In the wake of the unprecedented mass terror campaign unleashed against all the peoples of the North East region studying or working in different regions of India, the Delhi Regional Council of the Lok Raj Sangathan organised a public discussion on the theme " Who is responsible for the insecurity of the peoples of the Northeast?". The meeting, held on August 27th at the Hindi Bhavan, attracted the participation of a large number of concerned people. One and all squarely blamed the Central State for creating the present atmosphere of insecurity faced by the peoples of the North East all over the country.
Welcoming all participants on behalf of Lok Raj Sangathan, Shri Birju Nayak referred to the question in everybody’s minds as to why the peoples of North-East are being attacked and who stands to gain. The Hindi Bhawan meeting room was full, despite the short notice at which the meeting was organised and the intermittent downpours. The participants included leading representatives of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Manipur Students Association of Delhi and People’s Front. There were lawyers, journalists, students and others who also actively participated in the discussion. Shri Birju Nayak invited Smt. Sucharita to initiate the discussion on behalf of the LRS.
Smt. Sucharita questioned why the Central Government did not identify for so many days the source of the racist threatening messages against North-East peoples spread through SMS, only to finally declare that it is from Pakistan! The authorities did nothing to dispel the fear and anxiety among people, but in fact added fuel to the fire by organising special trains for them to rush home to safety. Our rulers talk ad nauseum about “national security” while they deny even the minimum security of life to millions of our own people. The same leaders of the various parliamentary political parties who are shedding crocodile tears in parliament today, about “our brothers and sisters of the northeast” are united in calling for the continuation of the AFSPA in those states, under which indescribable atrocities are daily committed against the people there, even as all the peoples of the northeast have been unitedly demanding that this draconian act should be scrapped and the army withdrawn from there. She called upon all humane and justice loving people to speak out in defence of the rights for all members of society, irrespective of religion, caste, race, national origin or any other consideration.
Smt Sucharita further pointed out that the authorities and the media are mischeviously portraying what is happenening with the people of the North East in Bangaluru, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai, Hyderabad and other places as a "reaction" to the gruesome communal and sectarian massacres in Kokhrajar in Southeren Assam. This is the biggest lie. It is aimed at hiding who is responsible for the massacres in Assam, as well as who is responsible for the insecurity of the peoples of the North East in the rest of the country.
Smt Sucharita pointed out that the North East was a vast region inhabited by numeorus peoples. These peoples spoke various languages, had different customs, followed various religious practices. One factor that united them was their condition — the entire region has been the victim of the colonial policy of plunder carried out by the central state since independence. Most of the region has been under continuous army rule. The peoples are regarded as a "threat to national unity". and killed, raped and tortured by the armed forces with total impunity, under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. She elaborated how after the rape and murder of Manorama Devi, the whole of Manipur had united in an unprecedented manner, for the repeal of AFSPA, and how the Lok Raj Sangathan had carried out an all India campaign for its repeal. Through this campaign, the people of our country became aware of the problems faced by the people of the North East in general and Manipur in particular. However, the state has still to repeal this fascist act.
Smt Sucharita pointed out that in the rest of India, for decades the state has encouraged racist propaganda against the people of North East, referring to them as "Chinese" on account of their features, and as "anti national", just as it has carried out systematic propaganda against Muslims on the basis of their religion, referring to them as "Pakistanis", "Bangladeshis", etc and "terrorists". In Delhi and other places, the people of the North East have been victims of systematic persecution, the girls from this region face all kinds of attacks, and the state authorities blame the victims, saying it is because of the way they look and dress, etc.
Elaborating on the situation in the North East, Smt Sucharita pointed out that it was part of state policy to set the peoples of the North East against one another, using diabolical weapons. Following the colonial policy of divide and rule, the state had carried out systematic propaganda that fuelled animosities amongst the peoples. In Assam and many other areas, it was made out that infiltration by "Bangladeshis" was the cause of the problem. In Manipur, we saw how for so many months the state allowed a blockade, in which masses of people were deprived of medicines, milk, cooking gas, petrol, etc. It was made out that two communities were responsible for the problem.
