It will be appropriate to recall some of the important events that took place in the North-east in the year that is bowing out this week. There was quiet satisfaction and rejoicing in Assam following the installation of the first-ever BJP government headed by Sarbananda Sonowal. The election threw a surprise in the defeat of All India United Democratic Front leader Badruddin Ajmal, who with a sizeable number of MLAs, was projected as the king-maker in the event of the Congress/ BJP not securing the magic figure. The six-year-old peace talks continue to remain on the back-burner.
Arunachal Pradesh witnessed the swearing in of three chief ministers, showing the extent of degradation in terms of moral values among Congress politicians. One of the chief ministers even allegedly committed suicide, the cause
of which is yet to be known though he reportedly left behind a suicide note. The BJP’s efforts to meddle in the state’s politics did not materialise but there has been quiet satisfaction that the regional party in power now is pro-Centre.
Politically Meghalaya was quiet. The state lost the charismatic PA Sangma. He never looked back after his election to the Lok Sabha in 1977 from the Tura constituency when then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi spotted his potential and accommodated him in her Cabinet. Later he served as the Lok Sabha Speaker and even contested the Presidential election against Pranab Mukherjee. At the time of his death, Sangma headed a local party. There was no let-up in insurgency in the Garo hills.
Mizoram is yet to complete the repatriation of nearly 30,000 Bru refugees living in Tripura camps after they fled the state in October 1997 following ethnic clashes. Reports speak of 20,000 being identified as genuine. The state earned the reputation of over 50 per cent of its population being addicted to smoking.
Manipur continued to be the most disturbed in the region. The government’s decision to create seven new districts ~ four in the Naga-dominated areas ~ has infuriated the NSCN(IM) leadership, which says it will harm its cause of a Greater Nagaland concept. The bodies of nine protesters, killed in Churachandpur clashes in September last year following the Ibobi government’s passing of three “controversial” Bills, are yet to be buried.
Nagaland spent one more peaceful year but there was no word on the follow-up to the August 2015 “framework agreement”. Tripura witnessed the state Trinamul Congress chief running away with the Speaker’s mace in the assembly, a manifestation of his desperation.