Re-unification: A century old struggle of the Zomi

he struggle for the re-unification of Zomi is over 70 years old. In 1933, Pu Than Pet Mang @ Vuam Thu Maung formed ‘Chin National Union’ and submitted a memorandum to the British government in Rangoon demanding self-rule for themselves. They also demanded their own independence as and when Burma was given independence.

Another organisation called “Chin Leaders Freedom League” was formed during the Japanese occupation of Zo country to free themselves from Japanese oppression. The organisation later merged with the Sukte Independence Army to form “Free Chin (Zomi)”. On the Indian side of the border, a representative of the Zomi submitted a memorandum to Sir Robert Reid in 1940, urging him to take steps for territorial re-unification of all their inhabited areas in the spirit of the Chin-Lushai Conference (1892).

During the Second World War, the Chiefs of the Lushai Hills had separately and independently declared war against the Japanese forces and resolved to fight the war side by side with the Allied Forces. The Chins of the Chin Hills also made an independent declaration of war in favour of the Allied Forces. In recognition of the Chin (Zomi) support, the Burmese Constitution provided the people of Chin Hills and other frontier hill tracts with the right of secession after 10 years (see documents). The then Superintendent of Lushai Hills, Mr. Mc Call, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, made a declaration providing Lushais (Zomi) friendship and protection as would ensure that ‘the destiny of the Lushai (Zomi) passes to no other hand without the consent of the Lushai people (Zomi).’

At the time when Indian independence was under process, the Mizo Union submitted a memorandum to His Majesty’s Government of India on 26th April, 1947 demanding ‘territorial integrity and self-determination’. In the same year, representatives of Zomi leaders held a meeting under the Chairmanship of L. L. Peters, Superintendent of Lushai Hills, in which they decided to enter Indian Union on the condition that ‘the Lushai Hills’ will be allowed to opt out of the Indian Union, when they wish to do so subjected to a minimum period of 10 years. The Zomi in Burma also signed the historic ‘Panglong Accord, 1947’ in which they agreed to join the Union of Burma with the condition that ‘they should be given the right to secede from Burma when they wish to do so’.

The struggle for unification continued after independence. In the 1960s, both Mizo National Front and Paite National Council submitted memorandum to the Indian Government for ‘unification and integration’ of their people. On May 20, 1995 the ZORO submitted another memorandum to the Secretary-General of the United National and other world leaders for re-unification of the Zo people, for restoration of their fundamental rights that existed before tripartite division of Zoram/Zogam, and bring the Zo people under one administrative head. Today, both the ZRO and ZORO are struggling for re-unification as one people in the spirit of the Chin-Lushai Conference of 1892. Nevertheless, the people and their country remain divided with the indigenous tribes of the same people separated by international boundaries as well as state boundaries. The Zomi lost their national self-respect following deprivation of their fundamental rights regardless of supreme sacrifices made over the past 70 years, for the cause of re-unification.



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