Guwahati (Assam), September 23, 2018:
The first-ever InsideNE Youth Conclave 2018 that was held on Saturday concluded successfully.
The conclave was organized with an aim to discuss and cover a wide range of topics from socioeconomic, political to cultural issues across the North East. Various renowned faces including Tripura’s Deputy Chief Minister, Kanhaiya Kumar, noted journalist Samudra Gupta Kashyap addressed the distinguished and intelligent gathering.
During the first panel discussion on the topic “Are regional parties losing out to national political parties?” at the first “InsideNE Youth Conclave” AGP leader said, “The AGP will pull out its support to the government the day the Citizenship Bill is passed. We will call it quits even if we get the feeling they will pass the Bill.”
He said the AGP stood opposed to the Bill and this was evident from the series of rallies that the party had organized against the Bill.
Speaking on the topic, he did not agree that the regional political parties were losing out to national political parties and cited the examples of various regional parties holding sway in mainland India.
“Our alliance (with BJP) was stitched as it was the need of the hour. People were frustrated with the then ruling Congress. By aligning with the BJP, we are not merging with them. Our alliance will continue till 2021,” Patgiri said.
Tripura Minister NC Debbarma said: “This is an era of coalition. National and regional political parties should respect alliance dharma and work hand in hand”.
He said there were seven recognised national political parties compared to 62 state parties. There are 20 recognized state parties in the Northeast, he said.
“It is nationalism for the national political parties and sub-nationalism for the regional political parties. The regional political parties work on issues such as regional hopes and aspirations besides regional problems,” Debbarma said.
Assam BJP leader Jayanta Malla Baruah said both national and regional parties are needed. In places, regional parties are needed to highlight local issues, he said.
“Despite not being a necessity, we are in alliance with some because our ideals are the same. But through alliance, we don’t want to kill any political party,” he clarified.
Speaking on the topic “Northeast in mainstream media”, senior journalist Samdragupta Kashyap said: “The media strategy has to be evolved within our people. Also, for most editors in Delhi, India ends in West Bengal. The Northeast is not on the radar. So, if you don’t come to Northeast, how will you know and understand the region?” he asked.
Mrinal Talukdar, a Guwahati-based senior journalist, also highlighted how the mainstream media remains aloof to the happenings in the Northeast. In this regard, he underscored the recent devastating floods and landslides in Nagaland which, he said, were worse than the floods in Kerala.
However, Jarpum Gamlin, a senior journalist from Arunachal, felt that the term “mainstream media” is a misnomer. He said it was not true that the national media does not cover the Northeast. “It is for the reporters on the ground to do the job. The editors will pick up the stories,” he said.
Kartikeya Sharma, political editor of Wion, said the media contents are decided by demands. Broadcasting operations is a business. TRP is not a bad thing, for one needs revenues to survive, he said.
“Nobody operates in vacuum. It is a two-way traffic. Contents are based on viewers’ requirements,” he added.
While speaking at the conclave, Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma felt that the perception in mainland India that people from the Northeast are “different” could be removed through the sharing of ideas.
Speaking at a discussion on the topic “Mainstreaming Northeast challenges” at the first InsideNE Youth Conclave in Guwahati on Saturday, Dev Varma said mainstreaming of the Northeast does not mean the assimilation of cultures.
“Even in the Northeast, the people-to-people contact is very less. We must be able to share our ideas and contribute. The perception will change when we share our ideas. Perceptions are formed by distances – psychological and emotional – but not necessarily geographical distances. India is not homogenous. It is a multi-mosaic of cultures. The identity of the indigenous is well-defined by cultural activities,” Dev Varma pointed out.
Talking about the challenges in the Northeast, Congress MP from Arunachal Ninong Ering identified drug abuse and unemployment as the two biggest challenges. He said the jobless youth could easily go astray.
On the Centre’s much-hyped Act East Policy, he said, “You have to jump. But first, we need the roads”.
He also spoke about racial discrimination of the people from the Northeast in mainland India particularly in the metros saying “despite being Indians, we cannot integrate. Probably, this is due to our cultures”.
Former Assam Congress Minister Pradyut Bordoloi said all states in the Northeast had suffered due to secessionist movement.
“Earlier, there was a notion that we need peace for development. When Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister, we said development must come first for peace to prevail. So, that was a paradigm shift. Today, peace prevails across the Northeast. What we need is incentives from the Central government for a certain period of time for things to look up. The incentives are needed as the market in the Northeast is very small,” he said.
He also said that the perception about the Northeast was fast changing in the country. “What made this possible is that thousands of our youth are fanned across the country for studies and jobs,” he said.
Rajya Sabha MP, Biswajit Daimary speaking on topic said, “Mainstreaming our position is not advisable because we regarding our culture, geography, identity are not on the same page. On what basis we can be united? This is the main issue and some leaders taking the name of Nationalism have divided the regions.”
He added that everyone has their own culture and identity and putting forward every region’s diversity is a challenge. By adopting the right policies we can include everyone.
Renowned Assamese actress Zerifa Wahid, while delivering the speech at the Conclave said, “There is a general assumption that Assamese movies are not good enough to watch and they are not appealing to the viewers. There are negative vibes in the mindsets of the people but the real thing is entirely different from this.”
“It is not right to assume that Assamese movies are not running well. It’s only happening in Guwahati only. The people outside of Guwahati are appreciating the Assamese movie and also they are cinema literate,” She said.
The final speaker was former JNU Students’ Union president, Kanhaiya Kumar.
Kumar while speaking at the InsideNE Youth Conclave 2018 said that he is never asked for Freedom from India but what he asked for was Freedom in India.
Kanhaiya Kumar speaking on the issue said that they were being misquoted by a section of people and they never demanded freedom from India. Kanhaiya said that what they wanted was freedom in India. They wanted freedom from poverty, castes, communalism, hatred and other such issues.
Kumar criticizing the over the recent Rafale deal said that the more the government tries to hide the issue, the more questions will be raised. Because of this the government is being forced to change their statements on a regular basis.
Kumar added, “The Prime Minister speaks about the price of LED bulbs but when the issue comes to the Rafale fighters jets, he keeps mum. It is very fishy that the tender to manufacture the Rafale jets were given to Reliance instead of a government department.”
Kumar added that all this lie of the current government regarding the Rafale deal has come to light after the former France president François Hollande and the officials of Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) said that the HAL could have manufactured them but they were not given the opportunity.
He added, “One can see a smiling face of Modi at various petrol pumps and advertisements of Jio but he is never seen promotions of BSNL”, he added.
“Is the PM privatized?” he questioned.
Speaking on a recent statement by Amit Shah, Kumar said, “Who is Amit Shah to claim that the BJP will rule in India for the next 50 years. Is he a descended Akbar? One person alone cannot decide who will be in the government as India is a democracy and only the people of the country can decide it.”
Kumar also said that Narendra Modi is the first kind Prime Minister who lied from the Red Fort.
He stated that starting from Demonetization, GST and many other such schemes undertaken by the PM is a failure.
“Where is the black money that the PM promised to bring back after demonetization? Where are the jobs that were promise?” Kumar asked.
He also talks about the superstition which is being spreading by the BJP.
He added that Hinduism is not in danger, but democracy, science, logic, debate, humanity, equality, history, geography, culture etc are in danger.
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Guwahati (Assam), September 23, 2018: