DIMAPUR: The Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) paid rich tributes to freedom fighter Rani Gaidinliu on her 106th birth anniversary during the 72nd Republic Day celebrations at its council headquarters at Dilung on Tuesday.
Gaidinliu was born on January 26, 1915, at Longkao (Nungkao) village under Tousem subdivision in Tamenglong district of Manipur.
Addressing the programme as the chief guest, president of Zeliangrong Baudi (Assam, Manipur and Nagaland) Athuan Abonmai said the ZUF is not a “cessationist organisation” but it was compelled to take up arms as Zeliangrong people’s land and property were not secure due to the “NSCN-IM threat”, ZUF home secretary H. Kamson said in a statement today.
Zeliangrong civil organisations (ZCOs) and prominent leaders of Zeliangrong community were present at the programme.
Abonmai underscored the need for unity among the Zeliangrong community to pursue to attain its common goal.
The ZUF described Gaidinliu as a great revolutionary, socio-political and religious activist. She valiantly led many guerrilla forces to fight against the British regime at the age of 17 and became a target of the British forces.
After India’s independence, Gaidinliu campaigned for a separate “Zeliangrong territory” within Indian union.
The release said the ZUF will strive to uphold the Zeliangrong people’s demand for creation of “Zeliangrong state” within the Indian union as demanded by freedom fighters Haipou Jadonang and Gaidinliu.
It said the ZUF forged an alliance with the Naga national political groups and is a part of the Naga peace process as the Zeliangrong people want peace, tranquillity and development.
The ZUF said it had submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah on its demand for necessary consideration. It said the ZCOs also submitted a memorandum to Shah during his maiden visit to Manipur on December 27 last year.
Gaidinliu continued the agitation against the British colonial power after the death of Haipou Jadonang who was hanged by the British government for waging war against it in the “Zeliangrong country” in particular and among the Nagas as a whole, the release said.
She was arrested by the British forces on October 17, 1932, for her movement for independence of India and sentenced for life. She was released only after India’s Independence in 1947, the release said.
First Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru bestowed her with the title “Rani” in honour of her sacrifices for the freedom struggle. Gaidinliu was awarded the Tamrapatra Freedom Fighter Award in 1972, Padma Bhushan in 1982 and the Vivekananda Seva Award in 1983. Posthumously, she was also conferred the Birsa Munda Award. The Centre released a postal stamp in 1996 and a commemorative coin in 2015 in her honour.