Guwahati, January 24, 2019:
Northeast India, connected only by the 22-km wide ‘chicken neck’ corridor at Assam’s Siliguri, has always faced an identity crisis in the country. Plagued by problems of insurgency and lack of developmental infrastructure, the region has long been ignored by the political high command in Delhi due to its ‘troubled’ status.
The situation is tense is Mizoram, as the calls to separate from India grow in volume and intensity. And leading the charge are the youths of Mizoram. The protestors of the Bill in Mizoram come from all walks of life, but a great number of them are the youth, who find themselves entangled in the tricky spider’s web of the Citizenship Bill. Many youths took to the streets holding placards that read “Hello China, bye bye India.”
The most influential student body of the state, the Mizo Zirlai Pawl, has been organizing many of these protests and calls have been made to boycott Republic Day by PRISM, another influential organization. Young Mizo Association, another powerful youth body, has also entered the fray. The student organizations have vowed to fight the Bill until it is nulled as the perceived threat to the indigenous people presented by the Bill intensifies with a Rajya Sabha passage looming large in near sessions. In view of the unrest that is prevailing in the state, the frustration of their voices being ignored by the government has led the youth to seek an alternative. And why not China, a Mongoloid nation?
There is an increasing sense of alienation that the youth have been confronted with in this communal power grab attempt by the BJP, which many Mizos feel does not truly represent the concerns of the state and its people such as development, infrastructure, and employment.
Many factions and groups have long been demanding a solution to the problems plaguing Northeast India, and the sweep of the BJP in the area was seen as a sign by many that things are about to improve, but the imposition of the draconian Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 has left many people disillusioned.
The situation is tense in Assam too as Akhil Gogoi of the KMSS has called for a separation from India if the Bill is not scrapped as protests continue to rock the serene landscape of Northeast India.
Could this plea to join with China, an originally hostile country to mainland India, be seen as the final nail in the coffin of the ‘Achche din’ illusion, especially in regards to Mizoram in particular, and the Northeast in general?