SHILLONG, Aug 23: Before the meeting of all Garo Hills MLAs on August 26, ANVC(B) has urged Garo Hills representatives to stress on the need for official formulation of Suspension of Operation (SoO) for the outfit and to finalise the camps for its cadres.
“Militants in Garo Hills are ready to come forward and join mainstream but without positive move from our elected representatives, Government will only adapt strategies that will deteriorate the situation in Garo Hills,” stated the outfit’s Publicity Secretary, Doang D Shira, in a press communiqué here on Saturday.
“We made initiatives in the past to welcome rebels from other organizations to join mainstream instead of forming new groups. There was positive response but with unfortunate events that followed many are led astray. We still want to bring everyone onboard but without official SoO, we will be only exposing them to more danger. Therefore, SoO is a must if peace is to be restored in Garo Hills,” he added.
TURA, Aug 23: The Shalom Meghalaya peace campaign on Saturday reached trouble torn Chokpot in South Garo Hills (SGH). About 5000 people witnessed the programme and spoke their hearts out venting anger against rising insurgency.
Chokpot is a militancy hit area in Garo hills. It has seen many untoward incidents of violence, killing and abduction. In June this year, a 35-year-old woman's head was blown off in the presence of her four minor children and husband.
A strong contingent of motorists accompanied the peace caravan from Somenpara in South West Garo Hills (SWGH) to Chokpot on Friday. At Chokpot, they halted for the night and began their campaign on Saturday morning. Torrential rains, bad road and a broken bridge at Dekku near Chokpot failed to dampen the spirit of the peace messengers.
Shillong, Aug 22: Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma finally managed to meet AICC President Sonia Gandhi on Friday afternoon. The meeting ensured that he continues as Chief Minister while also getting the list of his Cabinet reshuffle approved.
Sources informed Dr Sangma, who has been camping in New Delhi with many state legislators for few days now, had initially tried to meet AICC Vice President Rahul Gandhi. He tried to meet Rahul through the help of Home Minister Roshan Warjri and Urban Affairs Minister Amapreen Lyngdoh but was unsuccessful.
Dhaka, Aug 22 (IANS): ULFA leader Anup Chetia, now in a Bangladesh jail, has reportedly expressed a desire to return to India where he is wanted for murder, abduction and extortion, bdnews24.com reported Friday.
An Indian diplomat, identified as J.P. Singh, reportedly met Chetia at the Kashimpur High Security Central Jail Thursday, the report said. Asked if he was interested in repatriation to India, Chetia said "yes".
Jailor Jannatul Farhad was quoted as saying that the Indian diplomat spoke to Chetia in the presence of jail superintendent Md Mizanur Rahman.
TURA, Aug 22: The police offensive against militancy in Garo Hills continued on Friday with 2 more militants, allegedly of the ASAK militant group, gunned down in joint operations of the police and Army in North Garo Hills (NGH) district of Meghalaya. The fierce encounter which took place at about 3:30 am Friday morning saw the two killed and arms and ammunition recovered from the place of operation.
According to information received, NGH police had specific inputs of the presence of militants, who were holed up in a village called Soba Jambal, about 120 kms from the town of Tura. The operation was led by the NGH police and the 19th Dogra Regiment of the Army, based in Damra, Assam, which resulted in the killings.
SHILLONG: The High Court of Meghalaya has asked the West Garo Hills district administration to place before it the magisterial inquiry report into custodial death of Balsan Marak (20) along with the report on cause of the death on August 26.
Balsan, who was arrested by police in connection with the torture of 12 young girls in Tura, died on May 20 while he was in judicial custody after being brought from the Tura district jail to the Civil Hospital for medical treatment.
After a case was filed in the High Court by Mina S Marak, the mother of the victim on June 18, the High Court had issued notices to the West Garo Hills district administration and the police personnel to file their affidavits.
The petitioner had also sought a compensation of over Rs 20 lakh and punishment to the erring police personnel, besides an independent probe by the CBI into the incident.
