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Monday, July 23, 2018

Waterloo cannons,Mizoram’s prized possession,to return to Aizawl

The cannons will be displayed in their original position in front of the heritage Quarter Guard building.

Written by Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Guwahati | Published: April 28, 2012 1:32:06 am

Two historic cannons dating back to the Battle of Waterloo (1815),that had reached Mizoram and had been in Aizawl for over 100 years until the Assam Rifles shifted them outside the state,are finally returning to Aizawl after nine years.

While Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla personally pursued the issue with the Union Home Minister as well as the Assam Rifles Director-General for over a year now,the Assam Rifles have finally agreed to return them back to Aizwal in the next two weeks.

An official press note in Aizawl issued by the government of Mizoram said that while Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla took up the matter with P Chidambaram during the latter’s visit to Aizawl earlier this month,he met the Home Minister as well as the Assam Rifles D-G during his recent trip to New Delhi.

The decision to return the two cannons back to Aizawl was in view of the sentiments of the Mizo people,the press note said. The cannons will be displayed in their original position in front of the heritage Quarter Guard building.

“It is indeed a matter of great relief and satisfaction that the two historic cannons are finally being brought back to where they stood for over a century. While we kept pressing for its return,I must thank the Chief Minister for taking up the matter relentlessly and finally making the Assam Rifles agree to send them back to Aizawl,” P Rohmingthanga,who heads the Mizoram chapter of INTACH,told The Indian Express from Aizawl.

The two cannons that were used in the Battle of Waterloo had an interesting sojourn to Aizawl exactly 120 years ago. While the two were part of the armament of a ship of war stationed at Chittagong during the British period,they were thrown overboard in 1857 to ensure they did not fall into the hands of the mutineers of the 34th Native Infantry. Later,these were fished out and fitted with wheeled carriages and eventually found their way to Rangamati,following which they became part of the Lushai Hills Expedition that the British carried to occupy the present-day Mizoram in 1892.

“It was Lt Col J Shakespear,a British Army officer who,as the first district head of the then newly-created Lushai Hills district,had got them up from Lunglei (in south Mizoram) after they were fished out of the sea near Chittagong port. Since then the cannons stood flanking the Queen Victoria Memorial Porch in the Assam Rifles Quarter Guard,the oldest building of Aizawl,until they were taken away when the 1st Assam Rifles moved out of Mizoram,” Rohminthangma said.

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