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Chakma body objects to ethnic census in south Mizoram dist
 AIZAWL, June 15 - The Mizoram-based Young Chakma Association (YCA) and five village council presidents have accused the central committee of the Young Lai Association (YLA) of committing gross human rights violations by conducting a ‘Chakma census’ in Lawngtlai district of south Mizoram.

The YLA is the biggest NGO in Lawngtlai district or Lai Autonomous District Council (LADC).

In a letter addressed to the Lawngtlai Deputy Commissioner, the YCA and the village council leaders alleged that “checking” is being carried out in the LADC in the name of Local Area Population Census 2019.

The YLA has started the census of Chakma residents in the area since May. It decided to carry out the census as it believes that there has been an “abnormal growth” of the Chakma population in Lawngtlai district that borders Bangladesh.

The Chakma youth and village council representatives sought immediate intervention of the Deputy Commissioner to end the ongoing population census being carried out by the YLA.

They said such action was akin to head counting of the Chakmas which, they believe, is “unconstitutional” and declared illegal by the Mizoram Government before the National Human Rights Commission.

The letter also requested the DC to find out the facts about the ongoing census, to seize and destroy all data collected by the NGO and ensure that such acts are not continued in future. The letter was signed by officials of five village council presidents and officials of the YCA.

The president of the central committee of the Young Lai Association, J Sangthangpuia, termed the allegations as ‘false’ and that his organisation would continue with the census.

“There is no harassment and human rights violation; we are carrying out the census as a normal procedure. We have almost completed the census and we will go on till the end,” he said.

The youth wing of the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), in a statement, condemned the act of the Young Chakma Association and said they expect that the association would quickly revoke their accusations.

“We hope the initiatives of the YLA will proceed without further complications and we are ready to aid the YLA members wherever necessary,” it said.

The youth wing of the ZPM said the Chakma population in Mizoram has become defiant because the two leading parties, MNF and Congress, have used the Chakmas as a vote bank.

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