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North Cachar Hills crying for peace

Recent violence in North Cachar Hills district of Assam has attracted entire nation to put efforts to bring peace in this ‘ever peaceful’ autonomous council. A large number of fact finding committees so far have visited the places where violence occurred with hundreds of people killed and houses burnt. Recently a five member fact finding committee of Justice on Trial visited the violence-hit N C Hills district and contacted a number of villagers and tribal groups of Dimasas, Zemes, Karbis, Kukis, Hmars and other indigenous tribes. The people are sincerely crying for peace in the areas.

Women of all tribal and non-tribal indigenous groups also expressed the plight of refugees in the relief camps, where they are put now-a-days. The committee came to the conclusion that prima facie the situation in the Hill district was explosive and needed immediate intervention to stop anti-national, extra constitutional activities of Nagaland declaring it as Nagalim, which is the root cause of the violence in the areas. It gathered the impression that the situation was serious and needed immediate action by the Central government.

The fact finding panel comprised of Justice (Red.) M V Tamaskar of MP High court, Ms Nafisa Hussain, former member of National Human Rights Commission, Mumbai, former Addl. Advocate General, G S Gill, Rajasthan, Y R Patil, retired IPS officer, Bangalore and Social activist Ram Kishor Pasari, Secretary, Gandhi Nagar.

The panel observed that in NC Hills besides Zeme and Dimasa tribes, there are other eleven tribes. The militant groups are DHD(J) belonging to Dimasa community. The Zemes are primarily Nagas and have their own militant outfits. The NC Hills Autonomous Council formed under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India, is a faction ridden council and Dimasas have upper hand. About forty three percent population of the district is Dimasas, who want the Council be renamed, while Zemes and other tribal groups having fifty seven percent population oppose it. That is the root cause of the trouble and insurgency. The Zemes are supported by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), a Naga militant outfit of Nagaland adjoining N C Hills of Assam. About 4000 Dimasa people have taken shelter in relief camps, as their houses were burnt. They are living in a very pitiable condition. The schools are closed and children are deprived of their education.

In its interim report the panel recommended that the hygienic conditions of relief camps ought to be improved keeping in view the sanitation, medical aid, supply of water, baby foods and green vegetables etc. Law and order situation should be improved so that the people may go back to their homes. Since the affected people could not do the farming due to disturbances, they should be given work through NREGA scheme immediately.

The panel also suggested that the senior officials of the district should hold talks with community leaders and prepare environment and mentality to resolve the problems amicably. The separatist movement should be taken hard handed and the state government should consider the demands which both rebel groups may agree and find out solution within the Constitution of the country. The panel assured the media persons at Guwahati that they would submit the final report before the government within a month time.

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Daya Nath Singh's picture

Journalist; Guwahati Press Club office Secretary

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