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Presbyterian Church Synod in Mizoram Pushes for More Babies, Better Schools

#Sujit Chakraborty 

Mizoram's apex church body has urged the state government to implement measures encouraging couples to have more children to address population concerns and to ensure an increase in the Mizo population, a church leader said on Thursday. 

The call was made by the Synod Executive Committee (SEC), the second-highest decision-making body of the Presbyterian Church of Mizoram Synod, in its meeting here on Wednesday.

Mizoram Synod Moderator Rev R. Vanlalnghaka, who chaired the meeting, also stressed the importance of governance without bias, rooting out corruption, enforcing the rule of law, and protecting religious freedoms and the gospel.

Chief Minister Lalduhoma, Assembly Speaker Lalbiakzama, Mizo National Front leader Lalchhandama Ralte, lone Congress legislator C. Ngunlianchunga and all the other MLAs attended the meeting.

"The church leaders underlined the need for a collaborative effort between the government and the church to reform the education system and uphold the overall development of the state and its people. The leaders requested the government to ensure equitable land distribution, curb smuggling and other illegal trades between the state and Myanmar, wipe out drug and alcohol menace, and protect the environment, forests, and wildlife," the church leader, who did not want to be named, told IANS.

The Synod Executive Committee occasionally holds meetings with newly elected leaders. This year’s meeting, initially scheduled for February, was postponed due to the Assembly session.

The Church leaders also stressed the improvement of healthcare facilities and infrastructure in the state, the inclusion of the Mizo language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, finding a long-lasting solution to the inter-state border disputes with Assam and protection of the international boundaries.

"All the Church leaders also advocated better connectivity with other states and urged the political parties not to make any promises that cannot be fulfilled," the Church leader said.

Addressing the meeting, the Chief Minister said that his government is committed to equal conduct with the people and running a genuine "people’s government".

"My government is keen to work together in tandem with the Church to improve the education system. The state government has been mulling the introduction of a progressive tax system and equitable ownership of lands," he said.

Earlier, MNF leader and former Minister Robert Romawia Royte announced a cash prize of Rs one lakh to the parents in his Assembly constituency with the most children to encourage the demographically small Mizos to reverse the declining population growth rate. However, he did not quantify the children a pair of parents should have to be eligible for the award.

Noting Mizoram’s population density of 52 persons per square km was much below the national average of 382, he said that the infertility rate and the declining growth rate of the Mizo population have been serious concerns for many years.

The influential Young Mizo Association (YMA) also earlier asked the tribal people to have more babies.

A few years ago, the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council in Meghalaya rewarded Rs 16,000 to 48-year-old Amelia Sohtun, who belongs to the Khasi tribe, for giving birth to 17 children. It had started rewarding Khasi mothers with more than 15 children as part of its mission "to save Khasis from being outnumbered by outsiders".

In Mizoram, the story of Ziona Chana, who had 38 wives, 89 children, and 36 grandchildren, has fascinated the world, drawing tourists and journalists to his four-storey home in the Baktawng Tlangnuam village. He died at the age of 76 in June 2021.

The Mizoram Presbyterian Church Synod has 6,28,719 members, including 3,24,415 women, out of the state’s population of 1,091,014 (2011 census). Mizoram is one of three Indian states with a Christian majority (87.16 per cent), along with Nagaland (87.93 per cent) and Meghalaya (74.59 per cent).

(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at [email protected])

*Except for the heading, this story has not been edited by The enewstime.in and has been published from IANS feed.

(Northeast Northeast News)

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