Why am I still so hung-up on this issue? My friends are telling me to let it go and forget about it. “They apologized and the moment had passed,” they say. But the more I think about it, the more restless I become.
In this age of quick internet connectivity where anybody can access anything, being accused of a blatant lie like the one that is brazenly displayed in the HRW official site has caused grievous mental trauma to many Mizos.
Many of us have written to the HRW too, but none of us received a reply. Anyway, we weren’t expecting a reply and we feel much better knowing that we’ve at least brought this to their notice. Kudos to all of you who have written to the HRW once again. I salute thee.
My post The Demonization of Mizoram too received a very high visit-count and I humbly thank all my readers for that.
Below are some of the news floating around the online space after this unfortunate incident took place. It is plain sad (and a wee bit pathetic) that prominent news agencies like BBC, AP, Reuters, FoxNews etc that were extremely quick to highlight this HRW report and splash it all across their front-page, did not bother to publish the HRW’s explanation at all!
Anyway, here you go, some of the news related to this topic.
Chins living in Mizoram on Wednesday expressed regret over allegations of discrimination and maltreatment against them in the Human Rights Watch (HRW) website.
Representatives of more than 20 chin organisations including leaders of church denominations said that their community is happy with the treatment from their Mizo cousins.
“We are grateful to the kindness and hospitality being shown to us by our Mizo cousins in India’s Mizoram. We strongly condemn such baseless information provided to the global human rights group that tarnished the image of the Mizos. We will find out who had disseminated such wrong information,” Cheery Zahau, co-ordinator of Women League of Chinland said here today.
“With the Indian government refusing to give refugee status to the thousands of Chin refugees staying in Mizoram, we will have no place to go if Mizos are hostile to us,” she added.
Rozathang, president of Zo Human Rights Global Network, also said, “We are extremely sorry for what has been mentioned in the HRW’s website. We will hold the responsibility while at the same time we apologise to the Mizo people.”
Mizzima: Mizos blame Chins for HRW Report:
The Young Mizo Association (YMA), a social organization in Mizoram state, on Tuesday, at a meeting with at least 23 Chin organizations demanded they refute a human rights report on Mizo’s treatment of Chin published by HRW.
“He [Zoremthanga, President of CYMA] said that HRW's report on YMA and Mizo authorities is not true and is exaggerated,” said the representative adding, “He asked us to apologize for the report.”
Chin state in western Burma and India’s Mizoram state share a porous border of about 400 kilometers. Traditionally, the Chin and Mizos regard each other as ancestral cousins and there has been constant interaction between the two communities despite international boundaries separating them.
And the Mizos were the first community in India to have staged a mass rally in support of the monk-led protest in Burma in September 2007 and condemned the Burmese junta for its brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrators.
Mizzima: Report not aimed at Chin, Mizo confusion: HRW:
Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia researcher of the US-based Human Rights Watch said the report focuses on the persecutions suffered by the Chin people in Burma and the subsequent difficulties faced in fleeing their homeland and does not aim at creating a misunderstanding between the two communities – Chins and Mizos.
“YMA felt that Chins who talked to us have disgraced them, though they had helped them. But YMA should take a look from the human rights point of view,” Ganguly said.
She said it is a fact that Chin people receive help from the Mizo people as they flee their home country, but HRW, as a human rights group, had documented the lack of protection by state agencies for any form of violation against the Chin people.
Ganguly said, “No Chin had ever complained to us about the Mizos.”
"Mizo people certainly help Chin people. That's why so many Chin people are living in Mizoram. Chin people also praised the Mizos for having helped them" Ganguly said.
And e-Mizoram, which in my books is the BEST source of Mizoram related online news today, reported (in Mizo) courtesy ZALEN newspaper:
Chin Community in Mizoram (CCM) thuchhuain a tarlan dan chuan Human Rights Watch, Thailand-a awm ten January ni 28, 2009 khan Bangkok-ah report an tlangzarh a, he report zingah hian Mizoram mipuite chungchang belhchian dawllo tak thuziak a awm tih sawiin an dem takzet thu an puang a. Hetiang hian an sawifiah nghal bawk.
HRW report (252)-a YMA-in Chin mite Mizoram atanga hnawhchhuahna order a siam anga thu ziak hi diklo taka ziak a ni a. Hetianga thuchhuah hi Central YMA in a siam kan hre lo. September 2008-ah Mizoram atanga hnawchhuahna order avanga chhuak an awm lo.
