| Sushil Kumar Shinde |
Shillong, Jan. 28: The North East Regional Parties’ Front (NERPF), a conglomerate of regional political parties, has demanded that the Centre enter into a treaty with Bangladesh to deport all “infiltrators” from the region.
The demand was made through a 17-point memorandum submitted to home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde in New Delhi recently.
The Front comprises AGP (Assam), UDP (Meghalaya), NPF (Nagaland), MNF (Mizoram), MPP (Manipur) and others. Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio is its convener.
According to the Front, the Centre has not taken effective steps to stop infiltration from across the border or detect and deport illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators from the region.
The Front demanded that a treaty between New Delhi and Dhaka be inked in order to deport all infiltrators from the Northeast.
The Front wanted the Centre to cancel the land-swap deal with Bangladesh. The agreement to transfer enclaves to India and Bangladesh was arrived in 2011 during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. However, the agreement is yet to be ratified by Parliament.
The Front also called for constitutional safeguards for all indigenous people of the region and protection of their political, economic, social and traditional rights.
On the Chinese incursion into Arunachal Pradesh, the Front appealed to the Centre to take up the matter with Beijing to prevent further incursions.
Hitting out at China, the Front expressed concern over the actions of the Chinese government to build massive dams in the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra (known as Tsangpo in China), and attempts to divert the river.
“The Brahmaputra is the lifeline of the region. Any attempt to interfere with the natural flow of the river should be considered as an act of aggression,” the Front stated, while asking the Centre to take strongest possible steps to stop the designs of the Chinese government against the Northeast.
The Front was critical of the “piecemeal” way in which the Centre is handling insurgency problems.
“Instead of adopting a total approach to find a permanent solution to the problems, the government has handled the problems in an ad hoc, half-hearted manner by dealing with one outfit at a time, and has created a solution for other outfits to assume prominence and aggressively pursue their demands,” the Front pointed out.
It also lamented that the Centre had never taken the people of the states into confidence to deal with insurgency-related situations.
Referring to the Look East policy, the Front appealed to the Centre to implement it in letter and spirit and to rebuild the Indian portion of Stilwell Road.
It demanded that subjects which are hitherto on the Concurrent List be transferred to the State List while demanding an amendment to the Seventh Schedule.
On the job front, the political parties demanded 80 per cent reservation for “sons of the soil” in all central, semi-central, public and private sector jobs in the region.
Other issues which the forum has raised are electronic voting machines which, it felt, is not a foolproof system and fencing along the Manipur-Myanmar border.
It demanded that no land from Manipur should go to Myanmar.
The Front also called for stringent measures to protect students from the Northeast who are pursuing studies in Delhi and elsewhere.
UDP legislator Jemino Mawthoh, who was part of the delegation to New Delhi, said the Front would hold a public rally in Guwahati in the next few months to articulate the concerns of the people of the region.