Sunday, May 9, 2021
North East

Former chief of MNF ‘underground govt’ dies

AIZAWL, JANUARY 29: Malsawma Colney, one of the few surviving signatories of the Mizoram Independence Declaration and a former ‘president’ of the MNF ‘underground government’, died at the age of 88 at his village Biate on Sunday following heart failure.
Colney was among Laldenga’s comrades opposed to peace talks with the Indian Government and never surrendered to the authorities.
He was among the 61 people who signed the Mizoram Independence Declaration under Laldenga’s leadership in 1966. Though he was one of the most trusted men of Laldenga, he quit the Mizo freedom movement in 1979 after Laldenga agreed to hold peace negotiations with the Indian Government.
Colney is survived by his wife.
A one-time president of the MNF ‘underground government’ called the ‘Republic of Mizoram’, Colney always fancied calling himself “President of the Republic of Mizoram”.
Born on July 29, 1930 in Biate village in eastern Mizoram’s Champhai district, Colney appeared for his matriculation in 1951 from Bengali High School in Imphal, Manipur, but was not successful. He joined the Burmese Army in 1953 and passed matriculation the following year. He finished his Intermediate of Arts from DM College, Imphal, and graduated in 1962 from St Anthony’s College, Shillong.
He applied for several jobs after his graduation, including in the Indian Army, but he did not join due to his father’s demise that year. After his father died, he worked as a school headmaster in his village. It was during this time that he decided to join the Mizo National Front-led independence movement.
He was one of the 61 signatories of the independence declaration and became a ‘senator’ of the underground government. He also travelled across Mizoram and Mizo-inhabited areas of the neighbouring states to deliver speeches.
In his later years, Colney became controversial for making a ‘Mizoram Map’ that showed the pre-British territory of Mizoram, which was claimed by the Laldenga-led MNF as ‘Greater Mizoram’. He was under the radar of Indian intelligence agencies, and was also questioned by the CBI.
The Mizoram in this map is thrice bigger than the Mizoram of today. This map shows the original territory of Mizoram that was divided by the British, Colney had said about the map. “Even though the goal remains unfulfilled, the torch of the Mizo nationalist movement is still burning in my heart which resulted in the making of this map. This map does not pose a threat to the national integrity of India. It just shows the land inhabited by Mizo tribes, and it aims to bring about mental integrity of these tribes,” he had said. (Courtesy: AT)