Guwahati: Jan 27: Republic Day celebrations passed off peacefully in the Northeast, with colourful parades and functions held in all state capitals, amidst hopes for a lasting peace in the region long-plagued by militancy.
Most state Governors and Chief Ministers spoke of bringing to fruition talks to resolve the many border disputes between the states and highlighted the progress in peace talks being held with militant groups.
After a turbulent winter which saw several bomb blasts and militant attacks in Manipur, Meghalaya and elsewhere, a peaceful Republic Day with many militant organisations including Assam's ULFA (I) shunning their traditional `bandh' calls, was seen as a sign that work on peace pacts in various states was finally paying off.
Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi said while hoisting the Tri-Colour in Guwahati, pointed out that work on resolving the Assam-Meghalaya border conflict was nearing fruition with committees submitting their reports for six areas of difference during the first phase to Chief Ministers of both the states."
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma in his Republic Day speech at Shillong pledged to resolve the border dispute in its entirety. We will work to ensure that the remaining 6 areas of differences are also followed (up) with, he said.
We (the state government) have laid the foundation and Meghalaya will become one of the top 10 states in the country in the next 10 years. We will do it, Sangma added in his rousing speech.
Mukhi also pointed out that since the border clash between the armed police of Assam and Mizoram, the two states - Assam and Mizoram have signed a joint resolution at Aizawl on August 5, 2021, following which all out efforts are being made to normalise movement of traffic between the states.
Talks are also on with other states to settle the long running boundary between the states, the Governor indicated.
Mukhi also announced the creation of Tamulpur district from Baksa in the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR). He also said more than 98 per cent of the fencing along the Bangladesh international border in Assam has been completed.
In Imphal, Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Wednesday said the people of Manipur should work unitedly for a peaceful, prosperous and developed state at a function at the Manipur Rifles Parade Ground.
"We are able to celebrate this day because of the efforts of our forefathers who fought for India's freedom," Singh said. Manipur which witnessed a sudden spike in militancy including a horrific ambush of an Assam Rifles convoy In November last year, where among others the Colonel commanding the unit, his wife and young son were killed, was peaceful.
The state will be going to the polls later next month and peace talks with both the Naga groups which impact both Manipur and Nagaland are being seen as reasons for the improved security situation in the region. Attempts are also being made by the government to reach out to other militant groups of the region for a final peace settlement.
At a colourful function at Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh Governor Brig Dr B D Mishra (Retd) on Wednesday said the decades-old inter-state boundary dispute with Assam, was nearing settlement.
Under the guidance of the Prime Minister and Home Minister, both the states are sincerely working for a permanent solution.
On January 24, Chief Minister Pema Khandu met Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in Guwahati and the boundary resolution talks are progressing in the right direction, Mishra said.
In Agartala, Tripura Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya unfurled the national flag at the Assam Rifles Ground on the occasion of the 73rd Republic Day.
Arya said the Tripura government gives priority to three Ns Niyat (Intention) Niti (policy) and Niyam (rule)," The governor also said that the law and order situation has improved in the state and the government has taken firm steps to put an end to drug menace.
In Kohima at a Republic Day function at the Civil Secretariat, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said on Wednesday, expressed hope for a "positive decision" on the state's demand for an end to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
Speaking of the killing of civilians in Mon district in a botched anti-militant action by security forces, the chief minister said "we are taking every measure to lessen the pain of the family members, who lost their near and dear ones, as well as of all those who suffered injuries."
The state government has taken up with the Centre the matter of removal of AFSPA from Nagaland, he said.
Rio said peace talks with Naga groups were on. The chief minister said all MLAs have come together and formed an opposition-less government to convey to the negotiating parties that the state expects an honourable, inclusive and acceptable solution.
"We will continue to facilitate (talks) and be hopeful of an early solution," he said.