1966 Aizawl Bombing: A Firsthand Account

This is a rare account from a person who survived the 1966 bombing of Aizawl. 

2 min read
A photograph showing the aftermath of the IAF bombing on Aizawl is displayed at a 2014 exhibition in Aizawl, curated by JNU’s Joy Pachuau and University of Amsterdam’s Willem Van Schendel. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="http://www.thefrontierdespatch.com/the-bombing-of-aizawl.html">The Frontier Despatch</a>)

In the history of independent India, there remains just one recorded instance of the Government resorting to air strikes using the Indian Air Force on its own territory.

“Untold Atrocity”, a book by C Zama, a former militant in the Mizo National Army (MNA), the armed wing of the MNF, recounts the air bombings.

In one of the excerpts, Zama interviewed Sapkhumi of Hnahlan who recounted the air-bombing of their village and the poignant death of her 7 year old sister in that raid, as follows,

“…the jet fighters came… dropped bombs and shot at us with machine guns…I hid under a mango tree near my grand father’s house. The flying sound of the planes and the sound of exploding bombs were too terrible for me, so I covered my ears with my hands to block my hearing. When the planes flew away I ran to our house as fast as I could. When I entered the house nobody was there. Then I ran again towards the reserve forest … and followed the hunting path. I thought that my mother and younger sister would have followed that path. I saw holes carved out by bombs on the way. I went down farther and I caught up with my mother who was carrying my little sister Lalruattluangi on her back. I saw blood oozing from her back and arms. Other people also overtook us and helped my mother of her load…Blood was freely flowing from my sister’s wounded chest. It was really painful to see her pale face. My mother stroked her cheeks gently with her hand, which too was wounded…

I asked my little sister, ‘Maruat, is it so painful?’ She turned her dim eyes towards me and said, ‘My side really hurts. I cannot even breathe properly, it’s really painful. What wrong have we done to them that they drop the bombs on us? They are really cruel, are they not?’ Her tears flowed down her cheeks…

Just then the jet fighters roared again. ‘Oh they come again,’ she said, closing her eyes and clenching her fists with fear. Blood was still flowing down from her wounds. Some people brought water, and she thirstily drank one cup in a single gulp. She reached out and held my hands and said, ‘thank you so much, the planes are really bad, don’t you think?’ and then slowly closed her eyes never to open them again… We all cried over our loss and cursed the wretched planes.”

According to C Zama’s book, aerial raids were conducted over ten locations from March 1966 to early 1967. Besides Aizawl, air raids occurred over Khawzawl, Pukpui, Vartekkai, Mualthuam, Tlabung, Hnahlan, Sangau, Bunghmun and Hmuntlang.

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