NSCN Khaplang & Union of Myanmar sign bilateral cease-fire

DIMAPUR, MAY 8 (MExN): Delegates of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) Khaplang was warmly welcomed by crowd numbering few thousands from families of Naga, Kachin, Shan and Burma at Khamti harbor. A homely atmosphere was created by the gathering which was led by Naga Baptist Convention (NBC) and Naga Yuya, informed a press note issued by the MIP. The NSCN Khaplang also expressed its indebtedness to the USDP and Swe Nung Yan Company for what it termed as “immeasurable support and co-operation” besides thanking the Naga Baptist convention and Anglican Churches for all translation works.

The MIP note also disclosed that the bilateral Cease-fire between National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN/GPRN) Khaplang and Union of Myanmar was signed on 9th April 2012 at Khamti town, the Naga Headquarter and finalized by the representative of Central level at Naypitaw.

The NSCN Khaplang team comprising six (6) members was headed by Mr. Y Wangtin Naga. The other members were Mr. Chowangsing, Kilonser, Mr. Angkan Kilonser, Mr. P Tikhak, Kilonser, Brig. Angmai and Mr. Shanwang RCM, while six (6) members team from Union of Myanmar was headed by Col. Kyiniang, Minister for Border Area Development. “There was exchange of joy and happiness as Cease-fire between the two entities signed after more than 60 years of military conflict”, stated the MIP note.

As per the MIP note, in the meeting, the representatives boldly told that the “NSCN is an authentic political institution struggling for Naga Sovereignty with mass support of the Nagas across the artificial boundary”. “The leader of the NSCN team Y. Wangtin Naga delivered his speech that, both Myanmar and NSCN realized the futility of military confrontation for almost six (6) decades which expedited this meeting for Cease-fire with open mind”.

Wangtin further said that the elements of suspicions and distrust should be removed so as to understand each other more clearly. He lamented “some section of people who misunderstood the Nagas as hostile forces without knowing the core issue of their problem”.

“Mr. Y Wangtin recalled the history of Myanmar Government and Naga people for the past six (6) decades as the history of tears and blood, wars and conflicts. Therefore, both the entities should forget the past and look forward for better future through mutual understanding of each other’s problems and difficulties”.

He also reminded that, when union of Burma became a sovereign Nation on 4th January 1948, Naga people did not join the Government because, both in India and Burma, Naga people were struggling for independences from British Government, but the “white people left the fate of the Nagas in the hands of Burma and India which was very unfortunate”.  MExN

NNC strongly protest visit of Prince Andrew

Kohima 30April: The Naga National Council (NNC) under the leadership of Gen.(Rtd.) I. Panger Walling (Working President),Z.Royim Yimchungrii (Vice President) and V.Nagi( General Secretary) once again strongly protest against the visit of Prince Andrew of England to Naga Country because the British Government could not keep, honour and protect the 1935 Act of  “Naga Hills Excluded Area” passed by the House of Lords(Parliament) in respect of the Naga people and Nation. The British Throne was and is solely responsible and accountable for this Act of insult to the Nagas and their (British) own Act passed in the House of Lords.

The British Throne (Government) was fully responsible for the 4000 energetic and youthful young Nagas’ fate whom the British Government took away as Labour Corps in the First World War, out of 4000 best youthful Nagas from the Naga Hills Excluded Areas only few returned home to Naga Country.

Also the British Throne was solely responsible and accountable for the losses of Naga villages (houses), properties, granaries etc. which were bombarded and  razed to the ground as ashes. And the Naga people suffered immensely during Second World War at Kohima, Nagaland, many were killed, injured, crippled and  maimed in defence of the British Government and her Armies. During their (British Army) stay in Naga Country especially in Kohima, many Naga girls were raped, lured for sex and produced many illegitimate children. And just after the War, they(British) took away almost all the children under Repatriation of British National Act, and few were  left behind in Naga soil as a living witness today in the Naga Country. The British Throne and her Government was and is solely accountable for all these crimes committed against the Naga people in particular and crimes against humanity at large, and they are answerable to the crimes committed against the Naga people and Country.

