Rising from the plains of Assam, the state of Nagaland is blessed with a picturesque hill country, serene landscape and a rich wealth of flora and fauna. Nagaland meaning “the land of Nagas”, has seen many ups and downs in its history ranging from head hunting, advent of Christian missionaries, the British expeditions, the Battle of Kohima during WW II and a prolonged era of insurgency. The state & its people have withstood immense hardships with fortitude and boast of a rich cultural heritage which pervades all the resident tribes like Angami, Lotha, Ao, Konyak, Sema etc. The state is currently facing insurgency in few parts and is steadily progressing on the path of peace and tranquility. Over the years, the people of the state have contributed significantly to the armed forces of India and have given numerous decorated war heroes to both Assam Rifles and the Indian Defence Forces. With an aim to bring together and felicitate these heroes, Assam Rifles conducted a Joint Ex- Service Men(ESM) rally with the theme “WE CARE, WE SHARE” for Assam Rifles and Army at the HQ IGAR (N) football ground in Kohima garrison on 10 November 2022. The rally provided a unique forum for the Army and Assam Rifles veterans to interact and air their views. The occasion was also used for felicitating the sacrifices and enduring beneficence of the veterans and Veer Naris.
The rally, also a first major rally post Covid in Nagaland was presided by Maj Gen Vikas Lakhera, SM, Inspector General Assam Rifles (North). A total of 688 individuals including ESM (239 ESM from Assam Rifles and 182 ESM from Army), 151 Veer Naris/ widows and 116 dependents participated in the rally. The rally aimed to reach out to the ESM, Veer Naris, widows and their dependents in Nagaland state and ensure their comprehensive welfare and grievance redressal. During the rally, a number of specialised medical facilities were made available which included medical, ortho, gynecologists’ and dental doctors to benefit the attending ESM and their dependents. To address the ESM issues and unique needs, a grievance redressal stall alongwith various stalls were installed by representatives of ARESA, ARO, Pension Cell, Directorate of Resettlement, Banks, Horticulture Department, Agriculture Department, ITI, State Legal Services, Aadhar Card and telecom operators at the rally site.
In his address to the gathering, Maj Gen Vikas Lakhera, SM, IGAR (N) acknowledged the sacrifices and contributions of the ESM and Veer Naris / widows. He welcomed all attendees on behalf of Lieutenant General PC Nair, AVSM, YSM, DGAR and Lieutenant General RC Tiwari, AVSM, SM, GOC, 3 Corps. He announced the theme of the rally as “WE CARE, WE SHARE”, depicting complete solidarity towards the requirements of veterans/ Veer Naris and the Assam Rifles/ Indian Army’s consummate commitment to them. The iconic event saw enthusiastic and colourful events such as Pipe Band display, dance performance by cultural troupe of 164 TA (Naga) H&H and a song performance by ESM. Several Veer Naris, widows and disabled soldiers were felicitated during the ESM Rally. Assistance in terms of wheel chairs, hearing aids and walking sticks was provided to a total of nine Army veterans and 32 Assam Rifles ESM.
The Indian Army and Assam Rifles are forever indebted to the valour and sacrifices of their veterans and Veer Naris. The veterans and Veer Naris expressed immense satisfaction and appreciation for the efforts of Directorate General of Assam Rifles in organising the event and providing a single platform to project their problems/ unresolved issues.