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Aizawl, Nov. 26: Mizoram PCC president Lalthanhawla today accused Mizo National Front president and chief minister Zoramthanga of employing two Zomi terror gangs to intimidate his party’s opponents. The charge brought a new twist to the slanging match politicians indulge in before elections.

The MNF, while denying the charges, alleged that it was the Congress that had been using rebel gangs like the Hmar People Conference (D) and the Sinlung People’s Liberation Front in “their dirty game of proxy war” against it.

Both outfits primarily contain members of the Hmar Christian community.
In the absence of extravagant pre-poll bashes, the mud-slinging has given Mizoram electioneering some fodder for controversy.

Lalthanhawla accused the MNF of deploying hired assassins from the Zo Revolutionary Army and the Zo Revolutionary Force to unleash a “reign of terror” in north and south Champhai on the Indo-Myanmar border in Mizoram before the December 2 election.

Zoramthanga is seeking a re-election for a record sixth time to the Mizoram Assembly. Lalthanhawla said he was “very disturbed” over a chain of recent incidents in Champhai, suggesting that both the Zomi outfits “had been masterminding a plan to spoil the electoral chances of my party’s nominees in the poll fray”.

He also alleged that the chief minister had given Rs 30 lakh each to the two armed gangs as a “first instalment” to “trigger an atmosphere of fear in Champhai district and help MNF aspirants win”.

Lalthanhawla said police in the district recently apprehended six Zomi gunmen active in Manipur, Mizoram and the adjoining Chin hills’ enclave in Myanmar.

The MNF, however, has been pressuring the police to release them, he added. “The main purpose of the MNF in using such terror tactics is to reap the advantage by whipping up fear in the electorate through killings and abductions on the eve of polling,” Lalthanhawla said.

Champhai police station sources confirmed that a few Zomi rebel activists had recently managed to sneak across the border to Myanmar and a special branch had been asked to keep strict vigil. The GOC of 3 Corps, Lt Gen. R.K. Looma, who ended his two-day visit to the state yesterday, asked the Assam Rifles to plug the pores along the Myanmar border from where infiltrators sneak in.

Lalthanhawla said the MNF’s gameplan was aimed at dissuading voters owing allegiance to the Congress from going to the polling booths. He said he had already brought his charges against the MNF chief to the notice of Governor Lt Gen. (retd) M.M. Lakhera.

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