GUWAHATI, Aug 31 - Describing Harendra Nath Baruah as a true nationalist, Yumnam Rupachandra, Editor-in-Chief, Impact TV, said that today�s generation has a lot to learn from the stalwart whose legacy as a freedom fighter, fearless journalist, social crusader and noted intellectual evokes a sense of awe.
Delivering the Harendra Nath Baruah Memorial Lecture at a function held at the Vivekananda Kendra here today on the topic �Manipur in the backdrop of AFSPA and Irom Sharmila�, the senior journalist noted that there has been a divided opinion on the stand taken by the �iron lady� who broke her fast on August 9.
�While a section has opposed her decision to break her fast and join politics, many others have stood by her to endorse her right to exercise personal freedom,� said Rupachandra, observing that Sharmila may have ended her fast, but as AFSPA remains with all its draconian facets to be used on the citizens of the North East, people of the region still need to be on their toes.
Lamenting that 16 years of fast for removal of the draconian Act did not yield the desired result, Rupachandra said that voices of the people of the North East for change remain unheard. �There has been a regime change at the Centre. The NDA has replaced the Congress. But the change that Sharmila was looking for has not come. The AFSPA remains as entrenched as ever. The Centre has not even considered making it more humane as recommended by the Justice Jeevan Reddy Commission,� rued Rupachandra.
Rupachandra heaped praise on Sharmila, saying that she has done more for the anti-AFSPA movement than any other individual or organisation. He said that Sharmila brought AFSPA into the focus of the international and national media. �She must also be given credit for arousing the consciousness of a section of Indian intellectuals and activists to an issue far removed from their environment.�
Dwelling on the AFSPA, Rupachandra said that this Act, which was enacted to tackle secessionism and insurgency, has in fact helped in creating more insurgent outfits in the North East.
Senior journalist Ajit Kumar Bhuyan was felicitated on the occasion by the Harendra Nath Baruah Memorial Trust.
Programme at Chandrapur: Tributes were paid to eminent journalist, freedom fighter, Gandhian and social worker Harendra Nath Baruah on the occasion of his 29th death anniversary today.
The Chandrapur Press Club organised a function to pay homage to the great patriot and one of the most outstanding journalists of the pre-Independence era.
The function, held at the Chandrapur Press Club under the auspices of the Pragjyotishpur Press Club, Chandrapur, was chaired by Bibhas Chanda Das.
Rajiv Prakash Baruah, son of the late Harendra Nath Baruah, while placing floral wreaths at the portrait of his father, described how he had sacrificed a better part of his life for the cause of the country�s freedom and held the noble ideal of building a developed, forward-looking and liberal country after freedom.
Addressing the meeting as chief guest, senior journalist DN Chakravartty made a strong pitch for releasing a postage stamp in the memory of Baruah and also installation of a chair in the journalism department of any leading university of the country in his name, besides institution of a State award in his memory.
Speaking on the subject �Role of journalists in Assam�s hour of crisis�, Chakravartty said that the journalists of the State would have to hold before the people and the government the correct ways and means to overcome and tackle problems like illegal migration, encroachment on land by infiltrators and conspiracy engineered by a section of people masquerading as saviours of minority rights.
Referring to the failure of the Sonowal Government to generate public confidence during the last one hundred days, Chakravartty said that he should immediately hold a press conference making a clear deposition of his programmes and achievements to the people of Assam.