Saturday, March 21, 2009

8 MARCH MOBS: Threatening Communal Tension at Lamka

- Dr. David Vumlallian Zou

While condemning the brutal murder of Pu T. Vungkhanthang, it is sad to take note of the mob frenzy that followed it. In a well-governed state, the criminals involved in the brutal murder should have been pursued and punished by the police. Indeed, we pay our taxes to the state whose duty is to protect the lives and property of its citizens.

The violent Sunday incident of 8 March 2009 poses many disturbing questions about the safety of the Zou community in Manipur. Given the official allegiance of UZO to the Zomi Council, this event is most unfortunate รข€“ and rather unexpected! But strange things did happen under the volatile local conditions of Lamka. On second thought, a mob violence of the kind we witnessed should appear less shocking.

To begin with, current events reveal the great danger to which the little ZDV faction can expose the whole Zou community. How should we deal with the deviant ZDV boys who indulge in extortions and criminal activities? Who patronises the existence of this faction? If we cannot beat them, is it possible to co-opt them into mainstream Zomi arena? Factional division is the besetting sin of the Zou people; this propensity to split up has been lamentably reflected in our unending religious schisms and recent organizational rivalries. To a large degree, these internal divisions drain away our energies, crippling our strength to meet unexpected emergencies.

The mob frenzy on Sunday also throws into relief the fragility of our Zomi brotherhood and solidarity. Our affiliation to Zomi Council still seems to be determined by political expediency rather than ideological commitment. In spite of the formal political unity at the top, there is so much distrust and social antipathy at the grass roots level. There is a big gulf between the rhetoric of political unity at high level and the ugly reality of communal tension boiling from below. As long as the life and property of a particular Zomi community gets threatened at the slightest excuse, as long as a whole community gets blackened en mass due to individual acts of crime, or as long as indignities are heaped on the head of a particular section of the Zomi family, then the basic human instinct for collective survival or the universal law of desperate self-defence will have to take over eventually. How I wish this cruel decision never offers itself in future!

Under existing circumstances, the present strategy of rehearsing a common Meitei threat to collective Zomi interest is no longer enough. To meet our internal crisis, it is imperative to initiate Confidence Building Measures between different Zomi communities. It is too risky to neglect this vital public sphere, healing process and reconciliation for the project of building our collective identity.

After all, a political movement cannot go very far without firm roots in a cohesive society. Here the distinction between political unity and social cohesion is most instructive. At present, there is too much emphasis on the nationalist Zomi to the neglect of the communitarian Zomi; too much stress on a political community at the cost of Zomi civic society. Nation building cannot come before community building; or at least, they should go hand in hand in a fine balance.

Note: This article is exclusively written for ZouWorkshop Discussion Forum and re-published with the permission of the author.

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A tribute to JCA Founding Chairman, Pu Ngulzakhup Zou (1918-2009)

Elder (Upa) T. Ngulzakhup Zou, The founding Chairman of the Jou/Zou Christian Association (JCA) in 1954 February 20 was born in 1918 at Vungbuh village in Churachandpur District of Manipur State. He become a Christian in 1934. He is the second eldest son of Late Pu Ulzahau and was baptised by Pastor Lungpau in 1938. Looking for a better livelihood, he shifted to Tuaitengphai village in 1946 and erected Chapel in 1947. In 1947, he was metrimonized Pi Mandim by Pastor Nengthawn.

In 1954 February 20, Pu Ngulzakhup Zou was elected to be the first Chairman of the newly form Jou Christian Association at Daijang village. In 1956 February 9, he was given elder ordination, now he is recognised as the first ordained elder among the Zou people.

JCA Hing Pien Dan

Adieh in kum 1951, 52, 53 lai vel in Zougam kichi khu amiel in amiel a, koima lai tan guh (VI) tan sim zong ana um naisih hi. Mi khat leh ni ana um nanleh a thei kha nai sih hi. Tulai bang in chi-le-nam zong aki kan nai sih a, Pasian awi zong ana um sih hi. Kho ni kho thum vel in Pasian ana awi in Biehinn ana lam nanleh Convention gen ah ana um nalai uhi. Tuo hunlai in Zou nam hi diing zong koima ana ut sih a, Zoute chie ahing kihat chiengin khen khatte azum nalai ua, akhente alungthah uhi. Khum hunlai in namdangte khu innten louten lam leh sakhuo lam a sangtah in ana umta uhi. Laisimna lam ah skul zong ana nei siengta uhi. Zomite khu taw-le-lu zong theilou in a chi anam min na ngawn uh ana zumpi nalai uhi. Khum bang a Zoute a um lai un, Pu Nengkhogin, Pu Semkhopao, Pu Thawnghang leh Pu Kaizakhamte kho Manipur khopi, Phaipi, (tulai a Imphal ichi uah) ah laisim in ana um ua, amaute khu tan VII, IX bang ana hita uhi. Amaute’n Zogam leh amipite khawsahdante a et chiengun gamnuoi mite khosahdan bang mai in ana mu ua, ana pawna mama uhi. Tuochi’n amaute’n Zogam mipite kaikhawmna diing chi’n khawmpi abawl ua, Politics lam hileh alang khat lam a Christian nna zong ana huomsah uhi. Kum thum vel khum bang ana bawl lai un, khawmpi anei chieng un zubeel guh bang ana sum ua, tuohunlai in Khristian lam ah ana ki theikha zel sih a, politics lam ah zong anasep uh akilang dieh sih hi. Zubeel toh gam vaihawmna ana nei un thutah tahlatna ana nei sih uhi. Tam bang kawmkaal ah Pu Nengkhogin in Zou simpat A, AW, B, CH …. Ahing bawlkhie hi.

Tam bang ana bawl lai un, Pu Kamzakhup singtaang gam Mawngawn khuo ah ana um nalai a, Simte Christian Association ah member khat in ana pang a, JCA Founder Secretary ana hi hi. Ama’n Zou leh Simte kigawm diing vai asai lai in kimel thei tuona diing in Khawmpi khat Singngat ah neivai chie thutut ahing bawl leh memberte lah a mikhat in ana panpi a, Zoukuol lam a khawmpi khat I bawllou a, ei Simte kuollam a I bawl uleh I lawmte’n hing zop sih uleh ei guoh in bangma I saidoh sih diing uhi chi ahing genleh Secretary pa’n “Tuo lungthu a napsiehte’n bang athei diing uai mah, I thu thu ahi sih diing uah” chi’n thutawp abawlta hi.

Khumi thu Pu Kamzakhupo in a zatah chieng in committena mun apat apawtdoh ngal a, ama’n zong bang chileh Zoukuol ah Zou Christian Association chi adding thei diei chi’n lung ageelgeel ta mai hi. Khumin ama khu singtaang gam Mawngawn khuo apat phaigam a Daijang khuo ah 1951 in ahing pensuhta hi. Khumhun lai in Zogam ah Biehinn mun li vel ah ana um a, a un in Convention nuoi ngen ahinalai hi. Zou khosuon ah khuo 66 vel a um a, unau Conventionte opkhum in kho li ah Biehinn ana um giep a, lungkham ahuoi mama hi. Bang chileh Zogam a Khristian adingdoh in Khrist in gam anei diei chi khu a lunggimpi pen ahihi. Tuoleh Pu Thongzakhup toh nasatah a angaituo lai un 1952 kum in Tuoitengphai khuo ah Upate toh khatvei committee ana nei ua, tuonah bangma thupuohna abawl theisih uhi. Pu Thawngzakhup leh Pu Kamzakhup te khu loulai ah aki hou zing zing tamai uhi. Tuobang a loukai diing donlou hiel a niteng a ahoulim ukhu 1953 kum in zong sunzom toupeh nalai uhi. Khum kum in Tuoitengphai khote’n mau ngen in Assembly hattuom ana zom uhi. Chi-le-nam ki daidanna zieh ma in koima’n zong nou Assembly nazop uh achi dieh sih a, Convention ma in ana enkoltou den hi. Hun tomkhat zou in Pu Kamzakhupo leh Pu Thawngzakhupte loulai a loukai lai hing kihoulim tou zeel in tam bang thupuohna ni khat ahing neita uhi.

