News

CM Sarbananda Sonowal’s faux pas about Assam being the largest state in the NE

TNT - Wed, 2016-06-08 19:01
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, in all good intention we are sure, recently tweeted “Assam being the largest state of the NE…” This leads us to believe one of the two things, either Arunachal Pradesh (83,743 km² in area) has ‘surrendered’ some territory to its neighbour China making Assam (78,438 km² in area) the largest state in …
Categories: News

Mizoram church leaders: “Yoga dilutes Christianity”

TNT - Wed, 2016-06-08 17:44
MIZORAM: With yoga growing in popularity, there are a number of people from all over the world who are taking an interest in practicing it. However, church leaders from Mizoram are against the practice of yoga as they feel it is un- Christian like and will “dilute” the doctrine of Christianity. Rev. Lalramliana Pachuau of …
Categories: News

Assam Government: Beyond the wave of change lies deep water of reality

TNT - Wed, 2016-06-08 17:37
Finally, a new government is in Assam riding on the ‘wave of change’. The definition of ‘change’ was not clear, but it seems it was a desire to see a non-Congress govt. in the power. Interestingly, there is not much change in terms of individual politics or even in party politics. As for example, people …
Categories: News

Shillong and the rise of cyber warfare

TNT - Wed, 2016-06-08 17:33
“The inferior can defeat the superior.” — General Fu Quamyou, chief of staff, China People’s Liberation Army With the internet bandwidth going better each day and connectivity within the masses is going at lightning speeds, Northeast India is not far away from the rest of the country in terms of cyber crimes or what I …
Categories: News

Six Congress legislators in Tripura join Trinamool

Shillong Times - Wed, 2016-06-08 11:05

Agartala: In a major political development in Tripura, six Congress legislators on Tuesday joined the Trinamool Congress.
Assembly Speaker Ramendra Chandra Debnath told reporters that he had received a letter from Congress legislator Sudip Roy Barman, who he said was accompanied by three legislators.
“The letter was signed by six Congress MLAs informing me that they have joined the Trinamool Congress,” Debnath said.
“I would call all the six Congress MLAs for individual hearing and verification of their signature. After consulting the rules and experts, I will take a final decision in this regard in a day or two.”
Trinamool Congress Vice President Mukul Roy came here on Tuesday, his second visit to the Left-ruled state in five days.
Besides Roy Barman, the other Congress MLAs who signed the letter include Ashish Saha, Biswabandhu Sen, Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl, Pranjit Singha Roy and Dilip Sarkar.
Pranjit Singha Roy, who is out of Tripura, and the ailing Dilip Sarkar were not present when Roy Barman handed over the letter to the speaker.
Sudip Roy Barman recently resigned from the post of Congress Legislator Party leader protesting against the Congress-Left electoral alliance in West Bengal.
Barman was the opposition leader in the Tripura assembly.
The Congress now has only three legislators in the 60-member house.
On Monday, another Congress legislator, Jitendra Sarkar, resigned from the Tripura assembly and said he would rejoin the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).
A former two-term Speaker of the Tripura assembly, Sarkar joined the Congress in March 2010.
Meanwhile, Tripura Congress president Birajit Sinha urged the Speaker to act under the anti-defection law against six Congress legislators.
Sinha in consultation with the party’s central leadership suspended party legislator Biswabandhu Sen for six years for “anti-party activities”. (IANS)

