Aizawl: Mizoram chief minister and Mizo National Front (MNF) president Zoramthanga on Monday leveled serious charge against the Centre that no citizens of the country other than the Mizos have been severely attacked by the Indian government.
He was addressing a gathering to mark Mizo National Day, the anniversary of declaration of Mizoram’s independence, by the erstwhile underground MNF on March 1, 1966, at the party office in Aizawl. The Mizo National Day was observed on Monday as Chapchar Kut was celebrated on March 1.
Speaking on the occasion, the former rebel leader said the Indian government had sent its security forces to the Mizo district (now Mizoram) to suppress the growing Mizo nationalism and to nib in the bud the MNF movement before it being spread and expanded. He said that the MNF has no other option but to take up arms to achieve self-determination and sovereignty for the Mizos as the Indian government unleashed forces on its own citizens.
Citing that the Mizo people had suffered innumerable hardships and sufferings during the 20-year-long insurgency, Zoramthanga said the Indian government had not severely attacked its own citizens like it had done to the Mizo people.
He said that the British, before living Lushai hills, gave the Mizos the option to either join the Indian union or becoming a British crown colony or becoming part of East Pakistan. “There were contradicting options before the Mizos to whether or not join Indian union or becoming British crown colony or part of East Pakistan or becoming an independent country. As soon as the British left Lushai Hills, we had been forcibly imposed a constitution, wherein we din’t have representation. This is the reason why we took up arms to fight independence in 1966,” he said.
Slamming some vested interest, who tried to underestimate the MNF movement, Zoramthanga asserted that the MNF rebel had fought real independent movement as the MNF underground formed government with separate army, court, Parliament and civil administration for 20 years. The MNF leader also said that the Mizo nationalism and the MNF party would prosper by serving the Lord.
On March 1, 1966, just a few minutes past midnight of February 28, the Mizo National Front (MNF) led by legendary Laldenga declared independence against India, after launching coordinated attacks on security forces installations in different parts of the Mizo district in undivided Assam, which dragged the region into a 20-year-long arm struggle for sovereignty.
The independence declaration was signed by 61 Mizo bravehearts, of which only eight are now alive. During the operations to suppress the rebellion, the Indian Air Force allegedly carried out aerial strike in Aizawl and neighbouring villages on 5 March, 1966. This, according to Mizo historians, remains the only instance of India carrying out an airstrike in its own civilian territory.
On June 30, 1986, the government signed a historic Mizo peace accord with the MNF, ending the 20-year long insurgency in this Northeastern state. Mizoram became the 23rd state of the Indian Union on August 14, 1986.