Tu’n Tuoitengphai te’n haithah hing lawm unlen Daijang, Bohlui, Khienglam tam teng hing chiel ulen khun ah committee khat nei vai in alem leh khawmpina diing vaiguon bawl ngal vai chi’n thutanna ahing neita uhi.

Tuoitengphaite’n haitha ahing bawl ngei ua, Bohlui leh Khienglam ahing pei sih uhi. Tuomun ah Daijang leh Tuoitengphaite ahing kihoulim ua, Pu Thawngzakhup leh Pu Kamzakhup in “Khawmpi inei diing uhi” ahi ua, hinanleh Pu Ngulzakhup in bangma gen ana nei sih hi.Ngaidan sawttah akikuip nuo un Pu Dongzagin in tam bang in a geen hi, “Convention boycott in Assembly in hing lasih taleh, ei ngen in ding thei sih lei, Convention belsawm kia in hing ngai nawnta sih uleh, nuo sawnmaw, ma sawnmaw in um giep vai, sawltah khat Pastor khat nei zong lah hilou hai a” chi’a thu ahing gen chiengin, a ut simsim khenkhatte zong alungkesahta hi. Tuobep in kikhendan khat ahing bawlta uhi.

Atawpzaw in biehinn mai ah Pu Thawnghang leh Pu Kamzakhup akihoukia ua, program khat bawl in Jou Christian Association chi’n khawmpi khat bawl I bawl diing uhi chi’n Pu Kamzakhup in Pu Thawnghang kung a ahing gen chieng in Pu Thawnghang in hamsa asa sim mama hi. Tuobang a akihoulim lai un tam anei a bang in thu ahing kivaihata uhi. “Phai lam na tun suh chiengin Pu Semkhopao leh Pu Kaizakham toh hing kimutuo un, JCA min a ki vai puohna diing constitution hing bawl unlen, tuozou chienga JCA a min a khawmpi khat bawl” diing in akivaihata uhi. Tuobang in amaute’n zong thupha sese lou in constitution ahing bawl ua, ahingzawtah chieng un Khawmpi vaiguon February 20, 1954 adiing in ahing bawlta uhi. Tuochi’n February 20, 1954 Kiginni in JCA puon khietna Daijang khuo ah ahing neita uhi. Tuonah Pu Thawnghang, Pu Kaizakham leh Pu Semkhopao lamkai in mi 300 vel apeikhawm ua, member a telkhiet a umte’n JCA kipuihuoina dan a vai hawm diing in suoi abawl uhi.

Tuoleh Pu Semkhopao Editor hina nuoi ah ZOUGAM THUSUO First issue March 1954 in tam bang in ana suo uhi.

Tami kum a lamkaite:

Upa T. Ngulzakhup - Chairman
Pu T. Kamzakhup - Secretary
Upa Thawnzakhup - Treasurer

Tami kum mama in pawlpi a diinga poimaw pen a ana thei ziehun Zou Khristian Labu Pu Khaizakham leh Pu Thawnghang in ana letkhie ua, ana sunkhe ngal uhi. Tam anei a bang in mi tawmngaite’n asutna diing ana tuoh uhi:

Read more


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US announces new requirements for hiring of H-1B workers

Lalit K Jha | Washington, Mar 20 (PTI) In a blow to Indian professionals, the US today announced additional measures for hiring of foreign specialists under the H-1B visa work programme making it more difficult for the companies receiving federal aid money to hire overseas workers. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the measures to enforce the provisions of the new Employ American Workers Act (EAWA) of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which prohibits hiring of H-1B visa holders by American companies who receive the federal aid money. Indian nationals account for bulk of the coveted H-1B visas.

These measures come about ten days before the USCIS starts accepting petitions for new H-1B visas for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2009.

"Under this legislation any company that has received covered funding and seeks to hire new H-1B workers is considered an 'H-1B dependent employer'.

All H-1B dependent employers must make additional attestations to the US Department of Labour (DOL) when filing the Labour Condition Application (LCA)," the USCIS said.

"USCIS reminds petitioners that a valid LCA must be on file with DOL at the time the H-1B petition is filed with USCIS," it said.

This means that if the petitioner indicates on its petition that it is subject to the EAWA, but the Labour Condition Application does not contain the proper attestations relating to H-1B dependent employers, USCIS will deny the H-1B petition, the statement said. PTI

India against marking sections of Taliban as 'good' or 'bad'
Dharam Shourie

United Nations, Mar 20 (PTI) Cautioning against attempts to draw a line between "good" and "bad" Taliban, India has said that doubts and divergences in the fight against terrorists in Afghanistan would embolden them and weaken the collective will of nations.

Speaking at the UN Security Council, Indian Ambassador Nirupam Sen stressed the need for stability of Afghanistan in the interest of economic progress of the region and asked the international community to collectively fight the threat posed by Taliban and al Qaeda who are out to undermine the country.

"Doubts, hesitation and divergences in the international community in the fight against terrorists would only weaken the collective will and embolden them," Sen warned the Security Council.

He cautioned against attempts to distinguish between "good" and "bad" Taliban and asked the international community to get beyond the "unworkable" efforts of sifting the two.

Sen's remarks were a reference to Obama administration's indication that it might be willing to talk to the less radical elements among the Taliban, which the US and NATO forces are fighting against in Afghanistan.

"Apart from application of force wherever terrorist groups are active, we must work together to deny them safe havens, political and material sustenance in Afghanistan or across the border," Sen said in a debate. PTI

Iran seeking change in US policy

Iran has given a cautious welcome to US President Barack Obama's offer of "a new beginning" in relations, but said the US had to change its behaviour.

An advisor to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Washington must reverse its support for Israel and end sanctions against Iran.

The advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, also said the US had to apologise to Iran for its past actions.

Mr Obama's offer came in a video address to mark the Iranian New Year.

In the address, Mr Obama said he was seeking engagement with Iran that was "honest and based on mutual respect".

"My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us," Mr Obama said.

But in separate Nowruz (Persian new year) messages to the Iranian people, neither Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei nor President Ahmadinejad mentioned Mr Obama's speech.

Relations between Iran and the US have been strained over Tehran's controversial nuclear activities.

'Friendly hand'

Reacting to Mr Obama's unprecedented message, Mr Javanfekr said the US had to recognise its past mistakes if it wanted to engage Iran.

He said if the US did so, Iran would not turn its back.

"By fundamentally changing its behaviour America can offer us a friendly hand," he told Reuters news agency.

"Unlimited sanctions which still continue and have been renewed by the United States are wrong and need to be reviewed," he said.

"Supporting Israel is not a friendly gesture and the New Year is an opportunity for the United States to change this policy."

The US fears Iran's uranium enrichment programme is a cover to build atomic weapons, a charge Iranian officials deny.

In his Nowruz address, Ayatollah Khamenei said world powers had been convinced they could do nothing to halt the progress Iran was making on its nuclear programme.

Mr Obama, like his predecessor George W Bush, wants Iran to abandon its uranium enrichment programme, but is trying to build up diplomatic capital before confronting the issue, says the BBC's diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus.


EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana described Mr Obama's appeal as "very constructive" and urged Teheran to pay close attention to it.

Mr Obama's message was released to coincide with the festival of Nowruz, when Iranians mark the arrival of spring.

In it, President Obama said he wanted "to speak directly to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran".

He said his administration was committed "to pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community".

"With the coming of a new season, we're reminded of this precious humanity that we all share. And we can once again call upon this spirit as we seek the promise of a new beginning," the message said.

But Mr Obama warned: "This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect."

"The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right - but it comes with real responsibilities."

'Axis of evil'

Mr Obama's message was distributed to news outlets in Iran with subtitles in Farsi, and posted on the White House's official website.

