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Northeast needs special attention from rest of India, if so why?

Recent in the News Headlines, was the demise of the chairman of NSCN (I-M), Mr Isak Chishi Swu. He was a pioneer in establishing a peaceful accord with the Indian government on Naga Issue or betterly Naga Insurgency. What was this Insurgency? Why was it there? Does it speak something on the topic that north east India needs more attention than rest of India? Yes, the Naga Issue is one of many cases that speak about the abysmal plight of the people of the North east.

North-East India- The region comprises of eight states- Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Tripura and Sikkim. These states are surrounded by many countries such as Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh and China. Interestingly 99% boundary is international. Apart from this the traditional tribe or people in the region are largely of Tibeto-Burman/ Mangoloid origin and are closer to Southeast Asia than rest of India. But does this distinction means that they are not Indians? Obviously not. The North east India has its own importance, just like every part of the body is important for holistic growth.

But the current scenario is not favourable for North- East India. Our Constitution machinery has failed to address the needs of the people. The region is largely neglected in areas of Administration, Defense, Education, Scientific Development etc. Other than this, some grave problems have also erupted up in present time which is making the matter worse. The recent one is the misuse of AFSPA act by the military personnel. The act has provided dreadful examples of violation of Human rights. The military forces in name of condemning the external threats have committed serious atrocities on the civilians. Though numerous cases have been filed by the civilians but no action has been taken. Thus we see north east in one way being neglected by the government. It is due to this several rebel and revolts are rising. Naga Insurgency is one of this.

Not only restricted to present, but from past the North-East India was largely neglected. The two important reasons are:-

  1. During Colonial era, British captured whole of India, along with North east. But they paid very less attention towards this region. The main aim of the colonial power was economics and the region was not economically feasible. So the north east was vastly neglected and strong administration did not reach in these areas
  2. Post-independence the creation of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) further aggravated the problem. A large piece of landmass went to different nation and the connection of north east India with main land India broke.

Thus we see that the situation starting in the past continues till today. But it should not be so. It is high time government should take stringent steps for betterment of the people. The north east region should be given more attention than rest of India in every matter- Administration, Defence, Education, Employment, Industrial development etc. Recent time has shown that government is serious on this issue. Several schemes have been launched and steps are taken to meet the ends. The Hydrocarbon vision 2022, North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy NEIIPP), reviewing the AFSPA act and cases filed against army personnel under scrutiny etc are few of the steps. Other than this, nearly all the schemes sponsored by the central government have special incentives for this region.

We should not forget that north east India is also a part of the body i.e. India. As for the holistic growth of the body, all parts of the body should be fit and healthy so should be North East India for the main land India. We should not forget that north east India has a major role in promoting India’s ‘Act East Policy’. So we should not forget acting North East first.

- Abhishek Kumar Ranjan