NFNS advocates small states to solve disparities

NFNS advocates small states to solve disparities

NFNS advocates small states to solve disparities

The Gorkhaland protests rocked the West Bengal region, with people demanding a separate state. PTI file photo.

Creation of small states is the only way to solve political, social and economic disparities, a body of organisations spearheading separate state movements has claimed.

The National Federation of New States (NFNS), a conglomerate eight separate state movement bodies, has been demanding regions of Vidarbha in Maharashtra, Bodoland and Karbi in Assam, Gorkhaland in West Bengal, Kukiland in Manipur, Tripraland in Tripura, Poorvanchal in Uttar Pradesh and Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh be given statehood.

Political regimes have been neglecting demands for creation of separate states and only before an election, political parties try to pacify people demanding separate statehood with assurances to fulfil their demand, NFNS general secretary Munish Tamang alleged.

To put more pressure on the Centre to create states on the basis of language, ethnicity and economy, the organisation in a meeting on Wednesday here has also decided to launch a movement.

"The fulfilment of the longstanding demand of creation of small states is the only way to ameliorate the prevalent political, social and economic disparity of regions demanding separate statehood," Tamang said.

During the meeting leaders of separate state movements, also chalked out new strategies to intensify the agitation for creation of new states.

The NFNS called upon all regional and national political parties to engage with the idea of the creation of new states in the country keeping in mind the Constitution of India.

Harkha Bahadur Chetri, one of the pioneers of the Gorkhaland movement, strongly opposed the manner in which the political dispensation both in New Delhi and West Bengal has ignored the demands of a separate state of Gorkhaland.

He asked the Gorkha people to come together and fight for their demands.

"Self-representational aspirations being the foundation and corner-stone of democracy and as a true democratic country, the government must find ways to accommodate the aspirations of the people to represent themselves administratively, socially and politically," Chetri said.

Shrineevas Khandewale a prominent leader of the Vidarbha statehood movement claimed that it is a myth that managing a “large state is viable".

Citing the example of Kerala, he said it is much smaller than Maharashtra, but the southern state is better managed and more developed.

"It (a large state) is not so as would be clear from various reports of the government and Reserve Bank of India," he said.

He called upon all bodies fighting for separate states to put pressure on the government to formulate a procedure for giving statehood to the regions.

"People of my region will demand from all political parties seeking votes in the coming general elections to take a stand on Vidarbha's statehood demand.

"We have enough assurances from political parties and now we need action for creation of a new state of Vidarbha", Khandelwale added.

NFNS secretary and president All Bodo Students' Union ( ABSU) Pramod Boro said the NFNS will continue pressing for creation of new states in a democratic and non-violent manner, and in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

The ABSU had spearheaded the Bodoland movement in Assam.

"To counter so-called mainstream politics by some opportunist individuals we must be united and raise our collective voice as much as we can as it is already too late.

"If these are not resolved in due time, some culturally rich communities may also lose their identity and become part of uncultured group of people and the meaning and objective of freedom will be hopelessly," said Boro.

He said a separate Bodoland state movement has brought ethnic Bodo tribals together.

"Now, Bodos of the world are united for the cause of Bodoland state and our movement is heading towards achieving the goal," Boro said.

Mangal Debburma, a noted leader of the Tripraland movement, alleged that ethnic tribal communities of Tripura became minorities in their own land due to the influx of Bengali Hindus from Bangladesh in the state.

"If influx from Bangladesh continues into Tripura, we will at a loss of identity and culture totally. Only a separate state for tribals of Tripura can save our identity and culture," Debburma said.

He added that a separate Tripraland statehood agitation will be more intense in the state.

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