Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sovereignty versus Statehood

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The last few days have seen these two words 'Sovereignty' and 'Statehood' have been on front pages of the newspapers across the country. If sovereignty was the word in Assam with the arrest of ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, statehood buzzed in the Telengana region of Andhra Pradesh after TRS (Telengana Rastriya Samity) chief K Chandrasekhara Rao sat on a fast unto death. Both the issue have troubled the Centre and their respective state governments for decades now.

The two causes are similar to each other in many ways but have two different methods. If one is being fought politically the other has been under the shadow of the guns. If Statehood has a solution under the preview of the Indian constitution the word Sovereignty will only elongate armed battle between the security forces and the militants. But vandalism, damage to public property and trouble to the Aam Aadmi is common between the two.

ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa's surrender (read arrest) in Bangladesh refreshed the word 'sovereignty' in the minds of the people of India especially Assam. Rajkhowa who directly or indirectly responsible for killing 15000 people and extorting crores of money felt offended to have handcuffs on his hands. A teenager in Assam knows sovereignty from India is both impossible and unnecessary but the militant leaders would not bow.

Can Rajkhowa give an explanation to the people who lost their loved ones in blasts and killings? What would he tell the youth of the state who are jobless as years of terrorism has meant that Assam missed investments in the Liberalisation era. What would he tell thousands of young jobless man who gave their lives under the notion of winning independence for the state where their leaders lived luxurious lives in a neighbouring country running business ranging from shipping, hotel to media.

Coming to the issue of Telengana, there is a notion in India that smaller states and Statehood can chase away all the miseries. Jarkhand, Chattisgarh have proved us something opposite. Has Mr K Chandrasekhara Rao raised the issue of development of the Telengana region, No. The reason he and the TRS thinks the best solution is to get a state. Do what next? It won't be surprising if the TRS has no answers to that.

The Centre is already instituting a team to look into the mater of the Telengana and is planning for a all party debate for the separate statehood. Soon school children in India might have to learn the name of one more state. As far as Assam's sovereignty issue is concerned there won't be any solution to the issue. After all terrorism is one of easiest ways to make money. ULFA has made crores of rupees this way and it cares very little for the people of Assam.


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