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'NE needs talents like Mary Kom, Bhupen to dispel ignorance': Kiren Rijiju

PTI 07 Nov 2014, 21:51:47 PM IST

New Delhi:  The northeast needs to produce more talents like champion boxer Mary Kom, late musician Bhupen Hazarika and ace footballer Baichung Bhutia to help dispel the ignorance of people about the region and command respect, Union minister Kiren Rijiju today said.  

Addressing the inaugural function of the three-day North East Festival here, the Minister of State for Home said ignorance about northeast is often encountered by many people from the region and so everyone must try to ensure that their work speaks for themselves.

“The fact is India is a highly-populated country and not a highly-literate country. It is something very normal that 70 per cent of the people does not know where the northeast is.  

They will know slowly if we produce more Mary Koms, Bhupen Hazarikas or Baichung Bhutias,” he said.  “You have to get respect out of your work, your performance, your quality like sports icon Mary Kom who has won honour for the country and in the process got recognition for the region.

If today I need to tell people where I come from, it is better that my work speaks,” he said.  In the wake of alleged racial attacks on the people from northeast, Rijuju said the need of the hour for the region is to sort out its own problems.

“If we tell that northeastern people are being discriminated against outside the region, we have the right to protest. But at the same time we have a bounded obligation. Is it not a fact that in northeast people are also killing each other?

“Is there no inter-community conflict in northeast? There are so many bandhs, strikes. So, there is no point telling that the bad image of the northeast is being displayed. There is definitely something going on in the region but at the same time we have a huge potential but it means nothing unless we showcase it,” he said.

Talking about the natural resources and cultural diversity of the region, the minister highlighted the need to shun the self-deception that the northeastern portray about the regional unity in the capital.

“We in Delhi talk about unity of northeastern region, we must send a message back home. We must be disciplined and promote unity of the northeast. It is time to be bold and not just portray good things and pretend that nothing bad exists,” he added.

The festival themed ‘Insurgence to Resurgence' aims to attract investment and tourism promotion in the region