Centre may target Northeast next, fears Mizoram after Article 370 repeal

Article 370, Mizoram, Article 371 G, special status, Mizo National Front, Constitution, The Federal, English news website
Article 371G of the Constitution states that the Parliament cannot decide on the matters of the religious and social practices of Mizoram. Illustration: Eunice Divya.

The abrogation of Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, raised apprehensions in Mizoram on Monday (August 5), with academicians and politicians fearing that the NDA government might scrap next the special provisions that protect the interests of the states indigenous people.

Article 371G of the Constitution states that the Parliament cannot decide on the matters of the religious and social practices of the Mizos, civil and criminal law of the land, land ownership transfer, and customary law procedure without the consent of the Assembly.

The provision came into effect in 1986 following the signing of the historic Mizo Accord between the Centre and the erstwhile underground Mizo National Front (MNF). Mizoram, then a Union territory, was granted the status of full-fledged statehood on February 20, 1987.

Also read: Nagaland apprehensive after repeal of Article 370

Lallianchhunga, assistant professor of the political science department in the Mizoram University, alleged that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government had been violating the federal spirits of the Constitution and moving towards a “unitary government”. “The Centre, in the name of economic development and internal security, may soon target the northeastern states with special provisions and statuses,” he said.

Riachho, a retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, said that the Centre did not honour the Instrument of Accession signed on October 26, 1947, by Hari Singh, the then ruler of Jammu and Kashmir.

According to the IAS officer, it seemed that Article 371 G in Mizoram might also come under danger. Newly-floated political party People’s Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM) also condemned the Centre’s move, saying the “northeastern states were no longer safe in the hands of the NDA government”.

The Centre had on Monday revoked Article 370 and proposed that Jammu and Kashmir be bifurcated into two Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.