Saturday, March 07, 2009

More women participation in Church after empowerment initiatives

Mar Thoma Church - Maramon, Kerala, IndiaImage via Wikipedia

NEW DELHI (UCAN) -- Women are now taking on greater roles in the Indian Catholic Church after bishops began emphasizing gender justice and women's empowerment a year ago. However, more work still needs to be done, women leaders say. "Definitely, women's participation and involvement in Church activities have increased in the past year," said Salesian Sister Lilly Francis, secretary of the Commission for Women, on March 5.

Her commission, which comes under the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), prepared material for the Indian bishops' 28th plenary meeting in February last year. During this meeting, prelates from India's 160 dioceses addressed women's empowerment in the Church and society, along with related issues.

A CBCI survey conducted before the meeting indicated that Catholic women had practically no role in the decision-making bodies of the Church here.

Sister Francis said the survey sought to identify practices that excluded women from decision-making, with the intention of fostering gender sensitivity in Church and society.

The survey also highlighted the need to improve the roles of women in the social, political, economic and spiritual arenas.



A year after the meeting, Sister Francis said she is happy as her commission has "received great response" from all 12 CBCI regions, who were told to draft practical suggestions to increase gender justice and enhance women's roles in Church and society.

"All the regions have sent their drafts to us, except Orissa," she said. The Church in the Orissa region, which was hit by anti-Christian violence in the last four months of 2008, has promised to send its draft later in March. All drafts would be presented to the bishops in April, the nun said.

Nuns and laywomen were involved along with bishops and priests in drafting these plans, she noted. "I think this is a great sign as women were not involved in policy-making earlier."

The nun said some dioceses had already begun taking steps toward more gender equality. In Idukki diocese in Kerala state, the finance committee recently included a woman as a member, and in central India's Nagpur diocese a nun was appointed the assistant director of a social service center. Some nuns now work with the CBCI commissions for youth and communication, she pointed out.

These developments show that more and more women are getting "effectively involved," Sister Francis said.

Chinnamma Jacob, a laywoman leader in New Delhi, however, said there is still a long way to go. "The implementation of the CBCI plans and people's suggestions are under way, but it is moving very slowly."

Jacob, president of the Council of Catholic Women of India, said the CBCI is expected to finalize the regional plans soon, after which the Church would start to integrate them into a national plan.

"So it is a long process," she said. However, once the drafts come together, "things would move faster."

Court rules against demolishing ancient churches

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India (UCAN) -- The High Court in India's southern Kerala state has rejected the plea of a parish priest who wanted to demolish two ancient churches.

Some Catholics in the state say the demands of the Ramapuram parish priest shows the Church's poor sense of history.

The High Court on March 4 said the two churches are historical monuments and should be protected. St. Augustine Church was built in the 16th century and St. Mary's Church in the 19th century. They are in Palai diocese.

Father Mathew Narively had appealed against a government notification stipulating that he was not to demolish the churches. He said he needed the space for a new church building to accommodate the growing parish population.

Justice Antony Dominic, a Catholic, dismissed his appeal and observed "there was no substance" in such contention.

The government reacted when a group of parishioners resisted the priest's plans, saying the churches are linked to the history of the Oriental-rite Syro-Malabar Church, one of the three Catholic Church rites in India.

"These monuments speak volumes about our rich culture and history. If we destroy them, we are wiping out our past," said P.J. Cherian, director of the Kerala Council for Historical Research and a member of the Mar Thoma Church. The Church is one of seven in Kerala that trace their faith to Saint Thomas the Apostle.

He welcomed the ruling as it will help to "protect many more historical monuments facing demolition threats."

In June 2008, the government declared the two churches as monuments under the provisions of the Kerala Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1969.

Cherian said Christians' lack of a sense in preserving historical monuments would further impoverish the Church.

Joseph Zacharias, a Ramapuram parishioner who opposed the demolition, said he was happy with the court ruling, which also showed that the Church had little regard for its own history.

The churches, standing side by side, are "a treasure trove of invaluable murals and a blend of Indian and Portuguese architecture," he said. The mural on the Lord's last supper inside one of them is considered a rare piece of art and believed to be the work of an Italian monk, Zacharias said.

Father Narively said he was not against the conservation of structures of archaeological importance but needed to build a new church for more worshippers.

However, Catholic layman Joseph Pulikunnel called his logic absurd. The parish could "easily build" another church on its 12.12 hectare compound without demolishing the ancient ones.

The court ruling, he said, will help create better awareness among the public and Catholics on the need to preserve historical monuments.

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US sheds 6,51,000 jobs in Feb; jobless rate touch 25-yr high

Washington, Mar 6 (PTI) The United States saw a staggering 6,51,000 job losses in February, pushing the unemployment rate to a 25-year-high of 8.1 per cent, as the nation continued to grapple with a deepening recession. Further, the world's largest economy shed a whopping 2.6 million jobs in the past four months, the latest data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed.

"Nonfarm payroll employment continued to fall sharply in February (-651,000), and the unemployment rate rose from 7.6 to 8.1 per cent," BLS, which is part of the US Labor Department, said in a statement.

Payroll employment has declined by 2.6 million in the past four months, it added.

The jobless rate of 8.1 per cent is reportedly the highest since December 1983.

Moreover, the statistics revealed that the number of unemployed persons shot up by 8,51,000 to 12.5 million last month. "Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has increased by about five million...," the statement said.

In February, job losses were large and widespread "across nearly all major industry sectors". PTI

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Gandhi's items sold for USD 2.096 mn, including commission

New York, Mar 6 (PTI) Mahatma Gandhi's iconic round eye glasses and other personal belongings fetched USD 2.096 million, including commission, Antiquorum Auctioneers announced today and said it was pleased that the objects will be returning to India.
Indian business magnate Vijay Mallya had bought the articles for USD 1.8 million and said "he bidded for the country".

A day after the auction that stirred worldwide interest, Antiquorum today said the star lot at the auction was "indisputably" Gandhi's pocket watch, sandals, glasses, bowl and thali, which sold for an astounding USD 2,096 million.

"The sale of the spiritual and political leader of India's possessions had stirred worldwide interest and had been closely watched by collectors and supporters of Gandhi worldwide," Antiquorum Auctioneers chairman Robert Maron said in a statement. PTI

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6 lakh, 29 thousand and 155 are eligible to exercise their franchise in the forth coming Lok Sabha election in Mizoram

March 6th, 2009 | Chief Electoral Officer, Mr. Lalmalsawma said, as many as 6 lakh, 29 thousand and 155 are eligible to exercise their franchise in the forth coming Lok Sabha elections. Conveying this information to media persons in a press conference in his office today, the CEO said, 92.09 percent of the voters have been given Electors Photo Identity Cards and Electronic Voting Machines will be used in the Lok Sabha and Assembly bye elections to be held simultaneously in South Tuipui constituency.

In reply to question, the CEO said, there is no official information receive from MNF Party in connection with their intention to boycott the election if Electronic Voting Machine is used. As many as 1026 Polling Stations will be set up in the state to enable the voters to cast their votes in the elections and these are being surveyed to ascertain their suitability including the road connectivity to ensure un-disturb movement of security officials. The CEO also said, counting will be taken up on the 16th of May in all the District Hqrs. under the supervision of election Observers. He said, officials having responsibility in these elections will not be permitted to conduct his polling duties in his own District and those who have continuous posting for more than 3 years will be transferred as per the instruction of Election Commission. The Chief Electoral Officer also said that Model Code of Conduct applies with immediate effect since announcement of the election schedule by the Election Commission on the 2nd of this month.A gang of robbers made a daring attempt to rob Life Insurance Corporation of India Branch Office in Zarkawt in a broad-day light this morning. The sweeper, Upendra Chandra Dutta, who cleaned the office was strangled to death by the robbers and made unfruitful attempt to break the Iron safe open by drilling it in two places with electric drill. They also broke open the drawer of the Cashier in an apparent search for money. The dead body was sent to his village Jatkapan in Karimganj District this afternoon after post mortem examinations in Aizawl Civil Hospital. As soon as the incident was learnt, a team of Police headed by the District SP, Mr. Lalbiakthanga Khiangte rushed to the spot and noted all the relevant informations which will help Police investigation into the death. Forensic expert also collected all the trails and available materials for examination in the laboratory. A case was registered in Aizawl Police Station and investigation is on.

