SHILLONG: While stating that the ruling of the High Court of Meghalaya on AFSPA was a “slap on the government” for its failure to control the law and order situation in Garo Hills, Independent legislator from Gambegre, Saleng Sangma said that there is a need to have an NIA/CBI probe into the alleged politico-militant nexus instead of implementing the Act which “will not bring normalcy in Garo Hills”.
Sangma, a former community and rural development minister, also petitioned Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking his intervention to order NIA/CBI probe into the “nexus between politicians and militants”.
While respecting the verdict of the High Court on AFSPA, the legislator said that the Court should have also ordered an inquiry into the alleged politico-militant nexus.
“Instead of the promulgation of AFSPA, 1958, I feel that the Centre could intervene by ordering a probe by the CBI or NIA into the much-talked about politico-militant nexus to stem the rot emitted by militants and other criminal elements,” said the letter addressed to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
The copies of the letter were also submitted to Meghalaya Governor V. Shanmuganathan and Home Minister Roshan Warjri.
Following a meeting with Warjri, Sangma said that the Home Minister did not give any )assurance on the demand for probe into politico-militant nexus.
However, he said that Warjri was of the view that the state government will approach the Centre for deployment of more forces as the government was not in favour of implementing AFSPA.
According to Sangma, “No militancy/insurgency would survive without the backing of certain political leaders to further their own vested interests.”
Sangma said that there are various factors which led to the current unrest in Garo Hills including the delay in settling the peace package with ANVC, non-tribals contesting GHADC polls among others.
He said that failure of the government to control the situation in Garo Hills has not only led to mushrooming of militant outfits in the region but also made innocent people victims of the two systems, one run by the state government and another by militants.
SHILLONG: Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Assembly that undertook the site inspections to the Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme and Upper Shillong Water supply schemes on Tuesday asked the officials to rectify the shoddy laying of pipes and to ensure uninterrupted water supply.
After meeting the PHE officials, the PAC also stressed on providing safe drinking water to the people and in this regard it is collaborating with the Shillong Municipal Board.
Issues concerning the MeECl sub-station distributing power from the GSWSS project site leading to avoidable breakdown of water supply will be taken up at the level of the Chief Minister, the PAC said.
The PAC inspection was led by its Chairman Paul Lyngdoh , R. V. Lyngdoh, H. Bamon and B. Sangma, MLAs and PHE team by Additional Chief Engineer Talukdar.
NEW DELHI, Nov 10: The Home Ministry has extended the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in 16 police stations of Arunachal Pradesh and 20 kilometres along the Assam-Meghalaya border for six months and one year respectively. The latest order issued on November 4-5 came despite opposition from the state governments.
SHILLONG, Nov 10: A massive heart attack on Tuesday claimed the life of Former Meghalaya Urban Affairs Minister Founder Strong Cajee.
Cajee (55) passed away at hospital in Tamil Nadu where he was undergoing a routine medical checkup.
SHILLONG, Nov 10: The Meghalaya Home Minister Roshan Warjri on Tuesday informed that the Meghalaya Government is seeking more support from the centre by way of deployment of additional forces to combat militancy in the state.
Warjri’s statement came in the wake of the Meghalaya High Court ruling which had recommended that the Centre considers imposing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the five districts of Garo Hills in view of the insurgency related problems there.
SHILLONG, Nov 10: Rather than imposing the dreaded Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), a CBI or NIA probe was recommended by the independent legislator from Gambegre, Saleng A Sangma as a way to curb militancy in the 5 districts of Garo Hills.
TURA, Nov 10: A meeting was held between the Director General of Police (DGP) of Meghalaya, Rajiv Mehta along with the various Superintendents of Police (SPs) of the five districts of Garo Hills on Tuesday in the town of Tura where Mehta directed the SPs to come up with crime maps to indicate hotspots within each district that are prone to militant activities like kidnapping and extortion.
TURA, Nov 10: In what will come as a huge relief to the traders of Tura, the CEO, Zenithsky J Sangma has been relieved of the task of running the Tura Municipal Board (TMB). The move comes after numerous complaints filed by various traders’ bodies against the CEO, who has been accused, time and again, of being high handed in his dealings with people.
According to the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of West Garo Hills (WGH) district, Pravin Bakshi the order relieving Sangma of his duties was sent on November 6, 215 and was later circulated on Monday.
