Sunday, August 14, 2011

Any more Human Rights violation?64th year of Independence and the Mising tribe

India is stepping to a glorious years of its hard-earned independence which would celebrate the 64th year of liberation.Together with other developing nations,India wants to move forward and take up responsibility cautiously as an aspiring global power.But as the nation marches towards its prestigious red letter day,the abuse of human rights and illegal detentions by the powerful Indian Army reminds us that India needs to understand its own citizens,especially the indigenous peoples.A week ahead of India's Independence day an incident shook a community of nearly 1 million people belonging to the Mising tribe.Ethnic leaders belonging to a community who's following the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi for its emancipation have been subjected to human rights violations that deeply pained the tribe and questions the functioning of the world's biggest democracy.

Illegal Detention and Human Rights Violation
It was a mixture of shocked,nightmare and anger for the Mising tribe youths when they heard that Raju Medok was brutally tortured in a closed dark room in an Indian Army camp in Jonai .Medok was picked up in Rangkop Tiniali on August 7,2011 during the night along with Minesh Pegu where Indian Army stands regularly for routine check to ensure peace and security of the people.Without rhyme or reason,they were given the most barbaric treatment by the mighty Indian Army personnel and later in the same night they were handed over to Jonai police station.Jonai is an small town which has largest concentration of  the Mising tribe's population located in the Assam-Arunachal border in northern part of Assam. He was returning on his two-wheelers from a funeral of a former fellow leader who died in Chennai hospital recently.Both Raju Medok and Minesh Pegu works for Mising Mimag Kebang(MMK),a political organization fighting for autonomy and political rights of the indigenous Mising tribe that  has nearly 10 lakhs souls inhabiting the two northeastern Indian states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.Medok is a very active leader who made a name for himself as a leader of the tribe's student body named Takam Mising Porin Kebang(TMPK) who held the post of general secretary.While Minesh is serving as president- in-charge of the MMK of Jonai District Committee.The TMPK is one of the most respected student body among the Mising indigenous tribe which has  penetration across almost all Mising villages in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.Few days back one of my classmate whose internship project was based in flood affected Matmara in Lakhimpur district of Assam expressed before me that he was immensely assisted by TMPK workers while executing his project.The TMPK as a student body has major psychic influence among the Mising educated youths especially those hailing from rural and town areas across far and wide of the country.Ironically only 2 per cent of the Mising tribe inhabits in urban areas as per a 2001 census of India,so we can well-gauged the organizational influence.Whether one may be directly involved or not,many among the tribes olds and youngs keep an eye on the activities of the TMPK.The MMK is just a sister organization where often former student leaders keep involving themselves in the interest of the community.Both Medok and Pegu  has been admitted to hospitals for better treatment in Dibrugarh,a south bank city across the mighty Brahmaputra river.

There were hue and cry,anger and condemnation over the inhuman treatment  of the tribe's leaders across the Mising lands,voices were echoed not just in Silapathar and Majuli island but in the virtual space too where hundreds of Mising youths uses social media for discussing public issues relating to the tribe.On August 9,2011,the Misings held a protest demonstration in the premises of Murkongselek Kristi Bhavan,another glorious cultural site of the tribe with a record of more than 50 years of the national festival known as Ali-aye-ligang,significantly the premises bear a testimony of cultural assault of a mid-night bomb blast in 2008.The relentless struggle for real autonomy,voices against mega hydro power projects,protection from flood and erosion struggle all are being carried through non-violence and satyagraha.The recent Jonai incident have become another insult to the adorable movement that has ignited a second thought for the future of the tribe  among many .

The illegal manner of detention of the two ethnic leaders questions the conduct and responsibility  of the Indian Army.The fundamental rights that are inherent in every human-being have been crushed.It was nontheless a gross violations of human rights from the people who were meant to engender peace and security to its citizens.


Apologized and it's okay!Manufacturing militancy?

It was fortunate on the part of the mighty Indian Army in a rare kind of it's conduct,the Army officer who was in charge of the regiment of the Jonai Army camp acknowledged the wrong done to the ethnic leaders.The officer came to the protest demonstration site and apologized the Mising ethnic organizations publicly.However,it is always a tradition for the Mising tribe either commute or forgive the people who rightly  acknowledge for misconduct.For thousands years, the Kebang or meeting has been the platform for resolving contentious issues not only among it's tribesmen but to settle misunderstanding with others.In many cases,Kebang always comes out with amicable and honorable resolutions.So it was natural that the tribe gave 'chalte hai' attribute to the Indian Army when it came up with such gesture.It is Mising people's nature to be friendly even with someone construed as enemy,when it comes to Army officer who directly reached out to the people,the usual gesture of 'aiye'(it's okay!) was shown.

