GUWAHATI: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday said the Centre would settle the issues of Northeast’s remaining rebel groups, which are outside the purview of peace process, by 2024.
“In the past six years under (Narendra) Modiji’s government, several peace initiatives were taken in the Northeast. Agreements signed with eight extremist groups saw hundreds of rebels laying down weapons. The issues of remaining small number of groups will be settled by 2024 by taking along the chief ministers of the region,” Shah said in his inaugural speech of “Destination North East-2020” at a virtual conference.
The four-day event is aimed at highlighting the region’s potentials in the fields of eco-tourism, culture, heritage and business.
Most rebel groups in the Northeast are lying low following their signing of peace agreements with the Centre. A small number of others are, however, still wielding the gun.
Elaborating on the peace initiatives, Shah said blockades in Manipur had become a thing of the past, the India-Bangladesh land boundary agreement was signed and the issues of the Bodos, and (displaced) Brus of Mizoram were resolved.
Stating that peace is a prerequisite for development, he said bandh and violence used to hit headlines but after Modi had first taken over as the Prime Minister in 2014, peace returned to the Northeast.
“I have seen this region in great details and spent time in each state. Without it, India and Indian culture is incomplete. The culture of the Northeast is the ornament of India. I wonder if there is a region in the world that has so many languages and dialects. Every state in the Northeast has struggled for years to safeguard its culture,” Shah said.
He said the Centre was focussed on the region’s infrastructure development and this was manifested in the massive increase in allocation of Central funds under the Modi government.
“There has been a 250% increase in funds allocation compared to the times of the Congress. The allocation by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) increased by 65% in 2019-20 compared to that of 2014-15,” Shah said.
He said he was confident the Northeast would be world’s tourism hub in the near future given the infrastructure it got under the Modi government.
“Wherever Destination North East was organised, it became a centre of attraction. I request DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh to have the next event in my constituency, Gandhinagar. We will introduce the cultures of the Northeast and Gujarat to each other,” Shah added.