Aizawl, Mar 5 (UNI) Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga today said the state had experienced ''darkest days'' for 20 years from 1966-1986.
Speaking at the observation of ''Zoram Ni'' (Zoram Day) to commemorate the air raids on Aizawl on March 5, 1966, at the onset of Mizo National Front-led rebellion, Mr Zoramthanga said no insurgency-related problem in any other part of India was as terrible as that of Mizoram.
''The Air Force had never been used to tackle insurgency in any other part of India. Grouping of villages and Army atrocities during the 20-year-long insurgency in Mizoram were unparalleled not only in India but in the whole of Asia,'' he alleged.
''However, it is now a thing of the past. Mizoram is now emerging as a role model for peace and development,'' he said.
The Zoram Ni was jointly organised by the Mizo Zirlai Pawl, the state's apex students' body, and the Zoram Ni Organising Committee, led by former legislator and historian Dr J V Hluna.
Altogether 12 people, most of them church workers, were honoured in recognition of their social services to the people in the aftermath of the 1966 Aizawl bombardment and the subsequent disturbances.
Aizawl and several other villages were air-raided, a few days after the unilateral declaration of ''Mizoram Independence'' by the Laldenga-led Mizo National Front.
While Mizoram now has emerged as one of the most peaceful states and marching ahead as one of the most developing states of India, memories of the inferno still remain with those who survived the trial by fire.
''In the afternoon of March 5, 1966, a flock of jet fighters hovered over Aizawl and dropped bombs leaving a number of houses in flames. The next day, more severe bombing took place for several hours which left most houses in Aizawl in ashes,'' recollected 75-year-old Lianchhinga.
UNI ZS DPM MS RN1835