“We are in the same boat brothers”, is the title song of Bhupen Hazarika, which is prophetic yet true. People of the North Eastern Region, connected by the Siliguri Chicken neck to mainland India, tucked away in the back waters of the country, yet being a sensitive strategic corner, having international borders with foreign countries including Bangladesh, Myanmar and China, need special attention for constructive development, which should be meaningful to the diverse people inhabiting the region, especially having rich resources such as oil, tea and minerals.
New Delhi, the National capital is a long distance, in which the National political leadership cannot really feel the pulse of the North East, as what had happened to the Citizenship Bill Amendment, where an attempt was made to force the legislation down the throats of the populace, which could have created a situation more than an uproar.
The young citizens of the region had stood steadfast and firmly for the common cause, for the interest of survival of the people inspite of heavy odds. The states of the region known as the seven-sisters and also Sikkim have to be always on the alert, of any adverse policies that might affect the region, most importantly relating to the demographic structure. Any adverse policy cannot be compromise. Animosity cannot prevail among the sister states. Any problems whether big or small has to be solved in the spirit of good will.
Just the other day there was an unpleasant skirmish, between the Assam police and Villagers of Umwali in the Langpih border dispute, between Meghalaya and Assam, which remained unresolved, nearing half a century? The Assam police had resorted to lathi charge on the civilian populace. The main cause being the setting up of electrical poles in the areas, carried out under the electrical development project of Meghalaya. The lathi-charge had resulted in injury to the people, including women and children. While the police had alleged that the people had resorted to stone throwing against them, and had resorted to lathi charge.
However student bodies of both Assam and Meghalaya in the spirit of “we are in the same boat brothers” have vehemently protested against the Assam police action against the village people. The North East Student Organization (NESO) had demanded taking strong action against the Assam police. Chairman of NESO and also Chief of the All Assam Student s Union (AASU), Dipanka Kumar Nath have condemned the action of the Assam police, terming as being inhuman act, especially on the women folk and children . AASU has further called both the State Government of Assam and Meghalaya that inter-State problems including boundary should be resolved through discussions, through congenial atmosphere, so that people living in the border areas, do not live in constant fear and thus having a peaceful existence.
Another important factor is bringing about the grass root traditional administration to be more responsible and effective. A tree however tall and large cannot bear fruitful result. This is also true in the democratic functioning of the different tiers of governance.
Sumar Sing Sawian
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