Twitter India in collaboration with Impulse NGO Network organized #VOICEOFTHEEAST to create a platform for the youth to interact with the leaders of the region. The North East India is often said to have been lacking platforms that give the youth a direct chance to interact with leaders and important stakeholders of the region. The event aimed to fill this significant communication gap troubling the region.
The First Panel involved itself in an extensive discussion of growth and development in the region and it was moderated by Mr. Karma Paljor, Team Leader Impulse Model Press Lab Co Founder Director. He encouraged the audience to amplify the voices of the panelists through Twitter, which in his opinion was necessary to build a connection among the youth. Ms Deeya Rathore, Lawyer & Member of BJP Mahila Unit Meghalaya, dwelt upon the issues and opportunities in the development of agriculture, health and tourism sectors in Meghalaya. Mr John F Kharshiing, Chairman, Grand Council of Chiefs of Meghalaya expressed concern over the human tragedies caused due to boundary issues, and pointed out to the need of a redressal mechanism for the same. Mr Don Kupar War, Working President National People’s Party Meghalaya Unit talked about his Party’s agenda of rural development centric approach to youth employment. Miguel Queah, Child Rights Activist & Founder Universal Team for Social Action and Help UTSAH expressed his disapproval of the fact that political parties did not have in their manifestos a mention of the Rights of Children and the problem of human trafficking in the region. Mr Mmhonlumo (Mhon) Kikon, MLA and Advisor to the Government of Nagaland on IT&C, Science and Technology and New and Renewable Energy talked about how the youth did not have a memory of the ceasefire agreements in North East India which impedes their participation in the peace processes of the region. Mr Ranjan Chatterjee IAS Chief Secretary (Retd) Government of Meghalaya & Expert Member The National Green Tribunal, talked about extremism and alienation among the people as a reason why the development packages offered to the North East do not have a significant impact. Dr Alana Golmei, Founder, North East Support Centre & Helpline talked about how romanticising tourism in North East has taken the focus off important issues like patriarchy and underdevelopment. This was followed by an open session where the audience where given a chance to ask questions and share their insights.
The Second Session on the youth, social media and elections was moderated by Mr Kunal Majumder, India Correspondent for CPJ, Contributor Asia Times & Member of Impulse Model Press Lab Core Committee. Mr Kit Shangpliang, Public Engagement Specialist/ Writer for Summersalt brought to notice the C Vigil app that allowed people to report any violation of election Code of Conduct by any party or leaders. Mr Shantanu Kalita, Member of BJP Social Media Campaign responded to some tough questions posed by the Moderator on whether the BJP used social media to get in touch with the youth or merely for creating a vote bank. Mr George B Lyngdoh, Legislator of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly and Mr Don Kupar War, Working President of National People’s Party Meghalaya state unit acknowledged the necessity for both parties to take the platform of social media seriously both pre and post elections. Mr Ankur Jhunjhunwala, Member BJP Meghalaya Unit accused the Congress of using the platform of social media for trolling. Bidhayak Das, Independent Consultant Election Governance,Asia and Africa, Impulse Model Press Lab Core Committee talked about the potential of social media in playing the role of a powerful tool to ensure a transparent electoral process. The event ended with a performance by Summersalt, a band chosen by Meghalaya Electorate Commission to promote young voters to vote during elections.