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Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) Aizawl Regional Centre was awarded the ‘Best Service Award-2009′. The award was received by the Regional Director of Aizawl IGNOU Centre, Dr. SR Zonunthara at the University convocation held in New Delhi on the 28th of February. This year, the best service award is also given to Lucknow Regional Centre. This is the third time Mizoram Regional Centre received such awards. Earlier, the Centre had received the best service award in 2006 and 2007.

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Champhai Venglai Community Hall constructed at the cost of 33 lakh rupees was inaugurated by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr. TV Fambol this morning. Addressing the function, the Deputy Commissioner said, the dream of most of the villages in the rural area is to construct Community Hall which can accommodate a Badminton Court and this has resulted in poor quality construction. In most of the cases, the Community Halls become unsuitable for holding public meeting and other important functions. He advised the village leaders to construct the Community Hall to suit their need. The 3 storeyed Community Hall measures 70 feet in length and 40 feet in breadth.

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Agriculture Minister, Mr. H. Liansailova asked the Banks to main sincere effort for implementation of North East Vision - 2020. Addressing State credit seminar organized by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in Aizawl today, the Agriculture Minister said, the North East Vision - 2020 envisages replacement of jhum cultivation by introducing horticulture, floriculture, organic farming, plantation of medicinal plant, sericulture, fishery, poultry, setting up of vegetable preservation plant and development of handicraft. He asked the Banks to improve their service to the customers and provide Kisan Credit Card to all the farmers by 2010-2011. In a key note address, the General Manager of NABARD, Mr. PC Sahoo said, the aim of the seminar is to educate the farmers and NGOs to utilize credit made available for them. Of the farmers who took loan from the bank over 75 percent of them did not utilize the loan for its correct purpose. He also said, all the farmers will be assisted under Credit Support Scheme by 2015.

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Industry Minister, Mr. S. Hiato visited the scandalous Venus Bamboo Product Private Ltd. in Sairang and Zonun Mat Ply Private Ltd. at Lengpui today. The Minister was accompanied by the Director of Industries, Mr. Shurbir Singh and the Joint Director, Mr. G. Malsawmdawngliana. Later, talking to media persons, the Minister said, the Government will try to revive these Bamboo Industries to create job for many people who are yearning for employment. The Minister also said that the Government will constitute Inquiry Commission to inquire into Mizoram Venus Bamboo Pvt. Ltd. with a view to improve its functioning. Industries Director, Mr. Shurbir Singh also said that the Government has so far spent 1100 lakh rupees while its partner Venus Group has contributed 63 lakh rupees. The Industry Director also said that most of the important documents relating to setting up of the Bamboo Industry are still in the custody of the former Managing Director, Mr. KK Shah and the loans are not yet repaid.

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Mizoram Law Commission to be headed by Mr. R. Lalrinawma, MLA has been constituted. An order to this effect issued by the Law and Judicial Department indicated that the Deputy Secretary, Law and Judicial Department, Mr. Zahmingthanga Ralte is the Member Secretary and the members are Government Advocate General Mr. Biswajit Deb, Law Secretary Mr. P. Chakraborty, Bar Association President, Mizoram Judicial Service President. The Chief Executive members of Lai, Mara and Chakma Autonomous District Councils are also the Ex-officio members. In reply to ZONET Corr. the Chairman of the Law Commission, Mr. R. Lalrinawma said, the first objectives of the Law Commission will include study of Central laws which are required for adoption by Mizoram Government, examination of existing laws of the state government which are outdated and redundant and make proposals for fresh legislation according to the need of the state.

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22 persons of Champhai Zotlang were hospitalized in Champhai Civil Hospital for consumption of poisoned soyabean. Our Champhai Corr. reported that, Mrs. Selkungi of Champhai Zotlang distributed the brewed soyabean and distributed it to her relatives last Monday. Twenty persons who consumed it fell ill complaining pain in the stomach associated with vomiting and they were admitted to Champhai Civil Hospital last Wednesday. Three of them have been discharged and the rest 19 are still struggling for life in the Hospital.

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Veterinary Field Assistant were given training in Artificial Insemination and treatment of ailing domestic animals at AI Training Centre during the last 3 days. After completion of the training, the Field Assistants are to assist rural people in artificial insemination of cows and pigs in their respective jurisdiction besides treating sick animals…………

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Synod Mission Board (SMB) and Darjeeling Hills Bible School (DHBS) have signed partnership agreement today for expanding their activities to spread the Gospel. Mission Board Secretary Rev. Vanlalbela signed on behalf of SMB while Rev. Dr. Kamal Andrew Rai signed on behalf of DHBS. The agreement is to last for a period of 3 years and both the Boards will assist each other with man power and fund to widen the scope of their cooperation in the mission field.

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Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation Minister, Mr. Zodintluanga said, 1388 units of dwelling houses for the poor people of Lawipu, Durtlang and Rangvamual will be constructed under UD & PA. Addressing Party workers in Congress Bhawan today, the UD & PA Minister said, 700 units of such houses will be constructed at Lawipui the required fund has already been sanctioned by the Centre. He also said, project for construction of 320 more houses at Durtlang and 360 houses at Rangvamual have been drawn up and fund is being sanctioned by the Centre. The Minister also said, 500 families in Lunglei who have land are being assisted to enable them to construct their houses in their plots of land. Referring to Sports infrastructure, Mr. Zodintluanga, who also is the Sports Minister said, the proposed construction of Rajiv Gandhi stadium at Lammual is not abandoned but the work cannot be started as some clearance are still awaited. 25 crores of rupees sanctioned for the purpose which is to lapse by the end of March this year has to be utilized for construction of Sports stadium at Mualpui and the work will start soon.

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College Veng Branch YMA donated 46 units of blood for patients in Presbyterian Hospital today.

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Today, the maximum temperature of Aizawl City was 28.6 degree Celsius and the minimum was 17.7 degree Celsius.

Source: ZONET.IN

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Nagaland timber union says no to KNF ‘demand’

DIMAPUR, MARCH 4 (MExN): Taking strong exception to the purported demand notice issued by the Kuki National Front (KNF) to timber contractors ranging from Rs. 2-3 lakh, the Nagaland Timber Trader’s Union (NTTU) has condemned the demand notice. The union has said that it would never bow to the pressure tactics of any outfit or groups.

The NTTU in a joint press statement issued by its president Kevise Angami, general secretary Alem Pongener, vice presidents Husca Zhimomi, N John Zeliang and M Kezo Angami, and treasurer Sanyi Dukru said the union has taken serious note of the “threat and demand notice” served to timber contractors and members of NNTU presently working in Kuilong village area, under Peren district, by one T Mate. Mate claimed to be the “secretary, Unit-1, cum-Finance of the Kuki National Front”.

The union also stated that on March 3, 2009, at around 7 p.m. while the NNTU was having a meeting in Dimapur, the “so-called Mate” again called up one NTTU member through mobile phone (9615431504) and threatened that the contractor’s life would be at risk if he did not pay up the money demanded, on or before March 10, 2009. “This hefty demand is incredulous and beyond the means of timber contractors and therefore NTTU can never and will never bow down to pressures of any outfit. Such huge demand will never be accepted by the timber traders,” NTTU said.

NTTU also stated that such demands were a direct threat not only to the union but also to the livelihood of hundreds of people who depend on legal timber business. The union further questioned the “legality” of KNF to serve demand notes in Kuilong area which, it said, falls under Zeliangrong jurisdiction.

“While reaffirming our strong opposition to such coercive methods, it is hereby made known to one and all that in the event of any untoward incident that may befall on our members and timber contractors due to the demand notice, the KNF will be held sole responsible,” NTTU cautioned.

The union also urged all authorities concern including the public to take note of “such unreasonable demands” and intervene before the situation went goes out of control.

