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  • Mizoram

    1. Overview. 1
    2. Human rights violations by the security forces 2
    3. The Bru crisis 3
    a. Failure to repatriate Bru IDPs 3
    b. Continued atrocities 4
    c. Condition of the Bru IDPs in the relief camps 4
    4. Vigilante justice. 5
    5. Violations of international humanitarian laws by the AOGs 6
    6. Violations of the rights of the child. 7
    7. Violations of the prisoners' rights 7


    1. Overview

    Ruled by Mizo National Front, Mizoram Government failed to solve the Bru crisis despite signing of a 10-point Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bru National Liberation Front in Aizawl on 26 April 2005, and the surrender of the Bru rebels pursuant to the MoU.[1] The Government of Mizoram refused to take back the Bru refugees who had been living in Tripura since their expulsion from Mizoram in 1997. The peace accord of 26 April 2005 was virtually thrown out of the window.

    The Mizoram police were responsible for human rights violations including custodial deaths. Surprisingly, the National Crime Records Bureau failed to record any case of death in police custody in Mizoram during 2005.[2] According to David M Thangliana, Editor, Newslink, at least four persons died in custody during 2005. While three of them died under police custody, one died in the Central Jail.[3] On 29 March 2005, while replying to Congress legislator H. Rohluna, Home Minister of Mizoram Mr Tawnluia told the State Assembly that one man had died at Khawzawl police station lock-up on 22-23 February 2005 and police inquiry as well as magisterial inquiry had been initiated into the case. But no police official was suspended.[4]

    The State government failed to curb vigilante violence. The members of the Young Mizo Association (YMA) took law into their hands and created terror under the garb of controlling drugs and alcohol. Asian Centre for Human Rights documented deaths of three persons allegedly at the hands of the members of the Young Mizo Association. On 11 November 2005, Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA) reportedly apologized for the death of Zothantluanga at the hands of YMA members.[5] But the culprits went unpunished.

    Though women generally enjoyed freedom in the society of Mizoram, they were subjected to sexual abuse and domestic violence. The Mizo women were discriminated under the archaic Mizo customary laws drafted in 1927.[6] Members of vigilante groups allegedly sexually harassed women during anti-drug campaign on the charges of selling drugs or wine.[7]

    During 2005, there were consistent reports of child abuse including exploitation and sexual assault. Aizawl-based Centre for Peace & Development recorded a total of 156 cases of rape during 2001- April 2005. Of the 156 rape cases, 100 cases were rape of minors below the age of 14 years.[8] A conservative estimate by the Social Welfare Department of Mizoram stated that 10 children were sexually abused every year on an average.[9]

    The members belonging to the minority communities lived under fear of attacks by the members of vigilante groups and the police. In May 2005, a Chakma woman was raped by Thanthuama, the branch YMA president of Phairuangkai in Lunglei district.[10] Bru minorities were specifically targeted.[11]

    The armed opposition groups operating in Mizoram such as Bru Liberation Front of Mizoram and Hmar People's Convention (Democratic) were allegedly responsible for abductions and extortion.

    2. Human rights violations by the security forces

    The security forces were responsible for human rights violations, including custodial deaths. In March 2005, a 27-year-old man from Aizawl reportedly died under mysterious circumstances in the lock-up of Bairabi police station in Aizawl. Mizoram police had arrested the victim after banned proxyvon capsules were allegedly recovered from him.[12]

    Torture by the police was common. But such incidents were seldom reported. On 24 February 2005, Lalduhsiama, son of Lalfeli of Serchhip, was allegedly tortured by the Sub-Inspector Pope at the police station in Serchhip. The victim was picked up by the police on a complaint of theft against him filed by one Rajen, a mechanic in Serchip Bazaar. Lalduhsiama had to be admitted in Serchhip civil hospital in a serious condition and was referred to Aizawl civil hospital. An X-ray reportedly revealed that the victim had sustained bone fractures in two parts of his body. The victim reportedly filed an FIR against Sub-Inspector Pope with the Serchhip police station on 7 March 2005.[13]

    On 15 June 2005, personnel of the 42nd Assam Rifles posted at Thingsulthliah allegedly beat up three student leaders of Tlungvel Constituency Students' Union identified as K Lalringliana, Lalhruaitluanga and V Lalchhanhima when they had gone to the army camp to check the inner line permits of the army canteen employees.[14]