The message is a dramatic departure from the policies of the Bush administration, which described Iran as part of the "axis of evil", the BBC's Jonathan Beale in Washington says.

Earlier this year, President Obama said he was looking for "openings that can be created where we can start sitting across the table face-to-face" with Iran.

However, Mr Obama acknowledged in his message on Thursday that it would not be easy to overcome "the old divisions".

Mr Obama has talked of engagement with Iran but has not made clear how that might take place.

Shortly after coming to office in January, he said "if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fists, they will find an extended hand from us".

But earlier this month he extended sanctions against Iran for a year, saying it continues to pose a threat to US national security.

In another possible move towards engagement, the state department is said to be considering an overture in the form of a letter to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei before the Iranian elections this summer.


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Assam CM faces poll code violation charge

Guwahati: A day after Chief Minister of Assam Tarun Gogoi admitted to have collected funds from the tea lobby at Kolkata to help his party fight the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP and the CPI have decided to move the Election Commission (EC) against him for ‘violation of poll code of conduct’. The BJP’s coordinator for the Northeast Harendra Pratap on Thursday told the media here that the party would move the EC against Gogoi for taking money to fight Lok Sabha polls from the tea lobby.

"We will lodge a complaint with the EC against Gogoi. Being in power and in the capacity of a chief minister he has taken election fund for the party from the tea lobby. It is in sharp violation of poll code of conduct."

He said it was the party who was supposed to collect election funds and not the Chief Minister. He alleged that Gogoi had misused his office in trying to influence the tea lobby before polls.

The state unit of the CPI too would write to the EC against Gogoi for the same reason. "We will write to the EC to probe whether chief minister Gogoi was on an official tour to Kolkata where he had received election fund for the party from the tea lobby," CPI national executive leader Promode Gogoi said here.

Meanwhile, the BJP dismissed the allegation of ‘cash for alliance’ with the regional Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) as baseless and termed it as a ploy of the Congress to engage the two parties in public debate over the issue.

Assam Congress minister Himanta Bishwa Sharma has alleged that Rupees eight crore had been paid by the BJP to AGP for the seat-sharing deal.

Targeting Congress minister Sharma, the BJP leader asked him to disclose the source of income of his wife given that before 2006 Assembly polls Sharma had declared before the EC that his wife was in possession of property worth Rs 83, 94,264 while his own property was worth Rs 23,70,189.

BJP leader Sudhangshu Mittal whose appointment as a party’s poll coordinator in Assam has raised many a eyebrows in among the top rung BJP leaders including Arun Jaitley on Thursday said,"I have been given responsibility by the party, that is why I am here. My relation with the Northeast dates back to my students’ days when I came here in support of then Assam Agitation against illegal Bangladeshi migrants in 1981," he said. - The Shillong Times

Call to generate awareness on climate change

GUWAHATI, March 20 – With the depletion of the ozone layer and the melting of polar caps, the issue of climate change has become a major global concern that threatens the existence of flora and fauna, a press release said. The urgency to address this matter has become so grave that it calls for a collective human effort to the devastating impact.

Keeping this in view, a talk on climate change was recently organised by the Centre for Mass Communication and Journalism (CMCJ) at the Entrepreneurship Development Cell (EDC) of Cotton College in association with the Assam Science Society.

Prof Dulal Goswami, renowned environmental biologist and present Head of the Department of Environmental Science, GU, gave a talk on the occasion. The central theme of the talk was ‘Climate Change (trees of life)’.

Prof Goswami, in his speech, emphasized on the various aspects relating to the theme of climate change.

Prof Goswami said, “Sincere efforts are needed on the part of media to take the message of climate change to the people.” He also addressed the audience about the impact of climate change on the environment in the near future.

The programme was a part of the National Environment Awareness Campaign, 2008-2009. The campaign aims at addressing environmental issues.

Dr Satyendra Kumar Choudhury, chief project co-ordinator of EDC, also spoke on the occasion and reiterated the need for mass awareness on the issue of climate change.

The talk was preceded by a tree plantation programme inaugurated by Dr IK Bhattacharyye, principal of Cotton College. Teachers and students of the college also took part in the programme, the press release added.

Unemployed youth flourishes in fishery business

GOLAGHAT, March 20 – Prasanta Bora of Golaghat Bongaon, a science graduate, is now a well-off unemployed educated youth who has been able to sustain his family members by starting a fishery in 20 hectares of land at Akaali area.

With the technical suggestions of the Fishery Department, Golaghat, Bora has extended his business by digging another pond covering six hectares of land. He also started a pig farm.

Bora carried out the business in fingerlings with the help of the Fishery Department.

The foundation stone of a new venture by Bora was laid by Suresh Dutta, District Fishery Officer, Golaghat, where D Barman, branch manager of the Gramin Bikash Bank, Golaghat, R Phukan, RDO, GBB, Golaghat. Upen Dutta, journalist, Prakash Sarma, journalist, Dhiren Phukan, artist, and Benudhar Bora, ex-bank officer, were present.

Bora told newspersons that he would start production in his fish feed industry from May.

Bora is a successful business man in fishery and piggery and his products are selling well.

He has been able to sell the highest number of fingerlings. This year he earned more than Rs 8 lakh from his fish and piggery business.


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Meghalaya | Assembly put in suspended animation, Governor assumes administrative role, It’s official: State under Central rule

SHILLONG: Meghalaya was brought under President's rule and the State Assembly put in suspended animation on Thursday. With the proclamation of Central rule by President Pratibha Patil, Governor Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary will look after the administrative affairs of the State as the Dr Donkupar Roy Government ceases to exist. According to official sources, President Patil gave her assent to the Union Cabinet's decision to impose Central rule at 12.30 pm on Thursday and an order of the official proclamation of President's rule was sent to Mr Mooshahary in the afternoon.

The Centre on Wednesday morning decided to recommend President's rule and keep the Assembly in suspended animation in the State following a report sent by Mr Moosahary on Tuesday on the breakdown of Constitutional machinery in Meghalaya.

Soon after assuming his administrative role, the Governor asked government officials to speed up all development works before the end of the financial year.

Mr Mooshahary held a meeting of top government officials, including Chief Secretary Ranjan Chatterjee, and asked them to "maintain transparency and accountability in administration."

Meanwhile, Mr Chatterjee said during the intervening period all government departments and officers would function under the guidance of the Governor.

The Executive Council, headed by the Governor as the Chairman, will issue rules of executive business in the context of President's rule. The Executive Council will be responsible for all executive orders issued in the name of the Governor. Each government department will be headed by a secretary.

The Executive Council will have an Adviser (two Advisers appointed by the Governor, if necessary), besides the Chief Secretary as Member Secretary, Mr Chatterjee added.

Security tightened: Meanwhile, security has been tightened in the State following imposition of President's Rule in the state. Mr Mooshahary, who held a meeting with top government officials, including Chief Secretary and Director General of Police Kulbir Krishan, reviewed the overall law and order situation.

When contacted, the state DGP said, '' We are confident of maintaining law and order and will ensure that there is no breakdown of law and order.''

Governor defends PR recommendationBy Our Reporter

SHILLONG : Governor R S Mooshahary has defended his recommendation to the Centre for imposition of President's rule in the State, saying there was a breakdown of ''constitutional machinery'' as the MPA Government had been reduced to a minority.

Speaking to newsmen here on Thursday, Mr Mooshahary, who took over the administration after the imposition of Central rule, said, "President's rule is imposed when there is constitutional breakdown in the State. Constitutional breakdown means that the Constitution is not allowed to function appropriately. This could bring discredit to justice and has to be set right".

He informed that he had received the official order regarding imposition of Central rule from the President's office on Thursday afternoon and added the Central rule would be ratified by the next Parliament to be constituted after the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

On Assembly Speaker Bindo M Lanong's assertion that the Governor's message should not be in the form of directive, Mr Mooshahary said that "every individual has his own interpretation of the Constitution" adding that "in such cases there could be some error in interpretation".