Source: Morung Express

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Cong lists out for Sikkim, Mizoram; MPCC yet to finalise candidates; AICC to decide LS candidates in Arunachal

NEW DELHI, March 6 – The Congress today named Khara Nanda Upreti for the lone Lok Sabha seat in Sikkim, while C L Ruala will be the party candidate for Mizoram. This is the second list the party releases after the one for Uttar Pradesh, in which 24 candidates were nominated. The party also released a list of 30 candidates for the Assembly elections in Sikkim to be held simultaneously with the general elections.

The list includes former chief minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari from Khamdong-Singtam. – PTI

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MPCC yet to finalise candidates

Sobhapati Samom

IMPHAL, March 6 – Even though the Opposition parties have announced their candidates for the forthcoming 15th Lok Sabha polls, ruling Congress party is yet to name their candidates.

Manipur will go to polls on April 16 and 22 to elect two MPs from inner and outer Manipur parliamentary constituencies. Dr Thokchom Meinya Singh and Mani Charenamei are the sitting MPs in the Lok Sabha.

The State Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (I) President Gaikhangam Gangmei who had rushed to the National capital to get clearance of their party candidates – both for inner and outer Manipur parliamentary constituencies, returned on Friday.

However, they are yet to announce the names of their party candidates. Present Lok Sabha MP Dr Thokchom Meinya was among the ticket seekers for the inner parliamentary segment. Sources here said young Congressman and sitting MLA Irengbam Hemochandra of Singjamei AC in Imphal was also reportedly lobbying for the Congress ticket.

On the other hand, former ministers R K Thekho, Dr Charltonlien Amo and Thansi Baite are also seeking Congress tickets for the outer Manipur parliamentary constituency .

Opposition parties Manipur people’s Party, the Nationalist Congress Party, National People Party and Manipur State Congress Party alliance had recently named Prof N Mohendro of MPP as common candidate for inner parliamentary seat while L B Sona of NCP for outer parliamentary seat.

Similarly, BJP had announced that they will field former state Chief Minister Wahengbam Nipamacha Singh as the party candidate in the inner Manipur Parliamentary constituency .

BJP in the meantime has trained its gun towards the alliance and termed the alliance as ‘Unholy.’ The media cell convener of the party L Basanta said that the alliance formed by the four parties is nothing but an alliance that can be easily restructured at will. He said the BJP is unfazed by the presence of the alliance.

But MPP has welcomed the decision of the four like-minded political parties which have decided to join hands in the coming Lok Sabha elections while also accepting the decision to have a common candidate each in the inner and outer Manipur parliamentary constituencies.

The election control room has been opened at room no. 183 of Old Secretariat Building for smooth conduct of the polls.

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AICC to decide LS candidates in Arunachal

ITANAGAR, March 6 – With just more than a month left to go for the general elections, the ruling Congress in Arunachal Pradesh is facing a Herculean task in choosing its candidates for the two Parliamentary seats in the State following an intense lobbying by the aspirants for getting party tickets.

The Pradesh Election Committee (PEC), which is headed by Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president and State PWD Minister Nabam Tuki, today recommended the party candidates’ names and forwarded it to the AICC general secretary in-charge of Arunachal, V Narayanswamy, for taking a final decision by the Party High Command.

According a source at the party headquarters office here, altogether thirteen candidates are in the fray for party tickets for the two Lok Sabha seats in the State, which goes to polls on April 16 next.

“Unable to sort out the differences while choosing the candidates for ensuing Parliamentary elections following intense lobbying by the aspirants, the Pradesh Election Committee (PEC) has short-listed its candidates’ names and forwarded the same to the AICC general secretary in-charge of Arunachal Pradesh, V Narayanswamy, who is also the Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Planning,” said the source.

“The Central Election Committee (CEC) of All India Congress Committee (AICC) will have a meeting in New Delhi within a day or two to shortlist the party candidates, the final decision on which will accordingly be announced by Congress High Command,” said the AICC leader Narayanswamy while briefing the media here early this morning before leaving for the national capital. He was on a two-day visit to the State capital.

The Union Minister said the main poll plank of the Congress Party in Arunachal Pradesh will be the UPA government’s achievements, while claiming that this frontier state had remained mal-nourished and under-developed during the six-year-long NDA regime, headed by Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Source: Assam Tribune

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Rios roadmap for political solution

Seal of NagalandImage via Wikipedia

Kohima, Mar 5 (NPN): Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said that the only realistic and logical approach towards peaceful solution to the intractable Naga problem was peaceful dialogue based on mutual trust and understanding between the underground and the government of India towards an honourable settlement to the Naga political problem.

Delivering the key note address on the first day of the three-day Naga Consultative Meet on Thursday, Rio stated, “Let us realise what is possible and work for it instead of living in isolation. Let us strive to be part of the global village. Let us try to speak one voice, a voice that represents the interest of all Nagas,” he stated.

Expressing concern that the vexed Naga political problem remained unresolved for the last six decades, claiming innumerable lives and bringing pain and tears to every Naga family, he noted that the ongoing ceasefire and political dialogue between the undergrounds and the government of India has been continuing for over a decade without perceptible progress.

He also sounded a note of caution on the ongoing negotiations where solution appeared to remain elusive and urged upon the people and leaders “ to find out why the peace process has not made adequate progress and how we can find ways to take it forward in the right direction and towards the desire goal.”

Rio also pointed to earlier peace initiatives, like the 16th Point Agreement, 1960, which resulted in the formation of Nagaland state; the 1964 ceasefire and dialogue which failed and then the subsequent signing of the Shillong Accord in 1975; these have not achieved the desired peace, as the signatories of the agreement failed to carry with them the “national workers and underground groups” he said.

“Having learnt from the past mistakes, we felt that the present ceasefire and peace process must be inclusive of all sections, particularly the civil society and church that carry the voice of the people,” Rio said.

He also reiterated the DAN government’s commitment to step down and pave the way for an alternative arrangement when an acceptable solution to the Naga political problem was arrived at.
Stating that Nagas could no longer afford to live in the past nor could stagnate in the present position, Rio said it was time for us to “ break camp” and move forward. Explaining that this meet was not about scoring points or one-upmanship, Rio clarified that it was about taking the Naga people forward.

The Chief Minister said the Naga Consultative Meet was a result of the deep concerns expressed by various sections of the Naga community to take forward the Naga political issue.

Further, Rio stressed that the Naga political issue should be placed above all political affiliations, tribal considerations and other differences or divisions that may exist within the community.

“It is not the domain of any individual or group. This is the very reason why we have come together to share our views on this crucial issue, affecting the past, present and future generations of the Nagas. If any group or individual wants to distance themselves from this joint effort, I would like to tell them if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem,” Rio stated.

On the issue of integration of all Naga continguous areas Rio said though this remained the dream of all Nagas, yet the present realities do not allow immediate realization of the dream as it involved not only redrawing of inter-state boundaries but also international boundaries.

He also reminded the meet that Nagas need to understand and appreciate the difficult position of the government of India on the demand for integration.

Rio however said, unity and integration was not only about territories but about emotional integration of all Nagas as one family .

He also felt that the Naga people living in different states of the Indian union, and across the international boundaries must strive to unite emotionally.

Rio also proposed for striving for political recognition and territorial autonomy for the Nagas in Myanmar assign “ in a democratic country likes ours those who are not satisfied with the above arrangement are free to pursue their ideologies through no-violent means.”

Further, he stated that the common goal of the Nagas was to take Nagaland forward to a better position to get recognition of the international community for our excellence, our unique culture and to carve a place in the community of the global village.

The function was chaired by DAN’s PAC chairman Dr TM Lotha while the invocation prayer was said by Rev Deo Vihienuo. A special song by Chakhesang Baptist Church and exchange of gifts between the state and the overseas Nagas were other highlights of the meeting.

Briefing the media persons after the first two sessions, convenor of the meet Dr TM Lotha accompanied by co-convenor Z Lohe and Dr Visier SanyĆ¼ said all apex organizations, representatives of the 17 tribal Hohos, NGOs, all political parties in Nagaland (except Congress), all legislators (except Congress legislators) and leaders representing different Naga underground groups/factions are attending the consultative meet.

Reacting to a query on the representations of Naga tribal hohos from outside Nagaland, the convenor said the Naga Consultative Meet was initially meant only for Nagas of Nagaland state. Representatives of all the 16 tribes of Nagaland including Kukis and Kacharis are attending the meet, he said.

