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Mizo Accord completes 17 years

G Vinayak in Aizawl | June 30, 2003 10:47 IST

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga, whose Mizo National Front government is celebrating 17 years of the Mizo Accord on Monday, is faced with voices of dissent from his erstwhile comrades who are observing June 30 as a black day for non-fulfilment of their demands.

A majority of disgruntled former rebels, who have organised themselves under the banner of Peace Accord Mizo National Front Returnees Association, claimed they have not received the full amount promised to them under the accord.

"If the government does not respond positively and give us the remainder amount, we will file an FIR against Zoramthanga and Public Health Minister Tawnluiia in the Aizawl police station," said H Lalunguana, general secretary of the PAMRA.

While Zoramthanga was the finance minister in the first MNF government (1986-88), Tawnluiia was the minister for rehabilitation.

"The accord had provided for giving us Rs 60,000 each as support to settle down after spending over 20 years in the jungles. But even after 17 years have passed, we have got only Rs 40,000 each," Lalunguana added.

Lalunguana, who was a clerk in the erstwhile underground MNF, said while he received the first instalment of Rs 20,000 within months of the signing of the accord on June 30, 1986, the second and third instalments of Rs 10,000 each came in 1988 and 1995.

"All of us are yet to receive the remaining Rs 20,000, and this is despite the state government stating in the assembly that the entire amount had been released to the peace returnees," Lalunguana complained.

Members of the PAMRA have also decided to resort to a twelve-hour hunger strike on Monday.

There were 572 underground rebels who surrendered after the accord was signed. "Most of us are languishing," Lalunguana said.

Over 100 were absorbed in the India Reserve Battalion, about 70 in the Mizoram Armed Police and about 100 in the state government. But 260 former rebels, according to Laluguana, are still sitting idle.

"With Rs 40,000 just being peanuts to start anything worthwhile, those of us who did not get government jobs have gone back to the villages to take to small-time farming. Some others have set up petty business establishments," added C Lalmachhuana, president of the PAMRA.

Chief minister Zoramthanga, for whose MNF the issue might pose a big threat in the October assembly election, admits the compensation and ex-gratia payments are yet to be completed.

"While the first MNF government did not last long, the subsequent Congress government delayed the matter like anything. When we came back to power in 1998, we did submit a complete list of people deserving the payments and got more funds released from the Centre," the chief minister said.

Some more clauses of the accord, like setting up a separate high court for Mizoram, are also pending.

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