Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent mention of the Mizoram incident during his Lok Sabha speech has stirred interest and curiosity. This episode, referenced in various historical accounts, has garnered renewed attention, prompting discussions about why the Air Force targeted Mizoram. This article delves into the historical context of the incident and draws from Vishnu Sharma’s book for additional insights.
During a no-confidence motion debate, Prime Minister Modi highlighted the Mizoram incident while countering the opposition’s critique on Manipur violence. He recounted that on March 5, 1966, the Indian Air Force, under the governance of the Congress party, carried out an attack on civilians in Mizoram. This incident led to a serious dispute, raising questions about the responsibility of the Government of India towards its citizens’ security. However, the historical context surrounding this event and its consequences deserve a comprehensive understanding.
Congress’s Response and Historical Accounts
The Congress party’s response to PM Modi’s mention of the incident offered an alternative perspective. According to Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate, the bombing was a necessary action against Mizo National Front (MNF) rebels who had captured Aizawl. The Indian Air Force’s intervention was crucial in driving them away, thereby restoring India’s authority in the region.
Vishnu Sharma’s book, ‘Indira Files,’ provides detailed insights into the event. On March 5, 1966, Indian Air Force fighter planes hovered over Aizawl, Mizoram’s capital, raining machine gun bullets that caused chaos and panic. Subsequent bombing resulted in casualties and significant destruction in key city areas. This marked an unprecedented incident post-independence, where the country’s own Air Force targeted its citizens under the orders of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The underlying causes of the conflict trace back to the pre-independence era when the British occupied Mizoram, followed by Christian missionaries’ influence. After independence, Mizoram faced neglect during famines, fueling separatist sentiments. The emergence of the Mizo National Front (MNF) and its leader Laldenga marked a turning point. MNF’s demand for a separate state and its armed rebellion against the Indian government led to escalated tensions.
The Mizoram incident remains a significant chapter in India’s history, reflecting the complex interplay of regional aspirations, neglect, and the challenges of governance. The event underscores the importance of understanding historical contexts to gain a holistic perspective on such incidents. As we revisit these accounts, it is crucial to examine multiple viewpoints and engage in informed discussions to truly grasp the implications of such events on the nation’s trajectory.