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NERCPA urges govt to talk with ultras
Correspondent SHILLONG, JAN 30:
Published on 31 Jan. 2010 12:12 AM IST
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The North-East Region Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (NERCPA) Saturday asked the Centre and all the State governments in North East to initiate political dailogue with the insurgency groups for peace. “The NERCPA have unanimously resolved that the Centre and all the State Governments in NE affected by insurgency should initiate discussion with insurgent groups to bring them to the mainstream for permanent peace and to ensure socio-economic development in the interest of the people of the region in particular and the nation as a whole,” Assam Assembly Speaker Tanka Bahadur Rai said. Rai who formally handed over chairmanship of the NERCPA to Meghalaya Speaker Charles Pyngrope informed that the North East MPs’ Forum would meet at Gangtok on February 12 and 13 to deliberate on “Prosperity for the common man in the North East through peace”. The two-day brain storming session would be held under the chairmanship of former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister and now Rajya Sabha member Mukut Mithi. “All the Members of Parliament from the NE will come together as a unified caucus on common issues in the region,” Sikkim Lok Sabha MP and NE MPs’ Forum Secretary PD Rai told reporters here. Rai said that the forum would discuss strategic issues and the means to usher in peaceful development in the region with the participation of the civil society. “India as a whole is on a high growth path and North East must take advantage of the situation,” he said. Meanwhile, Meghlaya Assembly Speaker Charles Pyngrope has been elected as chairman of the NERCPA while Wanglin Lowangdong, the Speaker of Arunachal Pradesh Assembly was elected as vice chairman. AFSPA irrelevant Meghalaya Governor R. S. Mooshahary Saturday reiterated that the continuation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in insurgency-infested States of the North East has become irrelevant. “This Act has been in use for long and has lost its relevance in view of the emerging role of the civil society in violence prone areas,” he said addressing the closing function of the 12th North-East Region Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (NERCPA) Conference at the Meghalalaya Legislative Assembly here. Stating that AFSPA has alienated the civil society while fighting insurgency, Mooshahary said, “We cannot contain insurgency related violence by alienating the citizens; we can do so more effectively by involving them.” The civil police, which represents the civil society, needs to be strengthened and reliance on the armed forces reduced for greater cooperation with the citizens in fighting insurgency, the former NSG chief added. Observing that Meghalaya and Mizoram which had their share of insurgency and terrorism were now peaceful while Tripura is also free from insurgency related violence and so is Nagaland, Mooshahary said Assam, the “mother state” of the North East was “fast becoming normal” but for the violence prone Bodo Territorial Council Area. Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim never had insurgency and violence. Only Manipur continues to be a difficult State with violence remaining unabated, he said. Stating that the prolonged insurgency problem was fast changing for better in the region, Mooshahary expressed disappointment to find that seven of the eight North Eastern States were in downward spiral with per capita net income below the national level. Welcoming the Meghalaya governor’s rejection of the AFSPA, former Manipur chief minister Radhabinod Koijam said “This Act has divided India. This attitude of the Government of India of not treating us at par with other states which are also afflicted with violence has alienated the people”.

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