Well known journalist of Arunachal Pradesh, Pradeep Kumar Behera sensitised all ranks police of Rashtrapati Bhawan on the uniqueness of NE people in the Briefing Hall here today.
Pointing out that India lives in villages and hills as once told by Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of peace who gave India independence, but even 70 years after independence the people of NE are yet to be integrated to mainland India and feel neglected for their prolonged deprivation by the faulty system, said joint commissioner of police Robin Hibu, chief security officer of Rashtrapati Bhawan
If Rashtrapati Bhawan where President of India lives represents the total population of India, sensitizing the police personnel on duty about NE is of vital importance, he said before inviting Behera to begin his interactive session.
While talking on “North East – Land of Indradhanush, its history, culture, opportunities and issues, Behera, also National Youth Project vice president, on an invitation from Rashtrapati Bhawan as an empanelled resource person, highlighted the unparalleled cultural diversity of NE people, their hospitable attitude, vast land resources, self dependent nature and patriotism. All these uniqueness are not known to rest of India as the region has been almost cut off by the narrow Chicken Neck or Siliguri Corridor, he said.
Assamese, having history of Assam dating back to 500 BC, had revolted against Mughals. Ahom Kingdom army chief Lachit Barphukan & Bagh Hazarika are the best example while Kanaklata Baruah of Assam had revolted against the British so also Matmur Jamoh of Arunachal. Life flew with the waters of mighty Brahmaputra as usual with time for India to gain freedom on 15th August, 1947. The region witnessed separatism movement in Mizoram, Manipur, Assam and Nagaland, insurgency and bandh culture that had doomed the region’s economy, he recalled.
While the first ray of sun falls at tiny village Dong in Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh, the state home to 70% of world’s known variety of orchids to be known as ‘Orchid state of India’ while Pake Wildlife Sanctuary is the only Hornbill sanctuary of India. Singpho chief Bisa Gaum of Arunachal had helped CA Bruce in 1823 to discover Assam variety of tea plant before it was developed through research.
Arunachal boasts of 450-year-old Tawang Monastery and 15-feet tall statue of Lord Jowa (the other form of Lord Buddha), built 700-year-old in Tserteng Gompa in Lumpo bores the brunt of 1962 Chinese aggression. The bullet shot by one of the PLA soldiers hit the chin of the statue but could not pierce it, instead hit the rock wall is visble even today; River Island of Majuli in Brahmaputra midstream is the largest river island in the world, Behera said, adding Arunachal boasts of Mishmi Teeta, the sure cure for cancer.
The traditional cap I am wearing belongs to Monpa tribe who live in Tawang and West Kameng districts. Once a spiritual leader impressed with smiling faces of Monpas at Tawang had wanted to know the secret. “They are the happiest lot with whatever they have without expecting much from outside,: his guide had replied.
However, regrettably India saw second run for life after 1947 with about 3.5 lakh NE people fleeing Bangaluru for fear of racial discrimination on 15th August 2012. It was at my initiative then chief minister Nabam Tuki had rushed then Lok Sabha member Takm Sanjoy, youth leader Likha Maj and Arunachal Bhawan deputy resident commissioner K N Damo to many cities to quell the situation.
With numerous business establishments coming to a grinding halt in many cities including Mumbai and Bangalauru, many top leaders including Maharashtra deputy chief minister had visited Guwahati to make fervent appeal to NE people to return and offered chartered flights from Guwahati for their return. This had undoubtedly proved the immense contributions of NE people to nation building.
Union Ministry of Home Affairs realizing the seriousness of the issue had appointed then Hibu as nodal officer for NE people living in Delhi to ensure their safety and security besides extend them a helping hand when ever needed. He was instrumental for special recruitment of NE people by Delhi Police. While doing that, Hibu set up a NGO, namely Helping Hands that has been serving as a new hope not only in providing security through 24X7 help line but offering cheaper treatment in empanelled hospitals, conducting blood donation for their need, and last but not the least dispatching the mortal remains to native places through air free.
Behera suggested to conducting more cultural exchange programmes involving the youth between NE states and other states of India for both sides to know each other to contribute to national integration. Once the younger generations ender each other, the so called racial discrimination would be a thing of passé, he reasoned.
While highlighting the history, he said slow but steady attitudinal change gaining momentum to bring the much desired change to encash the vast natural resources of the region, particularly Arunachal Pradesh known for its rich agri-horticultural potentials, he pin pointed.
The need of the hour is to develop robust road, rail, air and water connectivity and also reopen the historic Stillwell road built from Ledo in Assam to Kunming in China to link NE with the South East Asian nations, where 50% of world’s rich live.
NYP president H P Biswas, in his address, said that the NE, with total population of 4.5 crore is represented by 498 MLAs and 25 MPs, but no one bags as people live with nature as they are well aware of sustaining life with the help of nature.
Women are highly respected in NE where bride price in prevalent even today, unlike dowry of mainland, he said, adding NE people mostly of Mongoloid features are different in look but are very hospital in nature. Community conflicts sometime centres around land like anywhere in the world but that has a cascading effect on high potential tourism sector. Connectivity is the greatest hurdle to development, mainly in Arunachal for which a bag of cement costs Rs 6,500 at Vijoynagar, he said, adding drug menace, particularly from Golden Trianagle and migration from rest of India to Arunachal are other challenges.
Constructive development to tap numerous potentials could change the face of NE, he reasoned.
NYP convenor Ashok Sharan, who worked as KVIC project director in Arunachal, called for educating the young generation with right perspective could be panacea to the problem. He lauded Hibu for great humanitarian service in helping the NE people to merge with national mainstream.
Responding to a question from inspector Sanjoy Gade about horrible road to Tawang and no air connectivity, Behera said that the Bhalukpong-Tawang road, part of Trans-Arunchal Highway being built by the BRO is on the verge of completion to offer a pleasant ride while of the 8 advanced landing grounds taken over by defence department, Vijoynagar, Pasighat and Tezu are operational as commercial flight service resumed to Pasighat while others are on the verge of completion to give the much desired push to air connectivity of the land-locked state, he said.
On status of GoI skill development going on priority, Biswas clarified that all skill training institutes are located in Indian cities which poses a challenge.
However, on a question about the murder of a Sikh in Shillong, Biswas, Sharan and Hibu clarified that a delegation had met the chief minister to get assurance to bring the guilty and ensure security of the community.
Hibu lauded the trio for sensitizing the cops on NE and urged Delhi cops to prove that Delhi dilwalon ka nagar hey (city of great hearted people) by giving proper guidance and help to all NE people to make them feel that they are equal citizens of India. However, Behera accompanied by Biswas drew the curtain by singing his self composed song – Arunachal ki Santan – to reflect the pan-India nature of the Arunachalees.
Besides Delhi journalist Umesh Tiwari, additional commissioner of police RK Pandey and five ACPs were present among cops of both sexes.