However, no representatives of other tribal hohos from other Naga tribes outside Nagaland state were invited to meet, except for the United Naga Council (UNC) based in the Naga inhabited areas of neighbouring Manipur state. “They (UNC) are always very close with us,” Dr Lotha added.
He also revealed that both the leaders of the NSCN factions and also the NNC (None Accordist) have registered and attended the meet on the first day. Representatives of the remaining factions were expected to attend the meet on the second day, he said.

Source: Nagaland Post

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Nagalim : Is it an Utopian Dream?

State of Nagaland, India with districts and th...Image via Wikipedia

By N Tangkhul | Nagaland and Manipur have always been multi-ethnic States with cultural pluralism being the foundation of their society. At the same time, these States have suffered the fallout of many decades of insurgency and turmoil which however has seen some ushering of peace in the last few years.

Even though ceasefire has been effective with the Naga groups, the NSCN (IM) in particular continues to raise the bogey of emotive issues which rather than helping the common man has only served the interests of a select few.

It should be realised by all that peace is a function of ‘give and take’ and both development and peace are closely interlinked; however the NSCN (IM) does not seem to comprehend that you need to forego something for a larger gain. It must be realised that picking up a so called popular issue based on ethnic and tribal affinities and short term interests only to gain the sympathy of the people, will not serve the long term goal of bringing lasting peace in the region.

The demand of Nagalim, involving four North Eastern States including parts of Myanmar is one of the major issues that was once close to the hearts of the locals, but is now far away from ground realities. At the regional level, some parallel can be drawn to the concept of Akhand Bharat involving most of South East Asia which is good for academic discussions only, but now impossible to achieve within the existing geo-political scenario. As long as such concepts remain in folklore, they can work constructively towards identifying our cultural heritage and glorious past of our descendants and possibly, even provide an impetus for a better future.

Problems however arise, when a particular section of the society takes up a militant view of such issues and tries to achieve their myopic goal using undemocratic means. ‘Nagalim’ is a classical example of the same.

After decades of fighting, although various groups have realised the unattainable facets of such demands, they surprisingly continue to promote these issues for their personal agenda and short term gains. It is well known that any form of insurgency survives only with the support of the local population. Naga organisations are desperately trying to garner such a support by raising these emotive issues, mostly using fear tactics and projecting themselves as the saviours of the people. It is well known that any form of insurgency survives only with the support of the local population. Naga organisations are desperately trying to garner such a support by raising these emotive issues, mostly using fear tactics and projecting themselves as the saviours of the people, for otherwise support may not be possible as the common man has gradually realised its futility. The fact remains that whatever development has taken place in Manipur, is due to the Government and the efforts of all its citizens, which includes all Nagas of the State as well.

However, a narrow minded approach and non-acceptance by various organisations has always proved to be a hindrance towards a final solution. The biggest question being posed is—will such a utopian concept of Nagalim and continued animosity, fulfil these social aspirations ? The obvious answer is a big NO. This shows that the basic fibre on which the NSCN (IM) propaganda is based, is flawed and needs to be shed in the interests of the overall prosperity and peace of their people and the Region. Whenever NSCN (IM) seems to be losing support and attention, it conjures up one or other issue—the recent Siroy incident is a perfect example of the same.

Organisations which are raising such issues and making a mountain of a mole hill must realise that the Naga family only wants peace, development and better economic opportunities which can only be achieved by the principle of ‘give and take’ and not confrontation.

It is time to introspect our honest selves what has the demand of Nagalim given to the people of Nagaland and hilly regions of Manipur, except the blood of their own children and slowing down the process of development and welfare. The fact remains that whatever development has taken place in Manipur, is due to the Government and the efforts of all its citizens, which includes all Nagas of the State as well. However, a narrow minded approach and non-acceptance by various organisations has always proved to be a hindrance towards a final solution. The biggest question being posed is—will such a utopian concept of Nagalim and continued animosity, fulfil these social aspirations ? The obvious answer is a big NO. This shows that the basic fibre on which the NSCN (IM) propaganda is based, is flawed and needs to be shed in the interests of the overall prosperity and peace of their people and the Region.

Eleven years of peace has borne fruit which is evident from the positive exuberance of the local population who have suffered the scourge of militancy since so many years. It proves a point that militancy for the cause of Nagalim is not the answer, but security, peace, prosperity and hope for the younger generation is what we should build together. The world over, boundaries are slowly and gradually giving way to globalisation, and wasting even a single human life for a hollow cause must not be tolerated at any cost.

The answer does not lie in supporting other insurgent groups in the State to counter the NSCN (IM), for the situation will only worsen. It is the people of this ‘Land of Jewel’ who have suffered the most, tolerating the violence unleashed in silence. It is now time for the people to rise and say enough is enough. Let the past be forgiven and forgotten and let us vow to speak out against any injustice done to the future of our children by a selected few.

Source: The Sangai Express

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Yandaboo treaty studied, analysed

IMPHAL, Mar 6: The significance of the Treaty of Yandaboo signed between the Great Britain and Burma (now Myanmar) on February 24, 1826 in the history of Manipur has been discussed and analysed during a commemorative function here today. Organised under the aegis of Federation of Regional Indigenous Society (FREINDS) at Kangla Hall here today, the commemorative function held under theme of ‘Reminiscence of Manipur history:

Treaty of Yandaboo, 24th February, 1826’ was attended by titular king of Manipur Leishemba Sanajaoba as chief guest, FREINDS president Sapamcha Jadumani as functional president and former Minister RV Mingthing as guest of honour.

Prof Naorem Joykumar of Department of History, Manipur University; Advocate of Gauhati High Court Khaidem Mani and IPSA president Yumnamcha Dilipkumar were among the resource persons who spoke on relevant topics of the theme.

In his address as chief guest of the function, Leishemba Sanajaoba exhorted that the present generation should learnt lesson from the past and look forward to the future with a feeling of strong Nationalism.

It is a fact well known to the people now that Manipuri society had suffered numerous setbacks in the past as a result of lack of unity and mutual distrust among our forefathers, the titular king said.

However, inspite of the lesson learnt from such historical mistakes, we have not been able to rectify the same. In fact dirty politics have been trying set apart the people from one another, the titular king said, adding that this is really unfortunate for the future of the State.
In his presidential address, Sapamcha Jadumani noted that the Treaty of Yandaboo signed between the Great Britain and the Burma on February 24, 1826 had recognised the independence of Manipur and this historical fact should not be forgotten by the people.

In continuation of the function, various cultural dances were also performed by cultural troupes coming from different parts of the State.

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CPI-M to team up with CPI in LS polls

IMPHAL, Mar 6: Retracting from its earlier stand of supporting the MPP candidate in the Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency of the Lok Sabha election due to be held on April 22, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has decided to support CPI candidate Dr M Nara.

Following suit, Janata Dal (Secular), RSP and Forward Block would also be pitching in for Dr M Nara.

A joint meeting of the leader of CPI, CPI-M, JD (S), RSP and Forward Block held at Irabot Bhawan discussed the ensuring Parliamentary election. During the meeting, Health Minister Ph Parijat who is also the National Executive member of CPI appealed to the leaders of the attending parties to support CPI candidate.

In response to the appeal, the leaders assured that their parties would support Dr Nara and proposed for setting up a joint front of the five parties.

However, as to which party candidate CPI would pitched in its support for the Outer seat by refraining from contesting for the same seat has not yet been finalised.

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Migrant workers back to work

IMPHAL, Mar 6: Amid heightened security measures and humanitarian initiatives migrant workers resumed their normal chores of earning livelihood away from their homes here in the State.

Migrant workers had been shunning wage earning activities for the past few days following unidentified gunmen slaying three of them at different location of the capital city.

Apparently fearing more such attacks the migrant work force had been taking refuge with security cover at the Marwari Dharmshala under the aegis of Imphal Bazar Board.

Bazar Board convenor Amrik Singh Pahwa informed of the number of camper today decreasing to 70 from the original high of about 150 as they (migrant workers) returned to their works.