Categories: News

Ruling BJP takes control of Guwahati Municipal Corporation affairs

Shillong Times - Wed, 2016-06-08 11:04

Guwahati: The ruling BJP in Assam on Tuesday took control of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) for the first time in the history of the civic body, after its candidates Mrigen Sarania and Bijuli Kalita Medhi were elected unopposed as the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the Corporation respectively.
The mayoral election was necessitated following the resignation of the incumbent Mayor Abir Patra of the Congress last week, Congress had lost majority in the GMC after losing all the four legislative assembly constituencies under the GMC, three of which were secured by BJP and one by its ally AGP in recently held state Assembly polls.
The two BJP councilors Mrigen Sarania and Bijuli Kalita Medhi were picked by chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal as BJP’s nominee for Mayor and Deputy-Mayor respectively.
Senior BJP leader and state Cabinet minister in-charge of Guwahati Development Department (GDD), Dr Himanta Bishwa Sarmah termed it a historic occasion for the BJP for being able to take control of the GMC for the first time.
Newly-elected Mayor Mrigen Sarania said it would be a challenging task to solve the problems of the residents living in GMC area and promised to put up the best possible efforts to make the city cleaner and greener.
Meanwhile, Assam state unit of the BJP today made its vice-president, Santanu Bharali as the president in-charge of the state unit till the election of the state party president is held in next month. The position of the state party position became vacant after Sarbananda Sonowal had become the chief minister of the state following the victory of the BJP-led alliance in the Assembly polls.

Categories: News

Delhi rejects 3 anti-migrant bills passed by Manipur

Shillong Times - Wed, 2016-06-08 11:04

New Delhi/Imphal: Legal and constitutional experts are to re-examine the three Manipur anti-migrant bills and come up with new legislation, it was decided following a meeting between Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and a Manipur delegation headed by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh.
Rajnath Singh is understood to have conveyed to the delegates of all political parties from Manipur the reasons for rejecting the three bills passed by the Manipur Assembly on August 31, 2015.
A joint statement issued by Ibobi Singh and other political representatives on Tuesday shortly after the crucial meeting said that legal and constitutional experts shall re-examine the bills for new legislation.
The joint statement said: “An hour long meeting was held with Home Minister on Tuesday and there were 18 delegates.”
The contentious bills are the Manipur Land Reforms and Land Revenue (7th Amendment) Bill, 2015, the Manipur Shops and Establishment (2nd Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Manipur Protection of Peoples Bill, 2015.
The experts shall examine the first two bills for a “reasonable conclusion”. In case of the third bill, legal and constitutional experts shall “re-examine the bill for a new legislation taking into consideration all aspects of the hill and valley people of Manipur”.
Apprehending more trouble in the valley, the joint statement also appealed to the people to maintain peace and harmony.
The bills have been strongly opposed by tribals, particularly Nagas and Kukis, who mainly inhabit the hill districts of Manipur.
The Manipur Tribals Forum (MTF) has for many months been protesting in New Delhi against the three bills and the death of nine young protesters last September in Churachandpur district of the state.
Last month, four legislators of the Naga People’s Front (NPF) also met the Home Minister here asking him not to take any action for ensuring presidential nod to the three bills.
The Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS), which spearheads the movement for legislation to protect the indigenous population from migrants, announced its own shutdown against the delay in enactment of the three bills. The JCILPS demands an inner line permit (ILP) system for Manipur which has been encapsulated in the three anti-migrant bills passed by the Manipur assembly that now await the president’s nod.
The ILP is a special permit required to enter certain restricted areas in the country. The system is already in force in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram. It was first introduced by the British, restricting entry into these areas to protect their commercial interests.
Acceding to the demand of JCILPS, the Congress government in Manipur had last year passed three bills to protect the indigenous people inhabiting the valley districts of the state. They were: The Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015, The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2015 and The Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015.
Since last year Manipur has been experiencing various forms of agitations in connection with the bills. (Agencies)

Categories: News

The surrender ritual

Shillong Times - Wed, 2016-06-08 11:03

We may be pardoned for not sharing the enthusiasm of the MUA Government on the much-glorified surrender ceremonies which have happened once too often under the watch of the present Chief Minister.  Militant outfits are in simple language criminal gangs who wear the aura of respectability by giving themselves some high sounding names that have a ring of patriotism and make them appear as freedom fighters. These names then become fancy acronyms. Now we have lost count of the number of outfits operating in the Garo Hills. Each time one group surrenders, there is a fringe section that remains intransigent because the pay-off is not so good since the person might not have been a leader. So he refuses to surrender and becomes a leader of another factional outfit with the fire power to expend and become a thorn in the flesh of the district administration and the police. In another year when he becomes the established leader and gets a better deal then he might surrender. That the Government makes this charade look “respectable” by the presence of Chief Minister, other ministers and/ or the top police brass at the surrender ceremony is unfortunate because in plain language it is the glorification of criminals.