    On 29 July 2005, Lalsangmawia had to be admitted to the Aizawl civil hospital after he was allegedly meted out third degree punishment by the second Officer-in-Charge of Ngopa police station. The victim was arrested in connection with a burglary of Ngopa community health centre's canteen on the night of 12 July 2005. The victim's parents alleged that the second officer-in-charge stamped on the victim's stomach and beat him on the thighs and legs inside the police station.[15] 

    3. The Bru crisis

    There were about 35,000 Brus (also known as Reangs) from Mizoram languishing in six refugee camps at Kanchanpur in Tripura since they were expelled from Mizoram during ethnic riots that erupted in October 1997. The government of Mizoram had been refusing to take them back despite directions of National Human Rights Commission of India in October 1999.

    a. Failure to repatriate Bru IDPs

    The 10-point Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) and the Mizoram government in Aizawl on 26 April 2005 failed to resolve the Bru embroglio due to the lack of political will of the government of Mizoram. The MoU provided for, among others, laying down of arms by BNLF, repatriation and resettlement of the Bru refugees by the Mizoram government, a development package for the Brus, and measures to be taken by the Mizoram government for the inclusion of eligible Bru voters in the electoral rolls.[16]

    On 25 July 2005, the Bru National Liberation Front formally laid down arms before the Mizoram police pursuant to the peace accord at Tuipuibari Transit Camp in western Mizoram. But the surrendered BNLF cadres and their kin had been the only beneficiaries of the peace accord. While 195 surrendered BNLF cadres and their families totaling 285 persons were resettled in 42 houses at Sidan Transit Camp,[17] most of the Brus' grievances remained unfulfilled. Except the casting of votes by 1733 out of 2406 Bru voters in the Kawrthah by-election and 971 out of the total 1240 Bru voters in the Phuldungsei bye-election held in December 2005,[18] other main issues like resettlement and rehabilitation remained unattended. This was primarily because of the shortcomings of the peace accord which failed to specify a timeframe for such repatriation or the number of the Bru IDPs to be repatriated by the Government of Mizoram. The government of Mizoram continued to drag its feet over the question of the number of bonafide Brus of Mizoram. While the Bru leadership and the government of Tripura put the number of Bru IDPs of Mizoram at over 35,000 persons,[19] the government of Mizoram was ready to accept only 16,000 Brus whose names were enlisted in the 1995 electoral rolls of Mizoram.[20]

    The political parties, Young Mizo Association and Mizo Zirlai Pawl vehemently opposed the return of the Brus to Mizoram.

    Despite assurance by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in November 2005 to the representatives of Mizoram Bru Displaced People's Forum (MBDPF) to bring an early solution to the Bru crisis,[21] the government of Mizoram failed to repatriate a single Bru IDP from Tripura.

    b. Continued atrocities

    Bru minorities continued to face atrocities. On 27 January 2005, six jum huts belonging to Bru cultivators were torched by unidentified persons at Kolalian village in Mamit district. Earlier the Bru jum cultivators were asked to leave the village by students from a nearby village on the charges that they were not bonafide residents of Mizoram.[22]

    Shortly after the abduction of engineer Charanjeet Singh and Mizo labourer Zoramsanga, who were employees of Tuiram Hydekl Project in Mamit district allegedly by the Bru Liberation Front of Mizoram (BLFM) on 8 August 2005,[23] members of Young Mizoram Association (YMA) and Mizoram Armed Police (MAP) personnel illegally entered into Tripura and attacked the Brus of Bambobari, Therma, Sailot and Vellian villages on the Tripura-Mizoram border. They laid a siege upon the villages from 8-17 August 2005 and beat up 20 villagers in the name of searching for abducted persons.[24] On 8 August 2005, the YMA activists and the MAP personnel allegedly killed Hulendra Reang, headman of Bhungbupara village after abducting him.[25] The MAP personnel also picked up three other Bru villagers identified as Pabanjay Reang of Bambubari village, Udayjay Reang and Bhubanjay Reang of Sailot village in the name of interrogation without obtaining permission from the Tripura Government.[26]

    c. Condition of the Bru IDPs in the relief camps

    The Bru IDPs had been living in pathetic conditions in six relief camps. On 31 January 2005, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil announced a relief package of Rs 28.65 crore for Bru IDPs living in Tripura.[27] But the conditions of the IDPs did not improve at all.

