Special Provisions given to Zomi

Although the Resolutions of the Chin-Lushai Conference of 1892 were not fully implemented, the British, in recognition of the unity and integrity of the Zomi, passed several Acts and Regulations to safeguard them. The Chin Hills Regulation, 1896; the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 amended 1925; Scheduled Districts Acts, 1874; the Government of India Act, 1935, etc are some notable legislations pertaining to the victimised people and their country. Under these regulations, the Zo country was classed as “Backward” or “Excluded Areas” in which non-natives had to obtain a Pass (ILP) to enter the region. More significantly, any Acts and Regulations applicable to India or Burma did not automatically apply to the Zo country except otherwise so declared by order in official gazette. This was true in the case of other Indo-Burma border tribes like the Nagas whose areas were ‘excluded’.

Accordingly, necessary orders and rules under the Acts and Regulations were enforced from time to time. For instance, Lushai Hills was placed in the hands of what was called “Superintendent of Lushai Hills” and not under a Collector or Deputy Commissioner as designated elsewhere. The Superintendent was a representative of the King or Queen of Great Britain. Similarly, the Zomi inhabited areas in the Hills of Manipur remained the special responsibility of the British ICS officer who was the President of the Maharaja’s Darbar (later: Manipur State Durbar), but never came under the Maharaja’s direct control.

All these facts clearly evidenced that the hill people, including the Zomi, are distinct from the majority plains people, and that the British government never thought of merging them with India or Burma’s mainstream.
 

 

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