Members of the Chin National Front (CNF) said they will boycott the 72nd Chin National Day in Thangtlang town after the government denied the ceasefire group’s request to deliver a speech during the commemoration.
Pu Ralnin, an officer for the CNF liaison office in Thangtlang, said his organization doesn’t ask to speak every year.
The Chin National Day has only been possible following the success of the peace process between the ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) and the government, he said.
“The government and EAOs are working together and moving forward during the peace process. We need to show our cooperation and efforts in front of our people. The CNF is one of many pillars for peace-building in this country. If they push the CNF away, I don’t think it’s not a good idea for the peace process,” Pu Ralnin said.
Last year, during an organizational meeting, the Chin State’s chief minister explained the CNF wouldn’t be invited to speak.
During a meeting, this January, elders lobbied for the state government to allow the ceasefire group to give a speech.
The chief minister suggested they send their request to the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre because the state government couldn’t grant permission, according to Pu Ralnin.
Pu Ralnin questioned why the state government can’t decide on this matter.
“Giving a speech is a minor issue. If the state government can’t make decisions on small things like this how can we depend on it (for other things?)”
Under the military regime, it was forbidden to celebrate Chin National Day. The CNF played a significant role in allowing Chin National Day to be commemorated.
The CNF signed a union-level ceasefire in 2012.
A year later, the Thein Sein government allowed Chin National Day to replace Chin State Day.
Soe Htet, the spokesperson for the Chin State government, told Khonumthung News if they allow the CNF to speak the EAOs in other states will also want to give a speech.
“It may cause problems,” Soe Htet said. “We will allow them (CNF) to attend the ceremony. High ranking union-level officials will also attend this commemoration. It’s not so inconvenient (for the CNF). I think they can send a felicitation letter for this commemoration.”
The CNF was allowed to speak during Chin National Day in 2013 and 2014 but the following year the NLD government denied the EAO the right to talk at the commemoration.