After filing the affidavits initially, the additional counter affidavits were filed by the West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi, district police chief M K Singh along with others on August 5 and the Court had asked them to submit the magisterial inquiry report and the report on the cause of death within 3 weeks. Bakshi said on Saturday over phone from Tura that the after a long wait, he recently received the toxicology (blood analysis) and viscera reports related to the death of Balsan which were necessary for the completion of the magisterial inquiry report.
Bakshi said that the toxicology report was sent to Directorate of Health Service for the final report on the cause of victim’s death.
SHILLONG: Giving a new twist to the murder of 24-year old Shoma Khongwir, a resident of Pinewood Hotel residential quarters, the mother of the victim said that her daughter was not wearing any gold chain when she went out on July 27 evening when she was killed.
Police on August 12 arrested two migrant labourers — Kuddus Ali (25) and Alom Badsah Sheikh (25), both hailing from Dhubri district of Assam for their alleged involvement in the crime.
At a news conference on August 13, East Khasi Hills police chief M. Kharkrang told reporters that the duo confessed before police that it was for snatching away the gold chain that they had killed the girl.
However, contradicting the claim of the arrested persons, the mother of the victim Salonsar Khongwir said on Sunday that her daughter was not wearing any gold ornament when she went out on July 27.
It was on July 28 that her semi naked body was recovered from Wahumkhrah river at Demseiniong.
While the arrested persons said that they killed her at a construction site at Demseiniong and dumped the body in the river, it is yet to be known how the victim was taken to the construction site at Demseiniong after she left home and went to Polo on July 27 at around 4 pm to recharge the mobile.
The mother of Khongwir tried to contact her cell phone since she failed to return in time, but in vain as the phone was switched off on July 27 evening. The mother now suspects that her daughter was raped by the miscreants.
According to the mother, after she got the information about the arrest of the miscreants on August 12, she had gone to Nongmynsong police station and talked to the culprits in the presence of police personnel.
“One of them told me that my daughter was raped by him”, Salonsar alleged.
According to the mother, another accused told her that he was in love with her daughter, but he did not know her daughter’s name even after repeated questions.
As per reports, police had arrested one of the accused last year on charge of molesting a minor at the Meghalaya Police Radio Organisation (MPRO) construction site.
The stand of the mother that her daughter did not wear any gold chain gets credence since no gold chain was recovered by police from the arrested persons.
It was learnt that when police questioned, reply from the arrested persons was that they threw away the chain after finding that it was not genuine which according to the mother has no logic.
The relatives of the victim said that what was the need of committing murder if the motive of the criminals was just to steal the gold chain.
The mother suspects that there is a third party involved in the murder and the migrant labourers are being used by someone influential who is involved in the crime.
New Delhi: Manmohan Singh had joined a pre-medical course as his father wanted him to become a doctor but pulled out after a couple of months, losing interest in the subject, according to a book on the former prime minister by his daughter.
Daman Singh charts the journey of her parents in her book “Strictly Personal: Manmohan and Gursharan”, providing new insights into the couple but keeps away from the last 10 years when Singh was heading the UPA government.
She also finds her father to be a funny man saying he has a good sense of humour.
In April 1948, Mr Singh was admitted to Khalsa College in Amritsar.
“Since his father wanted him to become a doctor, he joined the two-year FSc course that would lead to further studies in medicine. After just a couple of months, he dropped out. He had lost interest in becoming a doctor. In fact, he had also lost interest in studying science,” Daman writes.
“I didn’t have the time to think,” the author, who based her book on conversations with her parents and hours spent in libraries and archives, quotes her father as saying.
“I went and joined my father in his shop. I didn’t like that either, because I was not treated as an equal. I was treated as an inferior person who ran errands – bringing water, bringing tea. Then I thought I must go back to college. And I entered Hindu College in September 1948,” Ms Singh recalls.
Economics was a subject that appealed to him immediately.
“I was always interested in issues of poverty, why some countries are poor, why others are rich. And I was told that economics is the subject which asks these questions,” Singh tells his daughter.
