Note: The Chin people of Burma are overwhelmingly Christian, including Baptist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Methodist, and numerous other denominations.
New Delhi (Mizzima) - With the Burmese military junta's profound objection to the celebration of Chin National Day, ethnic Chin in Rangoon are albeit being forced to mark the day under different banners, organisers said.
On Friday, Chin people in Rangoon, celebrated the 61st anniversary of Chin Nation Day under the banner of 'Fresher Welcome' of University students.
"We requested the local authorities in the township and district levels in Rangoon but they rejected our request to allow us to hold the Chin National Day celebration," an organizer said.
"So, we had no choice but to celebrate our national day under a different name."
But in Hakha, capital of Chin State, authorities forced Chin community leaders to observe the Day as 'Chin State Day', a local resident said.
"Actually, we prefer to use the actual name 'Chin National Day'. But the authorities do not allow us to do so. So we have no choice," she added.
Chin National Day was adopted at the first Chin National Conference held on February 20, 1948 in Falam town in Chin state. During the conference, Chin leaders agreed to abolish the use of the chieftainship system of administration and agreed to form a democratic system of governance.
However, the Chin National Day was later renamed as the Chin State Day during the rule of the Burma Social Programme Party (BSPP) regime led General Ne Win, who assumed power in a military coup in 1962.
Salai Kipp Kho Lian, a Germany based Chin activist, alleged that changing the Chin National Day into Chin State Day is part of the junta's nationalization policy to eradicate the identity of ethnic minorities in Burma.
Kipp said it was on January 3, 1974 that the Burmese regime declared the Chin Special Division into Chin State so February 20 cannot be in anyway observed as Chin State Day.
"It does not make any sense to change Chin National Day into Chin State Day," Kipp said.
"It is a part of the Burmese regime's Burmanization campaign to eliminate ethnic groups," Kipp alleged.
But he said, "The more they [the regime] oppress us, the more we become active to promote our national identity."
On Friday, Chin people around the world including New Delhi, Denmark, and Malaysia marked the Chin National Day.
In New Delhi, more than 1000 Chin communities gathered in the western region of the city to celebrate the Chin National Day, where they performed traditional dances and sang folk songs to depict the culture of various ethnic groups among the Chin community.