These militant outfits have created a reign of terror in Garo Hills for over a decade. Some outfits have been playing footsie with one or other politician and we know who they are. The outfits would not have survived without the patronage of the powerful. The Chief Minister has been sending out regular warnings that politicians who are hand in glove with militants would be exposed. So why is the FIR filed by a particular candidate who was intimidated by the GNLA, working for another candidate, during the election campaign, not allowed to be pursued? But this question is better addressed to the police itself. What is the status of the case today? Are the police being told to go slow because the CM and that particular minister who is alleged to be close to the GNLA are now in the same boat especially when he is facing dissidence within his own Party? Is this the way to use militancy as a leverage to get compliance from political rivals? The people who fuel militancy in Meghalaya need to be exposed. Militants must go through the process of law and cannot be given amnesty by the Chief Minister and his Government.

And it is a pity that Baljek Airport instead of being used for what it was created has now become a camp where militants live off the fat of the land on taxpayers’ money! Will the High Court of Meghalaya step in to straighten the system?

Categories: News

The need to resurrect a lost tradition

Shillong Times - Wed, 2016-06-08 11:02

 

By Fabian Lyngdoh

     There are five important things in the life of a person in any human community: First, the birth of a human being; second, the need to undertake economic activity to sustain life; third, the need to propagate the personal genetic identities of the individuals through sexual relationship; fourth, the need to propagate the cultural heritage of the community through socialization, and fifth, the need to dispose off the dead bodies of deceased persons properly and honourably. It is on the basis of these five realities of human life that the religious and socio-political culture and tradition of any human community are built upon.

     There is a universal belief in all human societies that the spirit of a deceased person lives on in a spiritual realm even when the physical body is dead. There is also a universal practice to dispose the dead bodies of deceased persons properly and honourably through socially recognised religious rites. There are two main reasons on which the said belief and practices are based: The first reason is because it is thought that the dead need certain religious services to be performed by the living so that their spirits can safely enter eternal life in peace. Hence on this ground, religious rites are performed as an act of love for the departed relatives. The second reason is because it is thought that if the spirits of the dead are not entering eternal life in peace, they would become evil spirits and cause trouble in the lives of the living. Hence on this ground, religious rites are performed due to fear of troubles that might be caused by wandering and disgruntled human spirits conceived of as ‘ghosts’ who might sometimes manifest in the form of sight or sound. In this article we shall discuss how the Khasi traditional society coped with the need to dispose off  the dead bodies of deceased persons properly and honourably.

     When a number of clans decided to settle in a particular geographical area and formed a political community called ‘ka raid’ they usually selected a flat hilltop as a settlement area called ‘ka nongbah’ and built fortresses in the form of deep and wide trenches around it to protect themselves from possible enemies. There might also be a deep and long winding cave within the fortified nongbah, where women and children could hide in times of war. Then they demarcated a territory called ‘ka ri-raid’ around the settlement area, as large as they could acquire and protect. This was their political territory which also served as jhum fields which are the mainstay of their economic activity. A particular catchment area was selected, where cultivation or any form of destruction of natural vegetation was forbidden, and converted into a sacred grove to protect the water source for the community. The council of the chief maternal uncles of the founding clans called ‘ka dorbar-longsan’ was the highest political authority in the ‘raid’.

     A little away from the fortified nongbah, a particular area was selected and demarcated as the community graveyard. All the clans in the political community could construct their ‘ki kpep’ (funeral places) anywhere within their own family or clan land, but ‘ki mawbah’ (bone repositories) as the final resting place of the dead of all the clans should be constructed within the community graveyard, and no clan was allowed to construct a final bone repository anywhere else in the ri-raid which was meant for community settlement and economic activities. Any new immigrant clan was allowed to settle in the territory of the political community. But when people of such an immigrant clan had to perform the funeral rites of their first deceased member, they had to take due permission from the ‘dorbar-longsan’ of the ‘raid’, an act which is called ‘thied blab’ in some of the ‘raids’ in the Ri Bhoi region. ‘Thied’ means ‘to buy’ and ‘blab’ means a ‘grave.’ So, ‘thied blab’ literally means to buy a burial place, but conceptually it means to obtain permission from the political authority of the ‘raid’ to dispose of the dead body and to construct bone repository within the community graveyard and for the spirit of the deceased person to find its spiritual abode within the territory of the ‘raid’.

