In a memorandum submitted to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on 29th June, the All India Chakma Social Forum (AICSF) has responded to the memorandum submitted by the Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) to the Union Home Minister during his visit to Aizawl on 12th June 2017 alleging that Chakmas are foreigners, non-indigenous community and their population in Mizoram has risen abnormally due to illegal influx from Bangladesh.
The AICSF’s petition urged the Union Home Minister not to take the MZP seriously because “MZP is ideologically anti-minorities and has the habit of making baseless allegations against Chakmas.”
Chakmas are indigenous people of Mizoram
Demolishing the allegation of the MZP that Chakmas are foreigners, the AICSF stated on the basis of historical records that “Chakmas have been living in the western and southern parts of Mizoram, bordering with Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHTs) of present-day Bangladesh, from time immemorial. These parts of Mizoram originally belonged to Chakma king who ruled vast tracts of CHTs.” In his letter dated 17th July 1891 the Chief Commissioner of Assam submitted to the Government of India that “The station of Demagiri is not situated within the present area of the South Lushai Hills. It is topographically within the area of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. But, under Sir Charles Elliott’s orders, passed in 1892, it was declared that, for administrative purposes, Demagiri should be considered to be part and parcel of the South Lushai Hills, and the Chief Commissioner considers it absolutely essential for the future administration of this tract under Assam, that Sir Charles Elliott’s arrangement should be continued after the transfer of the South Lushai Hills has been carried out..” The Government of India by a proclamation dated 1st April 1898 transferred Demagiri and other areas from Chakma king’s eastern territory to be an integral part of the Lushai Hills in Assam Province.
The AICSF further pointed out that Chakmas were recognised as Scheduled Tribe (together with Mizos) in the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 in Assam in 1950 and Mizoram after it attained full statehood in 1987.
Chakma population data manipulated by MZP
The MZP in their memorandum to Rajnath Singh, as reported in The Mizoram Post, stated “The population of Chakma who are not indigenous people of Mizoram has increased from a mere 198 in the first ever census in 1901 to 80,000 in 1991 census. Within a span of 90 years they have multiplied it by 44004% and this increase is not possible by way of normal human reproduction..”
The MZP also stated, “During the second census in 1911, there were 302 Chakmas in Mizoram. The population increased to 680 (225.16%) in 1921, then further to 836 (122.94%) in 1931. In the 1941 general census, the Chakma population skyrocketed to 5,088 (608.61%) then further to 15,297 (300,64%) in 1951. In 1961 census, the figure rose to 19,327 (126,34%) and again to 22,392 (115.86%) in 1971, to 39,905 (178.21%) in 1981 and jumped to 80,000 (200.479%) in 1991.” The MZP further claimed that Chakmas population increased to “roughly around 1,50,000” in 2011 census.
The AICSF pointed out that the MZP has manipulated the population data of the Chakmas to wrongly arrive at the conclusion that their high growth rate was due to illegal influx from Bangladesh.
The AICSF’s petition stated that the Chakma population data provided by the MZP are incorrect. Firstly, as per Census 1991, Chakmas population was only 54,217 and not “80,000” as claimed by MZP. Second, as per Census 2011, Chakmas population was only 96,972 and not “1,50,000” as claimed by MZP. Third, the MZP alleged that Chakma population was 198 in 1901 Census, 302 in 1911 Census, 680 in 1921 Census, 836 in 1931 Census, and 5,088 in 1941 Census. But these are not officially verified figures, and Mizoram government does not claim them to be authentic. Responding to the NHRC in Case No. 9/16/0/2014, the Home Department of Mizoram on 10th April 2015 stated, “The veracity of the census figures between 1901 and 1941 cannot be ascertained as the same are not available with the Census Directorate, Mizoram.”
The AICSF stated the MZP also manipulated the decadal growth rate of Chakmas from 1951 to 2011 as evident from the following chart based on Mizoram government’s own data:
|Year||Chakma Population in Mizoram as per Census of India
|Decadal growth rate of Chakmas as per Govt of Mizoram||Decadal growth rate of Chakmas as per the MZP in their letter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh|
|2011||96,972||36||MZP says there are 1,50,000 Chakmas in 2011 but the Census 2011 found only 96,972 Chakmas|
“The allegations about Chakma influx from CHTs started soon after the partition in 1947. But the investigations by Mr KGR Iyer, Deputy Commissioner, Mizo District in 1954 and 1955 found that instead of an increase in Chakma population, Chakmas decreased from 11,435 in 1951 to 11,375 in 1955. Mr KGR Iyer also found that allegation levelled by the Chief Executive Member of Mizo District Council about unauthorised influx of Chakmas from East Pakistan to be not correct. The Mizo District Council was always at loggerheads with the Chakmas and wanted to expel them forcefully since the 1950s. This legacy has been continued by some groups including the MZP,” Secretary General of AICSF Mr Paritosh Chakma told The aPolitical.
“None should take such fake and manufactured data seriously,” he added.