Skip to content Skip to navigation

Talk on AFSPA by Sanjoy Hazarika at B'lore on Oct 4

Sanjoy Hazarika

Over the past years, the reduction of armed insurgency in the North-eastern states and the growth of dialogue between the State and anti-State actors is a visible change for the better, it appears. But this trend has not led to peace as many had hoped. Instead there is a disturbing increase in ethnic fracturing, mobilization and divisions, most recently seen in the demand for Inner Line Permits in Meghalaya which would require all 'outsiders' or non-tribals who wish to visit the state, once a tourist destination, to get a written 'permit' to travel; this is undercut by demands of the Garo tribe of that small state for a separate state (they say they want to move out of the control of the dominant group, the Khasis). There have been the bitter Bodo-Muslim clashes last year in Assam and the state continues to walk on an edge that combines fear, hope and despair.

Over the years, though, the Indian State has blundered its way through the complex social weaves of the region, trying to understand it and despite good intentions, succeeding in continuing to alienate large sections. For decades, conflicts and confrontations have been 'normal' living in these areas with acute tragedies and bloodshed, though this appears to be abating in one dimension. As a researcher, writer and documenter who has travelled intensively and extensively across the north-east region of India (NER) and its neighbouring countries, Mr. Hazarika, has looked at the workings of the Government, of those opposed to it, the impact of laws that endow security forces and the State with sweeping powers that can take away the right to life and liberty in an instant.

But there are other troubling aspects which are little studied or known: research, extensive field interviews, analysis of existing economic and social data show also that the State and its instruments, as well as those who claim to oppose them, have pauperized and systematically diminished the lives of those who are the most vulnerable and the poorest. Facts tell us that poverty levels in a number of parts of the ER have actually grown in the past decades, not fallen; that MMR (Maternal Mortality Ratio) levels in Assam are the worst in India; that Assam has two districts of five nationwide that report the worst Child Mortality Rates and that parts of the region can be compared to least developed countries like Cambodia and Laos.

Impunity has bred Inequality; discriminatory approaches and failure to deliver both basic services and the rule of law, to heal gaping wounds, have increased both a general sense of as well as the specific growth of Injustice. These three factors -- Impunity, Inequality and Injustice -- taken together and separately, as well as their extensive, cross-sectoral impact tell us that without an end to arbitrariness and draconian laws, without greater openness and democracy and the ability to deliver services without hindrance of bandhs, security operations and pressure tactics - all of which violate the rights of those in whose name both the State, and those who are opposed to it, speak, things can only get worse. In his talk, Mr. Hazarika proposes to look at these cross connections for we live at a time when draconian laws have created different classes of citizenship and citizenry

Sanjoy Hazarika is Director, Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi and in addition, holds the Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew Chair in Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Author of three major books on the NER – Stranger of the Mist, Rites of Passage and Writing on the Wall, he was a reporter for the New York Times, Consulting Editor of The Statesman and is a widely published columnist. He also is a documentary film maker and is Managing Trustee of CNES in NER which has pioneered Boat Clinics in Assam. He is Trustee, National Book Trust of India, New Delhi; Member, Advisory Council, North East Studies Programme, JNU; Member, Indian Institute of Advanced Studies Society , IIAS Shimla; Member Executive Council, Nagaland University; Member Executive Council IIM Shillong; Chairman, Task Force, Ministry of HRD; Chairman, Governing Board, Society for Environmental Communications (Down to Earth); Member, Executive Board, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative; Member, University Court, North Eastern Hill University, NEHU Shillong; Member, Executive Council, North Eastern Hill University, NEHU Shillong.

Azim Premji University has a clear social purpose – of working towards a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society. The University is committed towards developing outstanding professionals for the education and development sectors in India, conducting contextually relevant research in these fields and strengthening the capacities of existing professionals through high quality continuing education programmes.

---

Impunity, Inequality and the State - Looking at and through Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)
By Prof. Sanjoy Hazarika Director, Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi on October 4, 2013, at The Energy and Research Institute (TERI), Bangalore

Venue: The Energy and Research Institute (TERI), Domlur II Stage, Domlur, Bangalore, Karnataka (Click here for Google Maps Link )

Date: Friday, October 4, 2013 Time: 6.00 PM to 7 PM followed by Q&A

Enquiries: events@apu.edu.in

Author info

Nazrul Haque's picture

Add new comment

Random Stories

Pramila deplores BBEC plights

30 Sep 2015 - 8:02pm | Hantigiri Narzary
Amid continuous agitation, Kokrajhar MLA Pramila Rani Brahma has expressed grave concern over the present situation of the Bineswar Brahma Engineering College(BBEC) at Chandrapara in the district.The...

CM plays with people’s ‘emotion’

22 Sep 2015 - 8:50pm | Daya Nath Singh
Despite many differences with the sayings and doings of the Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi, I share at least one of his views on an occasion that the people of Assam are ‘emotional’. He is right, I...

Assamese people safe in Meghalaya

3 Sep 2014 - 6:22am | AT News
The Assamese people in Meghalaya are fully safe and secured. This was more or less of what the various student bodies said to clear the confusion of simmering tension. NESO chairman Samuel Jyrwa...

Mistakes minmized: Himanta

28 May 2014 - 10:15pm | AT News
Hours after SEBA announced the results of the HSLC examination on Wednesday, education minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed to have minimised anomalies and mistakes Addressing a press conference...

Other Contents by Author

“In my entire life I never heard of a fan club being formed on a writer!" – exclaimed an overwhelmed Arup Kumar Dutta." We see fan clubs more of actors or some other kind of celebrities, but a writer, no, I don't remember." And another lady added -" fan clubs are more into meetings, lavish dinners , bronze, or even gold, statues, and here a fan group of a writer have developed a website!" But, what else can you do with Saurav Kumar Chaliha? If you have read him already then you know the answer. And, if you don't, then here is the website for you - created by "Saurav Kumar Chaliha Fan Society" - and formally inaugurated on first of January 2011 in Guwahati - www....
The nameless and faceless assamese writer Saurav Kumar Chaliha once said about himself- “some chaps are somewhat like photographic films, willing to record what they see only so long as they are left in their light-tight obscurity of the camera box, and are absolutely no good any more if pulled out into the open…….”, and to be honest, as a fan of this great legend, I too never want to disturb the tranquil and intellectually obscure life of his! Since my childhood I have only read him and in the process I formed an imaginary persona of his in my mind, always believing that, this one is the real SKC! I grew with such strong “imaginary picture” about this...
The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It's got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. - Theodore Hesburgh What ails Assam? This will probably be a foolish question keeping in mind too many problems we are encountering everyday. The vexed infiltration problem from our neighbor - no solution seems to be in sight in the near future and it is actually leading to lots of other socio-economic complicacies. The insurgency problem- resulting in a security threat to this whole region and also closing almost all paths of development and making us an isolated lot. Problems due to different indigenous tribes coming up with so many demands...