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North East News

Wednesday, August 15,  2001

Updated at Wednesday, August 15, 2001 at 10:42:49 AM IST




General Strike overshadows Independence Day
Imphal, August 15
General strike called by the underground organizations overshadows the Indian Independence Day celebrations on August 15.

Life in five of the seven northeastern states was paralysed, with at least 12 militant groups calling for a 17-hour shutdown, according to a report in a news agency. 

In Guwahati, shops remained closed and the streets wore a deserted look with most private vehicles keeping off the roads. The shutdown also hit most parts of Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland, and Meghalaya states, officials there said.

In Nagaland, people had raised white flags all over the state at the request of Church leaders. "The white flag is a symbol of peace and on this day let us all pray that permanent peace prevails in the region", V.K. Nuh, head of the Council of Naga Baptist Churches, the apex church body in Nagaland, told the news agency from Kohima.

More than 100,000 security personnel were deployed across the northeast region for Independence Day, which underground organizations have traditionally marked with attacks on key installations and the security forces. Security has been tightened in anticipation of attack of underground organizations. In Assam, the police have cancelled all trains after sunset. There have already been reports of sporadic violence in other areas of the northeast. In Assam's, north Kachar hills, one vehicle was fired upon by a militant group, the United People's Democratic Solidarity.

The underground organisations organising the strike had warned of "stern action" against anyone taking part in the official holiday celebrations.
(August 15 : 11 AM)

Address of Isac Swu on ‘Naga Independence Day’
Imphal, August 15 : The chairman of the NSCN (IM) Isak Chisu Swu addressed the Naga people on the occasion of the ‘Naga Independence Day’ yesterday. August 14 is celebrated by the Naga underground organizations as Naga Independence Day for a long time. In his address, he expressed regret that the neighbours of Nagas have misunderstood them and their history. He reiterated that the Nagas would defend their inherent right to decide who and what they will be. At no point of time the Nagas have been subjugated by their neighbouring nations, and there is no history on record that the Nagas have intruded on other people’s territory for grabbing their land, he said. He maintained that land and freedom are inseparable parts for a people’s existence and said the Nagas defended their land and freedom because these are the basis of their life. He paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi, who recognized the rights of the Nagas. He also expressed gratitude to successive Indian Prime Ministers who have acknowledged that the Indo-Naga issue is political.
(August 15 : 9 AM)




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