SHILLONG, Nov 10: The Movement for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Livelihood (MIPRL) on Tuesday demanded the State government to take action against the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of West Jaintia Hills (WJH) district, Arun Kumar Kembhavi for his alleged failure which led to the incident of lathicharge against students in Jowai.
Guwahati: Nine Congress MLAs in Assam and loyalists of former Congress minister Himanta Bishwa Sarma , will formally don saffron here on Friday in presence of the BJP’s national general secretary Ram Madhab following footsteps of Dr Sharma.
Assam BJP’s organization secretary Phani Sharma informed that the nine Congress MLAs who are set to join the BJP, include Pijush Hazarika, Jayanta Malla Baruah, Pallab Lochan Das, Pradan Barua, Rajen Borthakur, Bolin Chetia, Binanda Saikia, Kripanath Mallah and Abu Taher Bepari.
These nine MLAs are known to be loyalist to Dr Himanta Bishwa Sharma, the former Congress minister who had joined the BJP in September this year.
All these nine Congress MLAs had earlier met the BJP president Amit Shah in New Delhi on September 5 along with Sharma to express their willingness to join the BJP.
The BJP leadership then told the Congress MLAs to wait till the Assembly elections in Bihar were over to formally join the party.
With the nine more MLAs leaving its ranks, the Congress’ strength in the 126-member Assam Assembly will be reduced to 69 which, however, will be more than enough for the chief minister Tarun Gogoi to continue ruling the state.
Meanwhile, chief minister Tarun Gogoi has remained unfazed over dissertation of Congress MLAs to the BJP and described the BJP as a party which is surviving on leaders and workers borrowed from other parties.
Earlier, one sitting MLA from Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Padma Hazarika joined the BJP on October 30 last while several senior AGP leaders including former ministers Hiten Goswami, Jagadish Bhuyan and former MLA, Hemanta Kalita joined the saffron party.
IIT-G selected for Google computer education programme
Guwahati: IIT-Guwahati has been selected by Google for its ‘Computer Science for High School’ (CS4HS) award programme for the year 2015. The programme will be coordinated by Proffessor J K Deka of Computer Science and Engineering Department of the Institute, a statement said on Thursday.”Under this award programme, plans are on to organise several workshops in different places of North East Region of India. Expenditure for the workshop will be borne from the award. Colleges/universities of the region interested in hosting this workshop for the concerned teachers may contact us for further details. The first of these workshops would be held in Boko” said Prof Deka. To cater to the need for instructors to train the young minds in their early stages, Google started the programme ‘Computer Science for High School (CS4HS)’ in 2009 and the programme has sustained CS teacher professional development and provided earlier access to computer science education to hundreds of learning communities worldwide. (UNI)
Suspected JMB terrorist involved in Burdwan blast arrested
Agartala: A suspected Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh terrorist, who confessed to having been involved in the Burdwan blast in West Bengal, was on Thursday arrested from Tripura’s Sipahijala district, about 50 km from here. Police said Jahangir Hussain (32) was arrested from Himmatpur village under Jatarpur police station bordering Bangladesh following a tip-off from the state intelligence wing. A contingent of police raided a house in the village in the morning and arrested Hussain (32), a Bangladeshi and suspected to be involved with the Oct 2, 2014 Burdwan blast. Officer-in-charge of Jatrapur police station Kamalkrishna Koloi said Hussain had married the daughter of the houseowner and was staying there for about last one year. The village is near a BSF border outpost. “During preliminary investigation, Hussain admitted that he is a citizen of Chittagong in Bangladesh and was involved with the Burdwan blast,” Koloi said. Hussain was today produced before the court of Sonamura sub-divisional judicial magistrate Bipasha Kilikdar and remanded to seven days police custody. (PTI)
New Delhi: A special court has asked CBI to verify whether two of the five persons it summoned as accused in a graft case in which ex-Union minister P K Thungon was awarded a four-and-a-half-year jail term have died.
Special judge Ajay Kumar Jain had summoned five persons as accused on July 21 while convicting Thungon and three others in a cheating and corruption case lodged by CBI 17 years back.
These five persons were scheduled to appear before the court on Wednesday and the judge was informed by the prosecutor that two of the five accused, Neilakuo Suokhrie and Khrienguozo Angami, were reported to have expired. “Investigating officer is directed to verify the death of accused Neilakuo Suokhrie and Khrienguozo Angami and submit the death verification report of accused persons on next date of hearing,” the judge noted in his order.