     Whenever any clan performs the ceremony of ‘ka thep mawbah’ (carrying and depositing the bones of the dead into their final resting place), the head of the ‘raid’, usually the ‘lyngdoh-raid’ (ruler priest) together with other ‘basans’ (founding clans’ political representatives) would stand at the entrance to the graveyard and inquire from the clan concerned whether bones of incestuous persons, condemned criminals and ostracised persons were included or not in the collection, and whether due religious rites to purify the bones of  those who died of violent deaths were performed or not. All this was done to see that the community graveyard would not be defiled by the presence of disgruntled evil spirits. That was how the Khasi traditional society coped with the need to dispose of the dead bodies of deceased persons properly and honourably through socially established provisions and recognised religious rites.

      Today, the Khasi traditional political community as described above is no more in existence. The ‘shnong’ (village) has taken over the place of the ‘raid’ as the basic political community. In every village today the community norms and practices on how to cope with the disposal of dead bodies of deceased persons properly and honourably through socially established provisions and uniformly recognised religious rites, no longer exists. It is a very unwholesome sight to see in a village or urban locality where there is a ‘khnap-thangbru’ (funeral place) for the believers of the indigenous faith on one side of the village or urban locality, and numerous graveyards belonging to various Christian denominations on the east, west, north and south, that a foreign tourist might think that the whole settlement is primarily a graveyard. A great number of such villages can be found in the Khasi society today due to the emerging compelling circumstances.

     Each human person is highly apprehensive not only of how he or she would be treated by the society while living, but also how his/her body would be treated by the society when he/she dies. Practically speaking, a religious institution in today’s circumstances is able to bind its members not so much by hope of heaven as by its control over the facility of providing proper and honourable disposal of the bodies of its members after their deaths. There is currently a popular idea of ‘Christian lumjingtep’, that is, those who profess to be members of a Christian church not for saving their souls but for the honour of a formal religious service and a place for their bones to rest at death. Therefore, to establish a new religion or to start a new church, a graveyard as a necessary religious infrastructure is required so as to be able to convince and bind the believers to the faith. It is on this fact that the much talked about purchase of land for graveyards in the ‘law syiem’ at Mawpat took place. The intention to provide an honourable resting place for the bones of the dead is genuine in the present circumstances though the way in which the lands were acquired might be questionable.

     The Khasi society today can no longer bind itself to only one form of religious faith, but needs to think of how to resurrect the basic idea of a traditional community graveyard where every inhabitant irrespective of religious faith, theist or atheist, can hope to find a resting place for the bones after death. An example that is commendable to some extent is found in Mawbri village where this writer lives. In Mawbri village there is only one graveyard under the regulation of the local Catholic Church in which the dead body of every human person irrespective of religious faith, including strangers or non-Khasis whose relatives can no more be traced, can find an honourable resting place. Though Catholic religious rites are not performed for non-Catholics, but social service and a resting place are not denied to anyone who happens to die in the village whether Khasi or non-Khasi, theist or atheist. In spite of the low population density, the Khasi society today might have become so unjust that many persons do not have even a square inch of land to call their own while still living; but besides heaven, at least let everyone also have a terrestrial location to rest after death.

Categories: News

PRE-POLL TENSIONS GRIP CONTROVERSIAL STATE

Shillong Times - Wed, 2016-06-08 11:02

 

IS PUNJAB HEADING FOR A TERRORISM PLAGUE?

 

By B K Chum

 

Controversies are an indivisible part of a functioning democracy. They erupt in hordes in election years and play an important role in influencing the course of politics. With eight months left in Punjab Assembly elections, the state is also witnessing controversies which have started polluting the state’s religio-political atmosphere raising the question whether Punjab is heading for the eighties pre-terrorism situation.

