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Monday, February 15, 2010

Demand for separation of Barak Valley is not a new demand

UTDC reiterates demand for separation of Barak Valley
Special Correspondent

SILCHAR, Feb 15: Union Territory Demand Committee (UTDC) has reiterated its demand for separation of Barak Valley from Assam. Paritosh Paul Chowdhury, president of the Committee, while briefing mediapersons today said, “This is not a new demand of the people of this valley.” The movement for separation has been going on since 1948 which he claimed was the first of its kind in the country, he added.

In fact, Indian National Congress in principle did accept the demand, but the formation of State Reorganization Commission in 1954 created certain hurdle in the process, he pointed out.

Paul Chowdhury revealed the movement was rechristened under the banner of Cachar State Reorganization Committee and a memorandum on the mass demand as “Purbachal Reconsidered” was submitted to New Delhi for taking decision on the issue. He further said on the eve of the formation of Meghalaya in 1967, another memorandum signed by the prominent leaders of the time which included Mahitosh Purkayastha, Jyotsna Chanda, Nihar Ranjan Laskar, MPs and MLAs was presented to New Delhi, but there was no response. When the Mizoram Accord was signed between Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and MNF Chief Laldenga, the demand was placed in front of the Prime Minister who sought the opinion of Sontosh Mohan Dev, a powerful political figure of Barak Valley. Dev gave his opinion in favour of separation.

Again, when Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram were made Union Territories in 1971, the movement for separation was spearheaded under the banner of the Union Territory Demand Committee, Paul Chowdhury said. The then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Home Minister KC Pant, whom a delegation of the Committee met and briefed on the demand, gave assurance of sympathetic consideration. He regretted to say that despite the demand being justified, he blamed the leaders of this valley cutting across party lines for their failure to give any direction or dimension to the movement.

Paul Chowdhury pointed out in order to further strengthen the movement, a 100-member delegation of UTDC would sit for dharna at Boat Club in New Club on March 7 joined by the supporters of the national capital. The Committee would also hold a press meet in order to bring the demand in the lime light and thereafter submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister, Home Minister and Sonia Gandhi for their intervention and acceptance of the demand of 35 lakh people of this valley. THE SENTINEL

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