Meanwhile, the court was also informed that the Delhi High Court has stayed its order summoning two accused, K Konngam Konyak, the then minister of state in Nagaland for irrigation and flood control, and Mezakrol in the case. During the hearing, the counsel for one of the accused, Bendang Wapang, appeared before the court and filed a plea seeking exemption from personal appearance for his client. The court allowed his plea for the day only. The court has now fixed the matter for further hearing on March 8. All these five accused were not charge sheeted by CBI in the case, in which Thungon and three others were convicted and sentenced by the court.
69-year-old Thungon and three others were sentenced for offences under sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) read with 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of IPC and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.The three other convicts were Tali AO, C Sangit and Mahesh Maheshwari. (PTI)
Guwahati: Popular numbers of colossal musician and cultural icon from the region,Bhupen Hazarika were hummed throughout Assam where people from all walks of life remeberd and paid tributes the artiste of their heart on his fourth death anniversary on Thursday.
Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Thursday dedicated the newly-constructed Bhupen Hazarika memorial which has been built at the site where the musician was cremated, to the nation.
A 10-feet tall bronze statue of Dr Hazarika has also been unveiled at the site which was thrown open for the visitors on Thursday.
Gogoi announced that Assam government would set up Bhupen Hazarika Memorial Society with an initial coffer of Rs 10 crore to promote ad popularize the works of Hazarika globally.
He pledged initiative to facilitate setting up of an institution of sort at Columbia University in the US where the cultural icon had successfully done his research in mass communication. “We will try to make Dr Hazarika’s presence felt in every important city in the country. We will request Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to name a road in the national capital after Bhupen Hazarika,” Gogoi said.
“Dr Hazarika was a global citizen with a big heart who tried his best to promote universal brotherhood through his songs. He showed us the way how conflicts within the mankind could be resolved through the spirit of universal brotherhood. The people of Assam should take pride that such a towering global personality called Dr Bhupen Hazarika comes of this place. The best way to show respect to the cultural icon is to show love and concerns for fellow people wherein the key to resolve differences and conflicts lies,” Gogoi said.
Asam Sahitya Sabha, the apex literary organization in Assam, on Thursday orgainsed a solemn but magnificent function in Gauhati University where Hazarika used to teach for some time, to remember the Bard of Brahmaputra, A large number of former and present students and teachers of the varsity attended the function and lent voice to the chorus – “Jilkaba Luitora Par —-“, the theme song of the varsity that was composed and sung first by Dr Hazarika in 1948 when the varsity was established.
Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Thursday said he would write to his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal for a suitable place for a statue of legendary singer Bhupen Hazarika in the national capital.
Besides a statue in Delhi, similar initiatives in Kolkata and in Columbia (USA) where Hazarika did his Ph.D would also be taken up, Gogoi said while dedicating the late singer’s memorial to the people of Assam here on the occasion of his four death anniversary on Thursday.
“We would like to take Dr Hazarika’s priceless creations beyond the shores of India and make known to the whole world how rich Assamese culture is,” he said.
“Hazarika lives on in the hearts and minds of the people. His songs mirror the hopes and aspirations, trials and tribulations, narrate tales of injustice, subjugation and oppression,” Gogoi said.
Paying rich tributes, Gogoi said “He(Hazarika) transcended the barriers of caste, creed or religion and tried to bind together every community.
He represented the cultural ethos of different communities in his creations and enriched Assamese culture.” (PTI)
Any law that empowers the state to act with impunity must be resisted by a democratic society. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which is imposed in disturbed areas of the North East and Jammu and Kashmir has been contested by several civil society groups of this country. In Kashmir several women are called half widows because their husbands have been abducted and secretly killed, all in the name of counter insurgency. In disturbed areas the army is brought in to tackle militancy. Under AFSPA the security forces enjoy immunity for causing death and for tortures they inflict in the name of countering insurgency. Very often the encounters are staged and suspects are killed because the higher ups need quick results. Irom Sharmila of Manipur has been the longest non-violent protestor against the AFSPA. She started her fast to protest against AFSPA in November 2000 and continues to be force fed in jail. Successive governments have refused to take a call against this repressive colonial Act because the Defence Ministry would refuse to deploy the army if the AFSPA is withdrawn. Army officials claim that sending their men into an insurgency affected area without the backing of AFSPA is like sending them with their hands tied behind their backs.
