Voice of North-East India, A Campaign For Equality, Dignity and Justice - 2011
The Prime Minister of India
Today the people of North-East (NE) India face several issues of racial discrimination, victimization and violence outside their home states as a result of lack of awareness among the citizens of India about the people of NE and their culture. Each day, we are made to suffer and feel as foreigners in our own nation.
Within the states of North-East India, government policies such as “The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)” and the lack of control of illegal migration from Bangladesh has resulted in increased alienation of the people from the democratic processes.
The people of north-east India today are making a significant contribution to nation building in all spheres of life (Technology, Sports, Arts, National Defence etc). However the issues stated in this petition must be resolved in order for the people of NE origin to live a life of dignity and hope and to fully realize their vast potential to the task of nation building.
The Government of India must not only give promises but must act urgently and sincerely to restore the lost trust of the NE people in the nation’s democratic processes.
We the undersigned citizens of India, hereby submit this petition demanding the following from the Government of India:
1. Expedite Enforcement of Laws Against Racial Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Violence.
a. Issue directives and engage with various state governments to implement programs to ensure safety and non-Harassment of NE people, especially women who are most vulnerable and have been victimized frequently. The state government of Delhi/NCR must specifically be directed as above.
b. Create a North-East police cell in all major cities manned by people of NE origin. This special police cell would help in improving the communication and relationships between police and NE people hence helping to mitigate the issues faced by them.
c. The resolution of all the pending crime cases concerning victims from north-east regions must be expedited.
2. Reform India’s Educational System. Initiate reforms in India’s education system to improve the awareness of North-East regions of India.
a. Introduce curriculums that emphasis tolerance and respect for ethnic and individual diversity in Indian schools, with a special focus on the history, culture and social background of the people of north-east India.
b. Encourage study and research in the culture, languages and history of NE region in India's institutes of higher learning (University level education).
c. Direct India’s leading educational organizations such as NCERT and CBSC to initiate and lead the above mentioned reforms throughout the nation’s educational infrastructure.
3. Remove “TheArmed ForcesSpecialPowersAct(AFSPA)” from all areas in north-eastern India. Over the years this act has contributed to an ever increasing cycle of violence and a culture of fear and intimidation. It has resulted in the further alienation of the effected people from the national mainstream and democratic processes of the nation.
4. Apologize for Atrocities Committed by Armed Forces on Civilian Population. The people of north east India have valiantly sacrificed their lives for the cause of national defence in every armed conflict the nation has fought. Yet the armed forces of the nation have sometimes committed gross human rights violations on its own citizens, leading to extreme suffering and alienation of the people. We demand the Government of India and the Armed forces to start the reconciliation process by admitting its mistakes and issuing an unconditional apology in good faith to the people of North East India.
5. Modify the National Anthem to be Inclusive of North-East India. The national Anthem of India is oblivious of the existence of all of north-east India. We demand the national anthem of India be modified to reflect the reality of our existence.
6. Completely Seal Illegal migration from India-Bangladesh Border. Complete sealing of the Indo-Bangladesh border should be carried out on a war footing. Unchecked illegal migration from Bangladesh has increased the risk of a demographic catastrophe in NE with far reaching negative consequences. Rising flood water levels in Bangladesh due to global warming is likely to raise this risk even higher. The central government needs to realize that this issue is not only severely impacting the daily lives of the regions indigenous inhabitant’s but is also one of the biggest security threat for the nation itself.
7. Strictly Enforcement of laws on non discrimination.
a. Monitor, detect, and remedy racial and religious discrimination in education, employment, housing and all other aspects of society.
b. Set-up a empowered monitoring committee in each state. These committees must report and act against racial, communal, religious or gender based discrimination.
8. Make effective use of Government Media. Use the vast communication resources available with the Government to raise awareness throughout the nation of the issues stated in this petition.
a. Campaign for anti-racial discrimination messages and spread awareness about North East region via TV, Radio, Newspapers and online media.
b. Designate an annual date in the official calendar of the government as “North-East India Day”. Encourage the celebration of this day across the nation with various activities that raise awareness about the NE region and its people.
9. Increase Investments in North-Eastern States. Increase Investment in the long term economic growth of North-East Region.
a. Promote and invest in environmental friendly industries that leverage and preserve the unique cultural and natural beauty of the NE. These Industries include information technology, tourism (Cultural and ecotourism), sports, arts, handloom & handicraft.
b. Ensure the fruits of modern infrastructure & economic development reach the NE region. Increased investment must be done in rural development, infrastructure, education and health care.
10. Act on this Petition with Sincerity. Government of India must not issue empty promises but must act urgently and sincerely to restore the lost trust of the NE people in the nation’s democratic processes.
Thank you Mr. Prime Minister