TODAY -

Seminar demystifies 'singularity of India'
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, January 28 2013: A two-day National seminar on 'Singularity of India: Integration, homogenization & Racism' being jointly organized by United NGOs Mission-Manipur, North East Dialogue Forum and Conflict & Human Rights Studies Network-Manipur has begun from today at Hotel Classic here today.

The inaugural function of the seminar was attended by Prof.Vanlalnghak, Director of IGNTU-RCM as Chief Guest; Satyajit Usham, Editor of Hueiyen Lanpao (English edition) as Guest of Honour and U Nobokishor, Secretary of United NGOs Mission-Manipur as President.

Speaking at the occasion, Prof.Vanlalnghak pointed out that geographical integration is easier to achieve than emotional integration, and there is an element of imposition in the process of integration which ultimately leads to racism.

He maintained that building India as a Nation on the basis of singularity will not be possible and it could be achieved only on the basis of cultural pluralism by recognising the ethnic diversities existing in the country.

Satyajit Usham noted that even if foreign writers described India as a mystery but deep within India is a land of contradictions and prejudices.

Even University professors of mainland India do not have a clear cartographic knowledge about the NE states.

He also pointed out that there are lots of misrepresentation of the events taking place in the Northeast in the national media.

U Nobokishor expressed that some of the states in the Northeast have already sold out forests to private companies which will have serious impacts on the livelihood of the people.

He pointed out that to liberate the slaves, it is necessary to make them understand what slavery is.

This logic is also applicable to racism.

People need to be made aware of what racism is and how it operates or how it is practised so that a meaningful fight can be offered against racism and racial discrimination prevalent in India.

Furthermore, he remarked that racism does not come in term of attitude alone but also in terms of policy and legislation and asserted AFSPA is a racially discriminatory legislation.

Quoting UN deliberation on racism, Nobokishor maintained that heavy deployment of the military and proliferation of armed groups in the Northeast are close to genocide of the people, which needs serious intervention.

Earlier, while delivering the key note address, Dr.Thangjam Homen of Conflict & Human Right Studies Network-Manipur and Assistant Professor, M.B.College, Imphal, explained that the aim of the National Seminar is to explicate on the racist tendency of the Indian State, which have informed its policy formulations and executions, in defence, development and others, and discern its limitations as far as its relationship with the minorities are concerned.

He also recalled that the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on Northeast India and Manipur on May 5th, 2007 requested India to provide information as Concluding observations on the status of the recommendation to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and to replace it "by a more humane Act," in accordance with the recommendations contained in the 2005 report of the Review Committee set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

In the same Concluding observation, the Committee also urged India to fully respect and implement the right of ownership, collective or individual, of the members of tribal communities over the lands traditionally occupied by them in its practice concerning tribal peoples, in accordance with ILO Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Populations.

Moreover, India was advised to seek the prior informed consent of communities affected by the construction of dams in the Northeast or similar projects on their traditional lands in any decision-making processes related to such projects and provide adequate compensation and alternative land and housing to those communities.

Subsequently, the Concluding Observation was followed by four Special Communiques sent to India by Chairpersons of CERD starting from March 2008 to September 2011 as follow up to the concluding observations.

These are pointers towards existence of racial discriminations in the Northeastern region of India and so far India has not given a satisfactory reply to the observations and special communiques of CERD.

These examples are elicited to prove that India does not want to engage in a constructive dialogue and provide assistance in the effective implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, he contended. The welcome address of the seminar was delivered by Rev.P.B.M.Basaiawmoit, Vice President of National Council of Churches in India and renowned anti-Uranium mining Activist from Meghalaya, who is also the Advisor of Northeast Dialogue Forum, while the vote of thanks was given by R.Boipu Koireng of United NGOs Mission-Manipur.

In the first pre-lunch technical session of the seminar which was conducted with Prof.Vanlalnghak in the cair and Special Correspondent of Seven Sisters Post.

Rupachandra Yumnam as discussant, Dr..GAloysius, who is a visiting faculty in English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad and author of the acclaimed "Nationalism Without A Nation in India"; Dr..ABimol Akoijam, Associate Professor of Centre for Study of Social Systems, JNU, New Delhi and Prof..KRajendra Singh of Department of Sociology, Nagaland University presented papers as resource persons on the topics of 'Nation, Race and Caste', 'Nation-State, Civilisation and Race: Reflection on Exclusionary Politics' and 'Indo-Manipur conflict: A civilisational perspectives' respectively.

In the post-lunch session which was conducted with Prof K Rajendra Singh as Chairman and Director of College Development Council, Manipur University Dr RK Ranjan as Discussant, Social Activist Dr Dhanabir Laishram, Spokesperson of Northeast Helpline & Support Centre Moirangthem Madhuchandra and Dr.PBM Basaiawmoit presented papers on the topics of 'New Face of Racial Discrimination in the light of neo-liberal policy', 'Social profiling: The root causes of racial discrimination' and 'Institutional racism vis--vis singularity of India' as resource persons.


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