The British Government granted freedom to the Hindu India, Muslim Pakistan, Buddhist Burma who fought against the British Government but the Christian Nagas who fought in favour, defended and sacrificed for the Britishers were neglected indifferently and ignored politically. Therefore the British Throne and her Government was and is fully responsible and accountable for the very plight of the Naga people and Nation who struggled for the last more than 60 long years for freedom.
Information and Publicity Wing,
Naga National Council.

source: MExN

Prince Andrew’s visit most successful: Neiphiu Rio

Source: EMN
NTIMES 3MAY :Prince Andrew’s visit most successful:  Neiphiu RioIMAPUR, MAY 2 (EMN): Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has termed the visit of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, on Tuesday as most successful and hoped that

His Royal Highness’s visit to Nagaland will have a far reaching impact in positive terms.
Stating that the entire visit was carried out seamlessly without a hitch in any of the events, the CM in a release today said each event was organised flawlessly and congratulated all the officers who coordinated the events for a job well done.
The entire visit was carried out under the overall supervision of Chief Secretary Lalthara, and the four events held at War Cemetery, Convention Centre, Bamboo hall and World War II Museum were personally managed in most exemplary manner by Home Commissioner J Alam, Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner Alemtemshi Jamir, Additional Chief Secretary and Commissioner Banuo Z Jamir and Commissioner and Secretary Himato Zhimomi, he said. Other departments, particularly Housing, Forest, Rural Development, Industries & Commerce, Kohima Municipal Council and district administration and police of Kohima and Dimapur districts put extra efforts to make the royal visit an outstanding success, he added.

Expressing happiness that the response of the people and citizens of the State in according a warm welcome and send-off to the visiting Prince created a positive and welcoming image of Nagaland to the outside world, the State Government congratulated and expressed appreciation to all the officers, participating departments and the people of the State for making the Royal visit a great success. The government also complimented the Assam Rifles for excellent conduct of the programme at the War Cemetery under the supervision of Maj. Gen. BS Das, IGAR. EMN

Nagas hope in Prince Andrew’s historic visit

Courtesy: Morung Express
NTIMES 2MAY: Nagas hope in Prince Andrew’s historic visit
Kohima | May 1

Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York is presented with a Naga traditional headgear as Nagaland State Chief Minster Neiphiu Rio looks on during his one-day visit to Kohima in the north eastern state of Nagaland on May 1. (Photo by Caisii Mao)

Great Britain’s Duke of York, Prince Andrew today visited Nagaland as part of the British kingdom’s celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee. In honor of the celebrated royal’s visit to Nagaland, a civic reception was organized by the Government of Nagaland at the NBCC convention centre in Kohima where thousands of people gathered and accorded a hearty welcome to one of the most famous royal personalities in the world.
On Prince Andrew’s arrival, Naga citizens, both young and old, lined up along the roads holding flags of Great Britain and greeted the Prince. Aside from high officials of the government, the royal dignitary was accompanied by James Bevan, British High Commissioner and Sanjay Wadvani, British Deputy High Commissioner.

Speaking at the civic reception, Prince Andrew expressed gratefulness for the opportunity to be in Nagaland. He called his coming here important in that the ‘past is recognized and which need to be cherished, that the future is all important.’
The Prince said there were discussions where they should go when they came to India “because there are certain symbols that the Queen wanted the Prince to participate in.” One of important tasks during his visit was to acknowledge the memory of those who served not only the United Kingdom but also the commonwealth around the world.
“The Queen could not think of a better place to ask the Prince to lay the wreath than here in Kohima,” Prince Andrew said, referring to the capital where one of the bloodiest and most decisive battles against the Japanese invasion was fought during the Second World War.

The Prince said – “It is very important for the modern generations particularly across India, for people to remember and recognize the sacrifice that took place in Kohima. Because without that sacrifice and that stand, the freedom that you now have and the rest of India has would not have been possible”.