"The Governor is competent to sent message to the Assembly under the provisions of Article 175 (2) of the Constitution. Such message deals with Bills or otherwise. As per the Constitution, it is clear

that the Governor can send message to the House and the House has to consider it under Rule 20 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Assembly," Mr Mooshahary said.

The Governor also clarified that the intention of sending the message was "to prevent turmoil during the Assembly proceedings which could reduce the dignity of the House in the eyes of the public". He said he had not interfered in the proceedings of the Assembly.

"The office of the Governor has not been drawn into political controversy so far. I am playing my role as part of my constitutional duty," Mr Mooshahary said while he also maintained that the Speaker is the supreme authority in the Assembly.

Further, the Governor informed that the President's Rule would continue till it was ratified by the Parliament within two months. According to him, the Central rule would be ratified by the forthcoming Lok Sabha election.

"In the meantime, if some party can prove it has the majority to form the government in the State, it is my duty to call them (to form the government)" Mr Mooshahary said.

While stating that the budget of the State would be taken care of so that there was no financial problem in the State during the period of President's rule, Mr Mooshahary also said that officials of all government departments had been asked to function with accountability and transparency and with "better speed" in view of the coming financial year. He also said that ongoing projects would be expedited and law and order maintained.

Central rule: Then and now

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: The President's rule imposed in Meghalaya from Thursday bears a striking similarity to the first one imposed on October 11 1991.

In 1991, President's rule was imposed in the State during the tenure of the Hill's People Union (HPU) Government headed by BB Lyngdoh as Chief Minister while Congress was in the Opposition. This time too, President's rule was imposed during the tenure of MPA where UDP, an offshoot of HPU, is a leading partner.

Similarly, in 1991, the President's rule was imposed after a constitutional crisis in the State following the decision of the then Assembly Speaker PR Kyndiah to suspend the voting rights and disqualify the membership of five legislators - Dr Donkupar Roy, Miriam D Shira, Monindro Agitok, Simon Siangshai and Chamberline Marak.

This time too, the Central rule came a day after Speaker Bindo M Lanong suspended the voting rights of five legislators - Paul Lyngdoh, Sanbor Shullai, Dr Adviser Pariong, Ismail Marak and Limison Sangma before the vote of confidence on the floor of the House on March 17. On both the occasions Congress was in power at the Centre.

l‘No NCP-Cong alliance in N-E’
lMPA leaders to hold demo in Delhi
MPA to move SC today

From Our Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The battle for reviving the lost government in Meghalaya on Thursday shifted here with NCP general secretary Purno A Sangma ruling out any alliance with Congress and MPA deciding to file a case against President's rule in the Supreme Court on Friday.

Apart from Mr Sangma, former Chief Minister Dr Donkupar Roy and other leaders of MPA, including former Education Minister Manas Chaudhuri, arrived here to protest against the Congress-led Central Government's "undemocratic" act of imposition of President's rule in Meghalaya. The MPA leaders would try to meet the President and hold demonstrations in the national capital and different places of the North-East.

NCP leader plans to meet BJP's prime ministerial candidate L K Advani on Friday as part of his campaign against the Centre's action.

Mr Sangma said he would meet Advani and discuss the imposition of President's rule.

Mr Sangma categorically said his party would not have any truck with Congress in entire North-East and urged his party president Sharad Pawar to do the same in the rest of the country.

Addressing a press conference at the NCP headquarters here, Mr Sangma denied media reports that he had ever made any proposal for an NCP-Congress alliance in the North-East, let alone Meghalaya.

The NCP leader severely criticised imposition of President rule in Meghalaya, terming it as "nothing but murder of democracy." He castigated Meghalaya Governor Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary for allegedly playing a partisan role in recommending Central rule in the State.

Mr Sangma also displayed before the media two identical letters, one written by Congress Legislature Party leader DD Lapang to the Governor and the other from the Governor to Speaker Bindo M Lanong.

The Governor's letter to the Speaker contained what Mr Lapang had written in his letter to Mr Mooshahary, the MPA architect said.

"The Governor, as former Director General of BSF, took orders from the higher-ups and did the same thing in Meghalya. His acts of omissions and commissions belittle his high constitutional position," Mr Sangma said.

The former Lok Sabha Speaker was also critical of the interference in Meghalaya politics by Congress leaders from neighbouring Assam with which Meghalaya has a running border dispute.

"I don't speak about children," he quipped, while referring to Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and NECCC general secretary Shariff Laskar who reportedly campaigned against the Meghalaya Government persistently.

Mr Sangma, who was seen close to top echelons, irrespective of party lines, also expressed unhappiness over the role of "honest" Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and "legal luminary" Union Home Minister P Chidambram in imposition of President's rule in Meghalaya.

On the role of Mr Pawar, Mr Sangma said distancing NCP from Congress was his appeal but he would abide by the party president's decision.

HC defers pronouncement of judgement

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: The Shillong Bench of the Gauhati High Court has deferred the pronouncement of judgement on the petitions filed by KHNAM president Paul Lyngdoh and Independent legislator Limison Sangma till Friday. The judgement was scheduled to be pronounced on Thursday.

Both the legislators have sought a stay on the interim suspension order issued against them by Speaker Bindo M Lanong.

Meanwhile, the hearing on three separate writ petitions filed by Independent legislator Ismail Marak, Deputy Speaker Sanbor Shullai and former Health Minister Dr Adviser Pariong will be held on March 23.

‘Conspiracy’ to topple KHADC EC

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: The political instability leading to President's rule in the State seems to have threatened the Executive Committee (EC) of KHADC.

Despite Chief Executive Member (CEM) Dr Celestine Lyngdoh's recent assertion that the crisis gripping MPA would not have any bearing on ruling Khasi Hills Progressive Alliance (KHPA) at KHADC, a conspiracy is being hatched up to topple the UDP-led EC.

Sources on Thursday alleged that KHNAM president Paul Lyngdoh who triggered the downfall of the MPA Government was the brain behind the ongoing conspiracy to bring down the EC formed by KHPA. It may be noted here that KHNAM is also a partner of KHPA.

"KHNAM MDC and Deputy CEM Lambor Malngiang was given the responsibility of toppling the EC after the KHNAM president resigned from the Dr Donkupar Roy Government and withdrew his support to MPA recently," sources said.

Sources also said Congress recently held negotiation with Mr Malngiang on how to convince three HSPDP MDCs to pull out of the UDP-led EC.

The HSPDP MDCs, however, rejected the proposal, saying they could not betray their party president and their idol Hoping Stone Lyngdoh.

Congress, which has 8 MDCs, requires the support of four KHNAM MDCs, three HSPDP MDCs and the lone independent MDC from Nongskhen to be able to form a new Executive Committee.

The three KHNAM MDCs also did not agree with the idea of Mr Malngiang, and the Deputy CEM has never attended any meeting of KHPA or the EC since then, sources claimed.

Interestingly, Mr Malngiang has not attended the ongoing budget session of the Council.

Meanwhile, another sources said KHNAM had a role in the recent disappearance of HSPDP legislator and former Health Minister Dr Adviser Pariong.

When contacted, Mr Malngiang was not available for comments.

Can Guv swear in KHADC members?
Council to seek legal opinion

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: KHADC has decided to seek legal opinion on the proposed amendment to

Rule 24 of the Assam and Meghalaya Autonomous Districts (Constitution of District Councils) Rules 1951 to make it mandatory for members of the Council to take an oath of allegiance to the Constitution before the State Governor.

As per the proposed amendment, KHADC members would be sworn in by the Governor, not by any State Government official as is the practice now.

The KHADC decision came in response to a resolution moved by UDP MDC Fabian Lyngdoh for an amendment to Rule 24 of the Assam and Meghalaya Autonomous Districts (Constitution of District Councils) Rules 1951 on the second day of the budget session of the Council on Thursday.