While studying at Cambridge University, money was the only real problem that bothered Mr Singh, the book, published by HarperCollins India, says. “His tuition and living expenses came to about 600 pounds a year. The Punjab University scholarship gave him about 160 pounds. For the rest he had to
Manmohan was careful to live very stingily. Subsidised meals in the dining hall were relatively cheap at two shillings sixpence,” Daman writes.
She says her father never ate out, and seldom indulged in beer or wine yet he would be in crisis if money from home fell short or did not arrive on time.
“When this happened, he skipped meals or got by on a sixpence bar of Cadbury’s chocolate,” she says.
He also asked a friend to lend him 25 pounds for two years but the friend could send only 3 pounds.
Daman found her father a very funny man.
“When in a reflective mood, he sat with an index finger perched on the side of his nose. He was completely helpless about the house and could neither boil an egg, nor switch on the television.”
He also had a sense of humour of sorts, she says.
“This was evident when he was with friends, even if they were economists. It was comforting to know that he could laugh and crack jokes as well. With us, he rarely did either. “The lighter side of him liked to give nicknames to people. Unknown to them, one of our uncles was ‘John Babu’, another was ‘Jewel Babu’ and a third – to commemorate his pointed turban – was ‘Chunj Waley’. My mother was ‘Gurudev’, and the three of us were ‘Kick’, Little Noan’ and ‘Little Ram’. Some of the other names he coined were less charitable,” Daman writes.
According to the author, during his college years Mr Singh read voraciously and the broad seep of his reading covered theological critique, social commentary and political ideology. “Modern Punjabi literature was a special interest and he read in Gurmukhi as well as in Urdu.”
Croquet was the most strenuous game he tried his hand at while he was at Cambridge.
Concern raised over Garo Hills sinking into lawlessness
TURA: A mega peace movement initiated by Shalom Meghalaya that calls for an end to violence in Garo Hills which has been sinking into lawlessness with one incident after another blotting the once serene region was launched on Sunday afternoon in Tura.
Shalom Meghalaya with its motto ‘Peace is the way for a better world’ was launched at Tura MP Stadium on Sunday afternoon by Rt. Rev John Moolachira, Archbishop of Guwahati and President of Social Concern – North East Bishops Council.
The movement for peace comes in the face of continuous attacks by militants and criminal gangs on the peace loving people of Garo Hills which have witnessed a spurt in incidents ranging from abductions of children and bank officials to shooting of unarmed civilians.
Raising the banner for peace and putting across the message of ‘Stop Violence, Resist Injustice’ the Archbishop said that violence is senseless and does no good to anyone. He added that resisting violence through violence is not the solution.
“Violence only retards the growth of society and has multiple negative effects. Resistance to injustice and change can be brought about only through education of the youth and treating them with equality and respect,” said Archbishop Moolachira.
Echoing similar concern over rising crimes in Garo Hills, general secretary of the A·chik Baptist Dalgipa Krima (ABDK), Rev. Janang Sangma, said there can be no justification in the means adopted by militants and expressed worry that Garo Hills was sinking into lawlessness.
“Change of heart can only bring about effective changes and the situation in Garo Hills needs collective action and it is time for introspection for everyone concerned,” said the Reverend.
The Bishop of Tura and Convenor of Shalom Meghalaya, Rt. Rev. Andrew R Marak, in his message made a clarion call to those who took up arms to return to the mainstream and be a part of the peace initiative.
The participation at the rally which saw over 12,000 people come together also had leaders from different communities take part. Leaders from the Hindu and Muslim faith also took part in the launch of the peace movement.
Invocations to the divine power for peace were made through songs, scripture readings and prayers. A motor rally that would tour the entire Garo Hills spreading the message of peace and goodwill was also flagged off at the end of the inauguration function.
Others who spoke on the occasion included Rev. R.D. Shira, President, ABDK, and West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi, among others.
As a prelude to the peace movement, Shalom Meghalaya, an inter-faith candle-lit vigil service was held on August 16 at the District Auditorium, Tura, in which religious leaders of major faiths solemnly participated seeking divine intervention for peace and normalcy in Garo Hills.
During the prayer service, Holy Scriptures from the Bible, peace mantras from the Rig Veda and sacred verses from the Quran were read by the religious heads. Invocations were also made for peace and harmony.
