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Initiative to foster inter-state peace

Jorhat, Nov. 26: The All Assam Police Association (AAPA) has embarked on an initiative to foster friendship and peace between people of Assam and the neighbouring states with which it has border rows.

As a first step in this direction, a seminar — Police-Public Relations: Strategies and Innovative Approaches in Creating Cordial Relationships between Assam and its Neighbours — is being organised by the association in Guwahati on Wednesday. Representatives of Border Peace Coordination Committee (Assam-Nagaland) — an organisation having representatives from both sides of the boundary and working at the grassroots level to promote friendly ties through sports and culture — will participate.

Police associations of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh will also participate in the programme, which will be inaugurated by Assam Speaker Pranab Gogoi. Assam director-general of police J.N. Choudhury will be the guest of honour.

AAPA has about 80,000 members — all Assam Police Service personnel from the rank of constable to superintendent of police.

The association’s president, Pabitra Kumar Sarmah, told The Telegraph today that the association had decided to support the government in its efforts to build cordial and friendly relations with the neighbouring state at a non-official people-to-people level and also bring the police closer to the public.

Sarmah, who is also the president of Guwahati unit of Asam Sahitya Sabha and is involved in various cultural activities, said art and culture permeated all barriers between societies and hence, AAPA had mooted the idea of developing friendly relations between neighbours.

“We, the policemen, are a part of society and always work at different levels for its betterment. Hence, we think by opening up contacts at the grassroots level, our effort could contribute to a better understanding and make it easy to settle many problems in the future,” Sarmah, a havildar with Assam Police special branch, said.

He said inviting Border Peace Coordination Committee (Assam-Nagaland) to the seminar is expected to give a boost to the efforts undertaken by the organisation. Since 2005, it had been operating along the border between three districts of Assam — Sivasagar, Jorhat and Golaghat — and four districts of Nagaland — Mon, Wokha, Mokokchung and Longleng.

Assam director-general of police Jayanto Narayan Choudhury told The Telegraph that he hoped AAPA’s effort would contribute towards building better ties among people of the neighbouring states. “We welcome any move by any organisation to foster close relations between the people of the states,” he said.

Temsu Wathi Ao, coordinator of Border Peace Coordination Committee (Assam-Nagaland), while welcoming the initiative, said his organisation was expected to get a momentum from such an effort. A nine-member team representing the organisation will attend the seminar.

Ao, who is also the Mokokchung district informatics officer, said the committee had been organising football and volleyball matches and cultural events along the border on both sides and had been able to build cordial ties among communities on both sides. He said on two occasions earlier this year, when there was tension along the border leading to imposition of an economic blockade against Nagaland by a students’ organisation, the committee had actively contributed in defusing the situation by involving informal channels on both sides.