(Some white lies that only tell the truth)
In an unanimous decision taken by the centre and the state government of Assam, the Barak Valley region of the state comprising the three districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi have been declared independent.
In fact, the decision was taken with such mutual consent that no meeting related to this issue was even organized by the state or central governments. The decision is interesting in the light of the fact that there is no secessionist movement going on in these districts unlike many other parts of Assam.
The preparations for declaring the valley independent was going on for the last few years. The national highways connecting the valley with the rest of the country have been left unrepaired and the railway link also has been virtually discontinued barring some intermittent services which get halted within weeks anyways either due to terrorist attacks or landslides.
However, as part of its long term policy to finally declare the area independent, the government has made no effort to improve the situation. The state government has also not spent any resources on maintaining the civic amenities within Silchar, the main city of the region. The roads, drainage, power supply, health facilities are all in a shambles as the Assam government was not keen on spending any more money for ‘this alien land’.
These ‘efforts’ made by the government have now rendered the valley completely inaccessible from outside. The air services run by the state run carrier Air India are still continuing but they will be removed in a ‘phased manner’, government sources said.
Though the public was not informed about this decision of the government, the two ministers representing the valley in the Assam cabinet, twelve MLAs and two MPs from the region were well aware about these plans. Therefore, they decided not to do any developmental work for their constituencies in the last few years.
The decision has got a mixed reaction from the people of the valley. The Senior Citizens Pratibadi Mancha has decided to organize a procession (michil) to protest against the decision. It may be noted that this organization comprising of senior citizens of the valley has organized more than 500 such processions in the last few months protesting government inaction on various issues.
As the valley does not have any youth based social organization, this correspondent asked a 25-year-old-youth about the ‘recently achieved independence’. The youth said: “I must pack my bags and leave for Delhi before they impose passport restrictions. The air connectivity also might be discontinued soon. I don’t have the time to do any andolan (protest) here”.
Another youth from the valley, working in Delhi said.”I have already booked a flat in NOIDA. I will call my parents here at the earliest. So I am not concerned”.
Many separatist leaders active in other parts of the north east have expressed surprise at this government decision. “We have killed thousands, extorted millions of rupees from the poor, and still the government didn’t grant us independence. Rather they spent millions in making our people happy. And look at Barak Valley, these poor Bengalis have been given independence without any struggle,” a prominent separatist Naga leader said.
The Central Government spokesman was not available for comment as he was busy at the President’s dinner organized for US President Obama.
(Yes, these are white lies. The people of Barak Valley are among the most patriotic. They dont ask what the country has given them, rather they take great pride in being a part of the world's biggest democracy. But, are these lies too far away from the truth? Some food for thought........:)