Its not everyday that one gets to hear news from the North East (NE) India - especially of the insurgent outfits - that can bring a smile on one's face. Well, today is that rare day. Because, today I heard something that is worth a bunch of smiles: 3 insurgent outfits in our NE have taken a pledge against using anti-personnel (AP) land mines. The outfits are the National Social Council of Nagaland (NSCN), Kuki National Organization or KNO (an umbrella organization of several outfits) and Zomi Re-unification Organization (I have never heard of the 3rd, but whoever they are, I am sure they believe in being humane).
|Thousands of ordinary citizens in the North east and elsewhere are helpless preys of the Anti-personnel mines (Photo courtesy: P Min)|
In his mid-twenties, loss of limbs terrified Ben - an emerging student leader who dreams of leading his community someday.
Now, the pledge and signing of the Deed of Commitment under an initiative called Geneva Call by KNO (along with its arch rival NSCN) means that Ben's life will be sans that one fear of killed or crippled by a landmine.
Unfortunately, they have not and AP mines are continuing to be used. As a result, civilians - most of them women - continue to fall victims (on Dec 2 a young girl was injured in Kashmir's Kupwara by an accidental mine blast) all over the country. And, thanks to the continued use by the insurgents, global use of landmines in 2011 has been the highest for seven years, according to a report by International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) - a global campaigner against landmines. The report says that use of landmines has been on the rise, especially in Israel, Libya, Syria and our next door neighbor in the North east -Burma. Burma is also one of the only three countries that still produces the mines, with Pakistan and India being two others.
To follow the simple marketing logic, the supply stops when the demand stops. If landmines are not used, they will not have to be produced. Since every insurgent outfit is fighting for the rights of the people it represents (often a deprived lot - either economically or/and politically), it is only logical that they should make this very tropical change in their strategy and stop subjecting their people to more sufferings than what they already go through. By signing the Geneva call , the NSCN and KNO have set an precedent for others to follow. Will that happen?
I will never stop hoping for that.