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Northeast needs to integrate themselves before its late to be Indian
Biswendu Bhattacharjee Journalist
Northeast needs to integrate themselves before its late to be Indian
PHOTO : Lynching of rape accused Syed Farid Khan and Police spectators at Dimapur

Brutal murder of the 35 yr. old youth Syed Farid Khan in Dimapur has once again brought to the fore the ugly fact that despite our celebration of 68 years’ of independence, we are to create a niche of India as one nation.

Many Indians and mostly a large section of Northeastern people are yet to comprehend the sentiment of Indian-ness. In spite of serious and systematic  efforts of Indian Army and serious patronizing by  Government of India over last so many years, it is yet to integrate the indigenous population of the region with the mainstream  of the country.

When northeastern people are termed as ‘Immigrant’ or convincingly assumed ‘look like Chinese’ entire nation protests. When Avijit Roy (US blogger) is murdered in broad daylight in Dhaka, we rue saying it is the handy work of fundamentalists. And that it is yet another heinous attack on secular-ism and human-ism. But here even after five days of lynching to death of hapless Farid by unruly mob in broad-daylight at Dimapur, one of the busiest town of Northeast, we the proponents of secular-ism failed to protest it in Avijit’s spirit.

Sequences of Dimapur incident has definitely lowered down the prestige and esteem of India’s democracy and so called fabric of secularism before global community. The country like India where rule of law is always considered to be the supreme in functioning of administration, how hundreds of people can get the audacity to break open a fortified jail and brought Farid out on the street. In an hour long brutality he was paraded naked on the streets of Dimapur before being killed.

The vital question comes, where were the jail police and security forces for hours? Is it not smelled a handy-work of senseless inhabitants of Nagaland in connivance with a section of men in uniform? Is it not an assault of Indian democracy, humanity and secular-ism? Farid was an under trial in jail custody and the state was his safe custodian. He is accused of raping one of the cousins of his Naga wife, which is yet to be probed. It is believed to be a desperate attempt to create communal tension in the region.

I am sorry to put it on record of my personal experiences in Northeastern states, tribes of Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya have the cherished  feeling, “…we are Indian by accident” (sic)” All the native habitants of these states including Manipur hate ‘non-tribe’ Indian vehemently though their daily life is solely dependent on outsiders. These states don’t have any sustainable economic activities worth mentioning and potential work-forces are devoting their entire energy in addiction to drug and other futile activities. We the northeasterners have been crying for more and more central assistance in different envelopes. Somebody is playing drama in front of nation; we the northeasterners are humiliated by mainland Indians – we are recognized as foreigners! What an irony!

I feel it is nothing but an attempt to earn sympathy for getting more money from centre in the name of special package. North East India is the home for more than 166 separate tribes. They are waived of all types of direct taxation including the income tax. As a result this population has large sum of money as surplus which they can afford to splurge. Moreover, huge pumping of fund under various development projects has enlarged the scale of corruption especially in those states even at the level of policy makers. The economy in the region is rising and this has left the people with a lot of disposable income and energy.

We – the so called believers of secularism - there is no caste or creed – everybody is equal. So why should there be tax rebate for the tribals belonging to high income group? Is it not the call of the day to stop for ever and bring an end to the special flow of benefits for these neo-rich! And to withdraw this no tax regime for higher echelons of the people of the northeast? Farid’s murder has strengthened my belief that northeastern people do not want to be developed and some political parties are fueling the thought in different forms and design. Non-native habitants of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Meghalaya and some parts of Assam have been living there like second class citizens. They don’t have any rational voice even for their legitimate rights.

Syed Farid Khan's mother Zubeida Begum,brother Syed Sarif Uddin Khan consoling each other.
If one trusts me, “non-native” students studying in different institutions in these states even from this region itself pass their days in high-tension and physiological agony. How long will the own people of northeast will suffer from the alienation, agony because of differences in community and culture? Why do we endorse the sentiment of legacy like inner line permit for the Indians? The central government and the states having liberal thoughts must come forward to exert united pressure beyond political dynamics against such cult of violence and start taking  practices to assimilate the region first before integrating India as a nation.  


[Mr Biswendu Bhattacharjee is a Journalist and an environment activist based in Tripura, advocates for reforms] send your appreciation and comments pl. send email to or  or post online below

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