Thousands of workers and students belonging to Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and other North-Eastern states have been clambering on board trains to rush back home to their worried families, following racist attacks and propaganda against them over the last few days. Instead of taking immediate and effective measures to guarantee the safety and dignity of these people, the central authorities have been facilitating their panicky flight by arranging special trains from Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad and other cities.
Who or what is responsible for this deep sense of insecurity among masses of people from the North East, that has made thousands of them all at once leave their jobs and scramble on to packed trains to rush back home? The authorities, aided and assisted by the corporate media, have been spreading the completely misleading impression that the threat to the peoples of the North East residing in other parts of India comes from the people of those areas. Various spokesmen of the Indian state are declaring piously that they will “protect” the peoples of the North East as their “brothers and sisters”, and that they have nothing to fear. They are also spreading the propaganda that it is Pakistan that is responsible for spreading rumours that could have led to the widespread sense of terror.
All this is pure disinformation, designed to cover up the real issue. The real source of the anxiety and insecurity of the peoples of the North East lies in national oppression and inhuman state terrorism. It is the Indian ruling class, the central state, its oppressive, terroristic and discriminatory policy towards this region and its peoples that is to blame.
All the peoples of the North-East have been the victims of racial prejudice, discrimination, national oppression and persecution in independent India. It has been part of official policy to regard and portray them as trouble-makers and a threat to India, and to portray the region as being a permanently disturbed area. It is because of this policy of the central state that the region remains underdeveloped; and lakhs of people leave their homes to find jobs and education far away. When they go so far from home, it is the experience of these peoples that they have never received support and protection from the central or state authorities when they face any problems. On the contrary, they are treated with suspicion and humiliated. They are constantly bombarded with propaganda that portrays the peoples of their region as being ‘anti-national’, extremist and separatists. It is this entire situation that is responsible for the insecurity and vulnerability of the peoples of this region within our country.
Army rule is the reality in most parts of the North East. For the peoples of the North-East, the departure of the British in 1947 did not mean the end of colonial rule. The region has been ruled virtually as a colony from New Delhi right from that time. When the peoples of this region have demanded their national and political rights, they have been beaten down ruthlessly, and called agents of foreign powers.
Under Army rule, youth have been picked up, tortured, jailed and killed off. Women have been raped, villages and homes raided repeatedly. All attempts to get draconian laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) repealed have proved futile, no matter how many times the people and their elected representatives have demanded it in unison. To divide and disorient the resistance, the central intelligence agencies as well as ruling class politicians have organised and set into motion various armed groups that fight with each other and prey on the people, adding to the climate of insecurity and terror.
Those young people and workers from the North East who left home and travelled far to various parts of India, to escape the climate of terror and to find jobs that are so scarce back home, find that they are no more secure when they go elsewhere. They are vulnerable to being targeted as “aliens”, as part of the divisive and diversionary politics of the ruling bourgeois class and its rival factions and parties.
Having been at the receiving end of repression and terror at the hands of the central state and its agencies for so many decades, it is natural that the peoples of this region do not trust the central leaders, who are today promising protection for North-Eastern peoples, declaring they are all Indians. Many of them can see that this is actually a veiled threat; they are being told to better be loyal to the Indian Union and its policy, if they want to feel safe.
The intolerable climate of terror and insecurity faced by the peoples of the North East within this Indian Union must be lifted! This requires immediate repeal of fascist laws such as AFSPA, and end to the policy of state terrorism and army rule, as essential first steps towards a lasting political solution.
The problem can only be solved by respecting the national, political and human rights of all the nations and peoples of this region. If this is not done, it is useless to preach to them that they should not feel insecure when they are compelled to go to other parts of India, and that they should feel that they belong to India and India belongs to them.
The Communist Ghadar Party of India strongly denounces the central state and its policy as being the prime source of the oppression and insecurity faced by the peoples of the North East. The discrimination and climate of terror against the peoples of the North East must be immediately ended and a political solution must be sought on the basis of full recognition of the national, political and human rights of all individuals and peoples in this region!