Monday, March 15, 2010

Police recover huge cache of arms after arresting a man

A huge cache of arms was seized from a sympathiser of the banned Revolutionary Peoples Front, the political wing of Peoples Liberation Army, by Manipur police commandos from Thoubal district.

Senior superintendent of police Clay Khongsai said the police commandos had launched a massive manhunt yesterday at Ukhongsang area in the district following reports of movement of ultras.

The sympathiser, identified as Thokchom Biren Singh (43), was apprehended from Ukhongsang Khumbom Leirak area during the search and one AK 56 rilfe, three magazines and 79 AK live ammunitions were seized from him.

On interrogation Singh led the police to the hidden place where the arms were stored, he said adding the commandos and other security forces rushed to the area after it and launched a search for more arms.

Police recovered four 9mm pistols, 20 grenades, 271 live ammunitions of M16 rifle, 232 live ammunitions of AK rifles, 100 live ammunitions of 9mm pistol and 4 live rounds of some other weapons from the spot.

Interrogation of Singh is on, Khongsai said.

Assamese litterateur Bireswar Baruah dies

Noted Assamese litterateur Bireswar Baruah today died of heart attack at his residence here. He was 77.

Baruah is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

He received Sahitya Akademy award for a collection of his poems 'Anya Ek Jonak' in 2003. Among his other notable works are 'Nilimar Man', 'Ban Harini', (both short story collections) and novels 'Anek Putlar Natch' and 'Man Jonakir Path'.

Baruah was also a former Inspector General (Prisons).

Nothing wrong if a cop on duty has a peg: Arunachal minister

A senior Arunachal Pradesh minister does not find anything "wrong" with a police officer having a drink while on duty.
"Normally, an officer on duty does not drink. But, if he wants to have a peg and he gets it, I find nothing wrong in it," according state Home Minister Tako Dabi.

"But, yes, any kind of ill behaviour will be wrong," he said during an interaction with reporters.

"Look at us, how much we drink. It gives us energy," he said.

Waterloo cannons pit Mizoram against MHA

Nearly two centuries after they helped the Duke of Wellington defeat Napoleon Bonaparte’s army, two cannons have landed in another battle – between Mizoram and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) via Assam Rifles (AR).

A group of retired administrative officers heading the Mizoram unit of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) want AR to return the cannons that adorned the paramilitary force’s Quarterguard here.

The 1st Battalion of AR (1AR), custodians of the cannons, had taken them to Tuensang in Nagaland where it was shifted to in 2003. No one apparently missed the missing cannons until INTACH’s local unit members “felt the loss” in April last year.

Through INTACH member secretary Yogendra Narain, the Mizoram chapter apprised MHA of how Aizawl was robbed of its heritage cannons. But the latter has gone with AR’s argument: “The cannons are war trophies that passed from the British Indian Army to 1AR.”

Aizawl’s elites disagree. “The cannons were installed by Lt Col J Shakespear in 1892. Though he was an army officer, he was the civilian head of North Lushai Hills district (part of present-day Mizoram) created in 1898,” INTACH’s local convenor and former Delimitation Commission member P Rohmingthanga told Hindustan Times.

Shakespear, in his 1939 book The Making of Aijal, wrote that the cannons were fired at Waterloo. Later, they were part of the armament of a Burma-bound ship of war that docked in Chittagong (Bangladesh) in 1857. When the detachment of the 34th Native Infantry stationed in Chittagong mutinied on November 18, the guns were thrown overboard to prevent their falling in the hands of mutineers. These were later fished out and brought to Aizawl.

“Anything installed by the civilian head of a district cannot logically belong to the armed forces – certainly not by the AR, which came into existence only in 1917,” Rohmingthanga said.

“The AR has been in existence since 1835, albeit by other names, but we don’t want to get into any argument on anything that belongs to us,” said Major Rajat M Bhatt. “It’s up to the MHA to decide.”

As of now, the MHA is pretty certain the cannons are AR’s. “As per the service norms, the war trophies are held by the respective units and form an integral part of the Battalion history and legacy. These are kept with honour and pride by the Assam Rifles and it is proposed to shift them later to the Assam Rifles Museum,” said its note dated June 9, 2009.

The museum is in AR headquarters on the outskirts of Meghalaya capital Shillong.

But INTACH’s local chapter is in no mood to call it quits. “Let the AR continue to have the cannons, but in Aizawl,” Rohmingthanga said.

Banned in 1952, Assamese film pops up to ask questions

ninth Assamese feature film, was banned in 1952.

Fifty-eight years later, the lone print of the film has popped up in a tin trunk in a remote village in Assam’s Sonitpur district asking why.

Runumi, based on an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s play The Warriors at Helgeland, was banned midway through its first week of screening. The Assam government headed by Bishnu Ram Medhi then did not offer any reason.

The film’s director-producer Suresh Chandra Goswami tried to find out in vain.

"The reason will perhaps be a mystery," he had written in a diary.

The lone print of the black-and-white film that Goswami possessed was used for ‘illegal’ viewing in the tea estates until it vanished one day.

Last week, 13 reels of the film were accidentally found in their original cans in a tin trunk at the residence of Goswami’s brother-in-law Lakshminath Borthakur of Bhir Gaon near Biswanath Chariali town.

"The cans have rusted and cracked owing to humid conditions, but a significant part of the film might still be intact," said Utpal Borpujari, Goswami’s grandson and film critic.

The National Film Archives of India in Pune is expected to restore and preserve the film that could provide insights into the germination of Naga militancy in the Northeast.

"I vaguely recall my father saying the film had something to do with Assamese and Naga societies of that period," said Dolly Borpujari, daughter of Runumi’s maker.

"We would like to know why the film invited the ban," she added, wondering if it was politically untouchable.

The Borpujaris have issued an appeal seeking any piece of writing or government paperwork that could unravel the mystery.

Advanced Air Defence interceptor missile test fails

BALASORE - The Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile failed to take off during a planned launch from the Integrated Test Range at Wheeler Island off Orissa coast due to some coordination problem on Monday.

The AAD interceptor missile is capable of destroying any enemy missile.

A source said that the interceptor missile planned trial could not take place properly.

“Coordinated exercise between target missile Prithvi from Chandipur and the indigenously built interceptor from Wheeler Island could not take place properly during the planned trial,” the source said.

The interceptor missile failed to take off as Prithvi, the target missile, was test-fired from a mobile launcher at Chandipur, he said.

Preliminary analysis suggested that the target missile might have deviated from its stipulated trajectory, leading to lack of proper coordination.

The trial, which was aimed at developing a multi-layer Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system, was originally scheduled to be held on Sunday, but had to be put off due to some technical snag, the source said. (ANI)