For that reason, Prince Andrew said, he is delighted to be in Kohima to represent Her Majesty to lay wreath and pay respects to the fallen defenders. “But it is not just about those that had gone before, it is for the future. It is about looking forward to what we can all be and what our potentials really is. We have a whole potential as commonwealth nation in a particularly troubled world.”

Prince Andrew also conveyed the greetings of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth “who knows the great debt the Naga have paid in that fight for freedom over the years and the Queen wanted the Prince to pass on the message for the future of all people of India and of the Commonwealth.”

Extending a warm welcome to the royal, Chief Minister of Nagaland said “Indeed, we are honored by your visit and terming it as a red letter day, and a historic occasion for the people of Nagaland.” He hoped that the visit of Prince Andrew will go a long way in strengthening the relationship between the British and the Nagas especially for the younger generations who were born after India’s Independence.

Rio informed that during the Ist World War, thousands of Naga labor corps served in Europe. Kohima is known because of the historic and decisive Battle of Kohima fought between the British army and the Japanese army. The battle was described by Lord Mountbatten as probably one of the greatest battles in the history. The Chief Minister said that the battle of Kohima changed the course of the 2nd World War, and of the world history. In this, Rio stated that the Battle of Kohima Cemetery will forever remain part of the Nagas’ history. The Commonwealth War Cemetery that lies in the heart of Kohima is a constant reminder of the horrors and pains of war, he said.

The Chief Minister said further that the local Naga people played a crucial role in the victory of the allied forces in the battle, and till today they have pride in the fact that they contributed to the victory of the allied forces and fought for freedom and democracy.
Entire generations grew up hearing the painful stories of war, he said, but the visit of His Royal Highness will usher in a new era for greater partnership and better understating between the Naga s and the British. “Your visit will also re-kindle old friendship, shared history.”

Informing Prince Andrew that the Nagas are still in search of a permanent and lasting peace, Rio said “we have great hope that a peaceful and non-violent approach on the basis of political negotiation will bring about resolution of the Naga issue, and create lasting peace.”

The Chief Minister also congratulated the Queen, on her diamond jubilee, and also conveyed the wishes of the Naga people to her, good health and long life. “I hope that you and your entourage will go back home with fond memories of Nagaland and the Naga people, and that you will become ambassadors of Nagaland wherever you go,” Rio said in wishing the Prince.

Rio presented a Konyak brass gong, a head gear, a spear and a dao and two bamboo baskets to the Prince amidst applause. Naga folk dances and music were presented before the Prince who was accompanied by the British officials including the High Commissioner to India.

Earlier, immediately after his arrival in the town from Dimapur by road, the Duke visited the Kohima War Cemetery and paid homage to those who were killed in the battle of 1944. Later he also visited World War Museum at Kisama Heritage Village, 12 km south of Kohima before his departure.  MExN

Naga Hoho anticipates Prince Andrew’s visit

NTIMES 1MAY: Naga Hoho anticipates Prince Andrew’s visit

DIMAPUR, APRIL 30 (MExN): Britain’s Duke of York, Prince Andrew will be arriving in Nagaland May 1. The third child of Queen Elizabeth II will be in Kohima where a civic reception has been scheduled at 1:00 PM on May 1 at the NBCC Convention Center in the new capital complex. The visit is to commemorate the Queen’s 60 years on the throne. The royal is also expected to visit the 2nd World War II cemetery here and the Naga heritage village Kisama.

Meanwhile, the Naga Hoho on behalf of the Naga people has warmly welcomed His Royal Highness, Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, to Nagaland and wished him a pleasant and memorable visit. Taking the opportunity of this special visit by a member of the British Royal family, the Naga Hoho in a press note sought to bring to the notice of His Highness and the British Government through His Highness, “the expectations of the Naga people in reciprocation to the hospitality and the support extended to the then British Empire by the Naga people”.

