Why No One In Assam’s Dima Hasao District Celebrated Republic Day For The First Time

Posted by Bindita Sinhä in Politics, Society
January 29, 2018

Maibang is a small town in the Dima Hasao district, in the Indian state of Assam. The town is located on the bank of the Mahur River. During Republic Day, when the entire country was celebrating India’s Constitution coming into force, it was a different scenario in Assam thanks to a curfew at Maibong in Dima Hasao, along with three low-intensity blasts in Tinsukia district. The confined inhabitants had to lock up their own homes. For the first time, no one in the Dima Hasao district participated in Republic Day celebrations.

The incident took place at Maibang. At least two people died and 10 others were wounded in the police firing on protesters. The protest was in opposition to the proposed enclosure of Dima Hasao district in Greater Nagalim. The police opened fired to separate a crowd who had blocked the Maibang railway station on Thursday. The Guwahati-bound Silchar – Guwahati passenger train, carrying more than 1,000 passengers, was trapped at the station.

The police at first took to lathi-charging the protesters and firing tear gas. However, the situation became more violent when the protesters started pelting stones and attacked the railway station. Some policemen and a higher district officer were also hurt and two vehicles of the district management had been damaged by the protesters. The protester belonged to three Dimasa organisations—‘Jdike Naiso Hosom’, ‘the Dimasa Students’ Union’ and the ‘Dimasa Mothers’ Association’.

The protesters had called a 12-hour ‘Dima Hasao Bandh’ in response to an RSS leader proposing a solution – a plan – for peace in Nagaland. In this plan, parts of Dima Hasao would go to the Greater Nagalim demanded by National Socialist Council of Nagaland before the Centre during the talks. A number of social organisations of the district had been holding several protests and rallies after rumours that a part of the Dima Hasao district will have a satellite council for Naga community.

The situation is under control now with tight security arrangements. The protesters said that the protest was peaceful but circumstances all of a sudden took a violent turn after the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police arrived at the spot and interfered.

It’s not only the media – even the administration is acting apathetic towards the northeastern region of India apart from a supposed number of ‘initiatives’ for the betterment of the northeast. People hardly know about this region. It is true that the northeast has more than 20 members in Parliament.

Northeast India is that portion of the country where at least 200 ethnic minority groups can be found. The region has long been fighting with terrorism. Several incidents happen there but people do not get to know that. Most of the Indian media is paid and it shows only news that will grab attention. The government’s aim is only its own benefit, not for the development of northeast India. It’s high time we started thinking about this.