The Bangalore International Centre had arranged a Talk on “India’s North East” by Mr. K. Sreedhar Rao, IAS (Retd), Chairman of the State Knowledge and Administrative Reforms Commissions of Sikkim with the rank of a Cabinet Minister, on Friday, 28th September, 2012 at 6:30 pm. The talk was moderated by Dr. Ashwin Mahesh, Co-founder and Co-editor, India Together; Coordinator, SAAKU
Mr. Rao started his talk by giving a brief history of the North-East region. He mentioned that the word Assam was applied to practically the whole of the North-East at the time of Independence. It was derived from the word Ahom which it-self owes its origins to the fact that a major part of the state was ruled by the dynasty of Ahoms, which are believed to have come from Thailand.
He said that the North East of India has been a turbulent region almost from the time we attained independence and the situation has been worsening in recent times. This area is today a bewildering mixture of ethnic, tribal, linguistic and religious groups. The recent exodus of people from the North East caused by rumours etc is deeply disturbing. We are now about to destroy the very idea of a united India as a nation state as also the process of economic integration that was taking place. Despite a long history of cultural, spiritual and linguistic links with the rest of the nation and being an integral part of the great Indian panorama, there are any number of separatist groups each demanding autonomy, statehood and even nationhood. Insurgency and violence seems to be endemic.
He pointed out that the in the recent exodus episode, the press had failed to play a constructive role. Without emphasizing that the issue is illegal immigrants pitted against tribals, the press repeatedly gave a religious colour by describing the immigrants as Muslim settlers, inviting the reaction from Muslims in the rest of India.
Some of the points suggested by Mr. Rao as a remedy to the whole North Issue were:
1. Implement the Foreigners Act with vigour
2. Detect and deport all illegal immigrants and delete their names from the electoral roll.
3. Restore the trust and confidence of the people by providing them high standards of Governance and satisfying their basic needs.
4. We must take all measures against cyber threats and cyber-attacks which have done so much damage recently.
5. The people of NE must be convinces that the whole of India belongs to them and many from the NE have become Governors, SC Judges, CEC’s, Central Ministers etc.
6. Eliminate corruption and the contractor-politician nexus.
The talk was adroitly moderated by Dr. Ashwin Mahesh and was very informative and interesting.