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Prominent tribal leader and Advisor ATSUM, K. Zou passes away at 57

First Published: 10th April, 2023 20:25 IST

Zou was also President of the All India Tribal Students' Association, (AITSA), Delhi and an advocate practicing in Delhi

-Kaybie Chongloi

Prominent tribal leader, Kamchinpau Zou, more popularly known as K. Zou, who was tirelessly involved in various activities for the welfare of the tribal populace passed away on April 8 in New Delhi after a prolonged illness.

He was buried on Easter Sunday at his home town Churachandpur in Manipur.

The 57-year-old K. Zou was the Advisor of the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM), and the President of the All India Tribal Students’ Association, (AITSA), Delhi till he breathed his last apart from being a practicing Advocate in Delhi Courts (Addl Central Govt. Standing Counsel, Delhi), Human Right and Social Activist.

He was also the founding member of the National Students Union of India, Churachandpur District Unit (1984-85), Advisor of North East Students’ Federation, Delhi (1989), Convenor of North Eastern Lawyers’ Forum Delhi (2003), Coordinator of Forum of Minority Youth for Secularism, Delhi, Convenor of Mongoloid Peoples’ Forum, Delhi, Convenor of Adivasi Sangarh Samiti, Delhi, Advisor of Manipur Students’ Association, Delhi (1988), among many others.
ATSUM and Kuki Students’ Organizations Sadar Hills conveyed heartfelt condolences over the demise of K. Zou.

Some of his major initiatives and achievements for the welfare of the tribal people are:

  1. The appointment of a liaison officer to look after the welfare of the SC / ST students at Delhi University for the first time in 1994;
  2. Enrolling employees/students from the North East region in the electoral roll of Delhi, with the cooperation of T N. Seshan, the then Chief Election Commission of India in 1994;
  3. Relaxation of 5% marks from the existing 55 % for eligibility for appearing in the UGC-NET examination for SC/ST candidates in the year 1994;
  4. Accomplishing the appointment of candidates from North East (Manipur) in the Post of Teaching for the first time at the University of Delhi in 1994;
  5. Restoring reservation for STS in employment after it was done away with by the Government of Delhi in 1996;
  6. Approached L.K Advani and other BJP leaders and submitted a proposal for the creation of a separate Ministry for Tribal Affairs, North East Region and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes in the year 1997, which was conceded and set up in the year 1999, 2001, 2004 respectively.
  7. Filed a writ petition-CW.No. 650/98 against the University of Delhi in the High Court of Delhi in 1998 for allotting only 5 Hostel seats for STs out of the 5 years backlog in the Jubilee Hostel. Eventually, the University directed to allot 35 seats instead of 5 seats;
  8. Making a breakthrough in the conventional practice of denying ST candidates from claiming merit positions in an open entrance examination, beyond the stipulated reserved quotas in the University of Delhi in the year 1998;
  9. Submitted a proposal for creating a special National Scheduled Caste /Tribe Fellowship/Scholarship for economically weaker research students who could not get through the UGC-NET examination, to Juel Oram, the first Minister for Tribal Affairs in 2001. The criteria for selection should be only on the basis of their enrolment for Research (M.Phil/Ph.D) courses in any recognized University, without any specific percentage of marks in the Master level exams. Under the ministership of PR Kyndia, the name of the project/scheme was changed into ‘Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship Scheme’ and implemented from the year 2007 by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs through the UGC. Thereafter, every year 667 STs and 1333 SCs research students availed the Fellowship till today.
  10. In order to make the presence of the North East people felt in the University of Delhi and promote national integration in Delhi, set up a candidate for contesting the post of Joint Secretary in the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) election in the year 1999 for the first time in the history of the University. Thereafter, the democratic values of the minority ethnic Mongoloid students began to be felt in most of the Universities in Delhi;
  11. Fought against the successive telecasting of an episode, Filmy Fundas “TT for Tribals” insultingly depicting the “ways and lives” of the North East and Tribal people of India by the MTV (India) Music channel. A complaint was lodged to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the National Commission for ST. After 8 months of relentless battle, the MTV tender apology.

The deceased had also contested the Outer Manipur Parliamentary Election in 2014 in Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ticket.

Late K. Zou had also compiled and authored several books such as published sixth revised editions of ‘Educational and Career Information Book’ (especially designed for SC/ST and Northeast people. (1999, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2013); “Comparative studies of Autonomous (Hill District) Council in North East India with special reference to the State of Manipur”; Manipur at the Crossroad! Is there a way out, and a booklet “Manipur at the Crossroad! Only together we can find a way out”.

Also Read: Manipur’s Maram community adopt trees in memory of elders, even govt offices

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