Source: The Assam Sentinel, 20 October 2010 (accessed: 20 October 2010).

Has Khandu led government made the biggest political statement ever since India’s Independence? Is government stating that ‘Chowkan Pass Expedition of 1961’ was a military campaign to annex the ‘Dawodi Area’? If not then why did they side with few students’ organisation including AAPSU in delisting Yobins from ‘PRC’? Is GoAP stating that Presidential Order of 1956 was wrong? Is GoAP challenging the Census 1961, 1971 and 1981 census report? If that be the case, say it so. If not, GoAP needs to cure itself from ‘Ostrich Syndrome’? How can GoAP or the GoI lay claim to their land and then not look after their welfare. Aren’t we making them ‘stateless people’ in their own homeland and despite the fact that constitutionally they are Indian citizen? One can’t have the cake and eat it too.

Questions are too many but responses are far and few. It is disappointing and seems an obvious strategic blunder to ignore Yobins in a geo-strategic place, which could have been developed as gateway to South East Asian market. It would serve well to remind GoAP and Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi that Dawodi Area, renamed by the settlers as Vijaynagar, is few kilometers from Burma. It is also good to remind ourselves time and again that Burma has been the Gangotri of all North East ultra movements. Indifference shown towards the Yobins, who are actually the sentinel of India vis-à-vis Burma, only makes this place and its inhabitants much more vulnerable to be tapped by junta government across the international border. Is it possible that GoAP, AAPSU and other organisations are testing the patience of the Yobins too much?

Given the frustrating situation for the Yobins, there are three distinct paths to choose from. One, Yobins continue to show great patience and  maintain a dignified silence for another decade or so till the last Arunachalee is fully awakened; more educated and liberal in thinking to realize that  the Yobins are also one of the indigenous/aboriginal people of Arunachal. Practically, this would mean an idealistic expectation. So second path is of mass exodus of Yobins to Burma and be stateless persons and live there as refugees, that any way would be as good as or even better than living in their own homeland stripped of their citizenship. Third and worst case scenario, they stay put here in their ancestral land and create hara-kiri within the state. But last, and last but one option, would mean that such moves would be a splash of blot in the face of the Congress led governance at the centre and the state. It would be a bigger blot and greater shame if another uprising takes roots like in other NE states. Yobins with its three thousand populations may be politically insignificant yet people’s movement when it takes root has never been counted in numbers but has been counted on the basis of its intensity, passion and zeal. The history is witness to the mighty Americans losing to Vietnamese guerrillas after long 20 years of

gun-battle between 1955 & 1975; till date, a small community called Nagas has sustained their successful campaign against the mighty Indian army since late 1920’s. Besides that, it is good to remind  ourselves that three thousand Yobins have nothing to lose from here on as ‘stateless’ persons in its own homeland; if they have to be treated as they are being treated today.

History bears testimony to the double game played by Union government and its ministries like Home and Defence but it was least expected from our own leaders – students and political – to copy their misadventures. Why should Khandu and his cabinet colleagues as much as AAPSU leaders behave like Chidambaram who visited Khonsa, met public inside a safe Army camp without venturing into civilian areas, announce that all is well in Tirap and, later, just after few months of having said so, from the bastions in Delhi, he pronounced them as Disturbed Areas for another six (6) months under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 !

People ought to know how many of Khandu’s cabinet colleagues have visited the Dawodi valley of the Yobins, known better today as Vijaynagar, or how many of these student leaders from AAPSU etc have visited the place – a few, perhaps, or may be none at all ! For heaven’s sake, let us stop this game of ‘hide and seek’. GoAP and AAPSU, must either count the Yobins in, or, count them out. It is high time that GoAP must accept the fact that the Yobins/Lisus are indigenous Arunachalee tribe or return their ancestral land to them and let them be – there is no scope for a middle path here.

Mark my words and make no mistake, their stoic silence of dignity must not be mistaken as their weakness.

Jarpum Gamlin

(Concluded)

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