An answer to the question cannot be attempted without having a close look at the happenings threatening to create an explosive situation in the state. The latest among such happenings is the May 17 attempt on the life of Patiala-based influential Sikh preacher Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale in which he escaped unhurt but his aide Bhupinder Singh was shot dead by men owing allegiance to the Damdami Taksal, the fundamentalist seminary to which Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale belonged and now headed by the pro-government Harnam Singh Dhuma.

Another case is the last week’s threatened armed clash between the radical Hindu and Sikh fringe elements which was, however averted.

In the first case, the situation is akin to the one that had developed in Punjab (about which today’s young generation is not fully aware) before the decade-long eighties terrorism which crippled the state’s economy, paralysed the state administration and the judiciary and turned Punjab into a graveyard of innocent people. It had its origin in the Damdami Taksal followers holding a demonstration against the congregation of Nirankaris in Amritsar on the Baisakhi Day April 13, 1978. It led to a confrontation in which 16 demonstrators were killed. The killings had their climax in the assassination of Baba Gurbachan Singh, the Nirankaris spiritual head. Parkash Singh Badal-led Akali government was in power at that time.

Call it coincidence or the outcome of the partisan games our politicians play, that the present volatility in Sikh politics has erupted when the Parkash Singh Badal-led Akali government is also in power. The ruling leadership seems to be on the horns of a dilemma to decide how to defuse the situation as in the election year it can neither afford to displease its supporter Damdami Taksal nor Dhadrianwale which has a large following and is also backed by a number of Sikh preachers. Its attempt to resolve the complex issue by involving SGPC has not so far borne fruit. SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar whom it had deputed to meet Dhuma and Dhadrianwale for striking a compromise between them has apparently drawn a blank so far. An angry Dhadrianwale backed by the opposition has sought CBI inquiry into the attack which the chief minister has refused to order. Punjab’s shrewdest politician perhaps fears that if a CBI probe finds Dhuma’s supporters guilty for the attack, he would be charged by his opponents for betraying his loyalists.

Dhadrianwale has now petitioned the High Court demanding a probe by the CBI into the attack on him.

For partisan reasons, the Akali leadership would not like to displease the Damdami Taksal. On the eve of 2012 elections it had sought and got the support of radical Sikh bodies including the Taksal and the Sant Samaj. In return it acceded to the radicals demand for raising a memorial in the Golden Temple Complex at Amritsar for those killed during Operation Bluestar. Sukhbir Badal had then defended the decision to build the memorial by asserting that “hundreds of innocent devotees who were trapped in the Golden Temple lost their lives during the Army attack in 1984. What is wrong if a memorial is built for them”? He carefully omitted to mention that Indian Army had raided the Complex not to kill innocent  devotees but to flush out the militants who had converted the Sikhs holiest shrine into their  fortified bastion for killing Hindus and Sikhs and backed by Pakistan’s ISI for establishing an independent Sikh state Khalistan.

Facing all-round criticism including by his ruling partner BJP against the memorial, Chief Minister Badal had to clarify in the Assembly that such a memorial would be bereft of any pictures or photographs. But contrary to his assertions the memorial built by the Damdami Taksal was opened on April 27, 2013 and dedicated to Bhindranwale with his name inscribed atop its entrance.

Hypocrisy is the fine art our politicians excel in. Sukhbir who had supported the construction of the memorial by the radical Damdami Taksal but the Badals had avoided visiting it earlier in view of sharp criticism against its construction, paid obeisance at the memorial dedicated to Bhindranwale by visiting it on April 15.

The emerging volatile situation in Punjab is the result of the Akali leadership’s “religion and politics are inseparable” doctrine. It found its echo in the developing confrontation between the right wing Hindu and radical Sikh fringe elements whose activities are spreading communal hatred in the State.

An instance: The right-wing Hindu Suraksha Samiti and All India Hindu Students Federation organized a ‘Lalkar’ rally -aimed at challenging the pro-Khalistan supporters –from Chandigarh to Amritsar on May 25. To counter the move, scores of radical Sikh activists held an ‘anakh’ (self-respect) rally and gathered on the Beas bridge to stop the ‘Lalkar’ rally from entering Amritsar. A clash was averted as the Hindu activists cancelled the rally at the eleventh hour with the police intervening. It later registered cases against unnamed followers of both the groups.

