Itanagar, Nov 21: With the boom of guns replacing the beat of drums and tribal folk tunes reverberating in the lush green mountains, the enchanting Tirap district in Arunachal Pradesh has lost its past glory on today. Situated in the easternmost part of the state the district is shrouded in myth and legend. The martial tribe of Wanchos, tradition-loving Noctes and the gentle Tutsas are worth mentioning.
The rich, varied and unique culture and traditions of the tribes of the district are known far and wide. The intrinsic and intricate beadwork and craftsmanship of the Wanchos will put to shame the best known fashion designers. But sadly, it is yet to be noticed.
Tirap district's proximity to Myanmar and Nagaland, troubled by bloody feuds among the underground factions, has put the district at great disadvantage.
The district was the most preferred place of posting for any government employee in the not too distant past and was the most favoured destination for the contractors.
''Top bureaucrats and technocrats in the state government, who had served in the district in the past, will not disagree that countless individuals have minted money here when timber industries were flourishing and this district also filled the state government's coffer in the form of revenue from the forest-based industries,'' commented D Bosai, district information and public relations officer (DIPRO).
However, today, Tirap district remains a pale shadow of her former self with nothing to write home about in terms of development, peace and security.
Frequent development, security and political meetings are held in the district but for some strange reason, the burning problem of insurgency is seldom discussed in these meetings. In fact, it is always conveniently ignored and skirted, Mr Bosai lamented.
Tirap is troubled by insurgency but nobody, including the government, is willing and ready to address it. It has been experienced in the past that there cannot be a military solution to the vexed problem and it has to be solved through dialogues.
''Since insurgency problem is a reality in the district and the innocent people are sandwiched between insurgents and security forces, the state government must actively involve itself in meaningful dialogue with the Centre and neighbouring states,'' suggested T Wangsu, headman of Wakka village. Welfare of the people of the state must be on top of the state government's agenda. Unfortunately, the state government was a mute spectator and did not seem to be at all interested in sharing the agonies and sufferings of the people of the district, the headman alleged.
''Scores of precious lives have been lost in insurgency-related incidents but the government has always turned a blind eye. It is not possible to solve the problem with brute force of security forces but the government can definitely initiate a dialogue process,'' Mr Bosai said, adding the government must have the will to address the problem.
The insurgency problem in Tirap was a creation of the situation and circumstances, since it shares border with Myanmar and Nagaland, and nobody can be singly blamed for it.
''Incidentally, Tirap district, once a place for plum posting, is today a place for punishment posting. If the government is really serious about the realities confronting the district, dynamic, sincere and upright officers who are willing to face the challenges should be posted to the district,'' Mr Wangsu commented.
More funds and incentives should be given to wean away the youth from going astray. There should be a drastic shift in paradigm of development-employment opportunities for the youth, more funds and development and then peace. If the youth are gainfully and meaningfully engaged, the problem can be contained to a great extent, he added.
''Instead of blaming one another for the present imbroglio, a concerted effort must be made by all, including government, public leaders, intellectuals, NGOs and the people themselves to bring back Tirap's lost glory and give the district a pride of place,'' Mr Bosai opined.