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After several years of hard work on the issue, women from eight northeastern Indian states congregated recently at Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakashetra in Guwahati, Assam.
The event was convened by Control Arms Foundation of India in collaboration with Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, NERSWN, CARDS, Jindal School of International Affairs, O. P. Jindal Global University, FLO NE, Eclectic NE and Doctors for You.
During the historic women peace congregation, Binalakshmi Nepram, the convenor of the event said, "Northeast India Women Peace Congregation is a historic event which for the first time brings together women leaders from all across Northeast India in Guwahati. These remarkable women through their words, deeds and action will bring the much needed peace in the Northeast region. We salute each and every woman leader who is a part of this congregation."
Speaking at the historic event, Roshmi Goswami, Chairperson of the Foundation for Social Transformation (FST), said the energy of peace builders across the nation needs to be given due weightage. She said exclusions exist and these are the main reasons for conflicts taking place. One of chief reasons for displacement is conflict.
"Women confront subjugation at home, in society, local, national and international levels. All need to transform the status quo. Another area which requires immediate intervention is on patriarchal powers. Women need to empower at local levels. In this 21st century, market forces enjoy an important space in society," she added
Rose Mangshi, President of the Kuki Women Union, spoke on the role played by women of Manipur in bringing peace in the state in times of ethnic clashes.
"In such dark times, women in Manipur promoted discussions and reconciliation. It is very important to include women in the decision making process. Only then, can there be peace," she added.
The draft National Action Plan on women, peace and security was also released at the event.
Dr.Samrat Sinha, Associate Professor, Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P.Jindal Global University through his holistic empirical research on impact of conflict on women and children, presented issues from Jammu and Kashmir, Naxal-affected states and the north east. Around a million people have experienced displacement due to various episodes of conflict.
He further stressed on the challenges for central welfare schemes for women and children directly affected by conflict, and suggested that civil society and government agencies can work together to improve delivery of schemes.
Last year, in consultation with women leaders, a draft national action plan was submitted to Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and he assured that women in India will be included in important positions.
The implementation of a NAP in Northeast India on issues concerning women, peace and security in the region will ensure absolute participation of women in decision making forums and space, the inclusion of women as peace agents and in the socio-economic empowerment of women.
Tanushree Hazarika, Eclectic Northeast, Pratibha Brahma, Member of North East Research & Social Work Networking (NERSWN), Bodoland, Assam, Sitara Begum, Muslim Women Leader, Manipur, Rinyui Chon, Credit Manager, Ukhrul District Women's Institute of Microfinance, Manipur, Rebina Subba, Member State Women Commission Meghalaya, Meghalaya, Prof. Lalneihzovi, HoD, Public Administration, Mizoram University, Deyang Dolkar Gyatso, President, Bikstang Heritage, Sikkim, Kanchan Sinha, Drugs Control Organization, Government of Tripura, Ms Jarjum Ite, Chairperson, State Women Commission, Arunachal Pradesh were also present as speakers at the event.