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Road to peace in abode of cloud

The existence of the A’chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC) and its breakaway faction ANVC (B) came to a historic end with the disbanding of the two outfits at a solemn function held here to mark the occasion at the Dikki-Bandi Stadium, at Dakopgre. Chairmen of the two outfits, Dilash Marak and Bernard N. Marak surrendered their arms and signed the affirmation for disbandment with

Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma in the presence of Cabinet Ministers Ampareen Lyngdoh, A. L. Hek and Zenith Sangma, Parliamentary Secretaries, high- level officials of the State Government including Chief Secretary P.B.O Warjri, members and cadres of the two groups, church leaders, senior citizens and the public.

Addressing the gathering the Chief Minister expressed his pride and humility as the two outfits had shown exemplary maturity, courage and farsightedness in joining the peace process and finally returning back to the mainstream and said that this has reinforced the essential truth that violence can never be an option for finding solutions to any grievances.

He said that it was the perception that Garo Hills has been neglected by the government that led some of the youth to take the path of militancy in the “mistaken belief that through violence they would be able to set things right. However, it only led to further deterioration in the situation as developmental programmes suffered, he said, adding that the last two decades have been virtually the “lost decades” for us. “The disbanding of ANVC and ANVC-B rekindles the hope that the era of peace and stability will return to Garo Hills and together we will be able to re-plot the path of development and peace”, he said.

The Bishop of Tura, Rt. Rev. Andrew R. Marak led the gathering in prayer for cadres of the two outfits and spoke briefly on the text “Return Home”, while the Pastor of Hawakhana Baptist Church, Rev. F.D. Sangma.

The Deputy Commissioner, West Garo Hills, Pravin Bakshi, in his welcome address, gave a brief background note about the formation of ANVC and later, ANVC (B) and the subsequent processes that paved the way for the disbanding of the two outfits.

Chairmen of the two outfits, Dilash M. Marak and Bernard M. Marak, also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the causes that led to their armed struggle and also their intention to work in the interest of the people in understanding with the government both at the Centre and the State.

The extended ceasefire agreement was signed at Shillong on January 5, 2012. On September 18, 2013, the same commitment was reiterated and both the groups, ANVC and ANVC (B) were requested to submit the list of their cadres to the State Police Special Branch for further processing. Finally, a formal text for settlement was signed by the Union Home Ministry, the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, the leaders of ANVC and ANVC (B) at New Delhi on September 24, last paving the way for disbandment of the two militant outfits.

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AADSU and AAKRSU submitted memorendum at UN conference

12 Oct 2008 - 2:39am | Raktim Baruah

The joint committee of All Assam Dimasa Student Union (AADSU) and All Assam Kush Rajbonshi Student Union (AAKRSU) submitted a memorandum in the last conference of the United Nations Human Rights Organizations under the title of 'Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous People' demanding step of the world body for restoring rights of these indigenous communities of Assam, held at Geneva from 1to3 October. A delegation committee led by Biswajit Roy,president of the AAKRSU and Prafulla Hafila,president of the AADSU attended the conference.

It was declared in a press meet held at Guwahati press club today. Speaking the occasion Biswajit Roy, president of AAKRSU alleged that Tarun Gogoi led Congress Government of Assam betrayals both the ethnic communities by giving false hope. He also condemns the act of the state government for showing negligence towards the recognition of schedule tribe status to the community that they have been demanding for one decade. He also said that the ethnic community of the state has to face existential problem for the vague declaration of the state as well as central government.Prafulla Hafila also condemns the state government for failing in maintaining law and order situation of the state. He urges the state government to take up necessary step for fulfilling their needs and aspiration.

Jesuit-Salesian study notes development induced displacement in Sikkim

25 Nov 2016 - 8:30pm | CM Paul

A major study on displacement of peoples in Sikkim was released at a 3-day International Seminar on “North East: Peoples, Power and Perspectives” held at Sikkim Central University, Tadong.
At the inaugural session of the seminar on 24 November 2016, Vice Chancellor, Prof. T.B. Subba released the Jesuit-Salesian authored book Teesta on the Run: Development-Induced Displacement in Sikkim, 1975-2010.

