The North East Students’ Organization organised sit-in demonstrations in all states of North East region, as the Government of India has ignored the demands meant for protection of the indigenous people of the region, NESO chairman Samuel B Jyrwa said in Shillong.
The NESO staged a sit-in-demonstration on Wednesday, demanding the Government of India to immediately implement the 12-point charter of demands that includes proper implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the entire Northeast region.
In Shillong, leaders and activists of the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP), Ri Bhoi Youth Federation (RBYF), Hynniewtrep National Youth Front (HNYF) and the Hynniewtrep Integrated Territorial Organization (HITO) participated in the protest held amid tight security.
The protesters displayed banners that read: “CAA is a law for illegal immigrants, ILP is a law for the indigenous people”, “Detect, delete and deport illegal immigrants from Meghalaya”, “The Government of India should grant ILP which is a long pending demand since 1987”, “Save NE to save India”, and “Include Khasi language in the 8th Schedule”
The NESO has been demanding to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958, repeal of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), immediate implementation of the Assam Accord, solving the interstate boundary as well as international border issues, adopt an educational policy for NE region based on cultural and history of NE region.
The NESO chairman said the Government of India has not only turned a deaf ear but instead of fulfilling the demands, they have implemented or rather they promulgated the CAA which is against the interest of the indigenous people of the entire NE region.
“We, therefore, demand the central government to implement these issues so that our identity is not threatened in the near future,” Jyrwa, who is also the former KSU president, said.
When asked about the next course of action, Jyrwa said the constituent organizations of the NESO will be meeting from time to time to chalk out the future course of action.
“The different constituent organizations like the KSU, GSU, AASU and others who are affiliated to NESO are at their liberty to take out any agitations for the interest of the indigenous people of the entire region,” he said.
On the delay of the Centre to implement ILP in Meghalaya despite a resolution passed by the state Assembly in 2019, the NESO chairman said ILP is nothing new as it has been more than 30 years since the KSU has been demanding for its implementation to protect the indigenous people from the illegal influx.
"However, we don’t know the mind of the Centre since they don’t spell out clearly what they have in mind…it shows that the Government of India is not at all concerns about the preservation of our identity, preservation of our culture, of the microscopic indigenous communities in Meghalaya and other states of the NE,” he said.
He reminded that the protest was against the indifferent attitude of the government of India since its Independence towards the NE states.
Jyrwa said that the NESO need not go to Delhi and put pressure on the Central government as it knows enough about the demand for ILP and other issues concerning the indigenous people of the NE region.
“If the government of India is really keen to protect us they can do so but it seems that the government of India through its attitude all these years since independence it has a careless attitude towards the indigenous people of the NE region but rather they are interested only in the land and not the people,” he stated.
The other demands of the NESO include formulating a comprehensive policy for the Economic development of the NE region, the administrative centre of Act East Policy must be established in the NE region itself, solving the unemployment problem by declaring NE a special employment zone and all the grade III & IV of central offices must be reserved for NE people cent per cent and to grant special constitution status for NE people with rights over land and natural resources.
The demands also include separate time zone for NE region, solving the refugee issue of Chakma and Hajong of Arunachal Pradesh and to look into the issue of people from Myanmar crossing over to NE to escape persecution like provision of food and shelter and other welfare amenities till the situation improves so that they can return.
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