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1,000 MNF militants miraculously escaped from East Pakistan after Indian victory in 1971: Zoramthanga

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‘The MNF, now a political party ruling Mizoram, observes ‘Vijay Diwas’ as ‘Exodus Day’ commemorating the escape of its the then insurgents from East Pakistan’

Aizawl, Dec 16 (PTI): Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga on Friday said around 1,000 militants of Mizo National Front (MNF), which was then an insurgent outfit, had a miraculous escape from East Pakistan after the victory of Indian armed forces and Mukti Bahini in 1971.

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He said the MNF, now a political party ruling Mizoram, observes ‘Vijay Diwas’ as ‘Exodus Day’ commemorating the escape of its the then insurgents from East Pakistan.

As the Indian armed forces and Mukti Bahini neared Rangamati, which was then the headquarters of MNF, on December 16, 1971, the then MNF president Laldenga suggested the militants escape through a water route. Miraculously, a heavy fog hid their exit, according to written accounts of former insurgents of the outfit.

MNF waged an armed struggle from 1966 to 1986 for the separation of Mizoram from India, when a peace agreement was signed, ending the two-decade-long insurgency in the Northeastern State.

Founded by former Mizoram chief minister Laldenga, the MNF was rechristened from Mizo National Famine Front (MNFF) in 1961 to protest alleged inaction by the Centre over the famine situation in the Mizo-inhabited areas of Assam.

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Initially starting with a peaceful uprising, the group went underground in 1966, spearheading a secessionist movement for 20 years before signing a peace agreement on June 30, 1986.

Mizoram became a full-fledged state on February 20, 1987.

Vijay Diwas is observed on December 16 every year to commemorate the victory of the Indian armed forces in the 1971 war with Pakistan.

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