Aizawl: The long-pressing demand for an abject apology from the Union government has been revived as Mizoram observed ‘Zoram Ni’ or Zoram Day on Tuesday to mark the 53rd anniversary of the alleged aerial bombing of Aizawl by Indian Air Force (IAF) in 1966.
Organised by the influential Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), Zoram Ni was observed in different parts of the state to remember the sufferings the Mizo people had allegedly suffered from the IAF and to instill the spirit of patriotism and Mizo nationalism among younger generations.
Home minister Lalchamliana, who graced the event at Dawrpui Multipurpose Centre in Aizawl, said that the MNF took up arms to achieve sovereignty for they believed that independence was the birthright of the Mizos.
He said that Mizoram was never part of India when the Mizo forefathers discovered it.
Denouncing the opinion of some section of society that the Indian government did not bomb Aizawl, the former rebel leader said he was one of the witnesses of the sufferings and colossal damage caused by the bombing of Mizos’ capital by IAF in 1966.
Claiming that there is an intense growth of the feeling of Mizo nationalism among youths, the minister expressed happiness for such development and urged students to work hard so as to become self-dependent. He said that the MNF entered underground as well as signed peace accord with India for the Mizo people.
MZP president L Ramdinliana claimed that the aerial bombing of Aizawl by IAF with the help of jet fighters was the toughest time Mizo had ever faced in history.
He alleged that the Indian forces unleashed atrocities to the Mizos, torched their villages and granaries and raped Mizo women, which has left a permanent mark on the young generation till today.
“Our mental agony because of the atrocities and hardship we have suffered from IAF can’t die down till today. The MZP is firm on its stand that the Indian government must apoligise for bombing its own citizens,” he said.
The MZP has been observing Zoram Ni since 2008 to remember the day of alleged IAF bombing of Aizawl. The idea is not to foment hatred against India but to instill the importance of unity and patriotism among young people.
On February 28, 1966, volunteers of the MNF launched Operation Jericho to throw out Indian forces stationed in Mizoram by declaring “independence”, which resulted in swift capture of significant army installations including the government treasury.
The reprisal from the government was swift.
Though the Indian government led by late Indira Gandhi had denied the aerial attack, details about it came to light only when Mizo writers and former MNF emerged with their account much decade later reflecting the horror scene.
Many historians, including Prof JV Hluna said that the IAF warplanes began aerial attack in March 1966 and bombed Aizawl and some other areas the following day. Locals left their homes and fled their villages in panic.
At least 13 people were allegedly killed in the aerial attack.