The North East Dialogue Forum (NEDF) expresses its deep shock in the untimely and sudden demise of Purno Agitok Sangma. NEDF members express a sense of deep loss at his departure of this earthly abode and also our sincere sympathy with his wife, off springs, grandchildren, near and dear ones in this period of grief, loss and bereavement who are in deep sorrow and pain.
For the last three (3) years, the key members of NEDF had been actively engaged with Late P. A. Sangma, as the Chairperson of the NE MPs’ Forum, to have the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA) repealed. Our delegation from the States in the North-Eastern region did meet him several times as also with other members of the MPs’ Forum. He took personal interest with pain and trouble to arrange meeting between MPs from the region with members of NEDF in the Parliament Building. In last April 2015, he informed us that a delegation met PM on the issue to repeal AFSPA.
It came as a surprise to NEDF members to have heard and listened to sharing by many MPs that they too have witnessed and experienced the high handedness and committed on them and their family members by personnel of the Armed Forces in the guise of AFSPA provisions. Seven years back, Late Sangma himself, became a victim of AFSPA when he visited Moreh, India’s border town with Myanmar and in Manipur, on an official tour. NEDF was also pleasantly surprised to receive the kind of solidarity offered to our delegation and providing hope through their extending support for engagement with the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India to repeal AFSPA.
Sangma had special and deep concern for the undaunted struggle of Irom Sharmila and her courage to valiantly fight against all odds to have AFSPA repealed and which has crossed fifteen (15) years of her indefinite fast. All the MPs present in the meeting and across party lines, expressed serious concern for Irom Sharmila. His sudden passing away is indeed a great loss to India’s political arena and has cast a gloom, particularly, for the peoples of North East India, struggling for peace, justice, equality and against discrimination.
NEDF acknowledges and expresses sincere appreciation to Late P. A. Sangma’s dynamic and positive leadership in working for the betterment of poor and tribal communities, not only of the North East but of the whole country.
May the Almighty grant his soul eternal rest and peace and at the same time, provide succour to all the bereaved ones in this hour of despair as also to continue guiding the destiny of men and women towards a better tomorrow.