June 30, 2019 marked the 33rd anniversary of the signing of the historic Mizo Accord which went on to become one of the most enduring peace accords in India. Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga took to Twitter to greet the people on the occasion. “Today marks the 33rd year of the signing of the historic Mizoram Peace Accord. This time tested tranquility we enjoy can only be attributed to God’s grace and the commitment of Mizos to preserve it. Let Mizos count our blessings and ceaselessly pray so that peace and harmony endure,” he tweeted. 

As June 30 falls on a Sunday this year, there is no celebration of the anniversary, known in Mizo parlance as Remna Ni or Peace Day. On Friday, the State’s apex students’ body Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) organised a grand function to celebrate the Day. The Mizoram Government will observe it in a special function on Monday where the Chief Minister will address the gathering. Robert Romawia Royte, who is currently the Sports and Youth Services, Tourism and Information and Communication Technology Minister of Mizoram, urged everyone to unite for continued peace and harmony. “Today is the 33rd anniversary of signing of the Mizo Peace Accord between Mizo National Front (MNF) and Government of India which makes Mizoram the most peaceful State. Let us all unite for continued Peace and Harmony. Peace Pays,” Royte tweeted on Sunday. 

June 30 thirty-three years back was a day of euphoria with the return of much-needed peace in the land of the Mizos. On that day, the four-page Mizoram Peace Accord was signed in New Delhi under former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The then Union Home Secretary RD Pradhan, MNF chief Laldenga, who is no more, and the former chief secretary of the Mizoram Government, Lalkhama, put their initials on the document. On February 28, 1966, Laldenga, a former clerk in the District Council, and his followers heralded an insurgency that lasted for long 20 years that kept the Mizos under a wrap of fear and anxiety. 

There were many twists and ups and downs in the secretive progress of the peace talks between the Church and Intelligence emissaries on the one hand and Laldenga on the other. In 1971, a Church elder, Zairema, pioneered a process to contact Laldenga, then living in exile with his followers in East Pakistan, with an olive branch and arrange a meeting between the Centre and the MNF for ushering in peace. Next, the Intelligence agencies, particularly the RAW and the Intelligence Bureau, came to the fore in a mission to make Laldenga aware that his rebellion would end in a futile exercise. A senior RAW official, S Hasanwalia, met Laldenga in Zurich in 1975, to sell him the idea of peace talks. 

From then on, the peace bandwagon began to move on along a distinctly neat course, that culminated in the historic Peace Accord in 1986. A Presbyterian Church leader said, “The peace accord of 1986 and the subsequent urge to keep up the spirit of peace in Mizoram are now the two important mosaics for the lasting peace in this tiny, serene and green State.”

ZODIN SANGA (Assam Tribune)

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