Guwahati: The common people of
Northeast India have shown their braveness and gratitude to the
motherland once again on the 63rd Independence Day (of India), as
they came out in large number to join the celebration defying the
diktats of separatist militants. Not only the government functions,
but also the private programmes for the observation of the Day were
flocked by conscious citizens of the region. Mentionable that five
armed outfits of Northeast called for a general strike (starting
from 1 am to 6.30 pm of August 15) to boycott all the celebrations
of India’s Independence Day in the region. The separatist groups
including the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), the National
Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), the Kamatapur Liberation
Organisation (KLO), the Manipur People's Liberation Front (MPLF) and
the Tripura People's Democratic Front (TPDF), said in a joint
statement that they called upon the people to boycott and prevent
the celebration (of I Day) as a mark of solidarity against New
Delhi. The Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council separately called
for a 24 hour bandh in Meghalaya.
The Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, while hoisting national
flag at Red Fort, New Delhi also mentioned about the region and
assured that the Union government continued endeavouring to make the
states in the region equal partners in the country's progress. He
also entrusted that the road, rail and civil aviation projects of
Northeast (also J&K ) would be specially monitored.
“Those who think that they can seize power by recourse to the gun do
not understand the power of our democracy,” reiterated Dr Singh
adding that the security forces and intelligence agencies are being
constantly upgraded with an aim to root out terrorist activities. He
also maintained that New Delhi would succeed in its mission with
full cooperation from all sections in the society. Assam Chief
Minister Tarun Gogoi unfurled the national flag at Latashil
Addressing the gathering, Gogoi urged the separatist groups to come
forward for peace talks. He also asserted that violence and
insurgency can not help in solving any problem of the state.
"Assam's problems cannot be solved through violence and militancy.
Only through the democratic process, developmental schemes and work
can its problems be solved,” he commented adding, “Due to militancy,
many innocent people died, several rendered disabled for life, women
became widows and children orphans. Government will never tolerate
such activities of insurgents.”
Celebrations took place in every nook and corner of the state to pay
tributes to the patriots and martyrs who suffered and sacrificed
their lives for the freedom of the nation. The journalists and
citizens gathered at Guwahati Press Club to observe the day, where
the National flag was hoisted by the eminent Assamese
litterateur-journalist Nirupama Borgohain.
Another veteran journalist, Dhirendra Nath Chakravarty, while
explaining the significance of the Day, gave an outline of the
country’s struggle for freedom and said hundreds of valiant heroes,
who had sacrificed their lives, are yet to find a place in recorded
history. He also led a procession, where hundreds took part with the
Tricolour in hand and raising patriotic slogans.
Rupam Baruah, a Guwahati based senior journalist, argues that the
national flag symbolizes the spirit of a nation that fought for
independence from the clutches of the British imperialism.
“Tricolour is the symbol of our common strength,” asserted Baruah
adding, “On the two very special days (15 August and 26 January),
related to our freedom-struggle, we hoist and salute the National
Flag to pay our heartfelt homage to those countless patriots and
martyrs who suffered and laid down their lives for motherland's
freedom. Because of theirsacrifice we live today a free people.”
Other northeastern States also witnessed the participation of people
in the I-Day programmes, where they hoisted national flags, saluted
it and sang national anthem besides joining in processions. In
Manipur, chief minister O. Ibobi Singh unfurled the national flag in
Imphal, where as Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio graced the
I-Day celebration in Kohima.
Similarly, Meghalaya chief minister DD Lapang unfurled the Tri-colour
during the government programme in Shillong, which attracted an
impressive gathering even though the banned Hynniewtrep National
Liberation Council imposed a day long bandh (strike) in the State.
Sikkim chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling hoisted the national flag
in Gangtok and the Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar joined the
occasion in Agartala. Arunachal Pradesh government head D. Khandu
hoisted the national flag in Itanagar, where as in Indo-China border
at Bumla near Tawang, the armed force personnel from both India and
China routinely joined the I-Day celebration.