Sunday, October 4, 2009

NC Hills — DHD (J) surrender a positive development

SILCHAR, Oct 4: Different NGOs and social bodies as well as the apex Dimasa body Jadhike Naisho Hoshom (JNH) have hailed the surrender of DHD (J) leaders and cadres as a positive development which they believe will usher in an era of peace to again kick off the stalled development, projects and schemes hit by the nearly two-decade-long insurgency in the trouble-torn North Cachar Hills.

JNH president Dithang Naiding said in a statement at Haflong which has described the event on the birthday of the great apostle of peace and non-violence, Mahatma Gandhi, as most significant that will draw curtain on the orgy of fear and bloodshed.

It was quite in fitness of things that Asom Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi came out with Rs 50 crore package for the relief and rehabilitation of the surrendered militants and their leaders and assured to consider the charter of demands of DHD (J). It is a fact that there are certain contentious issues which will call for very cautious and careful examination by the Centre and the State. On the demand for State within State as per Article 244 (a) of the Constitution, the sentiments and feelings of others tribal groups who constitute nearly 60 per cent of the total population of the district have to be examined.

Another issue which might bog down the peace-process is the nomenclature of the Hills district as Dima Hasao Raji in place of North Cachar Hills. The demand of the outfit has already raised volley of protest from the other tribal groups who include Nagas, Kukis, Hrangkhals, Baites, Paites, Jaintias, Khasis and Hmars.

Quite relevant to say the Committee headed by Dinesh Prasad Goala constituted to examine the prospect of renaming the district is reported to have not approved the proposition. Most ticklish and sensitive is the demand of Dimaraji which, according to both the factions of DHD, comprise not only the geographical area of North Cachar Hills but also of certain parts of Cachar, Nagaon and Dimapur. Dilip Nunisa has said that this demand has been most challenging before the State and the Centre. It will therefore be watched with interest how these sensitive issues are resolved by the Centre.

Notwithstanding these issues, the statement of Niranjan Hojai, commander-in-chief of DHD, is quite significant when he said there will no more be obstruction in the construction of the two most vital surface links of Silchar-Lumding BG and East-West Corridor, connecting Silchar with Saurashtra. Both these rail and road routes pass through North Cachar Hills. Hojai promised to extend all possible help for their timely completion, much delayed by insurgency.

The surrender is however not without a rider. Niranjan Hojai has set the deadline of a month for the fulfilment of their litany of demands. Tarun Gogoi in his speech and later on talking to media persons evaded the contentious issues but said the demands would be considered in the next round of talks.

The statement of Dilip Nunisa in the wake of the surrender is also relevant for examination. He said some top leaders of Jewel group are still in hiding. He identified a six-member group who included Jitu Dimasa, Ganga Dimasa and Saven Dimasa. According to him, these leaders are still in a NDFB (Niranjan) camp of Bangladesh from where they used to procure arms and ammunition. Another cause of irritation to the security circles is James Dimasa, another top leader, who is still in Jungle with 50 of his cadres.

What however raises hope for positive outcome is the climate of change being perceived across the Northeast as various extremist outfits like UPDS (United Peoples’ Democratic Solidarity), KLNLF (Karbi Longri National Liberation Front), a faction of NDFB, Adivasi Cobra Force, and 28th Bn of ULFA as well as Sinlung Peoples Liberation Army of Mizoram which have laid down arms and are waiting for negotiations. The outcry for peace in North Cachar Hills is against the backdrop of senseless killings of more than 300 people during the orgy of violence. Another 65 persons from both Dimasa and Zeme communities lost their lives in the last four months of ethnic clash. People in general, tribals and non-tribals, only wish for peace to prevail. THE SENTINEL

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