Earlier, replying to the resolution tabled by the UDP MDC, KHADC CEM Dr Celestine Lyngdoh said the Executive Committee fully agreed with the idea of bringing in an amendment to enable the members to be sworn in by the Governor, not by the Deputy Commissioner as was the practice.

"It would be a great thing for the members of KHADC if they are sworn in by the Governor," Dr Lyngdoh said.

The KHADC chief, however, requested the UDP MDC to withdraw his resolution in order that the EC could seek legal opinion on the matter before going ahead with the proposed amendment.

While moving the resolution, Fabian Lyngdoh said an amendment to Rule 24 of the Assam and Meghalaya Autonomous Districts (Constitution of District Councils) Rules 1951 would help bring back the "lost dignity and prestige" of the Council.

"KHADC cannot be under direct control of the State Government since it is an autonomous body created by the Constitution of India," Mr Lyngdoh said.

Probe ordered into tree felling

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: KHADC has ordered a departmental investigation into alleged involvement of officials of the Forest Department of the Council in illegal felling of trees at Athiabari plantations. The probe report will be submitted in the coming days, Council chief Dr Celestine Lyngdoh said on Thursday.

This was disclosed by Dr Lyngdoh while replying to a motion moved by Congress MDC Jansing M Tynsong on the secondary day of the KHADC budget session.

"It was learnt that illegal felling of trees and smuggling of timer were being done at Athiabari plantations as per directives of senior officers of the Forest Department of the KHADC," Dr Lyngdoh said, adding he had ordered a departmental inquiry into the matter.

"Trees are being illegally felled not only in Athiabari but also in other forest areas of KHADC like Byrnihat and Lai Lad. The forest areas of the Council have become barren. We would totally stop felling of trees to protect our forest areas," the KHADC CEM said.

He said the Council would deploy more staff in areas where illegal felling and smuggling of trees was prevalent.

Earlier, moving the motion, Mr Tynsong said it was sad that illegal felling of trees had led to loss of revenue of the Council. He blamed officers of the department concerned for that and said the erring officials should be severely punished.

Congress MDC Irin Lyngdoh supported the motion moved by Mr Tyngsong.

Speed up power project: NGOs

From Our Correspondent

NONGSTOIN: Different NGOs under the banner of the Synjuk Sengbhalang West Khasi Hills (SSWKH) have asked the State Government to speed up the implementation of Kynshi Hydro-electric power (KHEP) project which is yet to make any breakthrough even after more than a year of scrapping the MoA with the concerned companies.

Meanwhile, the meeting has decided to meet West Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner on Friday to seek information on the progress of assault case of outgoing Mining and Geology Minister Donkupar Massar at Lailad near Borsora, West Khasi Hills last year. Further, they decided to meet director of Community and Rural Development to seek for clarification on the slow implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in the district.

Guv inaugurates golden jubilee celebrations of ZSI

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: The golden jubilee celebration of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Eastern Regional Station was formally inaugurated by Meghalaya Governor Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary here on Thursday.

The ZSI, Eastern regional station at Shillong was established on March 6, 1959 with the objective of conducting survey and exploration of fauna of north eastern States and ecological studies in the seven states comprising Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Tripura.

In the last fifty years, the Zoological Survey of India, Eastern station had conducted almost 100 surveys and expeditions.

The Department has entrusted the task of also conducting environment impact, assessment of irrigation and hydro electric project and identification of zoological matters.

Speaking at the function, Mr Mooshahary lauded the efforts of the ZSI, Eastern Region in its venture to do research and studies in preserving especially the endangered species.

Expressing concern that some species were in the verge of extinction in the region, Mr Mooshahary said that unless preventive measures were taken to protect, conserve and reproduce the different species, there would come a time when certain species would completely disappear from this earth.

Earlier, ZSI Director Dr Ramakrishna said that the department had completed 160 different researches and studies and found 8 species of animals that are exclusive to the region.

He also said the research and studies conducted included those relating to endanger animals, faunal resources of conservation areas, environmental impact etc.

Besides research and study, the Zoological Survey of India has also taken up activities in creating awareness on preservation of environment and wildlife through different programme and exhibitions.

Party still exists, says MDP president

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: MDP president and party candidate for the Shillong Parliamentary Seat Martle N Mukhim has said that the party would continue to exist despite the recent debacle in both the Assembly and District Council elections.

"The primary objective of the party was to serve the people of the State. It would be totally wrong to relate the party only in activities of contesting and winning elections only because it is a political party," Mr Mukhim said while addressing a press conference here on Thursday.

He said the political parties has various responsibilities to perform adding that the MDP would not restrain itself to only contesting election but would try to contribute to the best interest of the State.

When asked whether he was fighting a losing battle after being defeated in both Assembly and the District council elections, the MDP president said when he had newly joined politics, he had to face several defeats adding that these defeats had never affected his spirit to fight and contest elections.

Due to his hard work and perseverance, he finally achieved success and became the MLA of Dienglieng for four consecutive terms, the MDP president said.

"Despite my defeat this time also, my spirit has not gone down'' he said.

''I am optimistic that after two consecutive defeats I would be third time lucky by winning the Lok Sabha election," Mr Mukhim said.

He also denied that he was sponsored by the Congress to contest the election.

Employment of non-tribals opposed

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: KSU's Malki unit has cautioned all private companies and institutes stationed at Malki not to employ non-tribals henceforth.

Any company or institute who employ non-tribals should do it at their own risk the union said in a statement issued here on Thursday.

The Union has set March 16 as ultimatum for all non-tribals to comply with the order otherwise action would be taken against them.

Source: The Shillong Times

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Nagaland News | NABARD plans 210 Cr CC for Nagaland

Dimapur, March 20 (MExN): The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has in place credit planning exercises for Nagaland for the year 2009 -2010 with Rs. 210.31 Crore as the projected credit placement. At the state credit seminar for 2009-2010 on March 20 at Hotel Saramati, the DGM of the bank, KC Panda in his presentation provided an overview of the credit planning exercise of the NABARD. He indicated that NABARD has prepared Potential Linked Credit Plans (PLPs) for all 11 districts of the state. The PLPs form the basis of preparing the district-wise Annual Credit Plan of the banks.

The aggregate of credit disbursement potentials for all districts together for the year 2009-2010 has been pegged at Rs 210.31 crore with crop loan share at 9% (Rs 18.37 crore), agricultural and allied sector term loan at 31 % (Rs. 66.11 crore), non-farm sector (NFS) at 19 % (Rs 39.62 crore), other priority sector at 37% (Rs 77.68 crore) and Agro and food processing sector at 4% (Rs. 8.51 crore). All banks have been advised to gear up their efforts to channel credit to sectors that have potential for exploitation.

The seminar also discussed sector-wise credit plan outlay and other issues critical to achieving the same. The agriculture sectors that need to be focused for credit dispensation by the banks in 2009-2010 as identified by NABARD include, horticulture, animal husbandry, minor irrigation, land development, and the fishery sector.

Further, various aspects of financial inclusion in the wake of implementation of the Dr. Rangaranjan Committee recommendations were discussed. The seminar emphasized on evolution of suitable strategies to ensure that all the households lacking financial services are covered by banks in next 3-5 years.

NABARD has sanctioned Rs. 441.44 crore under RIDF for 485 projects and so far 218 Rural Infrastructure Projects have been completed and many projects are in implementation stage. NABARD has disbursed Rs. 196.58 crore to the state government for rural infrastructure development under RIDF. These projects will result in creation of irrigation potential of 7037 hectare, rural roads of 1128 km, 2 bridges, integrated land development of 12575 ha and production of 31 MW electricity.

Meanwhile, in his inaugural address at the seminar, Minister of Agriculture Dr. Chumben Murry, said agriculture is the mainstay of the local economy and it continues to be the main source of livelihood and employment for majority of the population. This is true particularly of rural areas where 82 % of the population lives, he said. Dr. Murry acceleration of growth in the agricultural sector will not only push the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but also render the growth more inclusive in line with the projections set out in the 11th Five Year Plan.

