Saluting Tricolour to defy militants’ diktat in Northeast
GUWAHATI: Overcoming the trepidation of decades, the residents of India’s restive Northeast celebrated 70th Independence Day on 15 August with great enthusiasm. Braving the odd, when the country witnessed continued violence in Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur and also in Assam, the patriotic citizens of the region came in large number to assemble in both government and community level celebrations for the auspicious day.
Defying the threats of separatist armed militants, which triggered five serial blasts in eastern Assam and two explosions in Imphal in the morning hours, the people of the alienated region joined in I-Day functions with patriotic fervor. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi hoisted the national flag at the historic Red Fort in New Delhi, all the chief ministers unfurled the Tricolour in their respective capital cities amidst galore.
Assam government chief Sarbananda Sonowal saluted the national flag in Guwahati, where hundreds of other venues witnessed the observation of the cherished day in both government and community levels. In his address, Sonowal reiterated his government’s commitment to detect & deport illegal Bangladeshis from the soil of Assam and make the State free from corruption, terrorism, and pollution. He also thanked the people of both Brahmaputra & Barak valleys for their spontaneous participation in I-Day functions completely ignoring the diktat of militants.
Assam’s powerful minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma hoisted the national flag in Dibrugarh, where the Tricolour was unfurled by another important minister Chandra Mohan Patowary in Nalbari and BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary in Kokrajhar. They were unanimous in appealing the militants to shun the path of violence and join the peace talks. Tricolour was also raised at Northeast Frontier Railway Headquarter in Maligaon; BSF Guwahati frontier headquarter in Patgaon, Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force’s 33rd Bn camp in Jalukbari, Guwahati Refinery in Noonmati, Doomduma Press Club, etc. with many other institution & organizations.
Nagaland chief minister TR Zeliang hoisted the national flag in Kohima, whereas Meghalaya CM Mukul Sangma saluted the Tricolour in Shillong. Arunachal Pradesh’s new chief minister Pema Khandu participated in I-Day function in Itanagar, when Manipur CM Okram Ibobi Singh unfurled the national flag in Imphal. Relatively peaceful States of the region namely Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura also witnessed the celebration of I-Day functions led by their chief ministers Lal Thanhawla, Pawan Kumar Chamling and Manik Sarkar.
It may be mentioned that a section banned armed outfits including United Liberal Front of Assam (Independent), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (IK Songbijit faction), Garo National Liberation Army with few others called for a total shutdown on 15 August. However, ridiculing the diktat, Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) urged each and every patriotic citizen of the region to come forward and celebrate the day with fanfare.
Maintaining their stand to defy the militants’ diktat once again, the Guwahati-based scribes, senior citizens and members of civil society congregated enthusiastically at Guwahati Press Club to celebrate the I-Day and salute the known and unknown martyrs. They repeated their preaching that both I-Day and R-Day are for every Indian citizen and not only for the government to observe these national days.
Senior journalist Anup Sarma hoisted the national flag on the occasion, where the JFA president Rupam Barua spoke of the freedom movements that began earlier than the first nationalistic struggle of 1857, followed by the Mahatma Gandhi-led Non-Cooperation, Civil Disobedience, and Quit India movements, Netaji led INA War and Navy Mutiny, all of which culminated in 1947 with India emerging as a free nation of immense promise.
“Our country’s independence came about through the supreme sacrifices of countless patriots and martyrs. It is in their honour that we observe I-Day. It is their contributions we need to remember gratefully when we bow our heads under the Tricolour,” said Barua adding that it is improper to raise demands or go on a protest on such occasions when other days in the year are available.
It may be recalled that in 1998, challenging the terrorist threats, a few journalists with the support of handful patriotic citizens hoisted the national flag in the press club. Since then, the flag hoisting ceremony has become regular events on August 15 and January 26 every year. These events encouraged the people with inspiration which has culminated in today’s atmosphere of the hoisting national flag without trepidation and fear.
The participants also joined in a rally on the street to chant patriotic slogans on the occasion. Returning back, they witnessed the opening of a doctors’ chamber on the press club campus. Inaugurated by young citizens Dhiman, Kristi, Shantanava, Arya, Shambhavi, Nistha and Arunava, the chamber has been constructed by the city-based Dispur Hospitals. A qualified doctor will be available on every Saturday evening (5 to 8 pm) for free medical consultations with the scribes and their close relatives.
Among those graced the occasion included Dr Jagadindra Raichaudhury, Col. Ranjan Dutta, Apurba Sarma, Ranen Kumar Goswami, Girindra Karji, Pradip Thakuria, Kailash Sarma, Raman Bora, Nava Thakuria, Pramod Kalita, Kishor Giri, Manoj Agasti, Pulin Kalita, Bipul Sarma, Bikash Singh, Nayan Pratim Kumar, Rajeev Bhattacharyya, Chinmoi Roy, Bhaskar Medhi, Ravi Ajitacharya, Baldev Pandey, Dilwar Hussain, Ujjal Saikia, Mrinal Ali Hazarika, Rupen Sarma, Purabi Baruah, Namrata Dutta, Mamata Mishra, Anita Kalita Goswami, Akshyamala Bora, Anjali Kumar, Sewali Kalita, Tarali Chakravarty, Nabanita Mazumdar, Azlina Khanam, etc.