The latest developments indicate that, notwithstanding the claims to the contrary, the state’s religio-political calm faces threat as the Assembly elections near. The rulers need to introspect as it is mainly their loyalists whose actions threaten to shatter the calm. (IPA Service)

Categories: News

PM should visit more often

Shillong Times - Wed, 2016-06-08 11:01

 Editor,

I echo the feelings of Mr DM Pariat in the letter, “The pothole and the PM” (ST June 4, 2016). Apparently it required the visit of the PM to the state to fill up potholes on all the roads that the PM travelled on during his visit here. One would like to add here that it was during the PM’s visit that the entrance and exit gates at the Civil Hospital were kept clear off all the makeshift food stalls. The place wore a clean, congestion free and spacious look. The footpath was free for the pedestrians to use at ease unlike at all times i.e. prior to the PM’s visit whereby one end of the footpath itself was blocked as it had been conveniently used by hawkers to set up their shops. Needless to say this inhibited free movement for passersby even forcing them to squeeze their way amidst heavy traffic. One must say that as of now the place is still clear of hawkers and makeshift stalls. But for how long? With the passage of time both the gates of the Hospital and footpath will again be crowded by shops if the authorities concerned do not put their foot down and put a permanent halt to them. The reason I say this is because today a couple of hawkers have begun to throng the place carrying their goods in small baskets which will eventually translate into bigger boxes, if it is allowed to go unchecked. One has no personal grudge against the hawkers nor does one have any intention of snatching away their means of livelihood. In fact one strongly believes that the hawkers need to be provided a space of their own so that they do not encroach and occupy any space they find convenient. One also strongly feels that the footpaths and roads in and around the city must be strictly used by pedestrians for free movement and not for makeshift shops. If truth be told, then it is not only the area around the Civil Hospital which needs to be free of congestion but several other places like Motphran, Iewduh etc., to name a few.

Yours etc.,

Jennifer Dkhar,

Via email

Clarification from FCC

Editor,

Apropos the article titled “Meghalaya’s Inconvenient Truth” by H. H. Mohrmen (ST June 6, 2016) the entire analysis on Frontier Chamber of Commerce is baseless and without any facts. The delegation of the Chamber met the Prime Minister and sough his intervention in the Smart City project, improvement of the National Highway 44, up-gradation of Umroi Airport and development of infrastructure. The Chamber also demanded that Central government must come up with policies for development of north eastern region taking into consideration local strength and opportunities. In our memorandum, we have not mentioned about coal mining. Only during a verbal discussion we informed the Prime Minister that because of NGT ban on coal mining, the economy of the region has been badly affected and as such a comprehensive policy for development of the region is essential, taking into consideration local strengths and opportunities. Mr Mohrmen has used unparliamentarily language by calling Frontier Chamber of Commerce as selfish. It is for information of the author that none of the members of Frontier Chamber of Commerce is involved in coal mining nor any coal related activities. Also we may mention that the Chamber has not demanded anything for the business community of Shillong.

Yours etc.,

Sajjan Kumar Tharad)

Hony General Secretary

Frontier Chamber of Commerce

 

Climate Change impact on plains of Garo Hills

Editor,

Every year the river Jinjiram and its confluence the Ringgi cause immense hardship during the monsoons by creating turbulence of flash floods and causing death and destruction. The changing course of Ringgi river towards the Shyamnagar valley are a major concern for the settled populace. Rise in the water level of Brahmaputra and Jinjiram in Phulbari, West Garo Hills, pose a detrimental threat in the years ahead. Even the downstream of Ganol river, near Damalgre and adjoining points, one can see the changing patterns of the course of the river. This happens due to excessive and unscientific method of ‘Sand Mining’ and extraction of mud beds from the river. As per the reports on Climate Change, half of Bangladesh will be submerged under water by 2030.The days are numbered and we’re yet to take action against the ‘Climate Deniers’. There will be a massive demographic displacement in Garo Hills, and North East in particular. Once population displacement occurs, it becomes a cumbersome task for any law enforcing agency and even for the government to control the impending environmental destruction. The reason behind the infiltration into the Indian territory is due to ‘Climate Change’. Many of the low lying areas in Bangladesh are partially or fully submerged under water. The affected populace have no other alternatives but to migrate from one place to another in search of food and livelihoods. The fertile lands and valleys along the river Brahmaputra and Jinjiram become a safe haven for such immigrants. The present scenario is petrifying, unless and untill, some concrete and comprehensive measures are initiated by the State and Central Government. This is an extremely serious subject and both the State and the Centre must initiate immediate steps to mitigate such form of extraneous intrusions from across the border. The rivers of our country are an easy entry for the antisocial elements to take advantage of the porous international border. Climate Change not only displaces a particular territory but it also creates disruptions to the ‘Indigenous Communities’.