The Naga Hoho in its press note issued by Kevilatuo Kewho and Inaka Assumi, President and Vice President respectively stated that the Naga people under the banner of the Naga Club had submitted a memorandum to the Simon Commission in the year 1929 expressing our desire to live as a people and a nation and not to live under any foreign or alien rule. In the same spirit, the Nagas also declared our Independence on 14th August 1947, a day before free India declared its Independence, the Naga Hoho reminded.
Stating that today, the struggle for the recognition of the Nagas as a people and nation still continues, the Naga Hoho reminded that the Naga people continued to strive to maintain and hold on to their unique culture, way of life, values and beliefs. “We believe memories are long and for all the support and sacrifices made for the British empire, the brave warriors of the Naga Hills will not be forgotten by the British Government”, the press note stated.

Pointing out that the World War Cemetery will perhaps remind His Royal Highness of the crucial role Nagaland and its people have played in World History and History of the British Empire, as such, the Naga Hoho has appealed to His Highness and the British Government to fulfill their dues to the Naga people by setting straight the records of history and affirming that the Nagas were never under any foreign rule till the British entered the Naga areas.


‘UK’s intervention in Indo-Naga issue wanted’

Dimapur, April 30 (MExN): An organization called ‘Naga International Support Center, Amsterdam’ (NISC) today issued a press release ‘reminding’ Prince Andrew of Britain’s ‘lack of responsibility’ of the commonwealth lands.

“The Nagas want the British to intervene in the Indo-Naga conflict as it should tell India and the Nagas what exactly was transferred to the Union of India without consultation or consent of the Nagas themselves how,” NISC said.

According to the NISC, the Naga National Council had “rightfully reminded” Prince Andrew “about the neglect of the United Kingdom concerning the right to self determination of the Naga peoples.”

In 1929, Naga leaders told the visiting Simon Commission that they wanted to be free when the British leave. “…the British still turned them over to the emerging Union of India even though it knew that it had no control over a large part of the Naga areas. The British kept quiet when the Nagas proclaimed their independent Nagaland in 1947, one day ahead of the Union of India,” the NISC said.

The press release said that that the Nagas want “reunification” and that their “ancestral areas in Myanmar” be reunified with “their areas in India.” The areas in India are Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland and Manipur, the NISC said.

“These states in India were founded long after the Indo-Naga conflict began, the first one being Nagaland which was inaugurated in 1963; nine years after the Indian Armed Forces invaded Nagaland.”

The NISC also noted that Prince Andrew is scheduled to visit the Kohima Second World War Cemetery to pay his respect to fallen British soldiers “but with the acclaimed help of Naga soldiers many more British survived.”

The press release also suggested that a “demonstration on this May one labor day will drive these points home; home to the UK.”

“…the Naga International Support Center, Amsterdam, reminds Prince Andrew of Britain on the issue of post colonial accountability the Dutch also lacked to follow up on. Not only the Dutch or the British but practical all colonizing nations suffer from this lack of responsibility.”
– Morung Express

Perception study about North East India

87% working professionals cant name all the states of North East India
93% of the respondents wish to know more about NE India

In a first of its kind survey about the perception of North East India amongst the people in rest of the country conducted by the North East India Image Managers (NEIim), a voluntary group of communication professionals, it was found that as high as 52% of the respondents have a negative perception about this region of India.

Their immediate recall of ‘North East India’ is that of “a region riddled with insurgency and most unsafe place in the country” or “most underdeveloped region with hardly any modern infrastructure and poor connectivity with the rest of the country” or “people with mongoloid features and weird food habit and an alien culture”.

Key Highlights
52% respondents have a highly negative perception about North East India

76% have no idea about any peace talks going on between govt. and any militant group of NE

91% have no knowledge about Northeast Industrial Policy

70% respondents won’t believe it if one states the fact that 3 of NE states have higher PCI than national average

30% of professionals will never go and work in NE even if that best suits their career interest

75% respondents don’t know that the current UPA govt. has ministers hailing from Northeast

42.7% advocates changes in the educational curriculum to provide more information about

Another shocking revelation of the study is that 87% of the respondents could not name all the states of North East India. As many as 76% of the respondents had no idea about any peace talks that may be going on between any insurgent groups of North East India and Union Government of India.

