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Accord most successful in the country, says Mizo C

With Mizoram on the threshold of 25 years of peace, its Congress chief minister, Lalthanhawla, today claimed that the historic accord was the most successful one to have been signed in this country.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Pu Lalthanhawla, who has led the state for 15 years through different terms (1984-87, 1989-98, 2008 till now), said, “Political problems cannot be solved through the barrel of gun or by military might. They need to be solved through negotiations. We have to create a conducive atmosphere, ensure the people’s cooperation as well as a willing bureaucracy. Whoever comes forward for negotiations should be welcomed with open arms. Finally, there has to be give-and-take and all of us shall have to be ready for some measure of sacrifice.”

On June 30, 1986, when the Mizoram Accord was signed by the Centre, the state government and the Mizo National Front (MNF) led by Laldenga, Lalthanhawla had to step down from the post of chief minister as the first step to ensure peace. But he does not regret that at all.

“Looking back on the insurgency of 20 years and experiencing peace and tranquillity for the last 25 years, I feel what was done to usher in the truce is justified. It is very satisfying that development and progress have made strides in this state. I share the immense joy of the Mizo people. I feel it is worth the sacrifice we made,” he said.

What exactly were the attributes that made the Mizoram accord work, unlike those signed elsewhere in the region on country?

The reasons, Lalthanhawla felt, are not far to seek.

Unlike in other scenarios, “The MNF cadres are wary of jungle life as much as the Mizo people are about the hardships, insecurities, starvation and the like brought about by long years of insurgency. The people of Mizoram, including the MNF, fully enjoy the fruits of peace and freedom,” he explained.

Besides, most clauses of the accord have been adhered to.

“Many of the clauses have been implemented by successive governments. Border trade with Myanmar was initiated though it is yet to be commissioned formally. Talks on border trade with Bangladesh (near Demagiri in Mizoram) are in progress. I met Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her visit to India to discuss this and the Bangladesh high commissioner in India subsequently visited Mizoram. The border haat with Myanmar will be established with mutual consent,” he said.

There have been rumblings over the years on the rehabilitation of surrendered MNF cadres.

The chief minister says most of the surrendered cadres have been rehabilitated in some way or the other.

“Some of them have done very well,” he added, without naming Zoramthanga, Laldenga’s aide, who was the chief minister for two terms from 1998.

On how Mizoram plans to celebrate a quarter of a century of peace tomorrow, Lalthanhawla said: “My party, the Congress, has never celebrated the accord, except its 10th anniversary.

As chief minister, I shall participate in the function being organised at the All Churches Committee of Mizoram in Aizawl in the morning. In the evening, there will be a peace seminar by the Zoram Research Foundation and the Indian Council of Social Sciences.”

But token celebrations apart, the more sombre and poignant reflections will surely revolve around the past 25 years and the dividend bestowed on the people of Mizoram by an uninterrupted and unchallenged prevalence of peace.

~ The TelegraphJustify Full
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