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By Lalmalsawm Sungte
Source: Imphal Free Press
Dec 17: A group of young social activists with an aim to promote "greater peace and development among the indigenous peoples of North-East India through inclusive socio-economical and socio-cultural empowerment" formally launched the North-East India Centre for Indigenous Culture and Development Studies (NEICICDS) here in Shillong on December 10.

The founding members of NEICICDS are Mr Immanuel Zarzosang Varte, Mr Sumlamrawn Hmar and Mr Lienthanglur Khawzawl. The group says they planned to achieve their objective through "in-depth study, research, understanding" of the numerous tribes inhabiting the India's north eastern states.

"The objective of NEICICDS includes study, build up knowledge and document or compile information on the myriad socio-cultural and development aspects of the tribes of North-East India," NEICICDS executive director, Mr Varte said.

According to Mr Varte, NEICICDS is planning for grassroot trainings, consultations, workshops and seminars to promote and facilitate inter and intra interaction among indigenous communities.

It maybe noted that north east India is home to hundreds of ethnic tribes who consider themselves unique despite having great similarities in their culture and historical background. "On many occasions there have been ethnic conflicts and this is where we want to come in. We want to let the people know that development is more important than any other issues and that most conflicts in north-east region have their roots in development that have been done both by the govt and NGOs," NEICICDS said in a statement.

Mr Varte further said that "to really know the situation of development and conflict scenario we need dig out the unique history and culture of the people. NEICICDS plans to dig out this data buried in the past for this reason," Mr Varte said.

"NEICICDS will also seek to strengthen consultative relationships with several bodies any national and international bodies committed on and working on research and appropriate interventions on conflict-sensitive development, preservation of the cultural, developmental and issues related to these and will seek to further an integrated approach to the work of non-governmental organisations whose primary focus is on NEICICDS' main objective, and to supplement the activities of NGOs and any governmental bodies in this regard," Mr Varte added.

Other office bearers of the organisation are: Mr Lienthanglur Khawzawl (Executive Secretary), Mr Sumlamrawn Hmar (Treasurer), Ms Avinu (Chief Research Officer), Mr Veluta Khezo- Project (Co-ordinator, Nagaland Region), Mr Chawnghmunlur Hmar (Project Co-ordinator, Assam Region), Mr Revise L. Pachuau (Project Co-ordinator, Tipaimukh Region), Mr Bennyson Lambert War (Research Officer-cum-Project Co-ordinator, Meghalaya Region), Ms Grace Lalthlawnpek (Research Officer), Ms Puithung Grace (Linguistic Expert).

The organisation has also sought advised and suggestions from experts in various fields.

Talking about the response of the people among whom NEICICDS plans to work, Mr Varte said, "We have consulted academicians and government officials besides leaders from various community in this regard. The feedback we get from them were all positive." All of them have promised us their support once we formally begin our work, he added.

For more information, contact:
North-East India Centre for Indigenous Culture and Development Studies
Shillong View Cottage,
Alukudam, P.O. Madanriting,
Shillong, Meghlaya, India,
Pin- 793021.

Director: Phone No: +91 94367 07411,
Email- immanuelvarte(at)gmail(dot)com

Executive Secretary: Phone No: +91 98634 45502,
Email- l(dot)kzlhmar(at)gmail(dot)com

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