The findings of the survey indicate that due to the negative imagery that people have about the region even if they are given the best of the job offer and it suits their career interests best 30% of them will never go and work in Northeast while 52% are not sure if it’s a good idea to go and work there. Even if 71% of the respondents agree that the place is full of natural beauty, as many as 30% of them may not go on a vacation to Northeast. “This testifies the fact that the picture has not really changed over the years. The stories of progress and peace from Northeast have not reached the people in the rest of the country yet.” said NEIIM.

While 70% of the respondents can’t believe the fact that three North East Indian states have per capita income more than India’s national per capita income, as high as 91% did not know anything about Central Government’s Northeast Industrial Policy which gives special incentives for investments made in the region.

75% of the respondents don’t know whether the current UPA government has any minister representing any constituency of North East India. 56% of the respondents don’t know that there is an IIT, are Central Universities and a IIM in Northeast. NEIIM said, “This speaks about the failure of the governments – both at centre as well as in the states to actually create awareness in the country. There is definite need to create communication programmes which break the myths about the region create a positive mindset among common people.”

The study, interim findings of which were released by NEIiM today, goes on to probe as how such a hiatus of knowledge was created and how to bridge it, 56.3% respondents said that the government should run special awareness campaigns using various media tools at national level to educate people about North East India. A sizeable 42.7% also advocated for changes in the curriculum in schools and colleges so that the children may know more about north east India.

Releasing the interim findings of the survey, NEIiM said about the methodology of the survey, “We identified the target audience very selectively and we specifically targeted people who are from media, communication, advertising, public relations, human resources, finance and marketing and whose media consumption is considerably higher than any average person. We did an online survey using special online survey tools for most of our respondents and while for the rest traditional offline medium was used.

In total, data from over 400 working professionals based in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and not hailing from Northeastern part of the country were captured during the course of the survey. These people work in the communication and service industry and keep a close tab on daily updates in the country. Now, post the results, we were astonished by the fact that if the majority of our respondents did not know about North East region of India, how any common can man of India would know about them.”

When the study further probed as to why they failed to have much information on North East India, a startling 61% said that they do not see much of north east India on national media. The perceived notion that people from north east India don’t mingle with others stand challenged as 51.6% of the respondents said that they started knowing whatever little about the culture and people of north east from their interaction with colleagues or friends from North East India.

Almost 61% also believed that North East India provides a good platform for multi national and national corporations to invest. A whopping 89.7 % confirmed that the Union government should give special attention to North East India than what is being given now.

What is heart warming and interesting is that 93% of the respondents expressed that their desire to know more about Northeast India. 56% of the respondents feel that Government should run special awareness campaigns using various media vehicles at national level to educate people about Northeast while 43% suggest that school/college curriculum should include more information pertaining to history, geography, culture and economy of Northeast India.

The report throws up shocking revelations of lack of knowledge about a particular region and also a desire to learn and understand. The North East India Image Managers (NEIim) is working on the final draft of the report based on the findings which will also incorporate suggestions on facing the current situation which will be submitted to Ministry of Development of North Eastern region (DONER) as well as other important and concerned authorities for further action.

About NEIim: Northeast India Image Managers (NEIim) (FB link) is a group of PR/ Media / Brand Management/ Communications professionals hailing from Northeastern region of India and working in metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore etc. The group is aimed at discussing and finding out actionable issues pertaining to development and promotion of the image of Northeast India, which in the long run is expected to fill up the information and knowledge gap which has been existing leading to confusion about the people, society, economy and geography of Northeast amongst the rest of India.

