Defying militants' diktat, Northeast celebrates India's R-Day
If the mainland
The R-Day, this year, too witnessed the participation of citizens, students and journalists, who had joined both the government and public celebrations on January 26. The official R-Day functions in the capital cities of the region was thronged by the local people in considerable number. The celebration was peaceful at large in the region, where the banned outfits called for boycotting the Day. The underground groups also called for 17 hours General Strike to prevent the celebration, but it had little impact in the region except in Manipur, where the R-Day was observed with tight security.
While the President of India, Pratibha Devi Singh Patil unfurled the National flag and took salute of the armed forces at the Rajpath in
The incredible spirit and strength was shown by the residents of Northeast, the land that nurtures nearly 30 militant outfits, who are fighting
The citizens of Guwahati, the prime city of Northeast, not only joined the government programme at the Judges Field, a group of senior citizens and journalists assembled in Guwahati Press Club to observe the R-Day. After hoisting the National flag at the press club premises, the participants in the programme took out a procession which paraded the main streets of the city chanting patriotic slogans like Bande Mataram, Bharat Mata Ki Jai and Jai Ai Asom.
Hoisting the Tricolour, veteran journalist DN Chakrabarty called upon the people to remember the 5,000 martyrs and their sacrifices in the 1757 Battle of Plassey, the 10,000 martyrs of 1857 Sepoy Mutiny and the martyrs of the 1942-46 movement against British colonialism. "We should also remember the 150 martyrs who had to go to the gallows for the sack of
This year, the insurgent groups of Northeast namely the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), Manipur People's Liberation Front (MPLF) and Tripura People's Democratic Front (TPDF) issued a joint call to boycott of the R-Day. In a statement, signed by the ULFA chief Arabinda Rajkhowa, the banned armed groups also called for a general strike beginning from the midnight of January 25 till 6 pm next day and made plea to the revolutionary people of the region to prevent celebrations of the day.
"The imposed Indian constitution has undermined the basic unity of the region by fragmenting it on ethnic lines as part of
But the boycott call was hit back by a group of writer and working journalists, who had appealed the people of the region to defy the diktat and hoist the National Flag atop their houses and in their localities on the occasion of 59th R-Day. "The Republic Day of the country should be celebrated by the citizens in recognition to the sacrifices made by the martyrs, who accepted martyrdom to wrest liberty for their compatriots. Many of their colleagues also under underwent tremendous hardship to free the country from the colonial yoke," said in a press statement issued by the groups of writer-journalists.
The statement, which was signed by Nirupama Bargohain, DN Chakrabarty, Rupam Baruah, Hiten Mahanta, Ajit Patowary, Ranen Kumar Goswmai, Bhupen Bargohain, Nava Thakuria, Pramod Kalita, Sabita Lahkar, Mukul Kalita, Manish Goswami, Kumud Das and Girin Karji, also added "The people of the region should remember those martyrs and freedom fighters on occasions like Independence Day and the Republic Day by hoisting the Tricolour in a befitting manner."
In Kumarpara and Athgaon localities of Guwahati also witnessed the hoisting of National flag, where distinguished personalities like the former Gauhati High Court judge Jitendranath Sarma, eminent educationist KM Pathak attend the programme. Similarly, in Dhemaji of eastern
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If the mainland India observed the 59th Republic Day with fun fare, the trouble torn northeastern region of the country celebrated the Day with utmost conviction. Comprising eight States, the land locked region had been witnessing a regular ban on the celebration of both the Independence and R-Day of India by the outlawed militant outfits as a mark of their protest against New Delhi for many decades. But amazingly, the public support and participation has been increased in the last few years, where the citizens have made it a habit to defy the diktat of the insurgents and celebrate the Days with great fervour.
India has largely turned a blind eye to militant groups operating in its far-flung Northeast, the growing Islamisation of the region provides more than enough reasons for New Delhi to start paying closer attention to its Northeastern border. Stratfor has been closely monitoring the growing nexus between India’s Northeastern insurgent outfits and militant Islamist groups that regularly traverse India’s extremely porous border with Bangladesh.