    The daily cash dole of Rs 2.90 i.e. Rs 87/- per month given to each adult Bru was extremely inadequate. During a field mission in December 2005, Asian Centre for Human Rights found that since 2001, the new-born babies had been included only in the census but not in the relief cards, making them ineligible for food items. Those who became adult in the last five years continued to be given rations as minor. The ration of 450 grams of rice was so inadequate that displaced Brus had not even been reporting deaths for the fear of further reduction of the rations being provided.

    Medical facilities were non-existent. The literacy rate among the Bru IDPs was only 10%.[28] The Tripura government also did not extend the Central Government sponsored Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (Education for All) programme to the Bru IDP camps. Effectively, over 5,000 minors were denied the right to education and an entire generation of the Brus had been kept illiterate in the last eight years.

    4. Vigilante justice

    The State government failed to curb vigilante violence. The main vigilante group Young Mizo Association (YMA) took law into their hands under the garb of controlling drugs and alcohol. The atrocities were so severe that the Governor of Mizoram, A R Kohli had to personally intervene to advise the Central YMA to exercise care in implementing the socalled war against drugs.[29] On 13 October 2005, Newslink editor, David M. Thangliana submitted his resignation as a member of the Central Young Mizo Association's Literature Sub-Committee in protest against YMA atrocities in their campaign against drugs and alcohol.[30]

    Asian Centre for Human Rights documented deaths of three persons allegedly at the hands of the members of the Young Mizo Association.

    On 18 May 2005, Rajendra Singh died at Bethesda Hospital in Aizawl following beating by the alleged members of YMA on the charges of being a drug peddler. The victim was caught, blindfolded and brutally beaten up on the night of 17 May 2005 in the Tlangnuam locality of Aizawl. Ealier, the YMA had locked the victim's house in Bawngkawn following the arrest of his wife, N. Mimi, on Proxyvon peddling charges. A doctor at Bethesda Hospital stated that “blood tests showed that his red blood corpuscles were damaged, which indicates injuries in any of the kidney, spleen or liver.”[31]

    On 10 October 2005, Zothantluanga died following brutal torture allegedly by members of YMA, Mission Vengthlang branch, on the night of 9 October 2005. The victim was summoned by the YMA in connection with a burglary case at the nearby Presbyterian Girls Hostel and brutally beaten up.[32] The police arrested 10 persons in connection with the death of Zothantluanga.[33] On 11 November 2005, Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA) reportedly apologised to the victim's family.[34]

    Members of vigilante gourps allegedly sexually harassed women during anti-drug campaign on the charges of selling drugs or wine.[35] On the night of 15 May 2005, Thanthuama, the branch YMA president of Phairuangkai in Lunglei district, raped a 26-year-old Chakma tribal woman after YMA members found 32 cakes of yeast used for making country liquor during a raid at her jum hut. Instead of handing over the victim to the police, the accused took her to his home in the pretext of investigation and raped her. The accused was arrested and he reportedly confessed to raping the victim before the Lunglei police.[36] 

    Many were also subjected to torture. On the night of 2 June 2005, Lalthanngura alias Ngurtea was allegedly severely beaten up by YMA activists after picking him up from his house at Bawngkawn on the accusation of drinking wine. The next day the victim was admitted at Aizawl Civil Hospital with brain haemorrhage. A head scan revealed internal bleeding at two places. The mother of the victim filed a complaint with Banwgkawn police naming V. Lalkunga, president of the Kumpuan committee chairman and Vanlalfela, an executive member of the YMA, Bawngkawn branch, as the accused. On the other hand, YMA Banwgkawn branch president Rinawma Sailo said the man had hit his head against a concrete post when they tried to tie up his hands.[37]

    On 4 June 2005, activists of Central Young Mizo Association's Supply Reduction Service reportedly beat up six women and six men after tying their hands behind and blindfolding them after liquor was recovered from their houses during a raid in Rangvamual locality in Aizawl. They were later handed over to the Mizoram Excise police.[38]

    On the night of 19 September 2005, a group of locals led by YMA reportedly torched the house of a widow identified as Selziki in Sihphir on the charges of selling liquor. The widow had been repeatedly warned by the Sihphir branch YMA to stop her illegal trade.[39] On 20 September 2005, six YMA leaders of Sihphir surrendered to the police. They were charged under sections 436 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.[40] 

    5. Violations of international humanitarian laws by the AOGs

    Following the surrender of the Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) in July 2005, its break-away faction, Bru Liberation Front of Mizoram (BLFM) became the main armed opposition group. A few other AOGs such as Hmar People's Convention (Democratic) and Chin National Confederation also reportedly operated inside Mizoram. The armed opposition groups reportedly resorted to abductions and extortion.

