Tuesday, July 27, 2010

No compromise on sovereignty: NSCN-K

Guwahati, July 26: The NSCN (K) said New Delhi should not blunder by viewing the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) as a “weak force”.“The ULFA with cadre strength of 7000 is still a force to reckon with,” senior NSCN (K) leader Kughalu Mulatanu said while talking to some media. His assertion came amidst Centre’s bid to resume peace talks with the jailed leaders of ULFA.Mulatanu said peace talks without the participation of ULFA military chief Paresh Barua would be a “non-issue”. “It would have been good for India if it had initiated talks with the B Company of ULFA’s 28th battalion,” Mulatanu said. The B Company of the 28th battalion has been the most potent force of the ULFA over the years.“With resources to generate from like tea estates, industries, oil etc, the ULFA can’t be a weak force,” he said.Meanwhile, Kughalu Mulatonu said the NSCN-K would not compromise on anything short of sovereignty.Kughalu Mulatonu is the ‘emissary’ to the ‘collective leadership’ of the NSCN-K.“India has a 4500 years history of civilization to solve the problem. If India fails, people won’t appreciate its democracy and civilization,” Mulatonu said. He asserted that the NSCN (K) would sit for peace parleys with the Centre only after the “Muivah problem is solved”.On Chinese linkages, Mulatonu said “Chinese people” often come and visit NSCN (K) camps in Myanmar to hold meetings with their leaders.“They (Chinese people) openly come to India via Delhi carrying passport and meet Mr. Khaplang,” Mulatanu said.“In fact, the Government of India gets to know of such meetings well before the Chinese arrive in India,” he said. The last of such meetings took place in 2009, Mulatanu said but refused to divulge further details.Security agencies say China is mainly responsible for the proliferation of small arms in the Northeast. But when asked they expressed their ignorance of such meetings.

Gangtok to have a ‘Fashion Street’

A half a kilometer stretch will be developed into a state-of-the-art ‘Fashion Street’ in Sikkim on the NH-31A here at a cost of nearly 17 crore. The Urban Development and Housing Department (UDHD) will transform the stretch between Sisha-Golai, Pani House and the tri-junction towards Nam-Nang into a combination of branded showrooms, extravagant restaurants, beauty parlours, saloons and high-end shops, Additional Chief Engineer, UDHD, C Zangpo informed. “We plan to develop the area as a congregation point for all to meet, shop, relax and enjoy,” he said. The department has started consultancy for developing the stretch of NH-31A as a trendy shopping destination for visitors to Gangtok, which would also decongest the MG Mall, he said.

