The Massacre of Temple Square

What had happened on the 20th of April 1996 was still a mystery and an unsolved case right in the heart of Aizawl city. It all began with a protest, against the Government of Mizoram. People gather from different places and meet up at Temple Square raising their voices against the government’s action towards deforestation. Many trees of the land were cut down and sold off to different states without regards for the animals and the biodiversity of the land. People first thought that the government was cutting down trees for building projects but later the cutting never stopped. Huge plots of land began to lose their trees and the green color of the land began to slowly fade. Of course, there were some small students protest from time to time, but they were almost always never successful. Some NGO’s and naturalist group even raise their concerns on the radios and televisions but the cutting down of the trees never stopped.
One day, early in the morning, on the 20th of April, many people rose from their bed and simply walk out of their homes. They did not drink tea or wash their faces but just left their homes. Their family members did not know what was going on and some even followed. Some individuals from one house and some their entire family, some young and some old, all went out of their homes early in the morning and half-awake.
They were walking in lines and every part of the city was now awake and watching. Heads were poking out of their windows and roofs to see what was going in and some even took their cameras with them. Even the State News was quickly alerted, and all eyes were now on those who were walking on the streets in line.
People whispered to themselves that it was the work of God and that these people are experiencing some divine intervention and some seven said that they are just acting. After walking and waking from all parts of the city, they finally gathered at Temple Square, at the heart of the city and stood frozen as if time itself had stopped.
When everything was quiet and all the other people were watching, they slowly opened their mouths and began to let out a loud cry filling the air with unsettling cries of pain mixed with sadness and agony. The others watched with great horror and confusion and wondered to themselves what was going on and as the screams continued, some began to run away from the scene.
Finally, amidst the cries and wailing of those standing in the middle, they spoke in a loud and mighty voice at the same time saying, ‘Stop hurting me!”. The terrifying voice and words echo throughout the city and all those who heard the cry nearly fainted. And as soon as they finished saying the word all those who stood in the middle of Temple Square or should we say those who “screamed” fell to the ground as if they were dead and their family members rushed towards them, clinging to them, calling them by their names. It was such a terrifying moment for everyone.
Almost all who fell were immediately bought to the nearest hospitals. Some were bought to Civil Hospital while others were brought to Durtlang Hospital and some even at the Adventist Hospital. It was reported that two hundred and fifty people died out of the Five hundred that stood on the Temple Square. Autopsy and even postmortem showed no sign of fatal injury or any other matter that could predict to their sudden and strange death. The other half, after waking up knew nothing of what had happened on that morning and said that they felt as though they were sleeping peacefully in their beds.
Due to the deaths and the mysterious events, many began to speculate that it was the work of something that is beyond the human understanding – something spiritual or the warnings of ‘Khuanu” The mother goddess. People began to understand that they were hurting the land so the concern for the preservation of the forest and the land became the talk of the state.
Months later, the Government of Mizoram shut down all its projects regarding the cutting down of the trees and publicly apologized on the State Television. Mass effort was made to re-plant trees all over the desecrated areas and the people swore to protect the land at all costs. A monument was also erected right in the middle of Temple Square to commemorate those who had fallen on the 20th of April 1996 – The day the massacre happened.

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