Haflong/Silchar, Oct. 11: Only a battle has ended, not the war… the war for a separate state for Dimasas has just begun afresh — this was the message leaders conveyed at a felicitation programme organised here today to mark the signing of the memorandum of settlement between the two DHD factions, the Centre and the Assam government.
J.K. Thowsen, former principal secretary of the North Cachar Hills autonomous district council, said the Nagas had got Nagaland, the Mizos Mizoram and there was no reason why Dimasas could not have a separate state for themselves. “The Dimasas had ruled large swathes of land in the region. Even now there are about five lakh Dimasas. So Dimasas should get a separate state,” he told the gathering at the packed District Library auditorium.
Dilip Nunisa, chairman of DHD (N), echoed the sentiment.
The programme was attended by representatives from several communities like the Zeme Nagas, Nepalis, Kukis and Bengalis from neighbouring Cachar district. They all welcomed the peace accord and unanimously appealed for peace and development in the district, ravaged by years of militancy.
The notable absentees were the DHD (Jewel Gorlosa), which was a matter of concern for many present. Both the Gorlosa and Nunisa factions of the Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) have signed the tripartite MoS, yet differences between them appear to continue.
Leaders of the DHD (N) did not mince words to say that they had no connection with DHD (J). “We are talking of the beginning of a new war for a separate state, but I wonder how this will be possible with the two groups still remaining divided. I even doubt whether true peace will prevail in the future,” said an elderly person who attended the programme.
Nunisa took the opportunity to dispel any fear among the non-Dimasas about their future in the district. “Dima Hasao is as much yours as it is of the Dimasas,” he said. “Please don’t be misled by anyone.” He also sought pardon for any wrongdoing by the cadres that may have hurt anyone.
He explained in detail all the points and salient features of the peace accord in the meeting. He said it would bring about lasting peace and speedy economic and social development in Dima Hasao district for all its ethnic and general communities. The Centre has agreed to grant Rs 200 crore to the Dima Hasao autonomous territorial council in the next five years for development of infrastructure in the district.
Nunisa said from now on, all the attention of the council and the state government would be on the sectors of governance in the district like education, health, farming, horticulture and road development. He promised to strive for timely completion of the Silchar-Lumding broad gauge project and the Silchar-Guwahati highway, a part of the Silchar-Porbander Expressway, the completion of which is long overdue.
He, however, did not say when his once insurgent group would be wrapped up, as featured in the peace accord, but reiterated that it would be done soon.