Manipur Naga Hills demand for alternative arrangement

Responding to the Naga People’s Declaration held at Senapati on July 1, 2010 to sever ties with the Government of Manipur and sought for alternate arrangement to fill the vacuum/gap created in the recent times. The Naga people living in the hill districts of Manipur are suffering for so long under the majority ruled Government of Manipur where their voices are least represented and their rights least bothered by the government. As world pursue sustainability in all forms, alternative is a way out to find the amicable solution.Alternative arrangement that allows the stakeholders to have the sovereign right over their resources and land, the course of actions and processes that will shape and decide their future become mandatory to meet various needs and aspirations of the struggling people. Naga people having experienced the worst situations of the past and recent from the Government of Manipur, felt the need for alternative arrangement/governance system/government for Naga Hills districts of Manipur (Chandel, Tamenglong, Senapati and Ukhrul) with immediate effect to protect their rights viz. traditional, customary, historical and political as a people until the Indo-Naga peace process come to its logical and honorable settlement. Having fully supporting the ongoing Indo-Naga peace process between the Government of India and NSCN (IM), the Naga demand alternative arrangement for Naga Hill districts with immediate effect is paramount.The recent Mao-Gate tragedy speaks volume how the peaceful environment of the peace loving Nagas are met with the brute force killing two students by the State Security Forces of Manipur injuring more than hundreds amounting to human rights violation threatening the Naga civilians. The oppressive and suppressive nature of majority ruled Manipur Government poses a great threat to the Naga people; therefore, alternative arrangement for governance and administration of the Naga Hills District is of paramount.Having taken to consideration, the government of Manipur where the dominant valley based Meiteis community has got 40(forty) solid seats out of 60 Seats in Assembly Floor will never allow the people living in Naga Hills district their due rights in every front as any bills, amendments, legislation, policy passed in the floor needs vote of majority. Therefore, it is time now for the people of Naga Hills districts to manage and govern their own affairs as best suited to them. When the final political settlement of Indo-Naga peace process has arrived, the Naga Hills districts will come under the settled arrangement.The executive, legislative, judiciary and financial matters should be managed by the alternative government as the corruption culture and step motherly treatment meted out by the Manipur Government speak volume of how much the Naga Hills people have suffered from the Manipur Government for past many years. Alternative arrangement for governance of the Hills Districts can be formulated through democratic processes. Henceforth all the development funds, administration, legislation, executive and judiciary shall be handled b. The modalities of the alternative Government should be worked out in consultation with the Naga people and the subject matter experts. This is to avoid the further conflict and confrontation between the Meiteis and Naga people and to protect, preserve the rights of the Nagas. It should be an arrangement before the final negotiated solution is arrived between the Government of India and NSCN (IM).This alternative arrangement should create conducive environment for the peace-process to a higher and better level of negotiation. The alternate arrangement is possible. At times when another ethnic war-like situation was avoided, all peace loving people, government, and civil society should seize the moment to make the alternative possibilities possible. By this, the writer means to say that the parallel outworking is a must to bring the longest conflict in South Asia to a logical conclusion. Searching alternatives to be part of the solution is a must. This doesn’t mean the piecemeal solution of any sort, but this means that creating of situations, which will enhance and optimize peace processes to bring an honorable and acceptable settlement to both the parties at the earliest. Thinking out of box now, if, the Naga people were allowed to manage their own affairs, to self govern, to form a separate government; the grass root village republic governance system based on historical practices will be a beauty of its kind for the world to re-learn again. The world now is pursuing passionately for the empowerment of communities with the minimum intervention of structural institutions. Each Naga village can be turned to a small industry/factory of one kind or the other once they are allowed to self govern. Each individual family has got paddy field and land, each village has got forest land other natural resources, one village can be a centre of pottery items, one can be of cane and bamboo industry, one can be traditional shawls, one can be horticultural products like mangoes, oranges, lemon, passion fruits etc. etc.The Naga people by now have understand the term or word development, it is not a controversial contract works given to any person and the government always find excuses for percentage cut or whatsoever, the development as the younger generation understand is as pointed out by the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation(1975), which they called five principles of “Another Development’. Firstly need oriented- being geared to meeting human needs, both material and non-material; secondly endogenous-stemming from the heart of each society, which defines in sovereignty its values and the vision of the future; thirdly self-reliant: implying that each society relies primarily on its own strength and resources in terms of its members’ energies and its natural and cultural environment; fourthly ecologically sound-utilising rationally the resources of the biosphere in full awareness of the potential of local ecosystems as well as the global and local outer limits impose on present and future generations; fifthly based on structural transformation- so as to realize the conditions required for self-management and participation in decision making by all those affected by it, from the rural or urban community to the world as a whole, without which the goals above could not be achieved.Meanwhile, the parallel outworking of the Reconciliation for Common Hope should gain more ground as it did in the recent Chiangmai Meet. Now, is the time for all the factions to form a united government to forge into a coherent and unified force with one voice to bring home the common hope that each Naga people is longing for ages.All Naga should not retreat from their knees, all Churches should be sincere, forgiving, and the leaders all the more should be more humbled not in words alone but in their inner sense. As the saying goes, ‘humility makes the great greater’. So much so the humble leaders will make a Nation greater. Let this journey of common hope and reconciliation be a journey of each soul to truly know who they are and bring to a sense that without body, mind and soul integrated together as one an individual is an incomplete being. So much so, without each Individual, each Naga family, each Naga tribe, each Naga political party(ies), a Naga Nation is incomplete. Can we now, hope that with these cohesive forces coming together is bringing a Naga Nation nearer?Creative common approach basing on the historical and political rights of both with best workable relational ties between the two entities will benefit both in long term. Perhaps, this will enhance and capacitate the internal and external security of both the entities. Acknowledging, the nick of the time, both should better understand each other by now, whereby, mutually acceptable and honorable solution need be worked out. Therefore, the Indo-Naga peace talks by now should find a final political solution. This will only pave way for peace, prosperity and progress for both.

Peace appeal by Mizoram CM

On the occasion of the 24th anniversary of the signing of the historic Mizo Accord, Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, has appealed to the people to preserve and maintain the hard-earned peace. In a message, he said the government has been doing its best to give security to the people and it is the duty of everyone to deliver justice and goodwill in order to preserve tranquility.He said that the State Government’s flagship programme, New Land Use Policy (NLUP), being implemented would uplift the poor and give them a fair deal in the society. He also said other infrastructure development projects including construction of hydro-electric projects were being taken up.Meanwhile, former chief minister and president of the Mizo National Front (MNF) Zoramthanga said his party, which launched armed insurrection against Indian Union for 20 years, has abandoned violent movement after the accord was signed with Centre two decades back.“We are now fighting for economic independence from New Delhi and that also by peaceful means,” Zoramthanga, the former underground leader said, adding Mizoram can become the most prosperous State in the country. (PTI)

