A case study of MNF movement for independence in Mizoram
Counter-Insurgency Operation and Human Right Violation
- Part 2 -

Dr Th Siamkhum *

Mizo National Front Emblem
Mizo National Front Emblem:: Pix - Wikipedia/

3. The Mautam (Famine Factor) and Birth of MNF

In the later part of 1950s, Mizoram witnessed mass-flowering of bamboo leading to multiplication of rodent in large number. It was the belief of the Mizos that when rodent eats bamboo flowers, its fertility increased many folds leading to the growth of its population in large number. True to their belief, the population of rat multiplied and standing crops in their jhum land were eaten up by rats causing an inevitable famine which the Mizos called 'Mautam'.

The famine was devastating so much so that people have to depend for their survivals on wild roots, which too was not available in abundance, but was scarcely available only in deep jungle. The entire length and breadth of the District was affected by the famine and the situation was so desperate that people have to call for help from the government of Assam. The famine affected some 90 % of the district population.

Since the entire District was engulfedby the famine, a small quantity of supply from the government was far from sufficient and people were dying of hunger each day. The dissatisfaction of the people on government was growing each day and month. In the meantime, people felt that unless they do something by themselves, no one, even the government was not going to give them sufficient supply of food to the people.

The Young Mizos, then organized themselves, and formed, the Mizo National Famine Front under the leadership of Laldenga, to provide relief supply to people who were most severely affected by the famine. Rallies were organized in Aizawl and other places shouting slogan like 'Who are we, we are Mizo; what do we want, we want, food etc.' The leaders of MNFF called public meeting at Dawrpui ME School and had threadbare discussion on the following points:

(1) The Nagas launched insurgency movement for independent, yet they were given better treatment and were more developed. The Mizos, though were loyal citizens of India right from the time they joint Indian Union and abided by the provisions of the Indian constitution; not to mention development, were not given relief supply to the people who were starved to death in thousands. They maintained that the government of India was giving them step-motherly treatment.

(2) The government of India was giving sufficient food and clothes to more than 7, 000 Tibetan refugee in Delhi while no sufficient food was provided to famine stricken Mizos who were loyal citizen of the country. Why?

(3) The government of India, if it considers the Mizos as its citizens, should airdrop at least 4500 quintals of rice each month to help the famine stricken Mizo District or it should allow the Mizos to beg from UNO, UK or Burma for relief supply.

The famine and apathy of the government to the plight of the people, lack of sufficient supply, made people to feel that the government of India did not considered the Mizo as true citizens of India. This feeling of alienation has greatly strengthened the hands of Mizo nationalists who wanted secession of Mizo district from India right from the time of the merger of the District with Indian Union.

When the government of Assam was informed of the relief activities of MNFF, it sent Tribal Affairs Minister, Capt. W. Sangma to Aizawl. However, even after Capt. W. Sangma returned to state capital, no relief supply was coming in. People were totally disgusted and lost faith in the government which strengthened to great extent the hands of Mizo nationalists.

4. Declaration of Independence

The famine has finally came to an end in the later part of 1961 and the MNFF was also disbanded. In its place, a new political organization,'The Mizo National Front' was formed having clear-cut political, social and religious goals with the following Executive Members:
(1) President : Laldenga
(2) Secretary : R. Vanlawma
(3) Joint Secretary : A Rohnuna
(4) Treasurer : Vanlalliana

The newly formed political party, after series of meeting set the following points as its goals.

(1) Re-unification of all Mizo ethnic groups living in Burma, India and Bangladesh (East-Pakistan) separated by manmade imaginary international and inter-state boundaries under one sovereign independent state of Mizoram outside India, Burma and East-Pakistan.

(2) Preservation and promotion of Christianity throughout the length and breadth of the unified Mizoram.

(3) Preservation and protection of Mizo ethnic identity, culture tradition and other social practices.

In pursuance of the above resolutions, the MNF submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister of India on 30th October, 1965. The memorandum mentioned a number of points in justification of their demand for independence which included among others, 'TheMizo inhabited areas of Indo-Burma region was never apart of India, nor ever was a part Burma or East Pakistan. They were never ruled over by any foreign power, except the British.

The system of government was similar to Geek city state as each village chief hold sovereign power over the village and the village land. When the British left, instead of giving the Mizos back the power they enjoyed before the British annexation, they were divided and were given to three powers India, Burma and Pakistan. The memorandum, therefore, said, 'the time has come now for the Mizos to decide their own future outside India and, it is the time for the Government of India to allow them to live as free and independent people outside India'. Hence, the demand for independence.

As there was no response to the memorandum from the Government of India. MNF party High command called an emergency meeting on 26th February, 1966 and unanimously decided to declare independence on 1st March, 1966. By 28th February, 1966, all the MNA and MNVC (The Mizo National Army and Mizo National Volunteered), armed wing of MNF were ordered to launch simultaneous attack on all military and paramilitary installations in Mizoram. The operation was codename 'Operation Jericho'. Exactly at 12 passed midnight on 28th February, 1966, the MNF declared independence and text of the declaration resembling the American declaration of independence reads:-

"In the course of human history, it becomes invariably necessary for mankind to assume their socio, economic and political status to which the Law of Nature and Nature's God entitles them. We hold this truth to be self-evident that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed with inalienable fundamental human rights and dignity of human person; and to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men driving their just power from the consent of governed, and whenever any form of government becomes destructive of this and, it is the right of the people to alter, change, modify and abolish it and institute a new government and laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its power in such forms as to them shall see such forms as to them shall see most likely to affect their rights and dignity. The Mizos, created and molded into a nation and nurtured as such by Nature's God have been intolerably dominated by the people of India in contravention of the Law of Nature".

The declaration further stated that "The leaders of the Mizo nation had, many times, verbally and in writing, put forward to the Government of India their desire of self-determination for creation of free and independent Mizoram for bringing about protection of Human Rights and Dignity, which the Mizos by nature, ought to have, but the Government of India, violating the charter of UN and its universal declaration of Human rights re-affirmed in Principles of Bandung Conference, have ignored the voice of the Mizo people and determined to continue domination and colonization ruling over us with tyranny and despotism by instituting self-designed administrative machinery with which they endeavor to mislead the world to win their confidence.

Our people are deposed, persecuted tortured manhandled and murdered without displaying justice while they preached and profess before us and throughout the world that they have instituted a separate administrative setup in conformity with the principle of Democracy to conceal their evil and selfish design, religious assimilation and Hindu indoctrination they preach to have established secularism which we cannot accept as it leads to suppression of Christianity.

To be continued ....

* Dr Th Siamkhum wrote this articlee for The Sangai Express
The writer is Associate Professor, Deptt. Pol. Sc., Churachandpur College, Manipur.
This article was posted on January 06, 2015.

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