An Approach Paper
For the meeting of elected Karbi political leaders of Karbi Anglong
Held on the 12th September, 2003
Proposing Formation of
Joint Parliamentary Forum
The UPDS regretfully recalls that avoidable factors have sabotaged the realization of the people’s demand for ‘Hemprek’ in the past, the chief among them being – disunity of the people and the personal agenda of the leaders. Political leaders have in the past consistently failed to sacrifice vested party and personal interests and as a result failed to give leadership to the Karbi people on ‘day of reckoning’. Party interests have always taken precedence over the interest of the people which naturally lead to sectionalisation of the masses. In the wake of the re-organization of Assam in 1970 and the re-organization of the North-East the next year, our leaders of that time had failed to steer the destiny of the Karbi people to safety; and in 1995 when the historic second opportunity for the Karbi people was earned through the struggle and sweat of the people as a whole, the leaders of that time too, succumbed to the primacy of the party that ruled out any hope of striking a national consensus; which ultimately produced just a half-baked solution within the framework of the Sixth Schedule.
Now, through the blood and sacrifices of our deprived youth under the leadership of the UPDS, a third opportunity to secure the political destiny of the Karbi people has been earned. It is our firm resolves that we will not allow history to repeat itself; and that is why we consider it most necessary to secure the political unity of the Karbi people first before embarking on a vigorous negotiation with the government for Hemprek Kangthim. It will be necessary to forego vested party fame and vain personal glory by all concerned in order to achieve that objective.
The malaise and the panacea:
1. It is understood that broadly speaking, Hemprek Kangthim means self-rule. Every Karbi clearly understands that self rule means freedom from the rule of Assam Government. But we remain undecided about what institution of self-rule we can have a consensus stand. Some sections seems to be satisfied with upgradation of autonomy within the Sixth Schedule frame work; some have decided on the provision of Article 244(A), some are insisting on sovereign state as the real concept of Hemprek while we believe that the political future of the Karbi people can be secured through a separate state under Article 3 of the Constitution of India with certain safeguards similar to Article 371 A or 371 G. We are presenting different versions of Hemprek which not only confuses the government but also demonstrates our weakness and contradictions. We will need to evolve a consensus on the self-rule institution that will match with our concept of Hemprek Kangthim and thereby present a solid single national demand.
2. Unity of thought alone can not strengthen the Karbi issue. There should be a corresponding unity in action. Political and organisational differences have been a challenge which the Karbi as a nation has not been able to surmount and has remained the single most serious malaise of the movement for Hemprek. Many organisations both armed and unarmed exist today, all purportedly formed to emancipate the Karbi people. As a result, the game of political one-upmanship became the order of the day. In reality, we are disintegrating the Karbi society, tearing apart the strength and weakening the national resolve. We are also exposing our contradictions thereby providing the enemy the opportunity to exploit them to their advantage.
The solution therefore lies in the establishment of respective common fora for each section of the society like students’ section, the youth section, intellectual section, cultural section, women section, political section, volunteer section, et al; gradually phase out the present fractured sections and then finally form an apex Karbi body where all concerned sections may be represented in the spirit of selfless sacrifice, mutual accommodation and national reconciliation. But immediately a common parliamentary forum comprising of all the elected Karbi leaders need to be constituted which will act as the catalyst to the ultimate formation of the proposed Karbi apex body. In the immediate future, the proposed parliamentary forum will take up issues of common national interest like influx problem, border dispute and of course, the issue of the Karbi people’s demand for Hemprek Kangthim.
On the road to Joint Action:
1. All the elected Karbi leaders, irrespective of their party affiliations will be invited to a meeting to be convened and conducted by the UPDS. First of all the UPDS leadership will brief the participants on the on-going peace talks between the UPDS and the Government of India. The opinion of the participants will then be sought on the formation of the proposed parliamentary forum. If a favourable opinion emerges from the discussion, the forum will be formed, a suitable name for the forum chosen and a convening body of the forum will be constituted with a Chairman, a Secretary, a Whip and a Spokesman. All the elected Karbi leaders will automatically become members of the parliamentary forum unless voluntarily and specifically disassociated.
2. There will be a Consultative Body with the General Secretary of the UPDS as the Member-Convenor and one or two elected members from each political party which shall advise the proposed parliamentary forum.
3. As a first step, the proposed parliamentary forum may be requested to adopt the following resolutions:
a) a resolution supporting the on-going talks on Hemprek Kangthim between the UPDS and the Government of India.
b) a resolution offering the services and good offices of its members to both the UPDS and the Government on matters connected with the success of the peace talks.
c) a resolution calling upon all the Karbis to unite under one forum in order to realise the objectives and aspirations of the Karbi people.
(Prepared and circulated by the UPDS on the eve the meeting convened proposing formation of A Joint Parliamentary Forum of all Karbi Elected Leaders)