effective and ceasefires are irrelevant”. In all, a greater representation of women in monitoring bodies
was essential because the lack of implementation of accords affects women the most.
Mrs Khesheli Chishi
, the Convener for Indigenous Women‟s Forum for Northeast India (IWFNEI)finished the beginning session of the conference with a talk on “From village to negoti
ating table: Women
taking lead and making policy changes for Peace”. She described the role of rural women in the NorthEast as those who “suffer the most bearing the brunt of gun violence”. The women are expected to be the
peacemakers when the men create the conflict and this is an example of a gross lack of responsibility. Theinjustice is especially played out when the woman has been left widowed and alone, and being illiterateand not valued as much as a man, is unable to sustain herself and her children. Therefore, the women,
having suffered psychologically, emotionally and even economically have created women‟s organizations
out of compulsion. She concluded with the thought that encouragement will only come from other
women. Yet “Peace has to come out from within ourselves, otherwise peace will remain elusive”.
Ms. Nepram then closed the first part of the conference with heartening words: that about three or fourpeople are shot everyday in Manipur but there are also at least three marriages celebrated everyday inManipur.
Consultative Conclave Session II: Listening to each other- Stories of Women and War in NortheastIndia Region
The second session of the conference was chaired by
Ms. Anuradha Dutta
, a former professor of peacestudies at Omeo Kumar Das Institute of Social, Guwahati, Assam. She opened the floor for
: Associate professor in the Department of Political Science in Gauhati University, Guwahati,
Assam. His topic, “Tools of peace making in India‟s Northeast”, focused on th
e role and the effect civilsociety, the majority of the people, can have in the region. Civil society has the influence to preventviolent conflict by pressurizing the government to make armed groups come to accord, monitoring theprocess and reconstructi
on and reconciliation. He called for the creation of “social capital such as trustand association between religious and ethnic and other divisions”. However, important issues still
remain such as the divide between immigrants and indigenous people, intra-group classes and inter-group classes, the border disputes between Assam and Meghalaya and Nagaland (the Greater Nagalandproblem), and the sustained dialogue on ethnic homeland issue, which has led to a widespread identitycrisis amongst all individuals.
Dr. Gita Bharali
, the Director of research at the North East Social Research Centre in Guwahati, Assam,
gave a presentation on the “Impact on Women on Development Induced Displacement and HumanSecurity in Assam”. She first described the fate of rural wo
man and how it is linked to their economic
independence. Rural Assamese women‟s livelihood is purely natural resource based and involves animal
husbandry and agriculture. Therefore, when families are displaced, the woman is most vulnerablebecause jobs in more urban areas require workers with certain skills and very little women are trained oreven literate. What ensues is that women have a lower status, lower income opportunities, little or withno property rights. Therefore the position of women in comparison to men leaves them more susceptibleto being affected by violence in their surroundings.