“In order to achieve the growth rate of ten percent envisaged in the eleventh five year plan, it is expected that the agriculture sector would have to grow at 4% during the current five year plan period” he said. Dr. Murry said all-out efforts are required to increase the growth rate and maintain the tempo of growth of agricultural sector. He also lauded the NABARD, as an apex institution, since its inception on July 12, 1982, has been contributing significantly to the cause of agriculture and rural development as an active partner of the state government and the banking system. ‘Their intervention for development of the agriculture and allied sector and overall economic development of rural people has been commendable’, he said
Also, Minister for Power Doshehe Sema, speaking at the seminar said the state focus paper for 2009-2010 prepared by NABARD is the culmination of a massive exercise undertaken by it throughout the state. The paper was meant for assessing sector-wise exploitable potentials, available infrastructure and other support services as also the policies of the union and the state governments. He lauded the Infrastructure developed under RIDF initiated by NABARD, as it has ‘touched the life of the rural masses’ and brought about transformation of rural economy in the state.

NSCN (IM) rues AR intrusion

Dimapur, March 20 (MExN): The NSCN (IM) today lamented that the Assam Rifles are “busy coming so near the camp to cause another irritant to the NSCN” as the outfit prepares to observe its 29th “republic day” at camp Hebron. There is no reason for the Assam Rifles to be “around the road to Hebron” other than to “play foolhardiness against the sentiments” of the organization, the MIP said in a note today. Expressing strong displeasure at the ‘provocation’ by the AR, the MIP note said the intrusion is ‘uncalled for’. The Assam Rifles are appealed to, to ‘leave in peace’, the celebrations of the organization’s “republic day” and “the world will respect you”.

NSF protests against scam, demands justice

Kohima, March 20 (MExN): The Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) today took out a demonstration here at the Old MLA hostel junction in protest against the NPSC answer script-swapping scam. With placards in tow, the students demanded that the “your wrongs” be admitted while ridiculing the commission for being “a reputed market for the rich”. The students also demanded exemplary punishment for the offenders and that all corrupt NPSC employees should be ‘discarded’.

Addressing the demonstration, NSF president Imchatoba Imchen said the students have stepped out to register their protest and fight for justice ‘to have a better future in the society’. The NSF president said Nagaland has less job avenues with the NPSC being the only medium through which educated unemployed youths can avail employment opportunities.

Maintaining that the investigation process in the current scan is not satisfactory, Imchen said if the investigation is hushed up, the youths’ future will be bleak. For this, he said, the investigating agency should go ahead without any reservation.

On the threat perception against the investigating agencies and NPSC officials, Imcha asserted that in order to have a better future for the educated unemployed youths, the Federation is committed to fight all elements and uproot all the evils to cleanse the NPSC once and for all. He also conveyed fullest support to the investigating authorities. “We are committed to built a corruption free NPSC and say no to corruption,” he said.

Further, referring to the threat and intimidation issued by some underground elements, the federation assured that such affronts shall not be tolerated. The NSF has called upon each and every individual to stand together to uproot the corrupt system. “Let us clean NPSC once and for all,” he urged

Supplementing the NSF, Angami Students’ Union president, Kelhouneizo Yhome said that the anti-social elements should not interfere in the process of investigation in any manner. He also warned the 11 candidates and two NPSC staffers involved in the scam that they would be held responsible if anything happens to any of the agencies. The ASU has appealed to the state government to provide all necessary security to the investigating agencies.

A former president of the Angami Students’ Union also appealed to the students to extend their full support to the NSF and ‘give their mandate to go ahead with the move to bring about justice’. Others like the leaders of the Pochury Students’ Union said the NPSC is not a “market” that one can buy. “We want a corruption free society. We want to clean the NPSC so that our future is secured,” the PSU said with assurance of full support to the NSF. Condemning the anomalous system of the NPSC, leaders of the Dimapur Naga Students Union (DNSU) president also urged the government to expedite the process of investigation and make it known to the public.

Source: Morung Express

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Manipur News | 40 percent females illiterate : Dr Jamini

IMPHAL, Mar 20 : Almost 40 percent of the female population of Manipur are still illiterate, said Chairman of the Manipur State Commission for Women, Dr Ch Jamini. Dr Jamini was speaking as chief guest in the inaugural function of a two-day seminar on Women Empowerment and Development with Special Reference to Manipur at Manipur College today. She noted that education is the basic foundation for empowerment and development of women. Irrespective of one’s gender, one can know about an individual’s rights and can improve his/her socio-economic conditions only when they become literate, she observed.

As per the census report of 2001, female literacy rate of Manipur was 60.5 percent while the male literacy rate was 77.87 percent. Whereas the female literacy rate for India was 54 percent. Coupled with their illiteracy, customs and traditional beliefs inherent in each community and values of women defined by men have been major impediments in the effort to empower women, Dr Jamini asserted. One major contributing to the relatively lesser percentage of female literacy is the preference of sons over daughters in the society.

Although, several laws have been enacted for empowerment and protection of women, none of these laws are implemented in letter and spirit.

Giving key-note address of the seminar organised by Manipur College under the sponsorship of Indian Council of Social Science Research, North East Regional Centre Shillong and Directorate of University and Higher Education, Government of Manipur, S Benjamin Nattar, Political Science Lecturer of Manipur College, observed that despite some indicators about development of Manipuri women in certain fields, the condition of Manipuri women cannot be termed any better in several other areas.

Various issued being endured by women in the State including violence and discrimination would be studied during the two day seminar, he said.

The inaugural function of the seminar was graced by former Chairman of the Manipur Human Rights Commission WA Shishak as guest of honour and Principal of Manipur College Dr Lalit as functional president.

WA Shishak was also chairperson of the academic session during which Prof Archana Sharma of Gauhati University, Dr Bijyalakshmi of Manipur University, Dr Priyadarshini, Konika Khuraijam of DM College of Teacher Education, Director of Gender and Child Unit Imphal, Nandini Thokchom, Nalini Nongmeikapam of Thoubal College, retired Science Promotion Officer A Sabita presented papers as resource persons.

The afternoon session was moderated by Prof Gangmumei Kamei.


Jiribam goes to the drain under the gambling craze

Jacob Panmei

JIRIBAM, Mar 20 : Teer, a form of gambling which originated in Meghalaya has become a new found craze of the people of Jiribam sub-division. People here have been literally hooked to the gambling game that many denizens have forgotten their chores and other important activities of life.

If one observes, groups of people will be seen talking to each other at tea stalls in the morning talking about their dreams of the previous night. They believe that their dreams give them some secret message or hint about the number of tickets which may win prizes next day.
Results of this gambling are given twice in a day much to the delight and anguish of the gamblers. The numerical game which starts with digits 00 to 99 is played twice in a day as first round and second round.

A winning ticket that costs Re one can fetch a prize of Rs 80 in the first round draw. The second round draw can fetch Rs 70 from the ticket of same price.

There is another jackpot round called “Forecast” in which a lucky person can win Rs 2000 by a ticket of Re one when numbers of both rounds match with the winning ticket.

However, the new found craze has become a sort of scourge with attention of the people focused on this gambling. Even Govt employees including teachers have fallen prey to this game of lottery. One would observe groups of Government employees engage in animated talks about the game while paying little or no attention to their responsibilities and duties.

One can also find enthusiasts of this game thronging some shops/kiosks where books that interpret books are sold.

One individual, obviously addicted to this game, said on condition of anonymity, that if he saw a dead person in his dream, he would go for ticket having number 00 (double zero).

If he saw a male he would go for No 6 and No 5 in case he saw a female.

Nowadays, there is nothing called bad omens or bad dreams as everything one saw in the dream can be interpreted into winning numbers in this game of gambling, he said. n Angam Kuki, an agent of the gambling game, said that he could earn at least Rs 1000 per day. Sometimes, the daily earning from selling tickets went up to Rs 5000.

