Aizwal/New Delhi, June 16: The Centre has given Rs 5 lakh each as compensation to two Mizo women who were allegedly gangraped by Indian soldiers 47 years ago, at the beginning of the 20-year insurgency in the north-eastern state of Mizoram.
According to a report published in The Indian Express on Sunday, relatives if the two victims welcomed the Centre's decision, which materialised after former members of the Mizo National Army (MNA), the armed unit of the Mizo National Front (MNF) that waged guerilla war against the Indian Army between mid-1960s and mid-1980s, lobbied with the Union home ministry to compensate the duo.
According to sources, the ex-MNA members visited Home Secretary R K Singh in the capital on May 16 where they were asked to open bank accounts for the women so that the compensation amount could be granted. According to the report, retired Mizo IAS officer H V Lalringa helped the ex-MNA members in this regard.
Official sources later confirmed that the money was paid from a secret fund after top authorities in the home ministry cleared the procedure. The home ministry, however, refused to issue any official statement on the matter, said the report.
J Laldula Sailo, a brother of one of the rape victims, said they were happy to get the news and told her sister that God has been kind to her after all the plight. Sailo, a retired government school teacher and son of a former tribal chief of Mualcheng village where the women were allegedly assaulted sexually, said his sister spends idle days these days, smoking and wearing a blank expression.
Sailo said the two women, who are childhood friends, were raped on a night in November 1966 after the soldiers advanced towards the village after they were targetted by the MFN rebels in East Lungdar.
The armymen were fired upon again as they came near the village and they retaliated by herding all the villagers together and setting their homes ablaze.
Lalnghakliani Lailung, a state government employee and the sister of the other, said the two women were kept separately and soldiers allegedly took turns raping them.
The second woman is the daughter if an erstwhile head of the village council. Lalilung thanked the ex-MNA members for pursuing the case for granting the two women compensation all these years.
She said they take the decision of the central government as an acknowledgement and apology for the atrocities committed against the two women nearly half a century ago.