EDITORIAL | 49th Statehood Day: The Past, Present, and the Future
FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK:
It was on January 21, 1972, that the trio attained their statehood under the North-Eastern Areas (Re-Organisation) Act, 1971.
Like every year, heads of the country and the states extend their warm greetings to the people on the occasion, wishing them a prosperous journey ahead.
This year, President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, including other central leaders and chief ministers of Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura, namely Conrad K Sangma, N Biren Singh and Biplab Kumar Deb also wished the people on this day.
Each of the three states has its history and story to tell–the mysterious and memorable moments.
The complexities in social, political and economic spheres have given rise to fractured relationships and lapses that are big to be filled. But despite all these, the states are moving forward and making new mistakes.
Breaking free from the clutches of militancy, Meghalaya and Manipur have come a long way.
For Meghalaya in particular, the insurgency is a thing of the past, or so it seems. Unlike Meghalaya, the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) is still in effect in Manipur, though militant activities have considerably decreased compared to the previous years.
The Act allows Army personnel to use force, “even to the causing of death”, to maintain public order, and also grants them executive powers to enter and search any premises and arrest with no warrant.
They imposed it in Manipur in 1980, when the state was a hotbed of insurgency.
With a decrease in insurgency-related violence in the state during the last few years, the Manipur government hopes that AFSPA is repealed.
If you talk about Tripura, it is an open secret that the geography and demography have changed tremendously owing to its proximity to Bangladesh, which is also one reason the state continues to witness ethnic clashes and tension.
Going further back before attainment of statehood, many alleged that the states were forced to merge with the Indian Union and many believe that kings and chiefs had signed the Merger agreement under duress.
Assumptions aside, the rocky journey that the states had undergone during these 49 long years is worth mentioning and recalling.
However, after every storm, there is a rainbow. Over the years, the states also witnessed many reformative incidents, crossed many milestones, and created many memorable moments.
Infrastructural development, growth in the tourism sector, increased exposure to the outside world, cultural integration (to some extent) are a few of the achievements; however, unemployment, corruption, poverty and dismal performance in the health sector continue to plague the states.
From now on, we can only hope that things will change for the better.