I sometimes think the tragedy of north east India is not so much that we are under developed, or that India cynically exploits/ignores us, or that we are caught in the crossfire between Indian armies and the rebels- it is that our own leaders are so willing to sell us out. This has been a consistent trend across party lines, with sucessive governments, it just doesn’t change. Just when one was getting used to the horror that the government of Manipur and Ibobi Singh (with complicity from the ‘opposition’) is inflicting on the sate, now comes the news that the Meghalaya government led my D.D. Lapang is pushing for the UCIL to mine uranium in the West Khasi Hills.
And it’s not as if the resistance has any real solutions either. When the Khasi Students Union, currently the only group really fighting this, got timber felling banned, they had no alternatives to offer for people who eked a living out of the industry. A similar story here- people are selling their land to the UCIL (happily the government cannot grab it) because at least they get ‘something’ from it. So there are your choices- you live and die in extreme poverty or live and die with uranium mining. There, that’s democracy. And while the KSU stand makes sense, they have no alternatives to offer. The same story played out across- In Assam, Hiteshwar Saikia’s ‘Surrendered ULFA’ cause(d) as much terror (more?) as the ULFA, only they have government backing. Ex rebels Zoramthanga and the MNF have done little for Mizoram, and were routed in the last elections.
One can hardly ignore these things even- while it is sordid politics (as Cabir put it), real people are suffering. And how does one ignore that?