Militant groups in north-east get together

Guwahati, July 26 (ANI): Militant groups in northeast India are making attempts to coordinate their efforts, according to reports.Intelligence reports have revealed that major militant groups of Manipur have come to the rescue of the decimated militant organizations of the region in general and Assam, in particular.The recent IED blast in Guwahati by NDFB has revealed its links with People's Liberation Army of Manipur.On July 16, a railway bridge was damaged in a powerful blast in Udalguri and an IED was planted at Fancy Bazar area in Guwahati exploded while being defused.On July 7, an explosion on a railway track, derailed several coaches of the Kolkata-bound Garibrath Express in Kokrajhar .Following these incidents, a joint team of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and police arrested three cadres of the Manipur's Peoples Liberation Army. They revealed that they had triggered blasts at the behest of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) anti-talk faction."The extremist groups want to establish some bases here because this is the gateway to the Northeast. They want to set up their bases here but they are not successful," said P.C Saloi, Senior Superintendent of Police, Guwahati.here is feeling of fear among residents despite security arrangements."Security has been provided but fear continues to exist among the people. This place (Fancy Bazar) was always crowded, but after the incident the people are afraid of coming here," said Bharat Mishra, local shopkeeper .The anti-talk faction of NDFB is also responsible for several crimes, including the serial blasts in Assam on Oct 30, 2008.The outfit maintains close links with banned outfits in the region including United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), National Socialist Council of Nagaland - Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM) and People's Liberation Army (PLA). ormed in Oct. 3, 1986, the NDFB is fighting for 'sovereign Bodoland' in the western areas of Assam.In May 2005, the NDFB declared a ceasefire agreement with the government, but the anti-talk faction headed by Ranjan Daimery refused to read the writing on the wall."Ranjan Daimary has been captured and the whole organisation is in disarray. So, they have to now prove by some actions that they are still there. That's all that I read into it. It's a group, which is on the wane, and I am quite sure, if handled properly, they would come to the negotiating table and will surrender," said General V. K. Singh, Chief of the Army Staff.The intelligence agencies and security forces are on high alert and making efforts to ensure that peace and normalcy returns to the region at the earliest. (ANI)

Delhi constable assaulted in high-security area

New Delhi: Snatching and robbery cases are on a rise in the national capital these days. But on Sunday, it was the turn of the cops to taste the bitter pill.Constable Shree Om, attached to the Tughlak Road police station in New Delhi, was on patrol when he saw a white Santro car parked by the side of the road near Max Mueller Marg in suspicious conditions. He went up to the car to ask why the driver had parked the vehicle there. But, the four occupants of the car threatened him and one of them took out an Italian pistol. They even tried to pull the constable inside the car.Constable Shree Om resisted their attempts and raised an alarm. The assailants fled the scene. The cop chased them on his motorcycle. They had to stop at a nearby traffic picket where they were nabbed."Sabir, Akbar Khan and Aftab were arrested and an Italian pistol with six live cartridges was recovered from their possession. The car in which they were travelling bore a false number plate and was stolen from the Capital. The accused have criminal antecedents. Akbar Khan was earlier arrested by Special Cell of the Delhi Police whereas Sabir was arrested by Connaught Place police in connection with robbery cases," a police officer said.

Not a single food grain should be wasted: Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has observed that not a single food grain should be wasted. In a strongly-worded ruling, the apex court has told the government that foodgrains are rotting and if you can't do anything about it then distribute it among the poor.The court has also sought government's response on this.Meanwhile, as the government faces flak over letting close to 30 lakh tonnes of foodgrain rot across the country, the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on food has reportedly decided to sell an additional 30 lakh tonnes of rice and wheat to 11.5 crore Above-Poverty-Line (APL) families through ration shops.The decision will also help clear stocks from overflowing granaries.PTI adds: The EGoM, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, cleared the proposal.APL families get 10-35 kg of wheat and rice per month at Rs 6.10 and Rs 8.30 per kg, respectively.At present, the government godowns are overflowing with food grains amounting to 60 million tonnes.To augment the storage space for foodgrains, EGoM is believed to have decided to extend the guarantee period to private parties for hiring godowns to 10 years from present seven years, sources said.The Food Corporation of India is planning to add 130 lakh tonnes of storage capacity by offering a guarantee to private parties that it would hire godowns for seven years.The EGoM did not take any decision on increasing the issue price of sugar through ration shops, sources added.

