‘The bombing of Aizwal needs a formal apology’
By Josephine Zonunsangi, 23
BESIDES REIGNITING fears of communal violence, the recent violence in the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) of Assam also reopened a can of worms for us in Mizoram, who’ve had a bitter past. Mizoram achieved its statehood at the cost of bombs being dropped on its capital city, Aizwal on 5 March 1966 by fighter planes sent by the Government of India, the only time India used its Air Force to quell a movement of any kind among its citizens. Growing up with this reality has not been easy for my generation. Studying in Delhi has not made it any easier either. Coming to a metropolitan city has only opened up newer challenges. The inability to speak fluent Hindi becomes both a reason to discriminate, as well as alienate oneself.
Time and again, we have found many unsavoury remarks targeted at us regarding the “special” reservation policy. Here I feel the need to quote BR Ambedkar in his speech The Annihilation of Caste: “People who blame the minorities in India ought to consider what would have happened to the political aspirations of the majority if the minorities had taken the attitude that the Ulster took towards the Irish Home Rule.” During negotiations between the representatives of Ulster and Southern Ireland, John Redmond, representative of Southern Ireland, in order to bring Ulster in a Home Rule Constitution common to Ireland said to the representatives of Ulster: “Ask any political safeguards you like and you shall have them.” The reply he got was: “Damn your safeguards, we don’t want to be ruled by you on any terms.”
I am not invoking any seditionist feeling here, but maybe it’s time the government paid attention to the needs of Northeast. Maybe it’s time to realise that what we need is a representation understanding the need to give equal voice to every state and region.
Instead of states being represented by MPs based on 1971 Census figures, there should perhaps be equal representation of all states, if not in the Lok Sabha, then at least, in the Rajya Sabha. Anything less will not be effective. And, to a Mizo, the lingering grievance of the bombings of its state’s capital has to be addressed with at least a formal apology by the Government.
Zonunsangi is a student at University of Delhi