Monday, April 26, 2010

Assam rifles faces public ire in Manipur yet again

Once again there is public protest against the Assam Rifles is Manipur. This time for detaining and severe torture meted out to a youth who is an aspiring candidate in recruitment of Indian Army. Though the Assam Rifles reportedly maintained that the youth identified as 20 years old Neklalsiam Vaiphei from New Checkon in Imphal East was picked up due to mistaken identity, the Vaiphei Students’ Association and KSO, Imphal block has strongly condemned the illegal detention and third degree torture meted out to the youth as barbaric and have placed various charter of demands to the 28 AR reportedly involved in the incident, failing which the two student bodies has decided to resort to various agitations. This youth identified as Neklalsiam Vaiphei, an aspiring candidate in recruitment of Indian Army who has cleared the physical test and waiting for written exams was reportedly picked up by personals of 28 AR posted at Singjamei in Imphal West in the evening of April 22 without giving any arrest memo and remained missing till April 24. The youth who helps in running his family after the death of his father had been severely tortured using 3rd degree method by reportedly accusing him as a training instructor of the proscribed KYKL. The youth bore signs of torture at various parts of his body and was also reportedly given electric shock. Meanwhile, he was freed in the evening of April 24 after establishing that he was picked up due to mistaken identity. The youth narrated the ordeal he went through. Strongly condemned the act of the 28 AR as barbaric and unbecoming on the side of Indian Army, the Vaiphei Students’ Association and KSO, Imphal block strongly decried the branding of an aspiring candidate of Indian Army as a terrorist. The two student bodies further deplored that act was carried out within the Imphal municipality from where AFSPA is lifted and the highhanded act of the Assam Rifles should not be go with impunity. The two student bodies further placed various charter of demands including befitting punishment to officials involved in the act, proper medical and other compensation, providing of alternative means of livelihood as the youth hails from a poor family failing which the two student bodies has warned of various agitations with other like minded organizations if it is not met within 48 hours. With the latest incident of excesses committed by Assam Rifles to an innocent youth by picking up from a place where the Armed Forces Special Powers Act has been lifted and defying all legal provisions, the undisclosed intentions of security personals while carrying out counter insurgency operations has come to the fore again.

Swelling Brahmaputra, tributaries worsen flood scenario in Assam

From Sadiya in Upper Assam to Dhubri in the other end of the state, there is water water everywhere. The incessant rains since the past several weeks have brought back the miseries of the people. Situation in many flood prone districts is gone worse, like in every year. The world’s largest river island Majuli has suffered yet another deluge this year. Hundreds of acres of agriculture land has been submerged by the waters spilled from the mighty Brahmaputra. The farmers are the worst affected as crops and vegetables have been destroyed in the flood spree. As many as 20 villages have lost their early crops and in Lower Majuli also a large tract of cropland is under the water. The situation in the island is anything but perilous. Flood prone Dhemaji district has remained cut off from the rest of the country for the third day on Sunday. Road communication was snapped after about 150 metres of a national highway link road at Chamarajan was washed away by flood waters of Jiyadhol and Kumotiya rivers on Friday. Fed by the incessant rains the two rivers have become the cause of sorrow for the Dhemaji residents. With road surface communication snapped, even ferry people on boats have become dangerous. Even the Hume Pipes set up in place of a bridge served no purpose as within an hour the strong current dismantled all arrangements. As the Border Road Organisation looks helplessly to the worsening situation the district administration has no relief to offer to the marooned farmers and affected people. Apart from Dhemaji the worst hit districts so far are Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Jorhat, and Tinsukia. In Guijan area adjoining the Tinsukia town, the month long incessant rains have brought new areas under the flood waters. Already two persons had drowned in the Guijan river. Even the police station and the forest offices were flooded and had to be shifted of a panchayat office. In the absence of the police, timber smugglers have become active. At the world famous Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and adjoining areas, animals have fled to higher grounds for shelter. It is estimated that more nearly 2 lakh people have so far been displaced all over the state. Meranwhile, the water level of Brahmaoutra is rising due to incessant rainfall in the past two weeks. At present the mighty river is flowing 2.53 meter of danger level. The water level is rising 1 to 1.5 meter daily. Due to nonstop rainfall in the last two weeks, the water level of the Brahmapoutra started raising. According to Central Water Commission report, the water level of the river is raising 1 to 1.5 meter daily. On Saturday, the water level of the Brahmapoutra in Guwahati was 45.39 meter. It goes up to 46.97 meter on Sunday. Now only 2.53 meter rest for crossing the danger level in Guwahati i.e. 49.68 meter. According to CWC report the water level of the Brahmaputra is also raising in other parts of the state, In Dibrugarh, the river is flowing 1.16 meter above the danger level. The water level increased to 105.40 meter within two days. Similarly, in Tezpur, the Brahmaputra is flowing below the danger level. However, the water level increased to 53.47 meter on Sunday.