The point is that there is a cadre of para-military forces like the CRPF and Assam Rifles which can be deployed without invoking the AFSPA, so why is the Union Home Ministry not using these forces to strengthen the state police? It is learnt that CRPF personnel have been deployed in the Garo Hills earlier but they cannot adapt themselves to the harsh terrain. Moreover there are claims that the CRPF men sent here are well past their prime and are more of a liability. Meanwhile the state police seem to be on the back-foot as far as containing the GNLA is concerned. The outfit is always one up on the police. The recent cases of kidnapping for ransom followed by the kidnap and killing of an IB official and a merchant by the ASAK has created a fear psychosis in Garo Hills. Consequently the Meghalaya High Court has taken a dim view of the administration’s inability to prevent the calling of bandhs and of securing the life of citizens. The Court has therefore taken a strident stance and directed the Union Home Ministry to begin army operations in Garo Hills by declaring the region a disturbed area. The Court’s intent is to contain militancy but the human rights violations on account of army operations cannot be ruled out. It would be a case of the medicine being far worse than the cure. The Meghalaya High Court might need to review its decision.
The ITM 2015 which was conceived four years ago has finally come to fruition. For the team at the North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS) which has been at the helm of this event it is a culmination of many hours of hard work, sleepless nights, tensions, anxieties, last minute changes, adjustments and so many unforeseen hiccups. It is not easy for a small organisation to put together a programme of this scale and to coordinate the travel of over 600 people from diverse parts of the globe. Just organising their visas and travel is a huge task but the Government of Meghalaya has been phenomenal in their support for this programme. Mr Sampath Kumar, IAS the liaison person from the State Government’s side is the rock of Gibraltar. Throughout the 3-day event at North Eastern Hill University, Sampath Kumar was seen keeping track of the logistics and ensuring that the national and international delegates did not face any problems. This is a fine example of Government teaming up with an NGO to host an event of such a momentous scale.
It goes to the credit of the quiet, demure Mr Phrang Roy and his small yet dedicated team of workers who functioned out of a small office that they have been able to pull off this magnificent event which brought the world to Meghalaya. The theme of ITM 2015 is, “The Future We Want,” and the deliberations centred around this theme as Indigenous Peoples cogitated on it, shared their concerns about the onslaught of multinational companies on their farming cultures and the loss of food biodiversity. This time Dr Jen Astone, Executive Director of Swift Foundation, USA shared with the audience the meaning and purpose of Agroecology. For many this is a new concept but after listening to the session on Agroecology one understands that it about maintaining a productive agriculture that sustains yields and optimizes the use of local resources while minimizing the negative environmental and socio-economic impacts of modern technologies. Industrialisation ushered in modern agricultural practices for bigger yields by maximizing high-input technologies. This has resulted in environmental and health problems that often do not serve the needs of producers and consumers. In developing countries, in addition to promoting environmental degradation, modern agricultural technologies have bypassed the circumstances and socio-economic needs of large numbers of resource-poor farmers. Perhaps the lesson from Dr Aston’s session is for us to go back to nature with a more reverential attitude and not see this planet only as a resource to be exploited but as the “Mother”. And who exploits a mother?
The session titled, “Are today’s matriarchal communities societies of peace?,” caused some flutter. The participants in the room who are from matriarchal societies themselves wondered why three of the five panellists should be male. One farmer from Ethiopia wondered why the panellists should be doctorates and intellectuals. “Where are the voices of ordinary women from matriarchal societies?” he asked. A Maori lady who was present at the same session found it too academic and Eurocentric. Others felt that the discussions did not really dwell on the theme of how matriarchies can become harbingers of peace. A male panellist from Colombia made it worse when he said that women in his community are not given political power because they are too emotional and not rational. This drew a chorus of protest from the women in the room. A participant from Mexico wanted to know from the panellists as to what was the value placed on women as keepers of seeds and holders of knowledge. She said there is a power play even in matriarchies that keeps women subservient and allows men to exercise control. For those of us who are used to this debate it sounds like a familiar refrain. The Maori lady, Hinewirangi Kottu Mougav of the Ngati Kahunguwo tribe later told me she works in prisons and has seen several men who don’t know how to release their emotions. “Men hold their emotions very badly and it is my task to help them channelise those emotions without destroying them.” It was also shocking to learn from her that in New Zealand out of 4.5 million people only 15% are indigenous and the rest 74% are Europeans. Of the 15 % of Indigenous people, 60% are incarcerated in prisons. They include men, women and youth. “It’s insidious,” she said. It made me dwell on our own condition and how better protected we are by the Constitution, at least for the present, but one never knows about the future.
