GUWAHATI: Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma has insisted on the sharing of ideas to remove the perception of mainlanders that people from the Northeast are different.
His remark was in the context of racial discrimination of northeasterners in mainland India.
Speaking at a discussion on the topic “Mainstreaming Northeast challenges” at a conclave in Guwahati, Dev Varma said mainstreaming of the Northeast was not the assimilation of cultures.
“Even in Northeast, the people-to-people contact is very less. We should be able to share our ideas and contribute. The perception about us will change only if we share our ideas. Perceptions are formed by psychological and emotional distances and not geographical distances. India is not homogenous but a multi-mosaic of cultures. The identity of indigenous is well-defined by cultural activities,” Dev Varma said.
Also speaking, Congress MP from Arunachal Pradesh Ninong Ering said drug abuse and unemployment were the two biggest challenges in the region. People, especially students, from the Northeast often become victims of racial slurs in the metro cities, he said adding “despite being Indians, we cannot integrate with mainlanders and the reason, perhaps, is our cultures”.
Former Assam Congress Minister Pradyut Bordoloi pointed out the orgy of violence during the times of secessionist movement.
“Earlier, people used to say peace is a prerequisite for development. We said development is needed for peace. So, that was a paradigm shift. Today, there is peace everywhere in the Northeast. As such, we need incentives from the Central government for a certain period of time so that the states in the region can prosper economically. We need the incentives as our market in very small,” he said.
Later in the day, former JNU student leader Kanhaiah Kumar faced protests from Bajrang Dal activists outside the venue of conclave. Holding placards and banners, the protestors chanted slogans like ‘”Kanhaiya Kumar deshdrohi (traitor)”, “Kanhaiya Kumar murdabad”. Kanhaiah was whisked away into the venue and he delivered his speech on the topic “campus politics affecting national politics”.