Brigadier Thenphunga Sailo,91,a World War II veteran and Indian Army officer who was the Chief Minister of Mizoram during the latter half of the states 20-year insurgency,announced his retirement from politics on the last day of the state Assemblys monsoon session,Wednesday.
Sailo,whose request to be allowed to make a speech was granted by Speaker R Romawia,said,I will no longer occupy a seat here.
He conveyed his gratitude to the people of Mizoram for having elected him to head the government twice in his political career,his first stint in 1978 and then a full term from 1979 to 1984. Mizoram was then a Union territory.
Born in 1922,Sailo is the son of an erstwhile Mizo chief and was awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal.
Ironically,during his army career,Sailos sons joined the Mizo National Front the insurgent army and were part of a special force that guarded rebel leader Laldenga.
After retiring from the Army in 1974,Sailo began the Human Rights Committee which later became the Mizoram Peoples Conference,a political party that gained popularity and won elections largely due to its leaders focus on human rights issues at a time when both Indian Army soldiers and MNF insurgents were accused of violations.
Sailo was also a strong supporter of re-integrating ethnic Mizo territories in present-day Myanmar and Bangladesh and several north-east Indian states.