhua News Agency, 02/25/95).
May 1995 Heavy rains that triggered landslides have led to the deaths of at least 25 people in Mizoram. Over 400 houses were destroyed (Deutsche Press-Agentur, 05/18/95).
Jun 1995 Indian air force helicopters rescued more than 300 people stranded by flash floods and landslides in Mizoram. More than 40 people have died (Deutsche Press-Agentur, 06/21/95).
Jun 26, 1995 Official sources indicate that 1-2% of the population in Manipur, Mizoram, and Nagaland are intravenous drug addicts. The high rate is attributed to the transformation from an agrarian to an industrialized society and the subsequent change in social and ethnic values. To date, India has not conducted a comprehensive national survey to assess the problem of drug abuse (Xinhua News Agency, 06/26/95).
Jul 1995 The Indian government has lifted a long-time ban on the stay of foreigners in the country's eastern states. The lifting is expected to promote foreign investment (Xinhua News Agency, 07/08/95).
Oct 1995 All foreign nationals illegally residing in Mizoram have been given two months to leave the state. The Mizoram government says that legal action will be taken against any illegal nationals found after the deadline (BBC, 10/12/95).
Jul 1997 Reports indicate that the Zomi Reunification Organization of Mizoram has been active for some time in trying to attract national and international attention to its demand for the integration of Zomi areas in adjoining states into Mizoram. The Reunification Organization claims that the present "shrunken" border of Mizoram is a "mockery" of history. It is reported to have links with the Paite tribal group in Manipur (Statesman, 07/15/97).
Oct 1997 Mizoram Chief Minister Lalthanawla blames tribal Reang (also referred to as Bru) insurgents for violence that sparked over 10,000 Reangs to flee into Tripura and Assam states. He says that the insurgents killed a Mizo forest officer four days ago. Reang tribespeople fled their villages fearing a backlash. Lalthanawla contends that about 50 Reang militants, who recently returned to Mizoram after being trained in Bangladesh, have stepped up their activities. More than 100 Reang houses have been torched in Reang-Mizo violence in five areas of Mizoram and around 50 Mizos arrested (Statesman, 10/28/97).
Feb 1998 More than 12,000 Reang are now reported to have fled Mizoram to Tripura due to clashes between the Mizos and Reangs (Statesman, 02/26/98).
Apr 1998 The Mizoram government states that it is willing to concede the creation of a development council for the Reang, if the tribe feels the areas where it resides are not developed. Chief Minister Lalthanawla says that the problem is that the Reangs are not territorially concentrated and there will no divisions of the state. He is set to meet with Reang representatives on April 13. Few of the Reang refugees in Tripura have returned to Mizoram and they report that some Mizos have raped and murdered their tribal kin. The Reangs, who practice shifting cultivation, have social customs akin to those of the Hindus but a large number have now become Christians. The major Reang organization, the Bru National Union (BNU), has demanded a separate regional council while other Reangs want a separate state (Statesman, 04/08/98).
May 1998 Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee says the government will spend $400 million annually to build up the economy in the northeastern states and to upgrade communications between the Seven Sisters and Sikkim. An official panel of experts in 1997 stated that a $18 billion package was needed to develop the northeast (Agence France Presse, 05/08/98).
May 27, 1998 Indian intelligence reports indicate that the Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF, the military wing of the BNU) is preparing for a showdown with the Mizoram government over its demand for a separate development council. Unsubstantiated reports indicate that there are some 85,000 Reangs scattered in 120 villages in western Mizoram; the government says the figure is inflated (Hindu, 05/27/98). Reports indicate that for the past six months BNLF leaders in Tripura have allegedly been instigating Reangs to flee their homes and cross into Tripura or Assam states (Ibid.).
Aug 1998 There are some 40,000 Reangs still in refugee camps in Tripura. The Reangs reportedly want an autonomous district council, compensation for those whose property was destroyed over the past year, inclusion of Reangs in voters' lists, and the reservation of three state assembly seats. The Mizoram government denies that some 80,000 Reangs normally reside in the state (Statesman, 08/09/98).
Oct 1998 There has been a new influx of 1500 Reangs from border villages in Mizoram into Tripura. No progress has occurred after several talks between representatives of the refugees and the Mizoram government. There have been outbreaks of diseases in the Tripura refugee camps; some 260 people have died in the last few months (BBC, 10/21/98).
Nov 1998 A coalition of the Mizo National Front and the Mizoram People's Conference wins the November 25th state elections. The coalition, referred to as the United Legislature Party, received 34 out of 40 seats. The Congress Party, which ruled the state for the past decade, was reduced to 6 seats. A former rebel leader, Mr. Zoramthanga, will become chief minister. Corruption was reported to be a key issue (Agence France Presse, 12/01/98; Statesman, 11/30/98).
Feb 1999 At least 10,000 Christians hold protests across Mizoram against mounting attacks by militant Hindus against Christians in other parts of India. The state's population is 95% Christian. A key organizer was the Mizoram Kohran Hruaitate, an organization of the state's church denominations. Church leaders in the northeast states also agree to form a common platform to counter militant Hindus. So far, anti-Christian violence, which has included killings and the destruction of churches and schools, has not occurred in the northeast (Agence France Presse, 02/01/99).
Mar 1999 Authorities state that six police personnel and two civilians were killed in an ambush in the village of Vaitin, near the Mizoram border with Manipur. They say that the attack was carried out by around 20 members of the People's Liberation Army which has been engaged in a violent separatist campaign in Manipur (Agence France Presse, 03/24/99).
Jun 1999 Celebrations were held in Mizoram on June 30 to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the signing of the peace accord between the federal and state governments and the Mizo National Front (The Independent, 07/09/99).
Jul 1999 With a 95% literacy rate, Mizoram has overtaken Kerala to become India's most literate state. However, there are a lack of employment opportunities for the educated. Some 45,000 educated persons are unemployed in the state which does not have any large industries (Statesman, 07/05/99).

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