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Renaming NC Hills fuels ethnic strife
Correspondent Diphu, Apr 5:
Published on 6 Apr. 2010 12:35 AM IST
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After the government of Assam decided to rename NC Hills as Dima Hasao District, both Dimasas and non-Dimasa groups have been at loggerheads, fueling fears of resurgence of ethnic strife in the NC Hills.
The Dimasa organizations have condemned it as “appeasing tactics of the Assam Government to DHD (Jewel group)” and a ploy to divert the attention of Dimasa populace from the core issue of Dimaraji statehood demand.
However, several non Dimasa parties representing major tribes such as - Kuki, Zeme Naga, Hmar etc- staged an protest yesterday at Haflong, headquarters of NC Hills and demanded that the state government withdraw the move or bifurcate NC Hills - one for the Dimasa populace and the other half for these tribal communities. A leading Dimasa radical organizations, DHD (N) on April 3 came down heavily on the Assam Government for initiating the step to rename NC Hills,
The DHD has slammed the government Assam for renaming the NC Hills district as Dima Hasao District with the headquarter remaining at Haflong. Publicity Secretary of the DHD, warned that the decision of Assam government could further divide the hills people of Assam and damage the social system of the Dimasa society.
The DHD leaders made it clear that Assam government should address the core issue of the organization for creation of “Dimaraji” state for which Dimasa people launched the democratic Dimaraji movement followed by sixteen long years of relentless armed struggle by the DHD. The Publicity Secretary said the organization has been engaged in tripartite talks for seven long years with the State and the Union Governments for creation of Dimaraji statehood for Dimasas which was the ultimate goal of the Dimasas and the DHD.
“This decision smacks of a double-standard by the State Government which has given priority to the mere five month- old problem and neglecting the two-decade old Dimaraji issue. It is a conspiracy of the State Government to derail the long seven years peace process” the DHD leader said.
The DHD Chairman also appealed the DHD , NGOs, Officers, Civil staff and people of Dimaraji not to be misguided by conspiracy of the state Government.
It may be pointed out that the Delhi-based Joint Action Committee on North Cachar Hills (JAC), comprising Hmar Students’ Association, Kuki Students’ Organization, Zillai and Zeliangrong Students’ Union, staged a protest rally against the decision of the Assam cabinet to rename NC Hills District to Dima Hasao District, at the Parliament Street on March 25. The attempt to create a Dimasa homeland in Assam’s NC Hills has resulted in ethnic cleansing campaign by the Dimasa armed groups – DHD (N) and DHD (J) – since 2003. This led to three major ethnic conflicts: Dimasa-Hmar conflict (2003), Dimasa-Karbi conflict (2005) and Dimasa-Zeme Naga conflict (2009) respectively,” the JAC members viewed.
The conflicts have resulted in loss of many lives and displaced hundreds of families and threatened the prospect of the democratic and citizenship rights of the Biete, Hrangkhawl, Hmar, Kuki, Karbi, Vaiphei, Zeme Naga, etc., who constitute 57% of the population.
The JAC and Indigenous Peoples Forum have put forward a demand for bifurcation of NC Hills if the name of the district is changed one for the Dimasa and another for all the indigenous tribes.

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