Amrik Singh Pahwa also informed of a team of doctors having attended to medical requirements of the campers at the dharmshala where the Governor Gurbachan Jagat led other individuals/officials in extending financial and material assistance.

Unidentified persons gunned down a barber at Bijoy govinda area of Sagolband on February 28, with two others – a sugar cane juice seller and a porter – killed at Kwaikethel and Chinga Makha respectively the following day.

Bodies of all the three hailing from Bihar were cremated at Imphal.

When contacted, Sub divisional police officer (Imphal West) AK Jhaljit described the situation as ‘improved’ in the capital with no fresh attacks being reported.

“Nevertheless the state security forces continue to maintain sharp vigil to protect the non-locals and thwart any attempt to attack them,” the SDPO said.

Meanwhile, the district authorities have taken up steps for payment of ex-gratia to families of the three slain migrant workers, officials sources said.

On the otherhand, senior citizens for society, in a statement conveyed deep sense of shock and sorrow over the migrant workers’ killings and appealed to the perpetrators to ‘deeply introspect’ and stop such killing in the interest of peaceful co-existence and harmony in the pluralistic society.

A statement released by the society’s general secretary, L Sadananda Singh appreciated the initiatives taken up by the State government for protecting the non-locals.


Source: The Sangai Express

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State hits key note at Vietnam Meet

IMPHAL, Mar 6: State private and public enterprises have signed four Memorandum of Understandings with numerous Vietnamese firms during the ASEAN - North East India Investment and Trade Opportunities Summit recently held from February 12 to 14 at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Declaring this Manipur Electronics Development Corporation Limited (MANITRON) Managing Director N Joykumar Singh, in a press meet conducted at Hotel Imphal today said that an MoU had been signed between the State public enterprise and MYA Busi-ness Corporation, Vietnam in the field of IT sector.

According to the MoU, MANITRON will prepare Smart Cards for the ASEAN country that will include Driving License, RC book and other information of vehicle owners of Vietnam.

Mentioned may be made that Manipur Government is also planning to issue similar Smart Cards to the vehicle owners of the State.

Joykumar further informed the media that Kh Debabrata Singh of Thang-meiband Kabrambam Leikai and M/s K Marung and Sons of Chandel district also signed different MoUs with Vietnamese firms in the field of bamboo and handicraft items.

Manipur Food Industries Corporation Limited (MFICL) also inked an MoU with a Vietnamese food processing firm in the summit.

Joykumar further said that Vietnamese delegates also expressed interest in the taste and quality of State indigenous foods like Chakhao (black aromatic rice; Scientific name Oryza Sativa), Umorok, Uchina, Sekmai country liquor etc.

The Indian delegates included Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Lal T Muana (a native of Mizoram), DoNER Ministry Secretary Jarnail Singh, Consul General of India in Ho Minh City Jitendra Nath Mishra, State Additional Chief

Secretary (Planning, Home) DS Poonia and ICC General Secretary Dr Rajiv Singh.

Seventeen delegates from the State took part in the summit.

The summit was orga-nised by DoNER Ministry in association with Indian Chamber of Commerce, Indian Diplomatic Mission in Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industries with the objective of attracting investment from ASEAN countries to NE India.

Delegates from Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, Korea, Malaysia and Japan took part in the summit. Seventy companies from different business sectors of NE India participated in the summit.

DoNER Ministry had earlier organised NE India Trade and Investment Opportunities Week in Bangkok and NE Investment Opportunity Day in New York.

At present, India accounts for 10 percent of ASEAN exports, while Indian imports from the region form 9.5 percent of its total. Last year, bilateral trade turnover between the two Nations reached $ 2.5 billion.

NE region shares almost 98 percent of its borders with China, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar.

Source: The Sangai Express

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Friday, March 06, 2009

NUMEI AW…….

- Chiinmawi @ Chosuh, Gernamy

01). Na van Pasian leh na lei Pasien jaa dan siem in.
02). Pasalte jatatdan leh anasephoi uh pahtawi dan siam in.
03). Na iit na ngaih pasal chauh hilo in a mizia jong en in.
04). Innsung nasep apoimaw banga hing panpi thei pasal nanei leh numei hampha nahi.
05). Sum jat lamah na poi maw te chauh lei in, anal manghil in.

06). Na lungthah leh na daa chiangin na mel ah kilangsah sin.
07). Pasal juaugen, numei tunga khut hah khawhsalou, maban ah bang hing tung ding e chi ngaitua theilou pasalte lahah kiveng in.
08). Siamna pilna lamah na numei hina manghil in.
09). Innsung nasep khutsiam silbawlte manghil mawng mawng sin.
10). Jaidamna khu Natahsa ah betsahin.
11). Thudih gen dingin nakam kaah ngamin.
12). Mi gensiat hat numei nahileh tawpsan in.
13). Na sanga Upate leh Pasalte laha na um chieng in Aham masa pen hisawm sin.
14). Sianthouna ngaisang in.
15). Neh leh tah siamdan atamtheipen thei sawm in.

Chiinmawi's Blog Click Here

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Obama opposes bringing nurses from overseas

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama has opposed the idea of inviting overseas nurses, including from India, to fill up the huge shortfall the United States is facing right now. America like most of the Western countries is faced with acute shortage of nurses and in recent years it has allowed medical personnel from India, China and Philippines to immigrate to work in hospitals.

"The notion that we would have to import nurses makes absolutely no sense," Obama told a gathering of health experts and lawmakers at a White House meeting on health care reforms.

Instead, Obama argued that the best possible approach to meet this shortfall is to train people inside the country.

"For people who get fired up about the immigration debate and yet don't notice that we could be training nurses right here in the United States," he said responding to an observation made by Congresswoman Lois Capps from California.

"We have a huge shortage of nurses today. Estimates are that the US will be lacking over 500,000 nurses in the next seven years," said Democratic lawmaker Capps.

Last week, a legislation was introduced in the US Congress to create a special category of nursing visas, which would facilitate much faster and easier brining of trained nurses from Asian countries like India.

Called the "Nursing Relief Act of 2009" the legislation proposes to make provisions for the new category of visas for registered nurses with an annual limit of 50,000.

The legislation notes that there are more vacant nursing positions in the US than there are qualified registered nurses and nursing school candidates to fill those positions. And according to the Department of Labour, the current national nursing shortage exceeds 126,000.

Obama said there are a lot of people in the US who would love to be in the nursing profession, and yet the government is not able to providing them the resources to get them trained.

"That's something that we've got to fix. That should be a no-brainer. That should be a bipartisan no-brainer, to make sure that we've got the best possible nursing staffs in the country," Obama said amidst applause.

Source: The Times of India

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4 parties form alliance in Manipur to combat Cong

IMPHAL, March 5 – Four opposition political parties joined hands on Wednesday to form a political alliance to combat the ruling Congress in the forthcoming 15th Lok Sabha poll in Manipur next month. Manipur will go to polls on April 16 and 22 respectively. A meeting of leaders of four parties – Manipur People's Party, The Nationalist Congress Party, National People Party and Manipur State Congress Party was held in this regard though they are yet to name the alliance.

The newly-formed alliance which is said to have been formed considering the prevailing situation in the State, also revealed the names of the candidates who will be fighting in the coming Lok Sabha polls, from both Inner and the Outer parliamentary constituencies in this volatile border State.

The common candidates of the alliance are Prof N Mohendro for Inner parliamentary seat and LB Sona for the Outer parliamentary seat.

The political heavyweights of these parties also disclosed that the two candidates for the coming election were chosen after unanimous decision by the alliance. Among the common points in the agenda, the focus would be on to bring transparency in the administration, safeguarding of the territorial integrity of the state and the development of the socio-economic conditions of the people of the State.

Inviting suggestions from the public, most of the speakers who addressed the gathering charged that the state is going through a rough phase due to mismanagement of the Congress-led Secular Progressive Front government and there is a need to bring about a change in the political front.

According to the party leaders, the manifesto as well as the name of the newly-formed alliance would soon be released.

Meanwhile, the alliance is yet to approach the CPI (M) to for its support. Feelers were also reportedly sent for it, sources added.