HRW report (263)-a Mizote rilru puthmang anga thuziak ‘Chin mi pakhat tihhlum hi ui pakhat tihhlum tluk lek a ni’ tia an ziak hi, Mizo mipuite hmuhsitna leh an zahawmna tihbawrhban theihna thuziak a ni a. He ngaihdan hi Mizote rilru puthmang ang lo taka ‘Report’ hi Zo Hnahthlak unaute inkara inhmuh thiamlohna thlen thei, tawngkam chhe tak a nih avangin kan dem takmeuh a ni.
HRW report (285/286)-a tarlan, "Chin mite tan thlanmual hran, khaw pawnah Mizo-ten an siamsak" tia an tarlan hi thu dik a ni lo. Riangvaite thlanmual hi tu tih hriat loh leh ruang latu awm lo mitthu te tana sorkar siam a ni lo. Chin mite kan thih hian kan awmna veng thlanmualah YMA buaipuia vui kan ni. Chuvangin, Chin mite tana khaw pawna siamsak anga ziak hi thu belhchian dawllo a ni.
HRW Report (297,298,299)-a tarlan, India Danin naupang kum tlinglo hna thawhtir chungchangah hian retheih luat tuk avangin chhhungkaw tan naupangte pawhin hna an thawk bawk a ni. Tihluihna avanga thawk an awm hriat a ni lo.
Somehow, somewhere, there is this deep empty hollow void within me… Something is missing, and I can’t quite figure out what. I am definitely not satisfied at the way things are moving, and I’m sure many of you aren’t either. Why am I feeling this strange depression and incompleteness deep within?
Is it because of the barely little reaction from my Government? I expected a lot more from our politicians and this incident shook my entire trust and faith in these people who are supposed to lead us forward into the 21st century. Lead us where? To a future where every netizen despise us because of the lies in this report?
Is it because of the fact that the CYMA got involved? I am not a big devotee of some of the actions of the YMA, but I am not a nonconformist either as the YMA is very close to my heart and soul. Am I angry that an “NGO” had to bail us out in the end when there are other proper channels of doing it? Doesn’t this somewhat highlight the incompetency of our Government when it comes to PR?
Is it because of the apologies that flew around in the aftermath? I kept asking myself, “Is an apology from the respected Chin leaders really required?” Because first of all, the damage had been done and no amount of apologies could repair the dent in our reputation until and unless the HRW retract their report. Secondly, why should they apologize when it was clearly not them who made such ludicrous statements?
Is it because the YMA demanded an apology from the Chin community? Though that may sound like the obvious thing to do for some, there is also that feeling of a “pity apology” once an apology is made after it is demanded. Not that I am demanding or expecting an apology from the Chin community, but why was there no reaction from the Chin community before the YMA moved into the picture?
Is it because of the way the HRW said the report was not meant to taint Mizoram’s reputation and that we should look at this report from a human rights perspective? I wonder what that means. Do you? I try my best to look at this report from a “human rights perspective”, whatever that’s supposed to mean, and I still fail to see how that justifies all the lies in it. What is this “human rights perspective”? Does it mean tarnish the image and reputation of anything and anybody so as to highlight the plight of those who are abused and oppressed?
See, that’s the irony. Not being able to substantiate what bothers me, bothers me even more!
I don’t mean to come down harshly on our newly elected Congress Government, but I am surprised there hasn’t been much of a development from their part.
I mean, if this same accusation took place in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, or any other place in India, there would already be curfews and violent hartals led none other than the local politicians who would all be quick to grab this opportunity to become the “savior of the people”.
I am not suggesting that our Mizo politicians resort to this violence, but at the same time I do wish they had done a little bit more…
Seriously, dear Congress politicos and supporters, do you have any idea how the world is looking at you now because of the HRW report?
Here’s one such report, again from the same HRW site.
Burma/India: End Abuses in Chin State
On December 2, 2008, Mizoram state elections resulted in a sweeping victory for the Indian National Congress, the country’s governing party, which has not been in power there for a decade. In the past, members of Mizoram’s Indian National Congress have called for action against Chin migrants and have been even less sympathetic than the previous state government to the plight of those fleeing human rights abuses in Burma.
Urrrmmm… any comments? Or you’re all just going to keep mum on this too? Do what you want, for nobody can force you to say anything. But do remember that when Mizoram’s name gets defiled, every Mizo’s name gets defiled too. And when that day comes, we the people will do everything in our power to correct it. We won’t wait any longer for a political figure to step up.
As for me, I will be visiting “Mizoram House” at Mumbai more frequently in the next few days because my friend Ben, Admin of misual.com is there. There is also another person I have fixed an appointment with - She is a committee member of CYMA and is extremely interested in my article and this issue. We shall discuss the steps we as an individual can take, to make the HRW take notice of our protest.