For further details, please contact:
Abhijit Borah/ Tituraj Kashyap

* North East India Image Managers (NEIim) sent this report to e-pao.net.
They can be contacted at neiim(dot)delhi(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on May 03, 2012

Richard Loitam: An alien in his own country?

On the afternoon of July 15, 2004, 12 women disrobed themselves and stood naked in front of the Indian paramilitary headquarters in Imphal. Together they held a single length of white cloth that had “Indian Army Rape Us” emblazoned on it in red paint. No corner of India had witnessed such a display of anger, ever.

The Manipuri women were protesting the gangrape and murder of a 32-year old woman, by paramilitary forces. It was only after this protest by the ‘Imas’ or mothers of Manipur and the publication of photographs of their protest in some newspapers that the rest of the mainstream media woke up. Reporters were sent to Imphal. Stories were carried and awards won. Unfortunately, the principal demand of the protest, the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, fell on deaf ears. Manipur, again, dropped off the national mainstream news cycle. Ironically, in December 2008, the same group of 12 women travelled from Manipur and staged a sit-in protest in Delhi. The media did not find the protests newsworthy.

It is not without reason that Indians from the North East corner of the country often feel neglected and ignored. The apathy displayed towards the region by the so-called mainstream Indians is perverse, if not criminal. Currently, the death of 19-year old Richard Loitam and 21-year old Dana Sangma has hit the national headlines. There are protests, debates and efforts to bridge divides. Even then a large number of educated Indians display surprising ignorance. Some believe that the entire debate of ignorance of the North East is a myth. Some, still, do not think twice before cracking a joke on the region. In metropolitan India, the dominant image of the region still remains that of a wild frontier.

At Delhi, few months ago, an award winning Indian film critic was looking back with much love at a few days she spent in Nagaland. Or was it Manipur? She couldn’t exactly remember. But she was certain it was the North East. That was what mattered most. She seemed happy to have done her bit of exotic tourism. “But oh the roads and the time we spent to travel to “what was the name of the capital city” from Dimapur?, she asked me. “I could have reached Paris in that time”, she underlined. Global citizens have their way of drawing comparisons.

I couldn’t fathom the Paris-Kohima trade off even if it was in half-jest. But our cine pandit’s bharat darshan kahaani let my mind go back to what an Ivy League-educated American economist had once asked me, “Tell me frankly, are there any cannibals in North East?” I thought there wasn’t much difference between these two entitled and illuminated global beings. Be it an elite Indian or an elite Westerner, for most, the idea of Manipur and that of the entire North East even in 2012, still remains that of an area of darkness. It’s an idea that comes with a healthy dose of colonial hangover.

Gazeteer’s records hidden away at archives in London, the fountain head of civilisation, have ravingly racist descriptions of North East India. In the 19th Century, according to Lord Dalhousie, it was an area full of “pertinacious savages”. An idea not too far removed from what is thought about the region now. In 2008, an Indian television anchor reporting from Nagaland famously said that “the further I travel inside Nagaland, the further I move away from civilisation”. The foundations of the British Empire still appear unshaken in such statements.

The biggest instrument of such a civilisation, democracy and in turn elections, has established itself comfortably in North Eastern Indian states. When it comes to governance in a place like Manipur, for most observers and policymakers what remains of interest is the number of people who cast their votes in elections. In this democracy overdose, many also tend to ignore that Manipur was the first corner in South Asia that elected a government on adult franchise in 1948. That assembly was dismissed, the King of Manipur was put under house arrest in Shillong.

A treaty of accession was signed in 1949 under direction of the then Home Minister of India Sardar Vallabbhai Patel of the Indian National Congress. Late Mr. Patel probably would be a happy man to find Manipur’s speedy rise in India’s electoral politics in the last sixty years. A newfound status of a C Category State (from being an Independent Kingdom that was making the transformation to democracy) in 1949 to 60 MLAs and at least 30 militant outfits in active resistance in 2012 the journey has been stupendous according to some, disastrous according to most. Not to forget the inescapable darkness of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act across the state.