Proposal sent to Delhi: Ampareen
SHILLONG: Incessant rains in the city over the past week have thoroughly exposed the dismal drainage system of the Pine City.
With rainfall recordings crossing the three-figure mark last week, several junctions and important landmarks in the city were inundated while Polo Market and its adjoining areas were completely under the cover of water.
Water clogging in small patches was evident throughout the Shillong, and accompanied by dirt and mud, it created great inconvenience for the residents.
However, Urban Affairs Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh sought to downplay the issue, saying that department has re-enforced drainage project in the city, even though she admitted that the drainage system of the entire city could not be covered.
The department is now counting on the Union Government to sanction a State Government proposal on improvement of the city’s drainage system, she said.
The Minister also informed that she had raised the matter with Union Minister for Urban Development, Venkaiah Naidu, who gave her a patient hearing.
“We had sent proposals under the JNNURM Phase-II to revamp the drainage system but if it is scrapped we hope to get the necessary sanction under other schemes,” Lyngdoh said.
Nikhil Bharat Bongo Shahitya Sammelan will felicitate meritorious students from the Bengali community, including rank holders in the SSLC and HSSLC examinations, at Aurobindo Institute of Indian Culture followed by a cultural programme “AGOMONI” on August 23 from 4.30 pm.
NEHU Faculty Club, in collaboration with Meghalaya Eco Friendly Society and student bodies within NEHU, organized a campus cleaning drive on August 16.
Metallica Sargam Sports & Cultural Club, Shillong, in association with Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan and Alliance Clubs International District 104, Shillong, organized the prize distribution ceremony of its 13th annual inter-school cultural competition on August 16 on the Don Bosco Youth Centre premises.
The Department of Computer, Nongstoin College, in collaboration with NYK, Nongstoin, is organising a three-month Computer training programme for women. The training was inaugurated on August 16 on the College premises.
A two-month short term computer training programme for women is also being organised by IGNOU Special Study Centre and NSS Unit, Nongstoin College, in collaboration with NYK, Nongstoin.
‘GH economy on the verge of collapse with closure of banks, petrol pumps’
SHILLONG: Aggrieved over the prevailing situation in Garo Hills, the Nationalist People’s Party (NPP) has demanded that the Chief Minister should convene a meeting of all political parties, church leaders, senior citizens, MLAs and MDCs to discuss the prevailing law and order situation.
The NPP also expressed surprise that the Chief Minister had not deemed it necessary to convene a meeting of the citizens and political parties to solicit their opinion to find a solution to the present impasse, NPP spokesperson James Sangma said in a statement on Sunday.
The statement noted that the rising law and order problem was affecting the lives of each and every citizen of Garo Hills.
The party held a meeting of its office bearers from Garo Hills region which was chaired by party president and Lok Sabha member P.A. Sangma and attended among others by Thomas Sangma, James Sangma, H. Jimmy Momin, Semford Sangma, John Manner Marak and Boston Marak.
The complete breakdown of law and order resulting in rampant fear psychosis throughout Garo Hills was discussed in the meeting.
The meeting expressed concern over the closure of all the petrol pumps and banks which has totally thrown life out of gear in Garo Hills.
It was pointed out that if the Government failed to take corrective steps and measures to solve the problem, the economy of Garo Hills would completely collapse in less than two weeks’ time.
Prior to the meeting, the MP, who had rushed to Tura in the midst of Parliament Session had also held series of meetings with officials and the employees association of the SBI.
The MP also took stock of the availability of food grains and other essential commodities in the five districts of Garo Hills.
The MP was shocked to know that the Government of Meghalaya had not taken any initiative whatsoever to bring back normalcy to Garo Hills in regards to the agitation by the banks.
It was also learnt that despite the recent occurrences, only three out of 41 branches of the SBI (Tura Main branch, Williamnagar and Gambegre branch) had been provided with security by the Government. The remaining 38 branches are still vulnerable to kidnappings and militant attacks as the Government has irresponsibly still not provided adequate security.