Deadly squall batters Assam Saturday night; over 10 killed, hundreds injured

A deadly squall with winds over 112 KMPH struck death in several parts of lower Assam and Guwahati city Saturday night. At least five persons were reported dead and more than 100 injured when high velocity winds blew off roof tops, uprooted trees and caught the people unaware last evening. At least 5 persons died and over 100s were wounded as the second thunderstorm lashed Assam Saturday evening. Capital Guwahati was among the severely hit areas by what weather scientists call Squall. Several lower Assam districts on Saturday night reported death and destruction. In Guwahati, two women died in the squall. At Shantipur, a woman died reportedly after she was struck by a lightning that accompanied the squall. In another incident at Kahilipara area of the city, a pregnant woman was killed when her house collapsed under the impact of the storm. A transformer was damaged in Lalganesh area. The city plunged into darkness for several hours as electricity failed due to the storm. The other deaths were reported from Darang, Goalpara and Dhubri districts. In the outskirts of the city 10 people were reported injured in Sualkuchi and Hajo areas as they were hit by objects carried by the squall. Guwahati University campus and police reserve were also severely hit. The worst hit districts are Kamrup (Rural), Kamrup (Metro), Goalpara, Darrang, Chirang, Baksa, Nalbari and Barpeta. More than 1,500 homes were damaged and road communication was severely disrupted in several areas with uprooted trees and electric poles blocking highways and other roads. In Guwahati, at least 30 people were injured with trees falling on moving vehicles, while flying tin roofs in several areas wounded pedestrians caught unawares by the sudden thunderstorm. This is the second massive thunderstorm to have hit Assam this fortnight. On April 16, a cyclonic storm damaged up to 300 homes in several parts of the state. The meteorological department Sunday predicted more rain and thunderstorms over most parts of Assam in the next couple of days. According to MET sources the squall originating from the northwest of Himalayan region passed through Assam areas. The twister also caused widespread damage in the northeastern parts of West Bengal.

‘Mariani,’ Assam’s potential business hub

GUWAHATI - Mariani, a town situated on Nagaland-Assam border, is gradually transforming into a business hub.With peace prevailing in the region, the youth here are increasingly taking up business related ventures.Mariani is in Titabor District, and about 17 kilometres from Jorhat.Markets here bustle with activity. New trade complexes are coming up and this encouraging youth to take up business as a career.“People from outside regions come and do business here and we are earning handsomely like 15-16k per month,” said Dilip Kumar Saha, a shopkeeper.With peace gradually returning to Assam and Nagaland, traders have reason to be optimistic.“Many people in Nagaland depend on Mariani for jobs. So in this town the government should lay emphasis on trade and commerce. If peace prevails, the region definitely has a lot of potential,” said Mintu Kolita, a businessman in Mariani.Just five to six kilometers away from the Mariani is Dehingia village, a small hamlet with 85 households and a population of 1600.The village has a school and work is in progress to construct a road that will connect it to Mariani.Funded by the Centre and state, the road that is being built by the Border Road Development Organization (BRDO) is a boon for people, when completed.This is not all… Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme provides a source of livelihood to many people.Villagers demand for the promotion of the National Rural Employment uarantee Act (NREGA).“The NREGA is going on, and it is going on at a good speed. We should get 100 days of work so that expenses can be taken care of. It will be of great help to us,” said Pobitra Saikia, a villagerPottery is the main source of income for the people in this region. hey make clay pots and sell them in nearby markets.“We make pots. We make our living from it and feed our children from it. Business is good, profits are good,” said Mahesh, a potter Though there is some border conflict between Assam and Nagaland, but people on both sides live in harmony.They are not bothered about such issues and are engaged in day-to-day business activities.“There is no conflict, people are peaceful and relate to each other and the dispute is on National Highway and it will be nice if state government of Assam and Nagaland give more efforts for development of the region. And it would be nice if state government solves this issue peacefully,” said Temsuyanger Aier, Mokokchung, Nagaland. By Peter Alex Todd (ANI)

Bandh called in Manipur hill districts from tonight

A 24-hour bandh in hill districts of Manipur has been called by a local committee from midnight Sunday night in protest against the state government's proposal to hold elections to the autonomous district councils.In a statement in Imphal on Sunday, the Manipur Tribal Joint Action Committee Against Election Under Unwanted District Council Act said the bandh would be enforced in all the hill districts of Manipur.Alleging that the present Manipur District Council Act 2008 did not give enough monetary power to the councils in the hill districts Ukhrul, Chandel, Tamenglong, Senapati and Churachandpur, the committee threatened to launch other forms of agitation if the state government did not stop the election process.With the same demand, the All Naga Students Association Manipur (ANSAM) had also begun an indefinite economic blockade from Saturday along the Imphal-Dimapur National Highway 39 and Imphal-Jiribam National Highway 53.Official sources, however, denied the charges of the organisations saying the district councils had enough monetary power.