Government of India (GoI) should apologize to the people of Mizoram for the unwarranted air raids on Aizawl by IAF on March 4-5, 1966. sign now

In 1959, Mizo Hills District was devastated by a famine known as Mautam Famine caused by cyclical flowering of bamboo and the explosion of rat population that devoured all paddy crops. A relief team called Mizo National Famine Front (MNFF) was formed to voice the grievance of the people against the indifference and neglect shown by the Assam government. MNFF was later transformed into Mizo National Front (MNF) with a goal to achieve Independent Zoram comprising all the Mizo inhabited areas. This movement soon culminated into an armed rebellion in March, 1966.

On 1st March 1966, the MNF made a Declaration of Independence from India after launching coordinated attacks on the Government offices and the posts of security forces in different parts of the then Mizo Hills district in Assam. To suppress the Mizo armed uprising, the GoI responded viciously with air raids. On 2nd March 1966, the Government of Assam invoked the Assam Disturbed Areas Act, 1955 and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 and proclaimed the entire Mizo district as disturbed area.

On the afternoon of 4 March 1966, the Indian Air Force (IAF) jet fighters strafed Aizawl using machine guns, causing civilian casualties. The next day on 5th March, 1966, a more extensive airstrike was carried out for about five hours. The Toofani fighters of 29 Squadron operating from Kumbhirgram and Hunter fighters of 17 Squadron operating from Jorhat were used to suppress the MNF insurrection. According to the locals, the jet fighters which attacked Aizawl used incendiary bombs and scorched Dawrpui and Chhinga Veng areas in Aizawl. Apart from Aizawl, the neighbouring villages of Tualbung and Hnahlan were also bombarded. No human casualties were officially reported in these airstrikes. After the air raid, the civilian population fled Aizawl and took refuge in the remote villages in the adjacent hills.

In the aftermath of the Aizawl air raids, two MLAs of Assam, Stanley DD Nichols Roy and Hoover H Hynniewta, went to Mizo district to see what happened to the people of the Mizo District and were totally shocked by what they saw. Later in April, Nichols Roy moved a motion in the Assam Legislative House on the Aizawl air attack. Condemning the air assault, Roy pointedly told the Assam Chief Minister and the House thus: The use of air force for taking Aijal was excessive because you cannot pinpoint from the air who is loyal and who is not loyal, who is an MNF and who is somebody pledging allegiance to the Mizo Union, the ruling party in the Mizo district.

As a proof of their assertion, the other MLA Hynniewta produced photographs of one unexploded bomb and some fragments of exploded bombs. The on-the-spot findings of the two MLAs was however strongly denied by the GoI. Upon this, Hynniewta told the Chief Minister and the House in no uncertain terms: We touched it, we measured it and we took photograph of it. We have fragments of the bombs. We have the testimony of hundreds of people who have heard the explosions the moment the planes flew over in Mizo Hills. If you want to suppress the MNF rebellion, ordinary bullets are sufficient. From any point of view, military, physical or economic, these weapons should never have been used.

Till date, the GoI has repeatedly denied the aerial bombing of Aizawl on March 4-5, 1966 by the IAF. The day of the bombings has since been commemorated by the people of Mizoram as Zoram Ni (Zoram Day). Various organizations in Mizoram have repeatedly demanded that the GoI should have the courage to admit its inhuman acts against the Mizo people and officially apologize to the people of Mizoram for the series of unwarranted air attacks on Aizawl and against the innocent civilian populace.

The undersigned, fully support and endorse the stand of the people of Mizoram on this issue and urge the GoI to take corrective steps to heal the lingering emotional wounds the Indian security forces caused to them by sincerely and honorably apologizing to the Mizo people without any further delay.

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Thelma WarnerBy:
School and EducationIn:
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Government of India

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