    On 29 March 2005, alleged cadres of BNLF kidnapped a student of Kanhmun High School, Lalrinawma, and taken inside neighbouring Cachar District in Assam. The abductors demanded a ransom of Rs 4 lakh for his release. The boy was released after his parents reportedly paid Rs 25,000. The BNLF however denied having a hand in the abduction of Lalrinawma.[41]

    On 8 August 2005, suspected BLFM cadres kidnapped an engineer Charanjeet Singh and Mizo labourer Zoramsanga working at Teirei hydel project under Mamit police station in Mamit district.[42] The armed opposition group reportedly demanded Rs two crore as ransom from the government of Mizoram for their release.[43] The two were released, reportedly unconditionally, on the night of 20 October 2005.[44]

    The Hmar People's Convention (Democratic) was also accused of sending extortion letters to the salaried persons of Vairengte village.[45]

    6. Violations of the rights of the child

    Despite several reports of child abuse including exploitation and sexual assault in Mizoram, the National Crime Records Bureau failed to record any case of child abuse in the state during 2005 in its 2005 Annual Report.

    Aizawl-based Centre for Peace & Development recorded a total of 156 cases of rape during 2001- April 2005. Of the 156 rape cases, 100 cases were rapes of minors below the age of 14 years. The other crimes committed on children are murder, kidnapping, molestation and hurt. While three children were murdered, nine were kidnapped and 63 molestation cases against children were registered during the same period.[46]

    A study conducted by the Mizoram social welfare department and two NGOs - Human Rights and Law Network and Atrocity Against Women and Children – found that child abuse was increasing at an alarming rate in the state. A conservative estimate by the Mizoram social welfare department stated that 10 children are sexually abused every year on an average.[47]

    In May 2005, the Government of Mizoram formed Child Welfare Committee under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. On 18 November 2005, Child Welfare Committee admitted that sexual or physical abuse of children in Mizoram was rampant. According to Lalengruali, chairman of the Child Welfare Committee, many cases went unreported. As a result, only a few cases of child abuse had been reported to the CWC.[48]

    7. Violations of the prisoners' rights

    During a visit to the Central Jail in Aizawl in June 2005, journalists and members of Human Rights & Law Network found that the jail did not have a permanent doctor and the jail's infirmary had no medicines. A doctor visited the jail twice a week, which was insufficient. Besides, there were no safeguards for healthy inmates from the infected ones. In the Aizawl Central jail, about 40 male inmates in each ward shared a single blade for shaving purposes. Since the HIV positive inmates were not segregated from the non-HIV inmates, there was imminent risk of proliferation of HIV/AIDS among the prisoners. Human Rights & Law Network recorded a total of 14 cases where chargesheet had not been made within the stipulated time of 90 days and they were not released on bail. There were 520 prisoners including 64 women in the Central jail. There were also four children, including an infant, in the jail with their mothers.[49]

    On 14 February 2005, a 23-year-old undertrial prisoner identified as Vanlalswama reportedly died in Aizawl Central Jail after complaining stomach ache. The victim was apprehended by members of the local vigilance squad at Treasury Square in Aizawl for carrying packets of country liquor in his taxi two days earlier and later handed over to the police. According to Jail authorities, the victim had suffered severe internal injuries at the hands of those who had nabbed him and died due to those injuries.[50]



    [1]. Mizoram Bru accord signed, The Telegraph, 27 April 2005

    [2]. 2005 Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    [3]. 2005 - Not a good year for Mizoram by David M Thangliana, The Newslink, 29 December 2005

    [4]. Home minister charged with discrimination over custodial deaths, The Newslink, 30 March 2005

