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NE ignores’ R-Day boycott call
Published on 26 Jan. 2010 11:59 PM IST
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People came out in large numbers across the northeastern states to participate in the Republic Day celebrations Tuesday, rejecting the boycott call by separatist rebels. Several states pledged to develop the backward region with joint centre-state efforts. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said in the state’s main city Guwahati: “Despite a boycott call by militants, it is heartening to find people coming to attend Republic Day functions across the region.” Five separatist guerrilla groups in the northeast called a 17-hour general strike from 1 a.m. to boycott the Republic Day celebrations. The groups are active in Assam, Manipur and Tripura. “I appeal to all militant groups to shun the path of violence and join the mainstream by holding negotiations to settle their grievances,” Assam Governor J.B. Patnaik said in his Republic Day speech here. Tripura Governor D.Y. Patil said after unfurling the national flag at the Assam Rifles ground in Agartala: “Investment-friendly policies of the Tripura government are attracting entrepreneurs from other parts of India to set up industries in the state.” In Manipur, Governor Gurbachan Jagat unfurled the tricolour at the Manipur Rifles ground at Imphal where the state’s main function was held. He urged the separatist outfits to come to the mainstream and help the authority to develop the state’s resources and eradicate poverty of the people. An official said: “People in large numbers across Tripura and Manipur participated in the celebrations defying the rebel boycott call.” Militant groups in the northeast have for years boycotted national events to protest New Delhi’s rule over the oil and timber-rich region. There are some 30 rebel groups operating in the region with demands ranging from secession to greater autonomy. and the right to self-determination.

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