Source: The Assam Tribune

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Govt move to set up varsity of music, dance back on track, Chaudhuri meets HRD Ministe

NEW DELHI: The government move to set up a world class university of music, dance and performing arts in Shillong is back on track with the Centre deciding to revise the Meghalaya Government's proposal for the varsity which was earlier rejected on the ground of lack of basic infrastructure like railways and air routes. The Centre's decision to review the State Government's proposal was taken after a meeting between HRD Minister Arjun Singh and Meghalaya Higher and Technical Education Minister Manas Chaudhuri here on Tuesday night. DoNER Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, who is in favour of the ambitious project, was also present in the meeting.

The process of construction of the university will be initiated by the next government at the Centre, as the dates for the Lok Sabha elections have already been announced.

"The Meghalaya Government has already decided to introduce music, dance and other forms of performing arts as one of the optional subjects at the NEHU till completion of the project for the proposed university," Mr Chaudhuri told The Shillong Times.

He said the DoNER would also chip in for what he called a unique proposal for the university of music, dance and performing arts.

According to Mr Chaudhuri, the Rs 100-crore project for the world class university with focus on western, Indian and indigenous forms of music, dance and other performing arts would attract the talent from the entire region. Incidentally, Meghalaya had created records for biggest drum and guitar ensembles, besides many music troupes from the State gaining fame in the whole country.

The Central Government had earlier proposed to establish 14 national universities, including one in Guwahati, during the 11th Plan period. A draft Concept Paper on setting up of the universities was prepared by an Experts Committee constituted by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

The Committee has held extensive consultations with eminent educationists, academics and policy-makers. The panel, while revising the draft Concept Paper, has also taken the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission into consideration.

Meanwhile, Mr Chaudhuri said the Meghalaya Government had decided to impart special training to teachers of Mathematics and Science under a Rs 3.5 crore pilot project, considering the fact that most students of the region were weak at the two subjects.

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UK business schools keen to work with IIM, Shillong

By Our Reporter

Shillong: British High Commissioner to India Richard Stagg has said UK business schools are keen to provide expertise to Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Shillong, to have environment-friendly business practices.

''We may not be able to financially help IIM, Shillong, but we can extend support to it by providing faculty members from UK,'' Mr Stagg told reporters after inaugurating the Accelerated Learning Centre at IIM, Shillong on Wednesday.

He said Britain was keen to involve UK business schools in sustainable and ecological development by providing a lot of expertise.

"Educational cooperation between UK business schools and IIM, Shillong, will benefit both the countries," the British diplomat said.

Terming the IIM, Shillong, as an ''impressive home of learning,'' Mr Stagg hoped the IIM students would be able to interact with the business experts of the UK once the collaboration was finalised.

Mr Stagg, who is here on a two-day official visit, said that his meeting with Chief Minister Dr Donkupar Roy and other senior government officials gave a perspective of the state's resources and potential areas of collaboration with the British government.

Mr Stagg informed that the British Government was, however, not providing any assistance in terms of infrastructural development since this assistance was within the domain of the Indian Government through its Centrally funded programmes.

"The British Government has pitched in, in providing monetary assistance to the Government of India in important Central Schemes like National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) which are currently being implemented throughout the country" the he said.

The High Commissioner interacted with the faculty members and the students of the IIM after inaugurating the Accelerated Learning Centre.

The Centre is the first on line campus programme in sustainable global enterprises and e-marketing.

Students who enroll themselves in Accelerated Learning Center in IIM Shillong, could maintain a global network and engage in corporate research and field work focused on strategy formulation and implementation in sustainable innovation and enterprise management

Mr Stagg was accompanied by his deputy in Kolkata, Simon Wilson.


Stagg for more joint collaborations in film-making

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: British High Commissioner to India Richard Stagg is of the opinion that after the success of Slumdog Millionaire there would be more movies being made under the joint production of the British and Indian filmmakers in the future.

"It is very encouraging to see the British and Indian film industries coming together to produce movies," Mr Stagg said while speaking to reporters here on Wednesday.

"This collaborative effort would help improve the technical imbalances of filmmaking," the British High Commissioner said, adding that the film industries of both the countries would be greatly benefited from this kind of tie-up.

Commenting on the terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan, Mr Stagg said that this incident revealed that Pakistan failed to keep the terrorist activities in check.

"It was a sad day for the game of cricket. The perpetrators of the crime should be booked to create confidence in the minds of the international community," Mr Stagg said. He, however, acknowledged that Pakistan was genuinely making efforts to control militancy, albeit facing many challenges due to the large number terror groups operating on its soil.

"International support is also needed to root out terror as it has cross border dimensions" the British High Commissioner to India said.

He said after the Mumbai attacks, the British Government had helped India in the investigation process. "We need to seriously involve all the countries in our fight against terror and this should be considered as a priority area," Mr Stagg added.


Rally to protest violence against women

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: The Women's Campaign Forum will organise a rally on March 7 at Madan Iewrynghep, Laitumkhrah.

The rally focusing on violence against women is being organised as part of International Women's Day celebrations. A public meeting will be held at Martin Luther Christian University, Barik and then the gathering will take out a procession to Madan Iewrynghep at Laitumkhrah. Different women organisations are expected to join the rally. Professionals from different fields including DGP Kulbir Krishan, representatives from colleges and other legal experts will speak on the occasion.

Source: The Shillong Times

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Brutal killing of Dr Kishan, A Rajen, Y Token, JAC announces next course of agitation

IMPHAL, Mar 5 : The JAC constituted in connection with the murder of Kasom Khullen SDO Dr Thingnam Kishan and his two staff––Yumnam Token and Aribam Rajen, has announced its next course of agitation in pursuit of its demands. Addressing a press meet at Manipur Press Club here today, JAC convenor Y Kapur said that a poster campaign using a group picture of Th Kishan, Y Token and A Rajen would be launched soon. The poster will carry the people’s demand, “Punish murderer cadres of NSCN (IM)”.

On March 7, rickshaw rally will be taken out at Imphal whereas a mass rally will be staged at Delhi under the aegis of the Manipuri Students’ Association Delhi (MSAD) on the same day in denunciation of the brutal murder and demanding justice, the convenor informed.

He also appealed to the people to suspend all entertainment programmes on March 8, the day of shrada ceremony of the three victims. All runners taking part in the mega marathon being organised by UPF on the shrada day (March 8) will wear black badges. Later in the evening of the day, lamps will be lighted in the graveyard of the three murdered victims. On the next day (March 9), auto-rickshaws will stage another rally.

The JAC convenor also appealed to all local clubs/Yaoshang sports organisers to fly their flags at half-mast and also to organise a debating competition on the topic “Senapati killing of NSCN (IM) and the Government’s responsibility” at a convenient time of the Yaoshang sports meets.
Saying that the JAC will organise a State level debating competition for the winners of the local level competitions, Kapur demanded the Government to publish report of the enquiry conducted by the State Government into the barbaric triple murder.

S Subhanker, another convenor of the JAC, questioned the silence of the Government of India when the NSCN (IM) murdered three Government employees.

Reacting to the statement of the NSCN (IM) about the involvement of suspended Ukhrul DC Pankaj Kumar Pal in the murder, Y Khemchand, the third convenor of the JAC, noted that involvement of Pankaj Kumar Pal was not a new revelation.

He also asked to the NSCN (IM) about the actions it had taken, if any, actions against the murderers of Senapati kids––Muheni Martin and Hrini Hubert and James Ku-ki, the prime accused in Lun- gnila Elizabeth murder case.

Source: The Sangai Express

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Kuki Tribal Union (KTU) abolished : KNO

IMPHAL, Mar 5 : With its president Panghou Khongsai and general secretary Janglet Khongsai surrendered to the KNO/KNA, the Kuki Tribal Union (KTU) has been declared abolished today. The KTU was established under the aegis of the NSCN (IM) in 2006. The KTU leaders surrendered to the KNO/KNA on February 25. Parading KTU general secretary Janglet Khongsai before media persons at a location in Sadar Hills, defence PRO of KNO/KNA wing VI, C Hegin Kuki asserted that since the NSCN (IM)

could not extort money from the public after it came under ceasefire pact with the Government of India, the KTU was specifically set up only to be used in extortion. The KTU leaders surrendered to the KNO/KNA after they realised their activities lack moral and political justification, he conveyed.