I chaired a session on ‘Creative Communication Approaches for Indigenous Issues’ and was delighted with the presentations from Nagaland, Papua New Guinea, Ecuador, Arunachal Pradesh and Central India. Inoto Nawang Khulu from Nagaland documented the practice of tattoos among the Konyaks and the narratives behind that. Bao Wako of PNG showed how food is linked to culture and how documenting the way food is prepared indigenously helps deconstruct the Eurocentric perceptions of food. “Food is an expression of who we are,” Wako said. I was particularly impressed by Shobhit Jain of Community Media’s work. He has empowered the farmers with whom he works by providing them with cameras, giving them intensive training on how to handle complex cameras, teaching them to edit their work so that their films get international recognition. For him community media actually means empowering the community to tell their own stories the way they want to without any outside manipulation. We learnt from Luis Arturo of Ecuador how important community radio is to communicate with the world and also to help archive the contents that document their stories, including their recipes.
The problem with parallel sessions is that one cannot attend all of them. In between there are the taste workshops after which chefs come out with their concoctions and allow the delegates to taste what they have prepared. Chef Joel Basumatari of Nagaland gave us a taste of insects like riverbed beetles and grasshoppers and eri silk worms while Sunita Rao of Karnataka made ant chutney. The faint-hearted may baulk at these foods but they happen to be real food for many who have survived on them for centuries. One of the objectives of the ITM is also to show healthy respect for one another’s food cultures and food histories.
The session, ‘Around the Loom: Eri Silk Weaving’ was educative. The women weavers demonstrated to us what goes into the production of one “Thoh-rew stem,” and how with the support of GIZ and NESFAS so many of these weavers from Umden, Mustoh and other places have been able to add value to the shawls/stoles/mufflers through a combination of designs and colours and therefore get a better price for them.
And in the hustle and bustle of this huge gathering of there was Michael Syiem displaying the Mylliem locks which he says is now a dying trade. Many flocked to his stall to understand more about these iron locks that once kept out homes secure.
It is difficult for anyone, even a journalist, to record everything about this 3-day event which will culminate in the Slow Food Festival at Mawphlang and which is expected to draw huge crowds. Phrang Roy deserves all credit for this spectacular event. So too the Government of Meghalaya, the volunteers who were so well trained to assist the delegates with every little thing! I salute the women who toiled hard to keep the toilets clean. They have shown us that true meaning of, “Dignity of Labour” and indeed performed a labour of love. They took pictures with the delegates especially those adorned in their colourful traditional costumes. And truly what a sight to behold! If there is one thing about indigenous people that makes them stand out it is the colour of their costumes whether they are male or female. And just because they are farmers they don’t feel they need to be dull and colourless. The delegates from Mongolia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Africa, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Russia painted the event with colours. It’s not that indigenous peoples have no problems. They have loads of them but that does not dim their view of life.
On Thursday while speaking at the session on “Supporting Agroecology and Agrobiodiversity for the Future of Food,” Phrang Roy made a remarkable statement. He said, “Eighty percent of biodiversity is in Indigenous Peoples lands and they have been the gatekeepers of this biodiversity despite all attempts by multinationals to barge in. Most governments too have never accepted that scientific knowledge needed to be blended with traditional knowledge. The future we want is one where governments will listen to the voices of the people because they know best what form of agricultural practice and food production works for them and they have been practicing Agroecology for hundreds of years.”
There are many who wonder what this event is all about. It is about food and sustainable farming practices keeping the health of the ecosystem in mind. It is about food sovereignty where we are not pushed to buy the food that multinationals peddle to but the freedom to choose and enjoy our palates with greater reverence for nature.
By Nora Chopra
10 JANPATH IS CURSED, RAJIV GANDHI WAS TOLD
10 Janpath is jinxed. Many in the Congress Party had advised Rajiv Gandhi not move to 10 Janpath as it was cursed but Rajiv Gandhi was so influenced by Sonia Gandhi that he did not heed to any advice, says the Congress leader Makhan Lal Fotedar in his book the Chinar Leaves. A Youth Congress activist of Sanjay era apprised Rajiv Gandhi that the house was cursed and no one could survive in it beyond eighteen months,. The Youth Congress had folded up from there in 1977.Lal Bahadur Shastri as prime minister passed away within eighteen months. The Press Council of India had to move out within that period. Rajiv ignored the warnings and made K K Tewary who was a minister in government, vacate the premises so that he could move in. Incidentally Tewary’s political oblivion also coincided with his moving into 10 Janpath. And Rajiv Gandhi himself was assassinated within eighteen month of his setting up abode at 10 Janpath.