Another agent identified as S Roy said that Rs 4000 to 5000 could be earned on a good day. But Sunday is most dull and disliked by every body as there is no draw of Teer at Shillong on Sunday. But on the other side, one T Hmar hooked to the game, disclosed that she has sold off some of her belongings to keep in touch with the gambling.

“Even though I have lost, I cannot resist the temptation of this gambling game’, Hmar confided.
Taking serious note of the social menace caused by this gambling game, a social activist said that it is high time for the law enforcing agency to curb the current trend of gambling.


Non-local shot at, hurt

IMPHAL, Mar 20 : After three non-local labourers have been shot dead sometime back at different places in Imphal, unidentified persons shot another non-local labourer and injured him.

The injured victim is identified as Pramo Yadav (30) s/o Ganesh of Shyampur, Bihar but staying at Thangmeiband, informed a police source.

A carpenter by vocation, Pramo Yadav was working at Lamphel Super Market, opposite to MACS office when he was shot by one unidentified youth at about 9 am today.

A bullet grazed through the left side of his chest.

Quoting Pramo, the police source said that three rounds of bullet were shot at Pramo. While two rounds got missed, the third round grazed through his chest.

He was given first aid at RIMS.

This is the fourth incident of targeting migrant la-bourers this yearafter one non-local barber was shot dead at Sagolband on February 28 followed by the killing of one sugar-cane juice hawker at Kwakeithel and another porter at Chingamakhog on March 1.

Victim succumbs : After more than 3 months of undergoing treatment, a 24-year old youth who was shot at his neck by unidentified armed persons succumbed to the injuries.

The victim identified as Md Tomei alias Nashir Khan (24) of Khelakhong Mayai Leikai was admitted to the Shija Hospitals and Research Institute after being shot on his neck by some unidentified armed persons at a place called Jabar Salam, located not far from his house on the night of November 30 last year. Tomei succumbed to the injuries yesterday after more than 3 months of treatment. His body has been handed over to the family members after post-mortem examination at the mortuary of RIMS Hospital today.


AE abducted with wife

IMPHAL, Mar 20 : Mayengbam Janaki Singh, who is an AE in Highway Division-III of the Public Works Department has been abducted along with his wife from their own Singjamei Mayengbam Leikai residence by unidentified persons yesterday. The incident occurred at around 7.30 am yesterday. The identity of the abductors have not yet been ascertained. In a statement, Eikhoigi Club, Singjamei Oinam Thingel has appealed to the unknown abductors to release the AE and his wife safely on humanitarian ground even if their abduction has anything to do with the work of the Department. According to the statement, the AE himself is a patient suffering from a health problem which would take time to be cured and his two daughters are currently appearing in their class X and XII examinations apart from the fact that both his old parents are bed-ridden.


Gen strike called

Crying for justice, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) Against the Brutal Killing of Akoijam Priyobarta has called a 48-hour general strike in the State with effect from 1 am of March 21. Announcing this in a statement, JAC convenor Thoudam Sharat Meitei said that so far the agitation/protest against the brutal killing has been democratic and peaceful, but the JAC has been to go for hard and violent mean of protest as a result of the indifferent attitude of the Govt. The Govt has been given five days time to bring justice and truth but has failed to pay heed to the cry, the JAC rued. The JAC has also categorically warned that the responsibility for any untoward incident during the general strike should rest on the Govt. It may be recalled here that Priyobarta was allegedly killed by the Police Commandos during an encounter at Langol on March 15 and arms recovered from his possession. But the family members have refuted that police claim asserting that he was an innocent person and had gone out from home driving a Bajaj Pulsar and carrying Rs 8000.

Source: The Sangai Express

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Friday, March 20, 2009

6,40,751 job seekers in Manipur state

IMPHAL, Mar 19: The number of job seekers in the state has reached 6,40,751 by the end of January, 2009. In a release from Directorate of Employment Exchange, Lamphelpat the total number of persons who are enrolled in the exchange by the end of January, 2009 is 6,40,751. Out of which the total number of male is 4,63,996 and of female is 1,76,755. Enrolled in Imphal West District is 2,14,326, Imphal East District is 90,701, Thoubal District is 95,538, Bishnupur District is 57,258, Churachandpur District is 58,508, Ukhrul District is 26,253, Senapati District is 47,717, Tamenglong District is 19,292, Chandel District is 23,461, Physical Handicapped persons is 2,258 and Manipur University, Canchipur is 5,239.

Manipur continues to revel on borrowed money, says CAG report

IMPHAL, Mar 19: While the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, CAG, on Manipur government usually is a familiar tale of misappropriation and revenue losses on account of delays in project completion and misappropriation, its report on Manipur for year ended March 31, 2008, which was released today at its Imphal office, contained some welcome whiff of fresh air.

The report noted that “the overall fiscal position of the State in terms of revenue, fiscal and primary deficit improved significantly during 2007-2008.”

“While the revenue surplus nearly tripled, both fiscal and primary deficits turned into surplus during the current year.” The report added.
The report is however quick to throw in a qualifier: “The improvement in fiscal position of the State should however be considered keeping in view the fact that significant share (exceeding 90 percent) of revenue receipts of the State is contributed by Central Transfers comprising the State’s share in Union pool of taxes and duties and grants-in-aid from the GOI during 2007-08.”

It explained that during the current year, “around 98.6 percent of the incremental revenue receipts were contributed by Central transfers relative to previous year.”

The report on Manipur government includes two chapters containing observations of Audit on the Finance Accounts and Appropriation Accounts of the State for the year 207-08 and five chapters with three performance reviews, including the review on Integrated Audit in Irrigation and Flood Control department, 23 paragraphs (excluding general paragraphs) dealing with the results of audit of selected schemes, programmes and the financial transactions of the Government and its commercial and trading activities.

The report noted that the expenditure pattern of the State revealed that although the revenue expenditure as a percentage of total expenditure declined from 86 percent in 2003-04 to 67 percent in the current year, Non Plan Revenue Expenditure, NPRE continued to take a lion’s share of 79 percent of the total expenditure.

Of this 79 percent, salaries and wages, pensions, interest payments and subsidies continued to consume a major share of around 77 percent.

But the sense of growth may be too early. The report also said: “The continued prevalence of fiscal deficit during the period 2003-208 except in the current year... indicates increasing reliance of the State on borrowed funds, resulting in increasing fiscal liabilities of the State over this period, which stood at 79.4 percent of the Gross State Domestic Product, GSDP in 2007-08 and further increased to 83 percent after incorporating the contingent liabilities in the fold of total liabilities on Consolidated Fund of the State during the year.”

It further added that the increasing fiscal liabilities accompanied by a negligible rate of return on Government investments and inadequate interest cost recovery on loans and advances might lead to an unsustainable fiscal situation in medium to long run unless suitable measures are initiated to compress the non-plan revenue expenditure and to mobilize the additional resources both through the tax and non tax sources in the ensuing years.”

The CAG report had some harsh words for many of the government programmes.

On the projects under the non-lapsable Central Pool of Resources (Planning Department), the report said “Although projects under critical sectors were accorded priority in funding, adequate priority was not accorded for their completion. Out of the 12 selected projects in review, works of five projects had not been stared even after 20 months from their approval by the GOI.”

It also said “there were also cases of lack of transparency and inadequate monitoring and evaluation of the programme, leading to diversion of funds.”

On the midday meal scheme, it said “implementation of the Mid-Day-Meal scheme in Manipur was unsatisfactory and failed to achieve the objective of universalization of elementary education and improvement in nutritional status of the children.”

It also said “There was no conclusive evidence of improvement in enrolment, attendance and retention of children in the schools. Most of the kitchen sheds constructed was not usable.”

The report also took note of fraud, misappropriation and embezzlement and losses of revenue in almost all of the Manipur government departments.

Source: IFP

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My Vote: My Say?

- Lyan Samte

Come May, and the world’s largest democracy and the second most populous country in the world will go to the poll for the General Parliamentary Election. It will be a chance for the billion people of India to have their say in the governance –or at least in principle.

