Itanagar: Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) chairman Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma on Tuesday said if the central government wants to resettle the persecuted religious minorities under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, then the settlement should be done across the country and not just in the northeast.
“The CAA was only brought into effect by the Central government to win elections in West Bengal and now that it’s over, the government must either take it back or exempt Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya from its purview,” Debbarma said.
Addressing a conclave organized by the state unit of National People’s Party (NPP) at the Dorjee Khandu State Conventional Centre here, Debbarma, also the Maharaja of Tripura said that the people of the northeast need to understand that if Assam is not safe then so is Arunachal Pradesh and if Tripura is not safe, the same applies for Mizoram.
“We will also have to stand together and voice our concerns against the divide and rule policy. If we are resilient we will be able to achieve all our aspirations may it be regional,” he said.
Speaking on the topic “Striving for Regional Aspirations through Political Aspirations”, Debbarma said politics is not only about elections but also about policies.
“The government at the Centre, may it be the BJP or Congress has always followed a policy which has come out from Delhi and all the decisions for the northeastern states have been made by people who have no connection with the region. The people of the northeast are in one way or the other fighting for a space in their own states. This is because the space has been denied to us over a period of seven decades” he said.
Debbarma said such issues would not rise if we have regional parties that would understand the regional issues and work on addressing them.
The TRIPRA chairman further said that the people need to start asking questions, be it uncomfortable ones and most importantly promote one’s cultural identity which he said would give us respect in return.
“We need to have faith in our beliefs and the courage to challenge the system if we want a change. Elect the right people who have vision for your state and not the ones who give money in elections. Don’t forget that the cash that they spend is your money,” he said.
Meanwhile, the conclave also saw a plethora of speakers from various fields of academia, journalism and political parties participate and share their views.
Speaking on the topic “Need for regional political parties and its challenges,” Asom Jatiya Parishad (AJP) president Lurin Jyoti Gogoi and national affairs editor for The Wire, Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty highlighted the need for a regional party to address local issues while Meghalaya cabinet minister and NPP national general secretary James Sangma spoke on the need for the political heads of the northeast to come together to solve burning issues of the region.
James also spoke of the Centre’s push for oil palm cultivation in the northeast and its implications in the national and regional aspects.
A discussion on “Interplay of religion and politics-evolving scenario in Arunachal Pradesh” between Arunachal Christian Forum president Toko Teki and Nyishi Indigenous Faith and Cultural Society president Pai Dawe saw the speakers share their views on the influence of religion on politics, while NPP Nagaland state president Dr Andrew Ahoto, while speaking on the topic “Naga Peace Process and the politics of it” highlighted the opportunities and obstacles of the Naga Peace Process and its influence in the region.
Speaking on “Refugee Influx, a challenge to indigenous identity”, The Shillong Times editor Patricia Mukhim and India Today deputy editor Kaushik Deka highlighted the issue of illegal immigrants in the northeast and the need for coming up with an action plan to solve the matter.
Independent journalist Makepeace Sithlou, Eastern Sentinel managing editor Kenter Joya Riga, NPP state general secretary Paknga Bage, The Dawnlit Post chief reporter Ranju Dodum, NPP state secretary Pura Khongkhung and RGU Mass Communication head of department Moji Riba were the moderators of the discussions.
State NPP president Mutchu Mithi, vice-president Thangwang Wangham and NPP legislator party leader and Seppa MLA Tapuk Taku also spoke on the occasion.