The recent incident of kidnapping of S.S. Mishra from Gasuapara Branch is the sixth such incident of kidnapping of a bank official, the NPP noted.
Closure of banks has brought all the Central and State Government functioning to an abrupt halt and has affected the implementation of Central schemes, disbursement of salaries and the payment of Government bills, it noted.
To add to the woes of the citizens of Garo Hills, the closure of all the petrol pumps in Garo Hills has severely affected the entire transportation and communication network.
The NPP demanded that the Government of Meghalaya should, apart from installation of CCTV cameras, also provide full security to all the petrol pumps, all the banks and their employees along with all Government and private institutions and establishments and the citizens on the whole.
“This will bring confidence and a sense of security among the citizens of Garo Hills and will also ensure that all banks are made functional,” James said, while adding that the party has also demanded Rs.10 lakh as compensation to the family of Bittu Patel, the petrol pump attendant who was shot dead recently.
SHILLONG: Despite the National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed ban on extraction and shipment of coal in Meghalaya, there have been several attempts, mostly in Jaintia Hills, by miners to export the extracted coal out of the State in complete violation of the NGT order.
Recently, East Jaintia Hills Police seized eight coal-laden trucks and arrested 16 persons, mostly truck drivers and helpers, for illegally transporting coal from East Jaintia Hills to cement plants.
Earlier on August 4, West Jaintia Hills Police arrested nine persons and seized four coal-laden trucks from Jowai which were illegally transporting coal.
On July 18, West Jaintia Hills Police seized two coal-laden trucks left abandoned on Phramer-Shangpung Road. Both the trucks were seized and a case was registered against the owner of the vehicles.
On July 11, West Jaintia Hills Police seized two trucks, both 12-wheelers, which were transporting coal in violation of the NGT ban in the State. A case was registered against owner of the trucks Marbiang Passah of Mootyrshiah village in West Jaintia Hills.
West Jaintia Hills Superintendent of Police Herbert Lyngdoh, while speaking on the issue, said the district police was keeping a vigil to ensure that the NGT directives are not violated at any cost.
He said that police have detected several cases of illegal transporting of coal and accordingly cases have been registered and vehicles seized.
He also said that police have been conducting checking in different locations of the district to ensure that coal is not transported in any manner.
From Eric Calvin RaneeConfusion for general public
NONGPOH: In the present day context it is necessary that all information be readily made available at the click of a button, but if the authorities concerned do not care to display updated information on official websites, it can amount to spreading misinformation among the public.
This is evident in the telephone column under the link contact provided on the official website of the Meghalaya Police (www.meghpol.nic.in) where, due to the carelessness of the authorities concerned, a police officer is shown holding two posts in two separate districts while three deputy superintendents of police (headquarter) have been appointed in one district, all at the same time.
According to the police website, in West Jaintia Hills District the post of Additional SP which is actually vacant for the past several months, is still shown to be held by N. Lamare, an MPS officer.
Similarly, the post of Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) of Amlarem, which has been lying vacant for several months now, is shown to be held by Ramesh Singh, IPS.
What is more confusing to the general public is that the post of SDPO Amlarem held by Ramesh Singh is shown to be under the jurisdiction of the SP, West Jaintia Hills District and at the same time Bloyer Talang, MPS, is mentioned as the SDPO, Amlarem under the jurisdiction of the SP, East Jaintia Hills District.
Another confusing information provided on the website is that Bloyer Talang, who is shown holding the post of SDPO Amlarem under a wrong district is also mentioned as holding the post of Dy. SP (Head quarter) in West Khasi Hills District, leaving the general public to wonder where Talang is actually posted.
However, another piece of information on the police website outclasses all other misinformation – two MPS officials and one IPS officer holding the same post of Dy. SP (Head quarters) in South West Garo Hills District.
The information states that Lethindra Sangma (MPS), Bijay Chetri (MPS) and Anand Mishra (IPS), all hold the same post of Dy. SP (Head quarter) in Ampati, South West Garo Hills District, home of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma.
SHILLONG: The ongoing construction work of the Shillong-Nongstoin-Tura road has made good progress despite the land acquisition hurdle which is a common problem in Meghalaya due to its peculiar land tenure system.
