ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Quick End of an Experiment

Quick End of an 'Experiment' (From a Correspondent) THE whittling away of Assam goes on ; Nagaland, Meghalaya, NEFA. And It Indira Gandhi's statement, in reply to criticism in Parliament, that she did not consult the State Government before announcing the acceptance in principle of the demand for full statehood for Meghalaya, is any guide, the process is to continue. A newspaper report of her statement said: "Obviously in reply to demands for statehood for other areas in Assam, especially Cachar, as elsewhere, that followed her announcement, Mrs Gandhi said that these did not denote fissiparous tendencies in Assam, which had 'special problems', and that no section should feel that its just demands were being ignored.' "As elsewhere" connotes the demand for full statehood that has long been voiced by the moderate faction of the Mizos; a similar demand now voiced by the people of Mikir and North Cachar districts which have opted to stay out of Meghalaya; and the demand of the Ahom Tai Mongolia Parishad (ATMP) for a separate State comprising the two districts of Lakhimpur and Sibsagar where the Ahoms claim to be a major force. (The ATMP has recently announced its decision to field candidates in the next general elections 'on the issue of a separate State for Ahoms.) Adding to these regional pulls, the recent decision of the Central Government to locate the second oil refinery at Bongaigaon in Goalpara district in the west (the 'popular' demand was for the establishment of the second refinery near the oil producing area, i e, in Sibsagar district) has caused jubiliation among the people of Goalpara and ill- concealed resentment and frustration among the people of the eastern districts. The 'All-Party' Oil Refinery Sangrarn Parishad, which includes all the major parties, except Congress(R) and CPI(M), has yet to make a definite statement on the GOI announcement and its lukewarm reaction to the news about the location of the refinery at Bongaigaon has angered the people of Goalpara. The President of the Goalpara DCC has been muttering threats about reviving the demand for separation of Goalpara from Assam. Goalpara's longstanding complaints about neglect directed against the State Government are only a microcosm of the complaints of the State Government against New Delhi.

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