Sunday, July 14, 2024

Mizoram Insurgency of 1966: India under Congress Government

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Recently, PM Modi addressed the Parliament for a ‘No-Confidence Motion’. He mentions the Mizoram Insurgency of 1966 and its suppression by bombs by the then Congress government. The year 1966 marked a tumultuous period in the history of Mizoram and the nation of India. The Northeastern state and its surrounding region were engulfed in a violent insurgency led by the Mizo National Front (MNF). The MNF demanded secession from India to establish an independent state called “Mizoram.”

Congress Attacked Mizoram in 1966; Lohia Accused Nehru of Deliberately not Developing Northeast' - YouTube
PC YouTube @ News9

The Indian government, under the leadership of the Congress and PM Indira Gandhi, responded to this demand with military force. Aerial bombings and armed warfare were used to suppress the rebellion and restore law and order in the state. This is a small example of how Congress and its leaders dealt with dissent in India. Let the history of Mizoram shed light on the complex yet peaceful approach of the BJP in the similar case of Manipur.

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Genesis of the 1966 Mizoram Conflict

The roots of the Mizoram insurgency can be traced back to the historical neglect and marginalization faced by the Mizo people, compounded by socio-economic disparities and a sense of cultural alienation. The MNF, led by Laldenga, emerged as a powerful force, advocating for the secession of Mizoram from the Indian Union to form an independent state.

The day Mizoram declared independence from India, 56 years ago
PC EastMojo

However, the true reason for the rebellion can be traced back to the narcotics network developed by the British in India. The British used India as a hub for the narcotics network. They used uncultivated hills of the Northeast to produce contraband. The convenient geography of India allowed the British to have access on land and sea to large sections of Asia. The Independence of India led to the loss of access to production and disbursement networks. Thus, India became a dead zone between the “Golden Triangle” and the “Golden Crescent”.

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Golden Triangle - Current Affairs Review
PC Current Affairs Review

The Golden Triangle is the region in Southeast Asia; primarily Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand; known for opium cultivation and drug production. The “Golden Crescent” refers to the area encompassing Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan; which is a major hub for opium and heroin production. The opium trade network was disturbed and the forces behind the narcotics nexus were unhappy. The MNF was nurtured by the narcotics network to disturb the peace of India and handicap the government to interfere with the opium cultivation hills of the Northeastern region. 

Congress’ Military Response to the 1966 Armed Conflict

Mizoram: Uneventful Air Raids In Aizawl On March 5, 1966; Day Concealed Under History Sheets
PC Northeast Today

As the insurgency gained momentum, the MNF carried out a series of attacks on Indian security forces and government installations. The situation in Mizoram escalated at an accelerated rate to a flash point. Therefore, the Congress leaders and the Indian government deemed military intervention necessary to safeguard national sovereignty. In 1966, the Indian military launched fighter jets in response to the Operation Jericho of MNF.

The MNF had launched dual attacks on garrisons of security forces in the Aizawl and Lunglei. The Indian Air Force dropped incendiary bombs in the Mizo hills to quell the rebellion.

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The decision to use aerial bombings was a calculated response by PM Indira Gandhi. She wanted to neutralize the insurgent strongholds and deter further violence. However, the use of such force also came under scrutiny for its impact on civilians and human rights. The bombings inflicted collateral damage, affecting the lives of innocent Mizo citizens, leading to criticism both domestically and internationally. This act of Congress leaders and PM Indira Gandhi led to a 20-year conflict in the state of Mizoram. The sense of ‘otherness’ still lingers in the hearts of the Mizo people. 

The Mizoram Accord of 1986

In 1986 the Indian government pursued diplomatic negotiations with the MNF. This culminated in the signing of the Mizoram Accord. Thereafter, the accord ensured an end to insurgency and paved the way for peace and development in the region. The accord acknowledged the aspirations of the Mizo people while ensuring their integration within the Indian Union.

Rajiv Gandhi, the Mizoram Peace Accord and Manipur Today
PC National Herald

The scars of the 20 -years of internal conflict resulted in stagnated progress of the region and its people. To date, the Mizoram locals do not trust the Indian government wholeheartedly for security and progress. The Mizoram Conflict and Accord highlights the means employed by Congress in resolving conflicts. Open dialogue and long-term peace are just paid lip service when Congress is in power. 

Lessons from Mizoram Conflict

Gunrunners of North-East - India Today
PC India Today

The covert interference by foreign powers to manipulate the emotions of Indians. Thereafter, they sponsor insurgency in the land of India leading to protests, riots, and civil war. The Mizoram Insurgency of 1966 is a lesson on the way Congress administrations silence voices of dissent. Moreover, it is an important lesson on the way the narcotics and illegal arms nexus pushes India into conflict repeatedly.

MHA asks Manipur, Mizoram to record biometric details of 'illegal migrants'
PC The Hans India

The recent registration drives in Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland by the Indian government are a positive action in identifying the presence of illegal elements in India. It also helps the BJP government to track the pattern of violence in the disturbed regions of Manipur. On the surface the Manipur conflict may seem like an ethnic conflict; however, in reality, it is a riot sponsored by the drug mafia. The presence of Myanmar locals, arms, and currency seized by Indian defense forces clearly highlights the role of foreign powers in the Manipur conflict. Those parties that shriek for justice for Manipur should realize that it is not the suppression of the locals by the Indians that they seek to rectify; they seek to resolve the narcotics-network-sponsored armed rebellion aimed at destabilizing the rise of India as a global power. 

May the victims of both communities find peace and justice in Manipur. May the Congress party remember their own actions in the Mizoram Conflict of 1966. The detractors of PM Modi should realize that the BJP government did not use a method similar to PM Indira Gandhi to suppress the incidents in Manipur. May the world open its eyes to the facts of the insurgency in India supported by the global drug trade networks. 

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