AIZAWL, Aug 7: Chakmas in Mizoram today joined a nationwide protest by the Chakma community across the country against denial of MBBS seats under Mizoram quota to four Chakma students. Organised by Chakma NGOs in Mizoram and Mizoram Chakma Students’ Union, hundreds of Chakmas held a peaceful rally at Kamalanagar, headquarters of Chakma Autonomous District Council in southern Mizoram. After the protest, the rally organisers submitted a memorandum to Mizoram Minister for Higher & Technical Education H Romawia through Kamalanagar BDO.

Four Chakma students who were selected on merit in the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for technical studies and were earlier included in the Category I of Mizoram State quota were dropped after protests by Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), the Mizo apex student body. The MZP had earleir staged a massive protest on July 20 last maintaining that category I under Mizoram technical entrance rules was only for the natives or indigenous people and threatened to launch an indefinite bandh unless the State Government withdrew the names of the Chakma students. Succumbing to MZP’s demand, the Mizoram Government later dropped the four Chakma students. The protest rally today witnessed a huge response with people taking part in thousands. Placards reading “We want equal rights”, “Don’t play politics with minority rights”, “We are citizens, not aliens”, were displayed by the demonstrators. 

Sources said activists of MZP went to Kamalanagar and tried to disrupt the rally, resulting in a minor clash between the rallyists and MZP activists. An MZP leader was injured in pelting of stones. Police said they put the situation under control. Rallies were also organised in other parts of the country including Guwahati, Silchar, Chennai, etc.

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