Yours etc.,

Samgar R Sangma

CEPARD,

Categories: News

Lawmakers, govt staff have to declare assets

Shillong Times - Wed, 2016-06-08 10:50
CM, ministers, legislators & MDCs brought under ambit of rules

SHILLONG: In a major decision, the State Cabinet on Tuesday approved the Meghalaya Public Servants’ Rules under which, the chief minister, cabinet ministers, MLAs and even MDCs along with other public servants would have to declare their assets.
The spouses and dependents of public servants will also come under the purview of the Act as they will also have to declare their assets.
Speaking to media persons after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said that with the approval of the Meghalaya Public Servants (Furnishing of information and annual return of Assets and Liabilities and the limits for exemption of assts in filing returns) Rules, 2016, every government servant is duty bound to declare their assets and investments made with any entity.
The chief minister said the rule was required to be approved for the implementation of the Lokayukta Act for which the State government has already received the assent of the Governor.
As per the rules, government employees now need to give details of the cash in hand, investment, insurance policies, personal loans, details of immovable properties, debts and liabilities of spouse and dependents.
According to the chief minister, the government has come up with the rules in compliance with the provisions of the Meghalaya Lokayukta Act, 2014 passed by the Meghalaya Assembly.
Section 45 of the Act states “A public servant shall, within a period of 30 days from the date on which he makes and subscribes an oath or affirmation to enter upon his office, furnish to the competent authority the information relating to – the assets of which he, his spouse and his dependent children, and liabilities.”
Under section 45, every public servant shall file with the competent authority, on or before July 31 of every year, an annual return of such assets and liabilities.
The Act also provides that the competent authority may condone or exempt the public servant from furnishing information in respect of assets not exceeding such minimum value.

Categories: News

Govt to pay Rs 20 lakh to GNLA cadres’ kins

Shillong Times - Wed, 2016-06-08 10:49
North Garo Hills fake encounter case of Dec 2010

SHILLONG: The State exchequer has become poorer by Rs 20 lakh, a whopping one time amount to be disbursed to the families of four GNLA militants killed in an alleged fake encounter in December, 2010 in North Garo Hills.
After the recent direction of NHRC, the State government has processed the matter.
An official source told The Shillong Times on Tuesday that the finance department is processing Rs.20 lakhs to be disbursed to the families of fake encounter victims.
It was in the early hours of December 10, 2010 that GNLA leader Joking Momin and three other cadres were killed in an encounter with the police at Gajingpara in North Garo Hills.
The allegations of fake encounter and medical negligence surfaced a day after the killing of the cadres.
The NHRC which pursued the case pointed out that finger prints were not taken from the weapons recovered from the deceased and no tests were conducted to establish whether the dead persons handed the weapons before they were shot. The hand wash of the four persons were also not tested.
The NHRC pointed out that the contention of the police that the four men were killed in self defence was untenable le
As per the official Meghalaya police website in 2010, the police had already arrested two cadres of GNLA – Earnes Marak and Wallen A. Marak – on December 9.
During interrogation the cadres revealed that more GNLA members, including Joking Momin, were taking shelter at Gajingpara.
On December 10 at around 3.30 PM, police rushed to Gajingpara, launched an operation and arrested four GNLA cadres – Joking Momin, Pinseng Marak, Elben Marak and Goben Marak.
According to the police portal, while arresting Joking Momin, suddenly a group of armed militants, (GNLA breakaway faction) arrived in an auto rickshaw and started firing with their weapons.Police also retaliated and in the process all the four GNLA cadres including Joking Momin received bullet injuries. They were removed to Community Health Centre, Resubelpara, but due to absence of Medical & Health Officer (M&HO) at the CHC, they were referred to CHC, Williamnagar. Later, the M&HO of Williamnagar civil hospital declared Joking Momin, Pinseng Marak, Elben Marak and Goben Marak dead.
During the search operations of the shootout site, police recovered and seized two pistols, one revolver with few ammunition and incriminating documents.
However, the statement issued by the then superintendent of police, Sylvester Nongtnger contradicted with the report in the crime update on the police website.
As per the statement of the police official, on December 9 after getting information about the militants taking shelter in Gajingpara, the police arrested six cadres from the area.
The police official, however, did not mention the time of the arrest, though later it was known to be in the wee hours of December 10, after 3 AM.
The police statement also said that it was while apprehending Joking Momin, the leader of the group that suddenly another group of armed militants, a faction of GNLA, arrived there in an auto rickshaw and started firing from their weapons indiscriminately.
The statement of the SP further said that the police party too promptly retaliated and in the process of cross firing, four cadres including Joking Momin and three others “died on the spot”.
However, the police website said that they were declared dead at Williamnagar civil hospital after they were brought injured.

