The Mizoram Chakma Development Forum (MCDF) was formed in New Delhi, India on 11 October 2009. It is the outcome of a sustained initiative by Chakma students and professionals hailing from Mizoram, living in different parts of India.
The MCDF is committed to the development and welfare of the Chakma tribals of Mizoram state in North East India. The Chakmas are the most backward community in the state in terms of social, economic and educational parameters. Their living condition is pitiable. Mizoram is the second most literate state in the country but the Chakmas remained the most illiterate community in the state (Census of India 2001). The habitations of the Chakmas are devoid of any development and they have no access to education, health care, hygiene, electricity, roads and safe drinking water, among others. As for livelihood, they have none. 90% of the Chakmas are engaged in traditional Jhum or shifting cultivation in the hills which is fast dwindling due to lack of green forests. Jhum is economically not sustainable and environmentally hazardous.
India and the state of Mizoram have enacted several positive laws; but Chakmas are not aware about them. As citizens of the largest democracy in the world, the Chakmas of Mizoram are entitled to every human rights under the Constitution of India and international law. But Chakmas are disadvantaged, disempowered and hence are deprived of enjoyment of their rights. On the other hand, the state of Mizoram has also adopted a few negative policies/laws such as Recruitment Rules. The Chakmas suffer silently without any ability to raise a voice of protest or concern. The MCDF has been formed keeping in mind the need to effectively campaign for the rights of the Chakma minorities and provide appropriate recommendations to ameliorate their problems. The MCDF will raise a “voice” against any injustice.
The key areas of concern for the MCDF include education, primary health care, rural water supply and sanitation, development and livelihood.
Objectives of MCDF
The MCDF has the following objectives:
a. To campaign for and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Chakmas of Mizoram as enshrined under the national and international laws,
b. To undertake developmental and welfare activities in the rural areas,
c. To monitor implementation of various developmental and welfare schemes of the Central government and state government of Mizoram in the Chakma areas,
d. To create awareness about the Chakmas’ problems, mobilize public opinion and support with a view to solve those problems, and
e. To engage in constructive dialogue with the state government of Mizoram, the Central government and civil society to realize the objectives.