Speaker: Shri HK Deka, IPS (Retd), Former DGP, Assam
Focus Speaker: Dr NG Mahanta,
Head, Peace & Conflict Studies Centre, Gauhati University
Speaker: Dr Akhil Ranjan Dutta, Reader, Department of
Political Science, Gauhati University
Focus Speaker: Shri S.G.Kashyap, Northeast India Correspondent,
Shri Abhijit Sharma, Faculty, Indian Institute of Bank
Intense discussion among everyone
present was seen in every session.
- It is a more difficult task for the government to
talk peace and end a conflict by coming up with an
acceptable peace formula than being engaged in a routine
counter-insurgency operation. Now that almost all
the insurgent groups are on a ceasefire, the challenge
before the Government is much more than before.
- If this is a challenge for the government, it is
also a challenge for the militant groups—after
all, negotiations itself means working towards an
acceptable solution. And, this involves a give and
- There is a linkage between ethnic aspirations, insurgency
and lack of development. Governance has to improve
for things to change. If governance improves, frustration
among the people will reduce.
- Need for a holistic approach and a close coordination
between the government and civil society to bring
about development and progress in the area.
||Address by Chief Guest Shri Rong Bong
Terang, President, Asom Sahitya Sabha
- The militant groups and the Government must realize
the futility of using violence as a means of solving
social, political and economic problems
- Need for corresponding increase in the awareness
level of the people in the two districts, irrespective
of their ethnicity, social status, political affiliation
||Overview by Dr Udayon Misra, Author and
Analyst, former Professor of DU
||The major issues disrupting peace in
the hill districts are:
- Lack of distributive justice
- Violation of rule of law
- Prevalence of the ‘We’ versus ‘they’
||Address by Arun Sarma (Padma Shree),
- The challenge is how to work out a solution that
lasts, a solution that can satisfy the hopes and aspirations
of the people and at the same time something which
the Government can actually agree to and give.
- All militant groups in the two districts are now
on a ceasefire. There cannot be any better scenario
than this to start work towards making peace in the
- The main challenge is of governance, and civil societies
can contribute their bit in improving governance.
After all, the people who rule the two districts are
their own people and they must therefore be held accountable
to the people.
||The Executive Summary:
- Root causes of insurgency in the districts are a
deep sense of insecurity among the tribal people,
fear of losing their culture, fear of losing jobs
and fear of losing their land to the outsiders
- The political and economic aspirations of the Karbis
and the Dimasas need to be addressed but there is
a need to balance their demands against the genuine
concerns of other tribal communities
- For permanent peace in the hills, some significant
steps have to be taken:
- i) spread of education,
ii) proper utilization of resources
iii) professional training
iv) a new policy of land and agriculture
v) eradication of corruption
vi) creation of people’s awareness to generate
a work culture and
- Government has to be more proactive and solve the
problems of insurgent groups. The delay in the peace
process can adversely affect the society.
- Need to understand the sentiments of the tribal
- Corruption and lack of education are the main problems
faced by the tribal people in the districts. Government
must understand the practical problems of the people
in order to find out a solution.
- Ethnic division is not a new issue. Formation of
an ‘ethnic council’ can be considered
and the government must give authority and financial
power to the people
- The major problem that remains is the nomenclature
of “Dimaraji”. A neutral name as “Hasao”
could be suggested for NC Hills district.
- Create a permanent body or organization comprising
representatives from all ethnic groups to bridge the
ethnic divide or conflict in the districts
- Statehood – a prime demand of all the insurgent
groups in the region
- Statehood may not be fruitful due to the over centralized
nature of the Indian federalism
- The grievances of the tribal people must be heard
in the Parliament. Without statehood, the problems
of the people will not be heard. So it is necessary
to form a state.
- By providing statehood to the hill districts, government
can solve majority of the problems. The wrong notion
that tribals cannot run the administration smoothly
has to be discarded.
- A united statehood can be thought about by elevating
the two hill districts of Karbi Anglong and North
- Autonomy in the form of self-governance and self
decision-making should have made the people prosperous
and development should have reached the remotest corners
of the district. But, this has not taken place.
- Two reasons for failure of the Autonomous Council
are inefficiency and corruption of the leaders and
the inherent defects in the Council itself
- Lack of awareness among the common people regarding
the flow of funds allocated especially for them and
gross anomalies and misappropriation of funds. Awareness
camps will have to be held to educate the villagers
on the inflow and use of funds for development work
in their areas so that any misuse or diversion of
fund could be detected easily by the villagers themselves
- To ensure that the development funds are properly
utilized, setting up of a liaison cell comprising
Council and civil society members can be thought of.
There is need for imparting training to the members
of the Councils on administration.
- To root out or halt the level of corruption, the
Right to Information Act should be used to the fullest
extent especially by the student and youth organizations.
RTI Act should be explained to the villagers so that
they may take full advantage of it.
- Three spheres in which development can be seen:
i) Availability – Physical and Manpower
- The village councils under the autonomous councils
could be made part of the governing structure of the
- It is found that only accountability increases the
ability of the system to deliver and only then there
can be genuine development
- The setting up of a liaison body of Council members
and civil society leaders to keep track of the allotment
and utilization of development funds in the districts
should be effective in ensuring transparency in development
- Since all the militant groups in North Cachar Hills
and Karbi Anglong have entered into a ceasefire, a
congenial atmosphere has been created to start peace
dialogue between the rebel groups and the Government.
To demonstrate its sincerity in taking the peace process
to its logical conclusion, the Government must put
the negotiation process on fast-track and move ahead
without delay in holding talks with all militant groups.
The Government must come out with a time-bound action
plan to carry forward the peace process to a logical
- In working out a solution to the problems in North
Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong, the Government must
ascertain the views of all communities and groups,
including women, who live in these districts, particularly
on common issues. This will help the Government and
the dialoguing groups to work out a lasting solution
that addresses the hopes and aspirations of all the
people living in the area.
- Ceasefire between the militant groups and the Government
has ushered in peace in North Cachar Hills and Karbi
Anglong. The Government must ensure that a common
yardstick is applied to all militant groups on the
step-by-step approach to dialogue although solutions
can be different. Applying different yardstick to
different militant groups should be avoided, at least
till the stage is set for working out a formula for
solution to the problems.
- Civil society groups in North Cachar Hills and
Karbi Anglong should try and form a non-political
common platform of all ethnic groups and other people
in the districts which would work towards ethnic unity
and common approach to progress and development of
the area and its people.
- Failure of the state to provide good governance
has created a void that is being filled in by militant
groups. Good governance, therefore, is of utmost importance.
- Setting up of a liaison body of Autonomous Council
members and civil society leaders to keep track of
allocation and utilization of development funds in
the districts. This can be a non-political monitoring
and liaison mechanism between the Councils and the
- Considering that development is the need of the
hour in North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong, the
village councils under the Autonomous District Councils
must be activated to further decentralize power in
- Resolve to build a team of activists drawn from
different committees and background to make maximum
use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act to empower
the common man to fight corruption. This will also
help better utilization of funds.