Pragmatic | 25 years ago: The Mizoram Accord

The insurgency which ended with a stroke of pen.

It is precisely to this day 25 years ago, that the Mizoram Accord was signed in New Delhi under former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The then Union home secretary R.D. Pradhan, Mizo National Front (MNF) chief Laldenga, who is no more, and the former chief secretary of the Mizoram government, Lalkhama, put their initials on the document.

The Telegraph from Kolkata has the back-story:

On February 28, 1966, Laldenga, a former clerk in the district council, and his followers heralded an insurgency that for long 20 years kept the Mizos under a wrap of fear and anxiety.

There were many twists and ups and downs in the secretive progressions 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 a 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.[Telegraph]

The Mizo insurgency finally came to a close with the signing of the Accord on June 30, 1986. Under the terms of the peace accord, Mizoram was granted statehood in February 1987 when Laldenga became the chief minister.

There were 572 underground Mizo rebels who surrendered after the accord was signed. Over 100 were absorbed in the India Reserve Battalion, about 70 in the Mizoram Armed Police and about another 100 in the state government.

Lesser known is the confidential agreement signed by the Congress party with the Mizo National Front which led to the signing of the Mizo Accord. This agreement signed on June 25, 1986, exactly five days prior to the signing of the Mizo Accord, took care of Laldenga’s demand of installing him as Chief Minister of Mizoram. You can read the complete story of that agreement here.

In the end, a lament. While we often remember the dates with great regret — and justifiable outrage — when the Indian state failed its people, whether in Punjab, Kashmir, Delhi or Gujarat, we fail to acknowledge and recount one of the great success stories of independent India. There are enough lessons to be drawn from perhaps the only known episode in the world where a festering insurgency ended with a stroke of pen.

DISCLAIMER: This is an archived post from the Indian National Interest blogroll. Views expressed are those of the blogger's and do not represent The Takshashila Institution’s view.