NESO also called for a “time-bound” solution to the protracted Indo-Naga issue that is “acceptable, honourable, and inclusive”.
By Imna Longchar, TFM Nagaland Correspondent
North East Students’ Organization (NESO) on April 13 resolved to oppose the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) in the Northeast region on the ground that the region has only few Central universities and the students from the region were lacking behind in many aspects when compared to the students from different parts of the country where education system is far much “superior”.
Following a “change of guard” of NESO for the tenure 2023-26, the organisation now has Mutsikhoyo Yhobu (Nagaland) as the new general secretary. The change of guard function was hosted by the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) at the conference hall, Tourist Lodge, Dimapur.
New NESO chairman, Samuel B Jyrwa, while addressing media persons laid out the many different demands on behalf of the organization which included the CUET, Medical College, Assam Accord, and ILP issues and expressed hope that the new team would now reach out to the government of India and the various governments, governors of the region, and the central leaders as well would undertake agitations in the coming days.
NESO chief advisor Dr Samujjal Bhattacharya, throwing light on the many issues faced by the indigenous people of the region and also expressing resentment towards the central government for not acknowledging on the many issues, also criticised the government for not providing adequate educational institutions including both technical and non-technical and professional institutions for the students in the region and stressed on the need for medical colleges in Nagaland with one starting immediately and another in the near future.
Stating that thousands of students from the region leave their homes for higher studies in many cities across the country including Delhi, Pune and Bangalore, however, he added that students who are unable to afford or access higher education rely on the limited resources available in Nagaland thus there is a need for more institutions bin the area
Also noting more than Rs 300 crores annually are spent by students leaving the region, Dr Samujjal underlined the need for a “time-bound” establishment of a medical College in Nagaland with financial support from the central government. He further lamented that despite frequent visit to the region by the prime minister, home minister, and other central leaders, the concerns for the region remain unaddressed.
Jyrwa condemns China renaming parts of Arunachal Pradesh
Meanwhile, the new chairman, NESO, Samuel B Jyrwa, has condemned China’s renaming of some parts of Arunachal Pradesh and accused the Chinese government of attempting to grab the land.
Calling on the Indian government to show seriousness in dealing with China’s “aggressive” nature, similar to its efforts in the Western part of the country, Jyrwa, criticized the Indian government for not resolving the issue of “stapled visas” for Arunachal Pradesh residents which has impacted them for more than decades.
Supplementing on the same issue, Dr Samujjal, demanded that the provision of “stapled visas” be scrapped by saying that many might not even know that such an arrangement continues to exist even after 10 years of governance (by same government) and that the Indian government must show “boldness” in doing away with the provision.
Illegal immigrants, CAA & ILP
On the issue of illegal immigrant, CAA, and ILP, Dr Samujjal, called for a comprehensive approach by the Indian government in order to solve the alarming issue of illegal influx of foreigners in the region and suggested for detection, deletion, and deportation of illegal immigrants.
Mentioning that the influx in northeast has threatened the identity of the region’s indigenous people and altered the democratic pattern, Dr Samujjal, also criticized the imposition of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on the people of the region and demanded its complete withdrawal.
He further argued that if the CAA is bad for ILP covered states and the 6th Scheduled areas where the Act had been relaxed, it is not suitable for the rest of the region either.
He also called for the implementation of the Assam Accord within a specific time frame, introduction of the ILP in the entire northeast region, and comprehensive National Register of Citizens (NRC) for the entire northeast.
On Indo-Naga political issue & AFSPA
On Indo-Naga political issue, and the AFSPA, both NESO chairman, and the advisor, Jyrwa, and Dr Samujjal, called for a “time-bound” solution to the protracted Indo-Naga issue that is “acceptable, honourable, and inclusive”.
Stating that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) needs to be withdrawn from the region, and to talk about the sufferings endured by the indigenous people, Dr Samujjal also mentioned that while after the Oring incident and intense protest against it, the government of India has been relaxing areas that fall under the purview of AFSPA, it should be, however, removed in-toto from the region.
Other demands and the way ahead, Dr Samujjal urged the GoI to trat northeast as “special economic and employment zone”, transforming it into an “economic hub” rather than exploitation corridor.
He further demanded a “permanent solutions” to border issues, measures to address Assam’s flood and erosion problems, and the inclusion of Kokborok, Khasi, and Garo languages in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
Drug menace in Northeast, border issues
With regard to the drug menace in the northeast region, Dr Samujjal Bhattacharya called for ” immediate action” by the concerned government authorities to evict all drug dealers from the “soil’ of Nagaland and the northeast.
On Inter-state border issues
On the inter-state border issues, he said that it was the government’s duty to resolve border disputes and that NESO’s role in the border areas was to focuss on fostering people-to-people relationships and connectivity.
When queried about the prosecution of Christians in some states of Northeast, he stressed that the government must ensure the protection of every citizen’s faith as per the Constitution of India, and he further highlighted the unique and positive relationships among people of different faiths in the region, and also urged the government to continue protecting and upholding these relationships.
Meanwhile, the new NESO executive committee has planned to meet the central leaders, state governments, chief ministers, and governors of the northeastern states in order to press upon them to address the many issues.
It further went on to add that if the government fails to do so, NESO would undertake democratic agitations and the nature of the same would be decided at its executive council meet to be held shortly in Shillong, Meghalaya.