Smt Sucharita, summed up by declaring that the central state was responsible for the insecurity facing the peoples of the North East. She pointed out that the imperial rule of New Delhi has to be challenged and is being challenged, not only by the peoples of the North East, but by all the peoples. The people of our country are engaged in the struggle to ensure that decision making powers vests in their hands, which is not the case under the present political system and process. All the peoples of our country want to be treated as equal peoples, which is not the case in the present system. This is why, Lok Raj Sangathan has taken up the mission of vesting ssovereignty in the people, which is the condition to prevent persecution of any person or community on the basis of religion, race, language, region, etc.
Shri S. Raghavan, President of Lok Raj Sangathan, pointed out that correspondents who visited adjoining Muslim and Bodo villages in the Bodo Administered Territory found that both groups of villagers were categorical in stating that the armed gangs that attacked them came from outside. They were not from any of the neighbouring villages. He referred to previous experiences of communal violence where voter lists had been used to target people of a particular religion or community, as in 1984 and in 2002. This time SMS messages have been used to target North-East peoples, showing that the organisers had access to such information. Refuting the claim of BJP leader Arun Jaitley that "60% of people in Assam are foreigners", he said that Bengali Muslims cannot be assumed to be from Bangladesh. Rajiv Gandhi had signed the Assam Accord in the eighties, according to which anyone who had immigrated before 1971 was to be given Indian citizenship. The fact that this was not implemented shows that the intention is not to solve the problem but to repeatedly use it for narrow political ends and to divide and rule. He said that as long as people don’t take power in their own hands, the danger of communal violence will remain.
Shri Intezar Naim of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind highlighted the inhuman conditions in which lakhs of people have been compelled to live in Assam today, herded into refugee camps with negligible government support. He condemned the false propaganda accusing Muslim groups and Pakistan for the terror being spread among the North-East peoples. He declared that it is the duty of the State to protect the people who live and work in our country, and to protect their right to live and work in any part of India.
Johnson of Manipur Students Association of Delhi expressed his gratitude to Lok Raj Sangathan for organising this timely meeting in the present tense situation. He thanked all the participants who had assembled to express their support to the peoples of the North-East. He condemned the central authorities for portraying Manipuris and other North-East peoples as aliens who threaten the unity and integrity of India. He said the conflict is not among the various sister peoples of the North-East but between the State on one side and all the peoples on the other side. He pointed out to numeorus attacks that had taken place on North East students and working people in the capital in recent days, as well as the murder of two Manipuri’s fleeing from Bangalore in a train in Bengal. He spoke about how when the Tibetan refugees in India were protesting the visit of the Chinese Premier a few months back, Manipuri students were picked up and arrested as "Tibetans". The statement of the Manipuri Students Association of Delhi that he read out before the gathering, reflected the high level of maturity of the students of the state residing in the national capital. This statement is being published on our website.
Comrade Narinder of People’s Front said that in this age, capitalism and imperialism are breaking down all national borders. They want to be able to exploit the land and labour of all peoples and regions. Anyone who resists this plunder is being attacked under one pretext or the other.
Prof VP Srivastava of the Azadi Bachao Andolan made an impassioned plea for the unity of our people. He referred to the courage of Ms Irom Sharmila, who had not taken food for over 10 years, demanding the repeal of AFSPA. He proposed that we should organise a fast in the national capital and all over India one day a year, in support of the cause of repeal of AFSPA, and in order to highlight the plight of the peoples of the North East.
Other speakers referred to the long history of national oppression and violation of basic human rights in the North-East and reiterated the demand for immediate repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
The meeting concluded with the unanimous adoption of the following Resolution:
This meeting of LRS held in New Delhi on August 27, 2012 roundly condemns the Indian state and its agencies as responsible for spreading terror and insecurity among the people of the northeast in various parts of the country. The source of terror and insecurity of the people of the northeast lies in the colonial policy of the Indian state, according to which the people of this region are considered a “threat to the unity and integrity of the country” and are brutally denied their national, democratic and human rights.
This meeting of LRS held in New Delhi on August 27, 2012 calls upon all freedom and justice loving people of our country to unite in defence of all the peoples who are victims of the state terror and violence, under the banner of “an attack on one is an attack on all” and take forward the struggle for political power in the hands of the people, so that we may be empowered to take decisions in the interest of the vast majority of the people and create mechanism that will guarantee the national, democratic and human rights of all our citizens.