Janglet Khongsai also admitted that he surrendered to the KNO/KNA on realising that the activities of KTU set up under NSCN (IM) were false and anti-social. Declaring that the KTU has been abolished with effect from today, Janglet Khongsai warned that any body found demanding or collecting money in the name of KTU should accept whatever punishment given to them.

Earlier, weapons necessary for extortion activities were provided by NSCN (IM). Of the total amount collected or extorted, NSCN (IM) took 80 percent while KTU received 20 percent, he disclosed. Strongly condemning the act of leaving the corpses of the Kasom Khullen SDO and his two staff at Taphou Kuki village after they were murdered in the most brutal manner by NSCN (IM) cadres, Hegin Kuki questioned the motive behind discarding the Gypsy allotted to the SDO within the “designated area” of KNO/KNA while the SDO and his staff were abducted from the Ukhrul DC office complex along with the Govt allotted vehicle in broad day light. Asserting that the NSCN (IM)’s design was aimed at sparking off a disastrous communal clash between the Kukis and the Meiteis, the PRO warned that the KNO/KNA will award harsh punishments in case any one perpetrates such diabolic activities ever again.

Source: The Sangai Express

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CFMG to NSCN factions : Move to designated camps

Kohima, Mar 5: The Government of India’s Cease Fire Monitoring Group (CFMG) has asked both the factions of NSCN to return to their designated camps within a month in order to make the ceasefire ground rules more effective and also to create conducive atmosphere in the State.

Briefing media-persons about the review meeting between the Government of India, led by CFMG Chairman, Lieutenant General (Retired) Mandhata Singh at Chumukedima in Dimapur yesterday, Mandhata said that both the factions of NSCN have been given a month’s time to ensure that all its armed cadres remain in the designated camps and do not move out in uniforms and weapons, as agreed in Cease Fire Agreement signed by both the factions with the Government of India.

Expressing concern on the possible inter-factional clashes in the near future, he warned the factions saying that any attacks on the designated camps by either of the NSCN factions will be a gross violation of the ground rules. He also reiterated that any group found breaching ground rules and any action to perpetrate the situation will not be tolerated but would be dealt with sternly. Mandhata also said that providing safe haven to cadres of underground groups from outside the State by any faction in Nagaland would amount to breaking of ceasefire ground rules.

He also sought the cooperation from the security forces, underground factions and also from the gaonburas (GBs), Dobashis (DBs), NGOs in execution of the laid down ground rules. Pointing that collections, killings and extort-ions are still continuing at lower, he hoped that the factions take to task the black sheep in their organization so that they do not earn bad image. Mandhata asserted that the Government of India is serious in finding an amicable solution to the Naga issue at the appropriate time.

Meanwhile, NSCN-IM ‘s Cease Fire Monitoring Cell (CFMC) convenor Phumthing Shimrang has alleged that the Government was trying to impose rival’s ground rules upon the NSCN-IM, which he said is not acceptable. He also said that the GoI was imposing the ground rules upon them in the interest of only one party thereby creating confusion in the cease fire implementation.

On the one month time to move to designated camps, he said ‘if the they (rival groups) go, we will also go”. - Newmai News Network

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Mizos blame Chins for HRW report

Thursday, 05 March 2009: New Delhi (Mizzima) – A social organization in India’s northeastern state of Mizoram has demanded an apology from the Chin community living in the state over a report published by Human Rights Watch. The Young Mizo Association (YMA), a social organization in Mizoram state, on Tuesday, at a meeting with at least 23 Chin organizations demanded they refute a human rights report on Mizo’s treatment of Chin published by HRW.

A Chin representative, who attended the meeting, told Mizzima that the Central YMA was enraged over the HRW’s accusation that Mizo’s have ill-treated the Chin, who fled their homes in Burma.

J H Zoremthanga, President of CYMA, in the meeting, accused the Chin leaders of misinforming the HRW on YMA’s treatment of the Chin community, living in the state.

“He [Zoremthanga] said that HRW's report on YMA and Mizo authorities is not true and is exaggerated,” said the representative adding, “He asked us to apologize for the report.”

Human Rights Watch, in its report “We are like forgotten people”, released in January said Chin people living in western Burma have been silently suffering under the military junta’s rule and systematic persecutions have led several thousands to flee to neighbouring countries, particularly to India’s northeastern State of Mizoram.

The report also said Chin people are further faced with hostile treatment by host communities in India including Mizoram state. Particularly mentioning the YMA, the report said, Chin people are subject to torture and at times forcibly evicted by the YMA.

“Chin in Mizoram face security abuses, severe discrimination, religious repression, and lack of jobs, housing, and affordable education,” the report said.

HRW further said local Mizo landlords are reluctant to rent out houses to or overcharge Chins in Mizoram as they do not have official status and documents.

Moreover, the report said local authorities had come in the way of the Chin community having their own place of worship.

"The YMA announced that the Chin should not worship in separate churches. They said if we want to stay in Mizoram, we should attend Mizo churches," HRW quoted a Chin as saying.

But the CYMA denied HRW’s report saying they were allegations to damage the Mizo’s benevolent attitude towards their Chin cousins.

Zoremthanga, during the meeting, held in Aizawl, capital of Mizoram, urged leaders of the 23 Chin political, social, religious, human rights and women’s organizations to condemn the report and to write letters of complaint to HRW that their report was based on unfounded and biased information.

"He urged the Chin community leaders to complain to HRW for the report," a Chin representative said. He added that the tone indicated that there could be repercussions if the Chin leaders fail to condemn the report.

Chin state in western Burma and India’s Mizoram state share a porous border of about 400 kilometers. Traditionally, the Chin and Mizos regard each other as ancestral cousins and there has been constant interaction between the two communities despite international boundaries separating them.

However, since 1988, the number of Chin people arriving in Mizoram state has swelled greatly and according to a few NGOs there are at least 60,000 Chin people living in various parts of Mizoram.

Occasional disputes among the Chin and Mizo have erupted in the past and in 2003, following an alleged rape of a Mizo teenaged girl by a Chin man, the YMA ordered evictions of the Chin from the state.

Despite the disputes, the Mizo people continued allowing the Burmese community, particularly the Chin, to remain in the state.

And the Mizos were the first community in India to have staged a mass rally in support of the monk-led protest in Burma in September 2007 and condemned the Burmese junta for its brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrators.

Source: Mizzima

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NORTHEAST DIARY | States too distant to remember?

MANIPUR: You can never douse a flame by putting a cloth over it, the cloth itself will burn - Manipuri saying

On October 17, 2008, I received a phone call from Bijoykrishna Aribam, a freelance journalist in Manipur. In a barely audible voice, he told me that 17 people had been killed in a terror attack in Imphal, Manipur's capital. Very few people in the country got to know about this attack.

Over the past five decades, virtually every state in India's Northeast has witnessed the emergence of powerful militias to contest the Indian state's narrative of socio-economic progress and integrating the margins into the "national mainstream." Implementation of measures, such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) (1958) which gives security forces the authority to use lethal force and legal immunity from independent investigation of their actions, have done little to improve the situation in states like Manipur.

In this background for many voters in Manipur, a Lok Sabha election for two seats in their state appears to be a mockery of democracy. Even with a state government in place in Manipur, evidently there seems to be no rule of law. The people of the state are almost caught between the devil and the deep sea. There is the Army on the streets of Imphal and there are the militant outfits. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, 497 people were killed in violence in Manipur in 2008. In 2007, 408 people were killed in militancy-related fatalities in Manipur. Almost every evening there is an update regarding a death in Manipur. Yet, somehow the rest of India seems to carry on with its concerns for development and concerns for lives that seem more precious than the ones at the margin. Life in Manipur at times almost seems expendable.

Yet there are many in Manipur who keep alive a spirit of civic activism and keep alive their political conscience, even though these brave groups are hardly noticed by "mainstream" India and almost never rewarded.

