THE FRONTIER AREAS COMMITTEE OF ENQUIRY
Camp Maymyo, dated the 21st April, 1947
We thank the British Government and the Governor’s Executive Council for their success in forming an Enquiry Committee to explore ways and means for the lasting association for mutual benefit of the minority races in the hill regions of Burma, with the Burmese as contemplated by the London Agreement executed between the two Governments.
Desires for the improvement of the Conditions of Chin/Zomi Nations
We find that though the British Government has ruled over the Chin Hills for about 60 years, we are very much backward, if compared with other Frontier Areas, in Education, Health, Communications, Agriculture and Economic conditions. As regards Administration also, the poor people have greatly suffered due to the collection of taxes on food under pressure by the Circle Thugyis, appointed by the Government, as in the days of Dictators, Capitalists and Rulers (Sawbwas) of States, and not like other Kachin Frontier Areas. Therefore, in the new administration, the said Circle Thugyis should be made Government servants, or to find out some other practicable method.
All the Chin Nationals of the Frontier Areas being in favour of Democratic Principle only, we wish to have only such administration after election by votes as in the election to the council recently formed. After having duly elected 12 members, on the basis of 3 from one area under the charge of a Sub-divisional Officer, originally in the Chin Hills, to represent and give evidence here on behalf of the Chin and Kachin Nationals, and on their arrival at Maymyo, they were divided into six parties and they have to give evidence continuously for two days. The reason for this is that they were not representatives of the people, but only Circle Thugyis who had come only for their own interests under the influence of the Government. Therefore the desires of the Chin masses of the hill and their demands for the future administration are as follows:-
Demands for the Future Administration
(a) Panglong Agreement executed in February 1947 by the representatives of the Frontier Areas and those of the Burma Government is confirmed
(b) Supported and confirmed the resolutions passed at the meeting of all representatives from the Frontier Areas, held in March 1947 at Yaunghwe.
(c) To participate in the forthcoming Constituent Assembly. To have twelve representatives in the Assembly in view of the fact that there are four tribes among the Chin Nationals, difficulties in communications between one village and another and between one place and another, difference in dialects and one place being too far away from another. To elect such representatives by votes under the democratic principles.
(d) Two conditions under which to unite with Burma
First : To join the Federation
Second: To secede at any time.
(e) To include Naga Hill areas and Arakan Hill District, Paletwa Township in the Chin Hills areas. They are Chin Nationals in the said areas, and they are also geographically linked to one another.
(i) the Government has converted Bobabaing (freehold) lands into Ayardaw (leasehold) lands.
(ii) To restore immediately such freehold lands, bought by our ancestors but converted into Ayardaw lands by the Government, to the rightful owners.
We never consider that the British would forget us, Chin nationals, who had fought effectively in the First World War from 1949 to 1918 and in the second World War from 1942 to 1945 with a view to save the British Empire. We therefore earnestly urge the Enquiry Committee to carry out successfully the desires and demands for the future welfare of the Chin Nationals who had defended at the sacrifice of their lives for the security of Burma and British Empire.
(Source: Dr Tualchin Neihsial, “Burma Frontier Areas Committee of Enquiry Report,” 1947 (New Delhi, 1998))