    [5]. CYMA finally apologise to victim's family, The Newslink, 14 November 2005

    [6]. Mizo women for amendment of old customary laws, The Shillong Times, 20 June 2005

    [7]. ‘NGOs taking advantages of women', NENA, Vol. 3 Issue No. 22, February 22-March 6, 2005

    [8]. Crime against minors rampant in state, The Zoram.com, 28 May 2005

    [9]. Alert over child abuse, The Telegraph, 22 May 2005

    [10]. Branch YMA leader confesses to rape, The Newslink, 24 May 2005

    [11]. Bru cultivator's huts torched in Mizoram, The Assam Tribune, 31 January 2005

    [12]. Man dies in police custody, The Sentinel, 28 March 2005

    [13]. Cong condemns police atrocity, The Newslink, 14 March 2005

    [14]. AR men beat three student leaders, The Shillong Times, 17 June 2005

    [15]. Victim of “police brutality” hospitalized, The Newslink, 30 July 2005

    [16]. Mizoram Bru accord signed, The Telegraph, 27 April 2005

    [17]. Brus lay down arms, The Newslink, 25 July 2005

    [18]. Bru camps witness good poll turnout, NEWSLINK Tuesday, December 06, 2005, available at http://www.zoram.com/index.php?module=pagesetter&func= viewpub&tid=3&pid=1222

    [19]. Uncertainty puts break on Bru repatriation, The Shillong Times, 2 November 2005

    [20]. Former BNLF members, govt to discuss refugee repatriation, The Newslink, 3 October 2005

    [21]. PM to look into Bru problems, The Assam Tribune, 5 November 2005

    [22]. Bru cultivator's huts torched in Mizoram, The Assam Tribune, 31 January 2005

    [23]. Engineer, labourer kidnapped, The Newslink, 10 August 2005

    [24]. Reangs live in fear of attacks - Tripura govt beefs up security along boundary, The Telegraph, 24 August 2005

    [25]. BSCO accuses YMA for killing, The Tripurainfo, 25 August 2005

    [26]. Mizo police atrocities on Reangs alleged - Tripura tense over kidnap, The Telegraph, 20 August 2005

    [27]. Rs 29 crore for Bru refugees in Mizoram, The Telegraph, 1 February 2005

    [28]. Brus literacy rate only 10 per cent: Reang, The Shillong Times, 28 July 2005

    [29]. Governor asks CYMA to tone down activities, The Newslink, 10 June 2005

    [30]. Atrocities force editor to leave CYMA, The Newslink, 14 October 2005

    [31]. Mizo body faces flak over death, The Telegraph, 20 May 2005

    [32]. YMA victim's relatives tells of ordeal, The Newslink, 12 October 2005

    [33]. More arrested in torture death case, The Newslink, 12 October 2005

    [34]. CYMA finally apologise to victim's family, The Newslink, 14 November 2005

    [35]. ‘NGOs taking advantages of women', NENA, Vol.3 Issue No. 22, February 22-March 6, 2005

    [36]. Branch YMA leader confesses to rape, The Newslink, 24 May 2005

    [37]. Mizo youths charged with assault on man, The Telegraph, 8 June 2005

    [38]. SRS strikes again; women not spared brutal beatings, The Newslink, 6 June 2005

    [39]. Another house bites the dust, The Newslink, 21 September 2005

    [40]. Six charged for Sihphir arson, The Newslink, 22 September 2005

    [41]. Student's abduction may hamper Mizo Govt-Bru talks, The Shillong Times, 4 April 2005

    [42]. Engineer, labourer kidnapped, The Newslink, 10 August 2005

    [43]. BLFM demands Rs two cr for release of captives, The Shillong Times, 22 August 2005

    [44]. Bru militants release abducted engineer, labourer, The Shillong Times, 22 October 2005

    [45]. Hmar insurgents demand money in Vairengte, The Newslink, 5 November 2005

    [46]. Crime against minors rampant in state, The Zoram.com, 28 May 2005

    [47]. Alert over child abuse, The Telegraph, 22 May 2005

    [48]. Concern over rampant child abuse, The Newslink, 19 November 2005

    [49]. Central jail inmates complain of lack of medicine, The Newslink, 27 June 2005

    [50]. Prisoner dies in Aizawl Central Jail, The Sentinel, 16 February 2005

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