BALMIKI JAYANTI ORGANISERS ONLY INVITE RAHUL GANDHI AS A GUEST
The Balmiki Samaj in Delhi that celebrated the Balmiki Jayanti in the ramparts of Red Fort after 38 years chose to boycott the all leaders of political parties including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. The only leader invited was Rahul Gandhi and this was done at the initiative of the former MLA Jaikishen, a Balmiki himself. He is also a patron of the Balmiki Sarpanch Committee and Balmiki Utsav Committee that organised the show. Jaikishen ensured that both Modi or Amit Shah or Kejriwal were not invited and only Rahul Gandhi was invited. Balmikis who had voted for Kejriwal in the last election are extremely upset with both the BJP and the AAP. The Balmiki Samaj is upset with the BJP over the killing of the Dalit children in Haryana and with Kejriwal because of his latest utterances against reservations. Balmikis who had voted for the AAP in the assembly polls are also upset with Kejriwal for ordering machines in place of safai karmacharis thus threatening the survival of the Balmikis in Delhi. Despite the fact that Rahul alone was invited on the podium, the highlight of the function was the infighting within the Congress. While PL Punia the chairman of the SC committee was absent the deputy chairman Rajkumar Verma were also conspicuous by their absence. Even Rahul Gandhi who was the only guest of honour and was supposed to inaugurate the Balmiki Yatra by breaking a coconut, was not allowed by the Delhi PCC chief Ajay Makan.
CONGRESS MINORITY DEPARTMENT HAS PEOPLE OF ALL COMMUNITIES
The Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi may be facing problems in reshuffling the AICC but he has discovered via media to demonstrate his powers. He has decided to appoint two vice chairmen in each department. To begin with, Rahul has crowded the minority department with three Vice Chairmen. The status of the minority department that was already lowered by the Congress leadership when they had appointed an ex councillor Khurshid Ahmad from Gujarat as its chairman, will now have two Vice Chairmen with equal powers as Khurshid Ahmad. The appointment of an ex councillor had already invited a lot of criticisms the department was earlier headed by Congress doyens like Arjun Singh Ahmad Patel A R Antuley and their ilk. But these new appointments of three vice chairman Anil A Thomas a Christian, Parminder Sngh Bawa a Sikh and Manish Shah a Jain has even raised a bigger hue and cry. All these three vice chairmen have no locus standi as there is no provision for a Vice Chairman in the Congress constitution just as the post of Vice President is a constitutional post. These appointments are in accordance with the prescription of Dr Antony who has prescribed that by projecting a Muslim alone, the Congress would be seen bowing to Muslim appeasement. So from now onwards, the minority department would be represented by all minority communities.
VINCENT GEORGE BACK TO POWER AT AICC OFFICE
Vincent George, the once all powerful private secretary of the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who spent more than a decade in the wilderness, has bounced back to power. Of late two appointments have been done on the recommendation of V George. Both these appointments are of Christians. The appointment of one Anil Thomas as the Vice Chairman in the minority department has been done t the behest of George. In fact nobody even knows who Thomas is. When it was decided that a Christian has to be appointed and Rahul sounded a hunt he took the help of George who recommended the name of Thomas. Earlier it was George‘s efforts that Shobha Thomas Ozha also a Christian, was reappointed Mahila Congress chief. Though the main reason for the reappointment of Ozha was because of her growing proximity to Rahul but this was due to the initial efforts of George who is said to have got her the initial appointment. Her reappointment has invited criticism as she has not even been able to win even a corporation election despite being given several chances. Earlier she contested the assembly polls twice and lost. The latest she contested was for the corporation election and even lost her deposit. The buzz in the Congress is that with return of V George the AICC may see more Christians getting positions of power. (IPA)
One is given to understand that the present agitation by our venerable Rangbah Shnongs is for the protection and preservation of our culture and tradition. It’s a noble thought but a doubt arises. Is this the way to do it? There is such a thing known as a pyrrhic victory, where a battle is won at the cost of losing the entire war. Is this what is happening to Khasi society, culture and tradition under the banner of the SNSBH? The centrepiece of Khasi culture and tradition is and has always been ‘Ka Akor, Ka Burom’ (individual / collective dignity and prestige through proper behaviour and decorum). It defines ka long-ryngieng (standing) amongst other societies. To spit on someone has long been regarded as a kam pohjait (derogatory) something defiling to ‘Ka Akor ka Burom.’ When such desecration is openly committed or encouraged by a Rangbah Shnong ( reportedly of Mawpat) or head of our traditional institution it is a death blow to our tradition. Our traditional heads have always been revered as elders armed with the experience of age and wisdom of their years. These are the qualifications Khasi traditional leaders have armed themselves with for generations as they led society from crisis to crisis. Foresight, wisdom and experience are core to our system of governance ( ka synshar ka khadar). Words of wisdom from the Tymmen Shnong is respected by all even by Government. Today the temptation for popularity and star status on the electronic media has thrown caution to the winds. Rangbah Shnong are agitating out on the streets; rabble rousing ( pynkhih shnong) has become their forte; the institution of the Dorbar has been reduced to that of an NGO or pressure group.
