The Mizoram government issued an order prohibiting politicians and ‘outsiders’ from delivering lectures on political issues in the state’s colleges and universities on August 18. The order was issued by R. Lalrosanga, the state’s Director of Higher and Technical Education, after Lalduhawma, founder and president of Zoram Nationalist Party, and Zoramthanga, president of Mizo National Front and former Chief Minister of the state, delivered lectures on political issues in colleges across Mizoram.
The order read, “Teachers in government colleges were notified that they should refrain from inviting politicians to deliver lectures in their concerned subjects,” and those who did not comply would be penalised. The reason cited was that such lectures upset students and disturb the environment in colleges. Zoramthanga was reportedly sharing his personal experience on separatist movements in the Northeast and the Mizoram Accord in his guest lectures.
The order was met with backlash from students, teachers and opposition parties as they believe that this was an ‘attack on freedom of speech’ and would restrict students, especially those studying political science. Lalduhawma has reportedly said instead of banning delivering of lectures by politicians in colleges which are a part of democratic practices, the government should frame proper guidelines so that politicians deliver lectures with care and without making political propaganda.
Mizo Students’ Union, Aizawl City College Joint Students’ Union and Mizo Zirlai Pawl apparently had a meeting with State Higher and Technical Education Minister, R Romawia, to discuss the same and get the order revoked. Romawai has reportedly agreed to review the order. He was unavailable for comment.