The group of proud, non-celebrity journalists of Manipur, probably represent the spirit of journalism more than anyone else does, a spirit that the rest of the journalism fraternity seems to have forgotten. Often under threat from the militant outfits and "ruthlessly asphyxiated" these group of brave reporters still take pride in filing uncompromising reports. As rightly put by journalist Patricia Mukhim, "If any other non-Congress ruled state were to have behaved the way Manipur has, it would have seen the imposition of President's rule, if only to bring in some semblance of order".

Manipur's Iron Lady, Irom Sharmila, who has been carrying on with her fasting and silent protest against the AFSPA for the last 8 years is another resolute soul. Yet, her Gandhian way of protest has been seen by the Centre as being unlawful and against the Indian constitution. Bureaucrats and politicians are now trying to save Bapu's belongings from being auctioned in New York, yet they have condemned a genuine example of Gandhian protest as treason.

One should also remember, the brave mothers of Manipur. On July 14, 2004, a shocking protest was witnessed in front of the Kangla Fort in Imphal. Twelve strong-willed and determined women stripped bare naked to protest against the atrocities of the Indian Army. Four years later, I met these brave women in Delhi, still carrying on with their protest to repeal AFSPA. The Jeevan Reddy Committee and the Veerappa Moily Administrative Reforms Commission both have recommended a repeal of the act but with completion of 50 years of AFSPA, that bridge it seems will take time to cross.

The stories are endless. And yet one needs to tell them, especially at a time when suddenly Manipur has emerged on the political map of the country. Because it is these stories that will capture the anger of the voters in a neglected state.

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh of the Congress knows that he is facing an extremely learned electorate in Manipur. Victory for the Lok Sabha seats will not be an easy task. There was a 67 per cent turnout in 2004. Dr T Meina of the Congress won the Inner Manipur seat last time by securing 37 per cent votes. This time there is a chance that the CPI might win this seat. The Indo-US Nuclear deal, I am told is a factor at play this Lok Sabha elections in Manipur. The Outer Manipur seat is with an Independent candidate.

All these calculations and the poll predictions seem helpless in the face of the situation Manipur is in. Unfortunately for many politicians and bureaucrats in New Delhi, Manipur is not essential to the heart and soul of the Indian dance of democracy. So with their chalta hai attitude the BlackBerry-carrying nation builders and do not really have time for Imphal. There are two seats to be won and the rest can carry on in its inertia.

Two years back in Imphal, my friend, four-time World Boxing Champion M C Marykom summed it up best. "A lot of talented people get into sports as it's their passport to a better life". I was asking her as to what drives a Manipuri to excel in sports day in and day out, despite all the difficulties in the state. Everyday at around 5 am there are hundreds of people who line up for sports practice and a hope that a victory will change things for them.

It is indeed a shame that Manipur with its rich heritage and wonderful people continues to be in a state of anarchy. No prizes for guessing what General Elections 2009 hold for this state.

NAGALAND:

"For every Naga born in his generation and the subsequent generation, fear, anger, frustration, persecution and the sound of gunfire have been his/her companion for their entire lives" - Nagaland and India: The Blood And The Tears. Kaka D Iralu

60 years after Independence, Nagaland remains shrouded in obscurity, underdevelopment and conflict. It is an open secret that in all these years the Congress has often used the Intelligence Branch to swing votes in Assembly elections. Other political parties are at fault as well. Money is openly used in Nagaland to buy votes. In the race for votes, all parties have also promoted infighting within the different factions of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN). So even in 2009, we have Nagas from different tribes killing each other.

Last time I was in Dimapur (2008), I was visiting Camp Hebron of the NSCN(I-M) for a story. The entire area gives the feeling of a big organised university town with facilities of all kinds present for its residents. Because of its facilities, at times, the camp looks a bit unreal and too organised. So outside the camp, the underdevelopment of Dimapur appears more pronounced.

Though, underdevelopment, unemployment and violence are the key issues in Nagaland, it's money power that will possibly elect the winner of the Lok Sabha seat from this state. Do remember, the turnout in Nagaland is always high. It was an astounding 91 per cent in 2004 General Elections. Even in the state elections when Neiphu Rio was sworn in as the Chief Minister, the turnout was again a 90 per cent.

MIZORAM: LALTHANHAWLA ALL THE WAY

Compared to the states of Manipur and Nagaland, Mizoram is a complete study in contrast. Ever since the historic Mizo-Peace Accord was signed in 1986 by the then Rajiv Gandhi government Mizoram continues to be the most peaceful state in Northeast India. In Mizoram, I have met both former CM Mr Zoram Thanga of the Mizo National Front and now present Chief Minister Mr Lalthanhawla of the Congress. Both of them are wonderful to talk to. Both the MNF and the Congress government have been accused of rampant corruption and diversion of funds. This time the Congress has moved in after defeating the MNF in the Assembly elections. And in that Assembly inertia, the Congress might have an edge in the lone Lok Sabha seat. Mizoram stays the jewel in the crown of the 8 states that make Northeast India. The health indicators, the education indicators, environment indicators remain the best among the eight states. Yet, like the rest of the northeastern states the key issue remains bad infrastructure and not enough jobs. When I heard Rahul Gandhi this year at the Vanapa Hall in Aizawl, he sounded very convincing in his promise for better development. Hope the promise translates into action. I am sure my friend Mr L R Sailo, who probably runs the country's most efficient Information and Public Relations Department will know. Though, he sternly refuses to take sides.

SIKKIM: CHAMLING'S BALL

In Sikkim everyone is afraid of the Chief Minister. That's the impression I got in my first visit to Sikkim. This fear factor is so high it seems that democracy is yet to set in in this young state. People in the government are petrified of Pawan Chamling. So by the time I left Gangtok, I was almost sure that Chamling bore a close resemblance to the monster's mask that I picked up in this cool state. Though, to his credit Chamling has pushed the development agenda with a crusader's zeal. For the one Lok Sabha seat in Sikkim, I am told it will be a monster's ball. Most likely Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) will win. Do not forget that Sikkim also will have its Assembly elections at the same time. The SDF will most likely win both.

MEGHALAYA: I THINK I KNOW

Who wins the two seats in Meghalaya? Well, there should have been no prizes for guessing this. But this year the "Shillong seat" that has witnessed a hat-trick from P R Kyndiah of the Congress will see a new face. Mr Kyndiah has opted out of the contest for his fourth victory. And for the other seat of Tura, Agatha Sangma, of the NCP, the youngest Member of Parliament can arrange for the victory celebrations already. Former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Sangma's daughter Agatha appears concerned about her state and is a keen learner. Agatha told me, " I'm very confident of my victory in the coming elections. In this short time I have had the opportunity to represent my people well and also travelled extensively within Garo hills to interact with my electorate".

There are certain other things that Meghalaya will have to look into. Will these other changes come through victories in the two Lok Sabha seats? Unlikely. Meghalaya has been witnessing corruption and a draconian law called the Meghalaya Preventive Detention (Amendment) Act 2003. Under it the government can detain any person in jail up to three years. Democracy in Meghalaya has to be careful with its anti-terror law.

ARUNACHAL PRADESH:NO OPPOSITION

Incredible India has been promoting Arunachal like no one else's business. Beyond tourism, the politics of Arunachal also remains unique. It is probably the most unpredictable state in terms of party politics. Both the Lok Sabha seats of Arunachal are with the BJP. In state politics, the lone BJP member of the legislative assembly R T Khijuju left the party on August 21, 2008 to join the Congress, leaving Arunachal with no opposition party. Other nine members of the BJP had left before. So to drive home the point let me put it in bold letters that there is no opposition party in Arunachal Pradesh Assembly. So is it like one big happy family? Not really. There is infighting within the Congress. Present CM Dorjee Khundur and former CM Gegong Apang are at loggerheads or so I am told. That doesn't help the Congress in Lok Sabha. And BJP MP Khiren Rijuju who is quite popular is most likely to win from Arunachal West constituency.

TRIPURA: COLOUR RED

Red is the colour in Tripura. And until and unless the electorate decides we have to vote for change, the Left Front will win the two seats in Tripura. The Left Front will ride high on the plank of development. Establishment of the rail link in Tripura and the train that has gently chugged in through that track i

Source: IBNLive Blog

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