The study lists some 65,000 people in Sikkim are victims of development induced displacement, i.e. more than 10 per cent of the entire population of the state. The statistics for development induced displaced population for the entire country numbers more than 65 million people.

The Department of Economics, Salesian College Sonada assisted the Director of North East Social Research Centre, Guwahati, Dr Walter Fernandes in the research project funded by ICSSR, New Delhi.
The field work included gathering the land alienation for various projects from the district level land records and gathering the status of the displaced persons from over 300 interview questionnaires undertaken by a team of four researchers.

Jesuit Father (Dr) Fernandes at his intervention prior to the release of the book highlighted the findings of the study saying, “Sikkim, has had 10% of its relatively small population in the mountainous state displaced and the vast majority have not been adequately compensated nor rehabilitated.”

The 352-page study was part of an All India effort to create a reliable data base with the hope of making a contribution to awareness building among the Displaced Persons - Project Affected Peoples and decision makers about the need to develop policies in favour of the marginalized.

Among three authors of the study are Dr Walter Fernandes, Prof. George Thadathil and Ms Bitopi Dutta.

Dr Fernandes is former director of Indian Social Institute (New Delhi) and 22 years editor of Social Action (1977-99) as well as founder director of North Eastern Social Research Centre (NESRC) Guwahati (2000-11) and director of research at Animation and Research Centre, Yangoon (2013-15). He is at present Senior Fellow at NESRC.

Principal of Salesian College Sonada-Siliguri and author of Vision from the Margin (2007) Prof Thadathil has five edited volumes and over 30 published articles. He is also the series editor of SALESIAN - Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, and director of Salesian Research Centre.

Formerly Research Associate at NESRC after her Masters from TISS Mumbai (2012) Ms Dutta has studied development induced displacement, traditional tribal conflict resolution methods and gender and sexuality. She also co-founded the first queer collective called Xukia.

Even though the Supreme Court interpreted Article 21 of the Constitution on right to life as every citizen’s right to a life with dignity, studies indicate that those who pay the price and get the benefits of development belong to two different classes.

Dr Fernandes says, “That possibility turns displacement into a human rights issue and provides socially conscious scholars with a platform to intervene in the debate on the impact of development on the livelihood losers.”

The first phase of the study for 1975-2007 in Sikkim and 1947-2007 in Nagaland was done in these two states together and was completed in June 2011.

In 2014-15, the above study’s Sikkim section was separated and updated to 2010, and is published in the present volume.

While chapter 1 gives the core concepts, chapter 2 discusses the methodology of study and chapter 3 presents the background of Sikkim. The remaining chapters give quantitative data on land loss and displaced people. The concluding chapter has suggestions for conclusive development.

Most decision makers view development only as economic or GDP growth and building infra structure and consider displacement linked to it sad but inevitable.

On the other side those who want inclusive development hold that economic and social growth should go hand in hand and that one cannot be sacrificed for the other. They are of the view that in the present situation those who are deprived of their sustenance in the name of national development and those who get its benefits belong to two different classes and that the former are impoverished for the comforts of the latter.

The study on which this publication is based tested this hypothesis through a quantitative data base on the extent of land used for projects from 1975 to 2010 and the number of displaced persons. It then looked at the impact on those who pay the price of development.

In the end, one is left with the impression that the GDP growth based view prevails in development planning in India. Hence, the authors recommend new approaches to be found not merely to rehabilitation but also to the laws and to technical aspects of the project that deprive people of their livelihood.

DoNER minister visits flood-hit areas

25 Aug 2015 - 7:13pm | Hantigiri Narzary

DoNER minister Dr. Jitendra Singh said the Centre will extend all possible help to the state government in the time of flood. Talking to reporters during his stock taking visit to Kokrajhar on Tuesday, the Union minister said the prompt response of the government helped the state minimize flood casualities.

Accompanied by revenue minister Dr. Bhumidhar Barman and Guwahati MP Bijaya Chakraborty, Dr Singh visited the flood affected areas of Bongaigaon in a chartered helicopter and landed at Dhaligaon BGR stadium.

Talking to media, he said Prime Minister and home minister are keeping close watched of the flood situation and that they have yet to receive the report on the extent of flood damages.