A visit to site reveals that several parts of the road have been completed in West Khasi Hills, while the project has not made much progress in the East Khasi Hills district.
During the visit, it was observed that no expansion work has started right from Upper Shillong till Sohiong and it is only after Sohiong village one can see an expanded road.
Residents and Government officers are also quite impressed with the work speed even though the project has missed the original deadline due to the land acquisition problem.
It is evident that no work has started in the areas such as Markasa and Kynshi.
The land measuring around 7 kms at Kynshi-Langtor sector is yet to be handed over to the company.
It may be mentioned that the much awaited Shillong-Tura road is being executed by the Hyderabad-based company BSC-C&C JV.
Though people may be happy with the expansion of the roads, but landslides along the road has become very common.
Though the agreement to execute the work was made on February 21,2011,the actual work started in November the same year.
It is learnt that Black topping of around 200 km was completed out of the 264.3 km.The company so far has completed around 75 per cent of the work.
What was heartening to note that the many labourers have not left the site despite the fact that it is a rainy season whereas the work in other projects in the state gets completely abandoned during rainy season.
The work along the 264.30-kilometer Shillong-Nongstoin-Tura road at an estimated cost of Rs 1494 crore started in February, 2011and the timeline to finish the project was March, 2014 but its already missed
The project, once completed, will give a relief to the people who have to travel through Assam to reach Garo Hills.
The existing Shillong-Nongstoin-Tura Highway is in a dilapidated condition despite the road being declared as a National Highway in 2004.
Shillong, Aug 17: Expressing its desire to abjure armed struggle for peace to prevail in the state, proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) has asked Government of Meghalaya (GoM) to first bring the outfit under a bilateral ceasefire.
“If the GoM is really serious about offering rehabilitation packages to the HNLC then it should chalk up with strategies to come under a Bilateral ceasefire (with the outfit). Peace process can only start with the advent of a bilateral ceasefire,” HNLC Publicity Secretary Saiñkupar Nongtraw said in a press communiqué issued on Sunday here.
Tura, Aug 17: The Assam police Saturday arrested two militants allegedly belonging to A’chik National Cooperative Army (ANCA) from near Agia. One of the arrested has been identified as William S Sangma, the self styled leader of the group. The two were arrested along with another woman. The second militant has been identified as Jiten Lyandoh (25).
According to reports, Sangma had been in hiding in Assam after the heat exerted by the Meghalaya police. He had supposedly gone to Shillong and then escaped after two of the group, along with the brother of William, were arrested from a night bus in Mawiong, near Shillong.
Tura, Aug 17: The mega initiative for peace in Garo Hills in particular and Meghalaya in general, Shalom Meghalaya with its motto, ‘Peace is the way for a better world’ was inaugurated here on Sunday at MP Stadium by Chief Guest of the inaugural function, Rt Rev John Moolachira, Archbishop of Guwahati and President, Social Concern, North Eastern Bishops Council.
In his message of ‘Stop Violence, Resist Injustice’ the chief guest said that violence is senseless which does no good to anyone and resisting violence through violence is not the solution. Violence only retards the growth of society and has multiple negative effects he added. He further said that resistance to injustice and change can be brought about only through education of the youth and treating them with equality and respect.
SHILLONG, Aug 16: The Deputy Commissioners (DCs) of all the 11 districts of Meghalaya have been asked to direct all the petrol outlets in their respective districts to install Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras.
In a bid to thwart the nefarious intentions of armed dacoits, the state government has also assured intensified patrolling by armed police personnel in areas close to petrol outlets.
These moves have led to the Assam based Assam Petroleum Mazdoor Union (APMU) calling off its proposed indefinite strike.
TURA, Aug 16: In a delayed news, an agent of the State Bank of India (SBI) working in the Nidanpur Mini branch, Zahidul Islam, was arrested on July 31, 2014, after allegations of duplicate bank accounts he had created in the name of women beneficiaries in the remote village. While he managed to secure bail in the case on August 6, the SBI has stated that it is awaiting information on the case before further action can be taken.