Assam rebel ambush kills 4 SSB jawans

Four jawans of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) were killed and two injured in an ambush by a suspected tribal militant group on Monday afternoon. The incident at Amlaiguri village in northern Assam's Chirang district is the first major strike on security forces in the past couple of years. Chirang police said the militants – suspected to belong to the anti-talks faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDBF) – remote-controlled an improvised explosive device on a vehicle carrying the SSB personnel before opening fire. The SSB men were on routine patrolling in the Bodo-tribal dominated area. The deceased SSB men were identified as Pratap Singh, Amit Tiwari, Helsu Serfa and Kishore Kunal. Two other jawans were injured critically in the attack while another went missing after the ambush. Police said security was intensified soon after the incident was reported. A joint team of police, CRPF and Army later cordoned off two villages in the greater Amlaiguri area. District police officials had reasons to believe the banned anti-talks faction of NDFB – it has some 500 rebels – was behind the incident. The outfit's chairman Ranjan Daimary is behind bars, but his followers vowed to continue the fight for a sovereign nation for the Bodo tribal people. The SSB, a border guarding force under Ministry of Home Affairs, was deployed to guard the Indo-Bhutan border from January 2004. Kokrajhar, Udalguri, Chirang and Baksa districts – they fall in the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) – share border with Bhutan. The decision to deploy SSB along 267 km Indo-Bhutan border in Assam was taken after the Royal Bhutan Army's crackdown on the ULFA, NDFB and Kamtapur Liberation Organization in December 2003. These outfits had at least 30 camps in southern Bhutan before the ejection. SSB's main job was to check the movement of militants to and from Bhutan. Earlier this month, the anti-talks faction of NDFB had blown up a railway track at Gossaigaon in Kokrajhar district. A six-year-old boy was killed and 12 others in that incident. There are intelligence inputs that the anti-talks faction of NDFB would carry out attack on security forces, trigger blasts at public place and railway tracks besides targeting top officials. A thick belt along the Indo-Bhutan in Assam is regarded as stronghold of this faction. The outfit has also been on a massive extortion drive in the four BTC districts as well as Sonitpur district in north-central Assam.

Naga rebel leader admits China links

Although Beijing’s support for rebels in India’s northeast has often been suspected, a top Naga rebel leader has finally come out to confirm the Chinese connection. Kughalu Mulatonu, a leader of the Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, said the Chinese found their way to rebel camps in Eastern Nagaland via New Delhi.The Nagas refer to Sagaing division of Myanmar as Eastern Nagaland.The revelation comes barely two months after the arrest of a Chinese spy, Guang Liang, near Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh. The man claimed he was from Henan province of central China.This division adjoining Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland is dominated by at least six Naga tribes and is easier to access from India.Mulatonu said from a rebel camp near Dimapur in Nagaland: “Yes, they (the Chinese) openly and legally come to India via Delhi and meet us.”The Khaplang faction, led by S.S. Khaplang, a Myanmar-based Hemi Naga, lords over most of the 30 north-east rebel camps in Sagaing division.“The government of India gets to know of such meetings well before they are held. The last of such meetings was in 2009,” Mulatonu said. He, however, declined to divulge what usually gets discussed at these meetings.Security agencies, however, are certain why the Chinese often get in touch with NSCN-K leaders, its rival Isaak-Muivah faction and other northeast rebel groups camped in Sagaing Division.“In all probability, the Chinese people visit the rebel camps to strike deals for small arms,” a Nagaland-based intelligence officer said on condition of anonymity.

Three quakes hit Meghalaya, Assam

Three earthquakes shook parts of Meghalaya and Assam within eight hours on Tuesday, triggering panic among residents. No casualties were reported. The first tremor measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale with its epicentre at Barpeta region in Assam was felt at 12.43 am in Meghalaya and Assam, an official at the Central Seismological Centre in Shillong told IANS.Another light intensity tremor measuring 3.4 on the Richter scale hit Shillong, the state capital of Meghalaya, at 7.52 am, while the third tremor with 2.4 magnitude on the Richter scale hit Shillong again at 8.16 am, the official said.The epicentres of both the earthquakes were located 22 km away from the Central Seismological Centre at Upper Shillong.Seven northeastern states are considered by seismologists to be the sixth most earthquake-prone belt in the world.

North-East shaken by moderate earthquakes

Three mild earthquakes shook various places in the North eastern region within eight hours since midnight, officials said in Shillong on Tuesday. A moderate intensity earthquake, measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale, was felt in Assam, Meghalaya and neighbouring states at 12.43 am. Its epicentre was located at Barpeta in Assam by Central Seismological Observatory.A light intensity earthquake measuring 3.4 on the Richter scale shook Meghalaya and parts of Assam at 7.52 am followed by another quake, measuring 2.4 in the scale, at 8:16 am.Epicentre of both the quakes were located in Shillong.There was no report of damage or casualty. People rushed out of their homes when they felt the second quake this morning that lasted for over 15 seconds.