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Peace Initiative ''OPERATION SHANTI'' in North East India

By Br. Edward Kujur
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Guwahati, Feb. 25. Don Bosco Socio Technical Institute, Tezpur  organised a two-day colloquium on Conflict Management and Peace Initiative in North East India on 13 - 14 February 2015. About 100 persons participated in the Seminar, among whom were also renowned activists and people from all walks of life such as journalists, Government representatives, NGO officers, religious leaders, students, research scholars, Government teachers, and professors of Tezpur University.
The Seminar was organized to gain an insight into initiating ''peace and conflict resolution  measures'' especially among the younger generations of the Northeast region, and also to conduct a discussion to promote an immediate unified effort to work for peace.

Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil SDB, Superintendent of Police of Sonitpur district Smt. Sanjukta Prashar (IPS), Addl. Chief Secretary of Government of Assam Shri Rajiv Bora IAS, Bishop emeritus of Tezpur Robert Kerketta SDB, Bishop Micheal Akasius Toppo of Tezpur Diocese and Salesian Provincial of Guwahati Fr. V. M. Thomas SDB,  were among the many dignitaries who attended and addressed the Peace March on 13th February.

Shri Babloo Loitongbam, Executive Director, Human Rights Alert (HRA) enlightened the participants on ''Understanding Conflict - A theoretical Approach, Northeast India and conflict'' on the first day of the panel discussion.
Shri Krishan Verma, Special Secretary (Retd), Government of India and 'Distinguished Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata Chapter' spoke on ''Security Challenges in India Northeast - The way forward.''
Dr. Leban Serto, Consultant Bergoh Foundation Germany Local Organizer for Peace Counts in Northeast India, spoke on ''Inter-faith Dialogue and Peace Education in Northeast India''.
Shri Raphael Kujur, President, All Adivasi Student Association of Assam  presented his reflections on the ''Contribution of Adivasi community towards peace and progress''.

The second day of the seminar was also packed with sessions and panel discussions. Dr. Chiranjeeb Kakoti, Director Northeast Society for promotion of Youth and Masses presented paper on ''Protection and promotion of child rights for sustainable peace''.
Shri Prashanta Baruah, the Editor of Assam Tribune, spoke on ''Contribution of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika through Music and Media to Peace and National Integration.''
Dr. Kedilezo Kikhi, Head Department of Sociology, Tezpur University, spoke on ''Conflict, Identity and Development in Northeast India.''
Dr. A.S. Shimreiwung, Faculty Department of Sociology Tezpur University spoke on Conflict, Identity and Development in Northeast India.
Dr. Amiya Kumar Das, Faculty Department of Sociology Tezpur University spoke on ''Conflict, Identity and Development in Northeast India''.
Shri Shantikam Hazarika, Executive Director of Rashtriya Gramin Vikash (RGVN), presented a paper on, ''Peace and Reconciliation in Northeast India, the way forward.''

This Colloquium was focused on northeast India and its struggle with conflicts. It was an attempt to analyze the reasons for such hostilities to continue unabated over the past several decades, and at the same time to propose some lasting solutions to the plaguing problems associated with insurgency, inter-tribal, inter-religious or inter-communal strife, as well as suggest concrete steps to put the region firmly on the growth trajectory.

An outcome of the Seminar was the resolution to train 200 young leaders of the Northeast within 6 months to be agents of peace in their own villages, schools, colleges, and at their places of hangout and youth gathering.  The colloquium has proposed the training of students of schools and colleges for the same on a regular basis. The initiative is to reach out to 60 schools and colleges of the region within one year.



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