R-Day: Northeast defies diktat of separatist militants
Posted on February 2nd, 2014

NJ Thakuria, Guwahati, northeast India

Whenever the Republic Day or Independence Day (of India) approaches, the separatist rebels of northeast India issue boycott calls to the residents of the region. The 65th R-Day also came with the same diktat from a host of militant outfits based in the troubled part of India.

The banned outfits, who are fighting against Indian Union government for independence to self-rule for years, issued a press statement informing about the imposition of a general strike in the entire region starting from 1 am to 5 pm of January 26 with relaxations to the media, medical services and religious activities.

Militant groups namely United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit faction), Hynnewtrep National Liberation Council (of Meghalaya), Kamatapur Liberation Organisation, National Liberation Front of Twipra and the coordination committee of seven Manipur based militant outfits asked nearly 60 million populace to avoid all kinds of celebrations on R-Day. But few people obeyed their diktat, as hundred thousands joined in the celebration across the region.

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While most of the residents joined in the government functions, many organized the R-Day in community levels. Few media persons also took the lead in organizing the program. “Every Indian citizen should celebrate both the R-Day and I-Day to pay homage to the thousands of martyrs of our freedom struggle.

The people of India should show their respect to the National flag on these two auspicious Days as the Tri-colour symbolizes the sufferings and sacrifices of our freedom fighters,” said a statement issued by Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA), which has made it a ritual to observe both the auspicious Days in Guwahati Press Club defying the terrorists’ diktat.

Earlier the Assam based scribe body appealed to the people of northeast India to defy the boycott call of the armed outfits and observe the R-Day with fanfare. The JFA also urged the local press clubs, press guilds and other media persons’ organisations across the region to initiate for the celebrations in the community levels. Assam Governor Janaki Ballav Patnaik, while unfurling the National flag at Khanapara veterinary college playground of Guwahati in presence of a huge gathering, urged the banned militant groups of the State to come for negotiations.

Mentioning that as more as 13 militant groups of Assam have laid down their arms for joining the peace talks with the government, the Governor asserted that violence or diktat has nothing to do in a civilized society. “I appeal to all the armed outfits to shun the path of violence and join the mainstream for the development of the State.

The government is making all out efforts to persuade the other remaining outfits to come forward for negotiations,” said Patnaik. Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi was also present in the celebration. Various ministers of his cabinet and other dignitaries joined in the celebrations across the State and unfurled the Tri-colour paying rich tributes to the martyrs.

Meghalaya Governor Krishan Kant Paul too, while unfurling the National flag at Polo grounds in Shillong, appealed to the militant outfits to come forward for dialogues. Expressing concern over the disruptive activities of some banned outfits in the State, Paul also appealed to the common people to maintain peace and harmony.

Nagaland Governor Ashwani Kumar, while hoisting the Tri-colour in Kohima, also emphasized on peace in the State. Sikkim Governor Balmiki Prasad Singh hoisted the National flag in Gangtok and urged everyone to pay respects and gratitude to the martyrs who laid down their lives for the cause of freedom.

We must recognize that it is because of their selfless sacrifice that we live as free citizens of this great nation, Singh added. “On this happy occasion, let us once again pay our homage to the founding fathers of the Constitution and our brave Jowans, who have laid down their lives in the defence of our motherland. Let us re-dedicate ourselves to the cause of democracy, peace and harmony,” he stated.

National flag was also hoisted with rich tributes to the martyrs by Mizoram Governor Vakkom B Purushothaman in Aizawl, Arunachal Pradesh Governor Lt-Gen (Retired) Nirbhay Sharma in Itanagar, Manipur Governor VK Duggal in Imphal, Tripura Governor Devanand Konwar in Agartala.

The Guwahati based media persons assembled in the local press club premises and hoisted the National with full honour. Senior journalist Dayanath Singh unfurled the Tri-colour and called upon one and all to resist any threat to the dignity of the flag. Journalist Rupam Barua described the significance of January 26 in the freedom movement, which was initially set as India’s independence day by millions of freedom fighters in the British colonial period.

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The participating journalists and other patriotic citizens, led by Hiten Mahanta, Ajit Patowary, Ranen Kumar Goswami, Jagadindra Raichoudhury, Pramod Kalita, Girin Karji, Rajib Bhattacharya, Akhyamala Bora, Ravi Ajitachraya, Purabi Barua, Pradip Thakuria, Kazi Nekib Ahmed, Kailash Sarma, Kartik Choudhury etc, also took out a procession in the streets raising patriotic slogans. “We lit a spark in the press club premises in the face of heightened militancy during 1998 that spreads like a prairie fire,” said Barua adding, “Today the people of all sections in the State with increasing number have started celebrating the R-Day and I-Day ignoring militants’ repeated diktats.

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