When it comes to building bridges with the rest of India, one extreme suggestion is to overlook problems and talk about success stories. Ignore the insurgency chatter, ignore the problems and put the winners, the successful on the hoardings of Incredible India. I met the incredible-then thrice world boxing champion MC Marykom at her home in Imphal in 2007. I clearly remember how she said that for many Manipuris sport remains the passport to a better life, or a job in the police or two meals a day in a training camp. Marykom’s story is one of incredible success against all odds. Yet, for her recognition has been incremental. Not a continuous one as is the case in cricket or tennis. It is almost to hide the embarrassments of racial hatred against people from North East India, an embrace of a Marykom seems imperative.

That embrace, however, fails to erase certain facts. The Ministry of Development of North East Region has released Rs 138 billion in the last ten years. However, the funds have either been misdirected or not used at all. According to the Human Development and Infrastructure Index mentioned in the Twelfth (2005-10) Finance Commission Report, the seven North Eastern states rank the lowest in infrastructure development. Basic facilities like electricity, water, roads are absent in most of North East. There are local militias calling the shots in various places and in many places the ideology of resistance has been replaced by the convenience of money-sharing arrangements between local militias and bureaucracy.

The Justice Manisana Commission report (2008) on the misappropriation of funds in North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council mentions how funds meant for development work were channeled to militants and some departmental officers in Assam received their due share. In 2012, an Austrian Company moved out of oil exploration work in Assam, after they were asked to pay Rs 70 lakh by a faction of the United Liberation Front of Assam. There are at least 30 active militant groups in the region. The government is negotiating with at least 15. Every year, like a ritual, signing of ceasefire agreements and surrender ceremonies keep alive the lies and deception of peace building in North East India. Behind all changes in the region, this remains a constant.

What also remains constant despite all efforts is the attitude of the Indian bureaucracy towards the region. In 2007, an Indian Police Service official wrote a booklet for students from North East who come to study in Delhi. In “Security tips for North Eastern students” racial profiling was the underlining theme. It had instructions for women from the North East to avoid wearing revealing clothes and dress according to the sensitivity of the local population. “Avoid lonely roads/bylanes when dressed scantily”, it counselled, clearly implying that women from the North East display too much skin. It also objected to North Eastern food habits, especially the cooking of akhuni and bamboo shoots, saying “smelly dishes should be prepared without creating ruckus in the neighbourhood”. Ironically, the booklet was written by an IPS officer from the North East who considered these exhortations to be in the interest of ’emotional and patriotic integration”.

Suddenly, when it comes to North East civil liberties seem to have been defenestrated. And in a free India integration seems to be taking place at gunpoint. This integration was probably never there and with the deaths of Richard and Dana seems to have gone horribly wrong. Take a look at the the profiling of North East India that takes place comes out in various ways. Jonathan Glancey of The Guardian mentions a report of the Indian media in his travelogue, Nagaland: A Journey to India’s Forgotten Frontier (which too is guilty of making the area appear exotic), where someone suggests that the thriving monkey population of Delhi should be sent to Nagaland because, “the locals will have no problem dealing with monkeys; they will eat them”. This year in February during a dog menace in Punjab, the MLAs decided to write to the Nagaland government. Then MLA Makhan Singh, a member of the Vidhan Sabha Committee wrote that “besides looking for a provision in law to kill stray dogs we are working out the possibility of sending the canines to Nagaland, where dogs are commonly sold for meat”.

After the death of Richard Loitam and Dana Sangma and a campaign for justice for them, Indian Parliament discussed North East last week. Arun Jaitley and P Chidambaram spoke with much passion. They spoke of helpline numbers for the students. They spoke about sensitizing the rest of India about the region. I am told most of Manipur could not catch them on TV. The region just gets one hour of electricity in a 24-hour day.

Source: http://ibnlive.in.com/blogs/arijitsen/148/63449/richard-loitam-an-alien-in-his-own-country.html