R.Thangmawia, head of the Zo Reunification Organisation (ZORO) which led a popular movement for political unity among the ethnically Chin-Lushai-Kuki of Indian, Bangladesh and Myanmar in the late 80s and early 90s, was found dead in a Geneva hotel on July 20, according to the organization he headed for almost three decades.
R.Thangmawia had flown to the Swiss city last Wednesday with a colleague to take part at the UN’s 8th session on Expert Mechanism on The Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but he was found dead in his hotel room a little past 8 am local time. He was 79 years old, and was suffering from diabetes.
The Indian Express said that the ZORO movement eventually fizzled out and today its message of political unity among ethnic Zo in Mizoram, Manipur and Myanmar mainly finds resonance in Mizoram’s student unions’ gatherings and rhetoric although some groups in Manipur still hold on to the ideal fervently.
Nevertheless, ZORO the organization remained a small but vocal group that continued to press for indigenous rights at global bodies such as the United Nations, with R. Thangmawia leading the group’s effort for decades even as political parties in Mizoram never failed to pay lip service to the organization’s ideals.