Other States

NCW notice to Mizoram on hospital’s ‘diktat’

Seeks probe into ‘conditional access’ to women for delivery

The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Wednesday issued notice to the Mizoram government seeking a probe into a district hospital’s decision to give conditional access to pregnant women for child delivery.

The commission has asked Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo to find out why the State government had through the Senior Medical Officer (SMO) of Tlabung Civil Hospital made it “mandatory for every woman delivering a child” at the hospital to produce her voter ID first.

Also read: Ambulance from Chennai covers 3,000 km to bring Mizoram man’s body home

R. Lalnienga, the SMO, had through a notification on March 1 also said “those who do not possess voter ID cards are not allowed to deliver a child”.

‘Targeting Chakmas’

The NCW acted on a complained filed by Paritosh Chakma, the president of the Mizoram Chakma Alliance Against Discrimination (MCAAD). “The notification is bone-chilling, outrightly unethical, illegal, flagrant violation of the right to health,” he said.

The hospital authorities had defended the notification, claiming it was necessary to ensure Bangladeshi people affected by COVID-19 would not come. “Tlabung is situated near the border of Bangladesh where more than 8,000 people have tested positive. Bangladeshi citizens often come to Tlabung Hospital for treatment and child delivery,” an official said.

The MCAAD said the notification was targeted at the Chakmas, who are a Buddhist minority in the State dominated by the Christian Mizos, apart from violating the guidelines issued by the Centre to combat COVID-19.

“The Chakmas are Indian citizens with the entire western belt of Mizoram having been included under the Lushai Hills in 1898 while the Chakma Autonomous District Council was formed in 1972 under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. But they face serious discrimination in the State,” Mr. Chakma said.

The National Human Rights Commission had in its 1996-1997 annual report cited the mass deletion of names of Chakmas from Mizoram’s electoral rolls in 1996. The commission also directed the Mizoram government not to take “any adverse decision”.

However, thousands of Chakmas deleted from the voters’ list during 1995 were never enrolled and the existence in the electoral rolls prior to 1995 electoral rolls has been ignored, Mr. Chakma said.

“There is also unofficial ceiling imposed on the Chakmas during electoral revisions due to which many Chakmas cannot get enrolled in the voters’ list every year. Obviously, there are hundreds of Chakmas who were not issued voter IDs and do not have one. The notification by the Health Department is part of the continuing discrimination against the Chakmas,” he added.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 10:33:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ncw-notice-to-mizoram-on-hospitals-diktat/article31520719.ece

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