Silchar, June 30: Undeterred by monsoon showers that intermittently shrouded the capital town of Aizawl, invitees and local residents in droves at the large Vanapa Hall today to relish a four-hour-long Peace Day programme.
It was jointly arranged by the Church and the Mizoram government to commemorate the silver jubilee celebrations of the Mizo Peace Accord.
The accord was signed on June 30, 1986, between the Centre, the Mizoram government and the rebel MNF chief Laldenga in New Delhi to usher in long-cherished peace after two decades of insurgency.
The auditorium was appropriately bedecked with flowers and posters to lend colour and dignity to the function.
The highlights of the function today were speeches — by government dignitaries, Opposition MNF leaders and Church elders — which were punctuated by Mizo songs by church choirs and traditional folk dances like the cheraw (the famous bamboo dance).
Speaking on this memorable event, Governor of Mizoram Lt Gen. (retd) M.M. Lakhera said the landmark peace accord was signed to herald an end to 20 years of gory militancy in the quest of an independent Mizoram.
He said this state was salvaged from the disturbances and ordeals by the latent urge for peace always kept burning in their hearts by the average Mizo people.
Chief minister Lalthanhawla, who is also the state Congress president, said hundreds of people in his state had perished during the long nights of guerrilla upheavals since February 1966 and others had suffered much.
He lauded the roles of the former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi in restoring peace in the land of Mizos in their pursuit for it in an unflinching effort.
The former chief minister and the MNF president Zoramthanga recalled his life along with his scores of colleagues in the jungles of this state and in adjoining East Pakistan, their chosen sanctuary.
Once Laldenga’s aide, Zoramthanga said the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent nation had induced the MNF to go for peace negotiations with the Centre.
Earlier the Zoram Research Foundation, in collaboration of the Indian Council of the Social Science Research, arranged a seminar on the Mizo insurgency in Aizawl today.
Mizos in their thirties onwards today went down memory lane to recall that historic night on June 30, 1986 when there was tumultuous joy that ripped through Aizawl when Doordarshan beamed a telecast on the signing of the peace accord in New Delhi. Having lived through days and nights of terror for two long decades, they had welcomed the return of peace with a sense of thanksgiving.
Recalled Sangliana, a college teacher, “The Mizos did not sleep on that night as they came out on the streets of Aizawl town in hundreds to celebrate in joyous abandon by singing, dancing and beating their traditional drums to hail the peace accord.”
The solemn programmes of the morning were followed by a seminar while the prevailing bonhomie spilled on to the evening and night.
The governor also released a booklet to mark the occasion.