Categories: News

Declaration of assets mandatory for legislators, Govt employees

Meghalaya Times - Wed, 2016-06-08 04:00

Staff Reporter
SHILLONG, June 07: With the approval of the Meghalaya Public Servants (Furnishing of Information and Annual Return of Assets and Liabilities and the Limits for Exemption of Assets in Filing Returns) Rules, 2016, the State Government has on Tuesday made it mandatory for MLAs, MDCs and government employees to declare their assets.

Categories: News

Social activist declines offer to act as interlocutor in HNLC talks

Meghalaya Times - Wed, 2016-06-08 04:00

Staff Reporter
SHILLONG, June 07: While opining that there is an attempt to politicize the issue, social activist, Disparsing Rani on Tuesday declined the offer to act as the interlocutor for pace between the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) and the Government.

Categories: News

Government cannot protect you 24 hours a day: HNLC to MLAs

Meghalaya Times - Wed, 2016-06-08 04:00

Staff Reporter
SHILLONG, June 07: The proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) has issued a chilling threat to legislators evens as it has warned them against supporting the incumbent Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Dr. Mukul Sangma.
“The HNLC will not be responsible for anything that happens to them because we all know that the government cannot protect you 24 hours a day for five years,” read a press communiqué issued by the HNLC Publicity Secretary, Sainkupar Nongtraw on Tuesday.

Categories: News

Govt moves for fairness, transparency in land acquisition

Meghalaya Times - Wed, 2016-06-08 04:00

Staff Reporter
SHILLONG, June 07: Deputy Chief Minister in-charge Revenue Roytre C Laloo on Tuesday informed that the State Government has approved the draft Meghalaya Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Rules, 2015.

Categories: News

NGO bats for Tura as state’s winter capital

Meghalaya Times - Wed, 2016-06-08 04:00

Staff Reporter
TURA, June 07: Raising the pitch for Tura to be declared the ‘Winter Capital’ of Meghalaya, the Achik Youth Council (AYC) on Tuesday sent a memorandum to the Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma seeking his consideration on the move.

Categories: News

Govt to facilitate VRS of MCCL employees

Meghalaya Times - Wed, 2016-06-08 04:00

Staff Reporter
SHILLONG, June 07: The Government of Meghalaya has announced on Tuesday that it has decided to support the Government owned Mawmluh Cherra Cement Limited (MCCL) by way of facilitating the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) of its employees.

Categories: News

Mukul calls for action against militant safe havens in Bangladesh

Meghalaya Times - Tue, 2016-06-07 04:00

Staff Reporter
SHILLONG, June 06: The Chief Minister of Meghalaya has said that the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) are operating from safe havens in Bangladesh even as he urged the Centre to move its counterpart in Bangladesh to ensure the removal of camps of these ultras.

Categories: News
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