Does the story ends here?The ripples were seen in the social media such as Facebook especially among the youths.Many Mising Facebook users asked whether it was the reward for the Mising tribe for being law-abiding and staying peaceful.Others questioned  the leadership of their own organizations and curiously wanted to know the reasons behind the 'compromise' with the Army.Some were suggesting 'kaje,apne-pane ko la:lenlaboi,ngolum me:tid dung amme".(Let's open a shooting-cutting group,others are looking down us.) which made us clear that youths think that due to non-lifting of guns such and such are happening. Someone on the same news post of the tortured incident even called out on Facebook to ''broke all administrative building''.Many youths felt the honour and self-esteem as a Mising community has been relegated to the margins and suggested to ''take all possible steps'' to protect the self-respect.Others opined for punishment under due process of law of the land.These might be just a well of echoes seen on the networking site but one must agree to the fact that it also spoke of the state of notions and psychological effects  among the Mising youths after they heard of the detention and torture of it's innocent leaders.If similar kind of case happened against AASU,ABSU leaders other than Mising tribe many wondered how could it have been the consequences and scenario in the aftermath in Assam.The incident is just adding fuel to anger and deprivation of the tribe.The incident may explains the gradual manufacturing of militancy in Northeast India.

Non-violence and the Mising tribe

If Gandhiji,whom we dearly called the Father of Nation , gave India and the world the new tactic of political struggle i.e.ahimsa or non-violence against the mighty and powerful,the Mising tribe is the one who are vigorously resorting to the principle for social justice and overall uplift.Despite Northeast India being the land of hundreds mutinies and armed revolutions, the Mising tribe have been taking utmost cautiousness to follow the law of the land.The Army's detention of ethnic leaders who represents the "Father of Nation" principles in their struggle for community emancipation without rhythm and reason speaks volumes of Army's operation and conduct.It is alleged that the Indian Army was 'used' to avenge matters relating to collections of donations in connivance with administrative officers,North Indian businessmen and petty politicians in the helm of affairs.If the Army has done so,we must say that our soldiers are not on the  right track.If it was the matter,the state police could have acted strongly if there was such complaints against the organizations and persons concerned.However,for any major events the Mising organizations collect 'donations' not just from the people outside the community but within the community members too.The respected Indian Army in where hundreds of Mising tribe  youths dream to join has sent a wrong signal to the entire community.The Army has planted wrong impression to the public that will alienate them from its own people.

The  Mising have been deeply hurt to the insult done to its ethnic leaders.The Mising tribe never expected such misconduct in a country which is going to celebrate six decades and four years of independence.The fundamental rights and duties enshrined by the founding fathers of the country have been grossly violated against an ethnic minority by the powerful Indian Army.Indigenous peoples in Maoist affected area in other parts of India must have better explanation relating to such matters.

Celebrating Independence with Qualms in Mind

India's 64th years of Independence is a matter of pomp and gaiety for billions of Indians across nook and corner of the country.The indigenous Mising tribe's social,political and economic emancipation is still a distant dream.Thousands of the people belonging to the indigenous tribe has been running for two square meals a day.Children begins their tender  life in the sands of Matmara,on the embankment of Bonkowal.Unabated erosions and recurrence of floods led many  people helpless without food and shelter ,they look for new settlements in the  forests of Arunachal Pradesh,Guwahati ,Doyang Tengani,Karbi-Anglong.....where people have to live their life in constant fear of being evicted by government in where people are branded as encroachers in  the country.The ''sons of soil'' have been frantically searching for the soil to refuge and livelihood within the boundary of the country.Youths in Boginadi villages have to work for migrant settlers by plucking chillies from orchard to eke out a living  in the land which was once  owned by their forefathers.There's no one to explain how migrant settlers got land allotment while tribes remained deprived.Youths serving as security guards in as far as Pune and Mumbai  have to live a life amidst fear during their night duty hours of being 'taxed' by high-class Indians moving in luxurious cars.In Assam where the government has made a policy of recruiting new teachers to boost quality education,there's no provision for reservation for the deprived and the backwards.The children of the indigenous tribes have no right to learn their first lesson in life in their mother tongue which contradicts the real meaning of much-trumpeted ''right to education.'' Men and women in Dikhowmukh and Sisiborgaon have been tortured for practicing withcraft which speaks of the tribe's underdevelopment.The indigenous peoples in India have not been able get out the of the yoke of social evils.Leaders leading political ,social and economic rights movements have to live a fearful life of being detained by the Army.People in the down streams and upstreams where large mega dams have been under consideration are not sure whether their land and livelihood are safe down their generations.The 64th year of India's Independence day reminds us of these challenges ,fear and exploitation of the indigenous peoples.The Mising tribe joins the  celebrations of 'prestigious' 64th years of the country's Independence day with open heart but with loads of qualms in mind.Jai Hind!

Notes and References:
1.Conversations with Kishore Doley,Iran Narah;Ruad Dolung,Khanapara,Guwahati
2.censusindia.gov.in,Miri related files on its website of 2001 census
3.Gupid,Bhaskar;Blogs on www.misingonline.com
4.Mising Students Union,www.facebook.com
5.Pangging ,Arindam; "Premik Bondhu",Sadin,July 22,2011
6.Pratidin,Asomiya; August 9,10;2011
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