Today, how different is the Dorbar as an Institution from a student body (KSU), youth group ( FKJGP) or any aggressive social body (HYC)? Can an alcoholic father advise his son against drinking? Have the durbars forfeited their authority to advice and govern? One of the basic strengths of our dorbar system is its apolitical characteristic. Traditional wisdom has kept the dorbar away from party politics. We have always remained neutral and impartial in affairs of politics. Suddenly this has changed. Why take sides in the dirty political fight between PN Syiem and Mukul Sangma? Both the State Government and District Council are made up of politicians whose agenda has always been driven by self-interest, unprincipled political ambition and naked obsession for power. No exemptions! Please tell me how have things suddenly changed today? Why are Rangbah Shnong , in the name of tradition, emulating the politicians? Our tradition has in the process been murdered. Today as the joyful pall bearers perform the last rites over the dead body of my tradition, I stand under the pine trees and weep.
Imposition of AFSPA in Garo Hills
The recent order of the Meghalaya High Court asking the Government of India to consider the imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 in Garo Hills in view of insurgency problem is interesting in
the context of enjoyment of human rights especially that of women in a democratic state of India. The Act has been considered by many as draconian and the Government of India has been advised by the United Nations to repeal it as it is contrary to democracy. Christof Heyns, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions as reported in one of the leading national daily on March 31, 2012 stated, “The AFSPA in effect allows the state to override rights in the disturbed areas in a much [more] intrusive way than would be the case under a state of emergency, since the right to life is in effect suspended, and this is done without the safeguards applicable to states of emergency,”
Similarly the Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which is an important international body onwomen’s rights had in 2007 and 2014 made a recommendation for the repeal of the Act in view of the violation of women’s rights in the areasunder its promulgation. Various committees in India had also recommended the repeal or at least a review of the Act which
included the B.P Jeevan Reddy Committee (2005), Administrative Reforms Committee headed by Veerappa Moily (2007), Working Group on Confidence-Building Measures in Jammu and Kashmir headed by Mohammad Hamid Ansari (2007) and the Justice Verma Committee (2012). Moreover, the Act has not shown that it is capable of tackling insurgency which a determined Home Department of the State Government can as in the case of Khasi and Jaintia Hills.
SHILLONG: A purported peaceful rally called by the Synjuk ki Nongsynshar Shnong ka Bri u Hynniewtrep (SNSBH), the headmen’s association, on Thursday turned violent when a section of the crowd started pelting stones on police personnel compelling the security forces to resort to use of tear gas and mild lathicharge.
As many as 10 constables reportedly sustained minor injuries while a few from the crowd were also hurt even though police said, “We are yet to get reports in this regard.”
A PWD Central Division Engineer, whose identity police did not reveal, was taken into custody after he allegedly pelted stones on the police personnel from inside the PWD premises. He was, however, let off after some time.
Stones pelted on a Tezpur bound Assam State Transport Corporation bus from Shillong damaged its windshield; however, there was no injury to the passengers.
The violence took place after the headmen addressed the huge gathering of the outcome of the meeting between Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, senior government functionaries and representatives of the SNSBH, in which they (headmen) expressed dissatisfaction over the non fulfillment of their demands and also the delay in giving nod to the VAB and review of the dual post bill.
Following this, a section of the crowd went berserk and resorted to violence leading to mayhem.
