Guwahati, February 12, 2019:
Former Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla has joined the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016. In a picture that is circulating on social media, the five-time Mizoram Chief Minister can be seen holding a black flag symbolizing protest along with a banner that reads ‘hello independent republic of Mizoram’.
These pics showing the people of Mizoram taking to the streets to declare themselves a “Christian country”, shows the disenchantment of the people with the ‘Hindutva’ policies that the current administration has been implementing.
The Bill, in fact, is widely considered as a ploy to secure a ‘Hindu votebank’ in the Northeast, and thus, people of other faiths are becoming increasingly alarmed at the future of becoming a minority in their lands.
Many of the protestors also held placards denouncing the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and its claims of there being Hindu relics at Vangchhia, a site of great archaeological importance. The ASI had claimed to discover sculptures of Hindu Gods Ganesha, Kalki and Makara guarded by Neolithic menhirs of a presumed ‘lost civilization’.
Yet, these revelations are being perceived as a threat by the locals to their way of life as they feel that the ideals of Hinduism are being enforced upon them.
The photos present a story that depicts a people attempting to preserve their identity amid ongoing political shifts and the imposition of an ideology that the indigenous people see as a direct threat to their way of life.
This ‘black day’ protest in Mizoram, called by the NGO Coordination Committee, was the second of its kind held within 15 days to protest the Bill. Mizoram, and especially its youth, have been simmering in a rage ever since the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed in Lok Sabha on January 8. Many of the youths of Mizoram led by organizations like Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) have been seeking separation from India. At the same time, some of the Mizo people have been expressing a keen desire to join up with India’s neighbors China.