NC Hills Violence: Civil Society demands enquiry

Dimapur, April 30 (MExN): Civil organizations, including Naga apex bodies and the All Dimasa Students’ Union, today stood together in making a number of demands to stop the upheaval in North Cachar Hills and to redress the issue at hand. It further called for a highest level enquiry to look into the persistent violence in the region. 

A joint communiqué was received here from the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights, the Naga Mothers’ Association, the Naga Students’ Federation and Peoples’ Committee for Peace Initiatives in Assam, the All Dimasa Students’ Union, the Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS) and the Assam Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad. 

Expressing concern at the violence, the organizations demanded that the administration in the NC Hills ensure the safety and security of the citizens of the district. The government of Assam should take active steps in creating an environment of trust and dialogue that all communities are assured of a fair hearing of their grievances.

The organizations have urged the “armed opposition groups” to strive for dialogue with the different factions and refrain from targeting non-combatants and civilians. Further, a highest-level enquiry should be constituted to look into the persistence of violence in the district. This commission of inquiry should have human rights activists, public intellectuals and media persons as its members, the joint statement said.

Also, adequate compensation is sought for the next of kin of the deceased, the organizations demanded, and that steps should be taken for relief and rehabilitation of those displaced by the armed conflict.

The joint statement expressed dismay at the manner in which the district and state administration have continued to abrogate responsibility, even as the security of the common people has become increasingly more vulnerable.

“In the last few months, NC Hills has witnessed alarming events that seem to be aimed at creating communitarian strife among indigenous peoples of the district. The context of these events has been the overall neglect of the district and the administration’s lackadaisical approach to solving the political problems of the different communities who live there” the organization said. 

It was lamented that “vested interest groups” have been allowed to create confusion and mayhem among the people, instead of fostering an environment where dialogue between the different communities can take place.

At this stage, the organizations said, pointing to events as possible triggers of the ongoing violence is futile. “While we express our concern about the forced displacement of Zemi Naga villagers in the early part of April 2009, we are equally distressed by the killings of Dimasa villagers by unknown assailants on April 28, 2009” the joint statement said. It would be meaningless to attribute a causal logic to these events, it said, that the tragedy has already been unleashed. 

“…it is incumbent upon concerned citizens of the region to ask all political organisations to exercise restraint, and for the common people of NC Hills to be assured that their plight has not been forgotten” the joint statement pointed out.