New Delhi, Feb 9 (ANI): Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram today said that the Constitution of India is flexible and resilient enough to accommodate the aspirations of the people of the North Eastern region.
Addressing a meeting of the Consultative Committee of his Ministry here, Chidambaram pointed out that the region has over 200 ethnic groups with distinct languages, dialects and socio-cultural identity. These groups want recognition of their identity and participation in governance.
"This aspiration can be fulfilled under the provisions of the Indian Constitution," he added.
Elaborating the position further, Chidambaram said that formation of Autonomous District Councils with the necessary powers and funds is the way forward in the North East. Such Councils have to give adequate representation to minority ethnic groups.
"These must be pluralistic in structure and must work on the principle of inclusive governance. There are outstanding examples of Autonomous District Councils in the North East and the Government wants to strengthen these institutions", he added.
Emphasizing that the situation in the North East has shown remarkable improvement in 2010 as compared to the previous year, Chidambaram said: "The number of incidents of violence and the casualties of civilians and security force personnel have come down."
He further said that the Government is in talks with nine insurgent groups from the North- East and expects to reach agreements with some of them during the year.
"The Government is open to talks with groups which abjure violence," he added.
Participating in the discussions, members welcomed the initiatives taken by the Government to restore peace in the North East.
They expressed happiness over the proposed talks with ULFA. Members also stressed the need to speed up development in the North East with particular emphasis on employment opportunities.
Those, who attended the meeting, included Thomas Sangma, Rishang Keishing, H.K.Dua, Mohd. Ali Khan and Dr. K.Keshava Rao from the Rajya Sabha, and K.Sudhakaran, Khagen Das, Kalyan Banerjee, M.Venugopala Reddy, J.P.Aggarwal, Mahabal Mishra, Dr. Thokchom Meinya, Dr. Rattan Singh Ajnala and Dr. Monazir Hassan from the Lok Sabha.
Ministers of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran and Gurudas Kamat were among those present at the meeting. (ANI)