Intro : Defying the militants’ boycott call, countless patriotic citizens took to the streets to celebrate the Independence Day in Assam. Independence Day was widely celebrated across the State with the incredible participation of people from all walks of life.
It was a regular Independence Day function at Guwahati Press Club on August 15, 2015, where the city based media persons and many patriotic citizens from all walks of life joined in it, making their point loud and clear that they would always defy the separatist militants’ diktat for boycotting the auspicious day. The 69th Independence Day celebration also echoed their commitment to the cause, where senior journalist Rupam Barua hoisted the National flag in the morning. While addressing the gathering, Rupam Barua, the president of Journalists’ Forum Assam, highlighted the contribution of millions of known and unknown freedom fighters and martyrs for making Bharat a sovereign nation.
“The significance of both Independence Day and Republic Day lies in gratefully recollecting the martyrs’ supreme sacrifices,” said Barua. He added that nowadays many organisations and individuals prefer not to observe the important days and avoid saluting the Tri-colour citing various grievances, which is ‘unfortunate and disgusting’.
“We must pay our tributes to the martyrs unconditionally. Nobody should drag in unnecessary issues while celebrating the Independence Day and Republic Day. Otherwise we will be known as ungrateful citizens only,” he further added. Following the flag hoisting program, the participants took to the streets to rally. Many children also participated in the program waving National flags and chanting patriotic song and slogans. The participants including journalists and civil society members have taken a principled stand against separatist agenda of the armed militant outfits.
The United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) (ULFA(I)) with National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit faction) ( NDFB(S)) and few others called for boycotting Independence Day functions and imposed a general shutdown in northeastern part of Bharat. However, it had little impact this time as the people in large number joined in the Independence Day functions organised by both the government agencies and the communities.
Even the local media in Assam avoided the news of militants’ boycott calls prior to the national festival. On the other hand, the recent signing of an agreement with the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Issak-Muiva faction) (NSCN (IM)) by the Union government raised the expectation for peace in the region. It is presumed that the initiative would help bringing all the militant outfits like ULFA (I), NSCN (Khaplang), NDFB (S), Kamatapur Liberation Organisation with Manipur based various armed outfits to the negotiation table for a permanent solution to the burning problem.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi unfurled the Tri-colour on the occasion of Independence Day at the official venue for celebrations in Khanapara locality and remembered ‘Father of the Nation’ Mahatma Gandhi with all other martyrs for their supreme sacrifices to free Bharat from the foreign rule. In his long address, Gogoi welcomed the peace initiatives in Nagaland and the recent signing of the framework agreement between the Union government and the leaders of NSCN (IM). Gogoi, however, reiterated his demand for making the text of the agreement public.
Associated with the Independence Day, there was a state-wide celebration this year. Gowalpara Sainik School’s passed-out students organised a blood donation camp with the supports from Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati. The Bodoland Territorial Council Chief, Hagrama Mohilary hoisted the National flag at Kokrajhar, where as Dima Hasao Autonomous Council Chief, Debojeet Thaosen unfurled the Tricolour at Haflong. Similarly the State Minister Khorsingh Engti attended Independence Day function at Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council headquarter Diphu to join in the chorus of Independence Day celebrations across Assam. NJ Thakuria