Police personnel chase the protestors to others parts of the city to ensure a semblance of normalcy.
Thursday’s rally was in stark contrast to the peaceful rally called by the SNSBH on October 30.
Following their meeting with the chief minister, leaders of the Synjuk Ki Nongsynshar Shnong announced the outcome of the meeting.
The crowd disagreed with hands in the air swaying from side to side signifying a defiant ‘no’ to the announcements made by president of the Synjuk, W.R. Kharshiing.
When the headmen were addressing the crowd, a couple of stones were thrown from the crowd towards the police barricades.
Despite being urged by the traditional heads to maintain discipline, a section of the crowd resorted to hooliganism forcing the police to fire tear gas cannons in the air which led to the assemblage being dispersed haphazardly.
Resistance from the crowd heated up when the traditional heads urged the people to return to the venue, Laban Sports Club, and the crowd responded by pelting stones which led the police to fire tear gas cannons.
“The police did their best to provide security but the violence came to the fore when the crowd disagreed to the announcements made,” East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner, P.S. Dkhar, said, adding that security will be beefed up for the next few days to prevent any untoward incident.
Following the violent incidents, the East Khasi Hills district administration has filed an FIR with the police and asked the district police chief to conduct the inquiry into the same.
He said that as per initial reports, a section of the crowd was unhappy with the decisions announced by the Synjuk leaders and started yelling and pelting stones.
East Khasi Hills SP M. Kharkrang, meanwhile, informed that 10 police personnel including five women were injured.
The women police personnel bore the brunt of the stone pelting as they were the ones in the first line of barricade,” Kharkrang said, adding that stone pelting resulted in damages to the Special Purpose Vehicle of Police.
Some of the injured cops have been identified as Sebarian Lyngkhoi, J. Kharmuti, Menu Sangma, Phelgamson Sangma, Prakash Ch Momin, Mandery Lyngkhoi, KB Chetri, Silseg Momin, Wanisha War and M. Basaiawmoit.
Headmen admit failing responsibility
The Synjuk Ki Nongsynshar Shnong ka Bri u Hynniewtrep (SNSBH) has admitted to failing in their responsibility to control the crowd which resorted to violence in the city on Thursday afternoon.
SNSBH president W.R. Kharshiing admitted that they had tried their best to ensure that no untoward incident takes but people were restless due to the delay in the passage of the VABs.
He said that they wanted to avoid any unpleasant incident but a group of young people in the gathering became agitated.
Terming the incident as unfortunate, he regretted it and said that the incident should not have happened.
“We do not know who these people are and it would be difficult for us to pinpoint who these people are,” Kharshiing said.
Reacting to a query on the supporters being unhappy with the outcome of the meeting, Kharshiing said those who are not happy do not understand the law.
“It is difficult for the State government to do anything when the matter is pending with the Ministry of Home Affairs,” he added.
He further stated that the traditional heads had met the Deputy Commissioner and expressed their sadness over the violence in the city.
New Delhi: In a major marketing initiative, auto major Tata Motors has roped in soccer superstar Lionel Messi as global brand ambassador for its passenger vehicles portfolio.
The company has signed-up the four-time winner of the best football player of the world award and Argentine captain Messi as global brand ambassador to promote and endorse passenger vehicles, globally, Tata Motors said on Monday.
“The idea is to engage with young people and we found that football and Messi had a lot of connect with the youth,” Tata Motors President, Passenger Vehicle Business Unit Mayank Pareek told PTI.
He said the contract with Messi is for two years, which can be extended. To start with, Tata Motors will first roll-out the association campaign, #madeofgreat, starring Lionel Messi. This is the first time ever that the company’s passenger vehicle business will be undertaking an overall brand association campaign — ‘What drives us from within is what makes us great’, with a brand ambassador.
“Through this powerful campaign we will communicate the values and ethos of the passenger vehicle business,” Pareek said.
The company looks to expand its footprint across the globe and Messi’s unique ability to appeal globally, transcending geographies, makes him ideal person to represent Tata Motors’ brand, internationally, he added.
“This is the first campaign in the series and many more will unfold as we move on in this long-term association. We hope our customers like this new campaign and we look forward to their continued support,” Pareek said.
Messi, who is endorsing an Indian brand for the first time said: “I am very excited about my first association with an Indian brand and am extremely thrilled to be a part of the Tata Motors family. I have always been fascinated by India and have heard such great things about this diverse country.” (PTI)