I remember often seeing this TV commercial where it says ‘if you don’t vote on Election Day, then you are sleeping and you have no right to complain’. I want to protest that complaining is what I did best, but I definitely don’t want to be caught sleeping even though I love sleeping.

So, I got to thinking if I were given the chance to have my say be actually turned into action, what would I say? There would be many things I would want to say. As a Christian, as a Tribal, as a Minority Community, as a Student and as a Citizen, everything about me is crying out to be heard –that’s also the one reason why I blog in the first place!

But I need to be realistic and stop nursing false hope since I live in a world called reality. And that left me with very little to say. During Delhi’s Assembly election last year, a friend joked that if someone put up a donkey as a candidate, she would rather vote that donkey, and I remember saying ‘amen’ to that.

As a Christian, I am furious (what an irony) that when Hindu mobs run amok ransacking and burning churches in Karnataka; torching the houses and mercilessly killing poor dalit Christians in Orissa; not a single Christian Minister or MP said a single word! We have enough prominent political figures (I can quickly count 2 Union Minister and about 25 - 30 MPs) who chose to remains silent –how orphaned we felt! Amidst all that, all the Prime Minister can do was to come out and lambast organized religion as a whole! Misinterpreted Liberalism… what a shame!

This election too, we will not have much choice like in the past. You can chose an individual who you think might be sensible, once elected he/she will sacrifice everything for the sake of his/her party’s image or as they say. You vote for a party, and they will remain a mute spectator while your house and church are burned!

But if you are a Dalit-Christian, it’s worse. You have to choose between your religion and your identity. Once you become a Christian, you lost your dalit identity but that doesn’t mean you will enjoy social acceptance. Apart from that, no matter how poor or backward you are, you will have to fight with the general people for every field of opportunity.

If you happened to belong to any of the poor minority communities, be very threatened. Whenever those political parties or the newly launched one needed some media attention, they will come to attack you, massacre you and no one will speak-up for you. If you dared even as to raise a protest, they will throw you in jail while those mobs will go scot-free. That’s what it means to be a minority in India and I don’t think this election will change anything.

If you are a tribal, all that you can do is to look-up to the sky where the non-tribals’ built their castles –waiting for those few scraps of government’s welfare schemes to fall-off off their table. We don’t want those scraps of welfare schemes, but a share in the overall development of the much proclaimed India’s booming economy.

As a marginalize tribal, I want inclusion in the progress of the country. When India go overboard claiming itself to be the world largest democracy, the armed forces continue to have unlimited powers in the North-eastern states of India subduing its tribals inhabitants into military rules and making them a perpetual refugees in the land of their forefathers.

As a student, I want better educational infrastructure and support –at par with those private institutions’. I also want an inclusive education where we are not forced to study the history of only certain section or part of the country or some socialist propaganda. I want quality education upon which one can build a life and not an education that put emphasis on pass-fail ratio or obtaining degree/certificate alone.

As a citizen, I want a government that’s not afraid to speak up the truth and stand up for the right things without fear of losing their vote-banks. I want a government that don’t emphasize on gender alone, or class, caste or race. I want a safer country where each one of us can roam free without the fear of being attacked because of your facial feature, religion, gender, caste, class or race.

There are many more that I want or don’t want, and looking at the leading political parties and their prospective candidates, it seems that I’m only wasting my time listing my wants or don’t wants. So I come to the question ‘should I still cast my vote this coming election’.

No, I don’t believe that the single vote I hold can make a difference among a billion people, and yes, I’m a pessimist because I have enough reasons to be disappointed, so this coming election, I’m going to stay at home and enjoy the holiday. It’s just not worth voting for someone who dared not to stand-up for his/her own people/religion or for that matter, speak out against injustice.

Source: Story Box

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Churachandpur news in picture, seeing is believing

Lamka a Class X Exam hun in Town Bus te dimlet. Lamka khopi ah tulai in Class XII leh Class X Exam pailel ah exam hun in student te Town bus ki dai lou in Dimlet zen zen in tuan ngai.

Lamka ah NREGS nasepman State Bank ah kihawm ziah ziah mai

Lamka Taxi: Lamka ah hun bang tan hiam apan in texi in jeep service a khopi sung leh pua kjikom tuahna nop ton mah mah in skul naupang te a ding in zang khai tuan mah amh hi.

Source: Lamka Photo

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Priest beaten inside mayor's office in China

HONG KONG (UCAN) -- A priest from Shaanxi province was seriously injured after two men beat him up inside a mayor's office, where he had been invited to discuss issues related to a disputed Church property. Father Francis Gao Jianli, from Fengxiang diocese, is now hospitalized in Baoji city after he was attacked on March 16 at the mayor's office in Xiangong town in Chencang district, Church sources said. After the attack, Father Gao complained of numbness, dizziness and headache, but is feeling better now, according to the sources. The local Church has been asking for the return of a plot of land after a factory that occupied it since the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) closed down some years ago, sources said.

The Church and the district government's property management office have disputed ownership. However, both sides agreed that the land would not be developed until a settlement has been reached.

This year, the town government decided to take over the land, sources said. Catholics view this as a violation of their property rights and so Father Gao, another priest and about 100 lay Catholics have stayed at the site, now a garbage dump, in order to protect it.

On March 16, some strangers went to the site and threatened the Catholics, who then called the police for help. In that incident, a layperson in his 60s was hurt.

Subsequently, the mayor asked Father Gao to visit his office to address the issue, sources said.

As soon as the priest went inside the office alone, someone locked him inside and two strangers hit him, they said. Although the mayor tried to frighten away the Catholics accompanying the priest, they became furious and called for more Catholics to come so as to blockade the town government building. The mayor locked himself in a room and refused to come out, sources noted.

After Catholics rushed Father Gao to a hospital, they lodged a complaint with Baoji's Bureau for Letters and Calls, which handles public complaints against government departments.

"The bureau has asked Catholics not to complain further as the incident involved religious affairs and the town government office, and promised to settle the case within four weeks," a source said.

However, Church sources say they do not have much confidence in such a promise, as there had already been three major disputes over the property.

They said Father Gao has forgiven his attackers but insists the land issue be settled. The priest also thinks that local government officials should know that religion is not a minor issue and deserves serious attention, the sources added.

Christians wage spiritual battle against communists as election nears

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India (UCAN) -- With the general election looming, Christians in Kerala state have joined in prayer programs to protest what they say are increasing attempts by the ruling communists to repress the Church.

Other people, however, say the Christian campaigners are over-reacting.

Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christians recently organized joint programs and prayer sessions in the state's 26 Catholic dioceses as India prepared for its five-phase parliamentary elections, scheduled to start on April 16.

Kerala's 21 million voters are scheduled to elect their 20 representatives to the national parliament on the first day of voting.

The Left Democratic Front (LDF), an alliance of leftist parties led by the Communist Party of India, has ruled Kerala since 2006. Church leaders accuse the front for creating anti-Christian policies during its 33-month rule.

They say the communists have attempted to restrict religious minority groups' rights to manage their own educational institutions. They also allege that the LDF government is behind several draft laws and rules seen as being against Christian faith and values.

According to them, the Kerala Law Reforms Commission, a cabinet-appointed panel reviewing laws and recommending amendments, has introduced a number of changes unacceptable for the Church.

The commission has suggested legalizing euthanasia, withdrawing a law that makes attempted suicide an offence, and imposing fines on couples for having more than one child.

Archbishop Maria Calist Soosa Pakiam of Trivandrum, at a prayer meeting in the state capital Thiruvananthapuram on March 15, urged people not to elect those who do not believe in religion -- a clear reference to communist candidates.

"There has been a move against Christians by the communist-run government in the education sector," he stated. The government's education department had also introduced text books that promote atheist and communist ideologies "with vengeance against the Church," the prelate argued.

Members of India's Catholic rites, the Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara and Latin Catholics, participated in the event, along with Orthodox, Church of South India and Mar Thoma Christians.

"I can't fight the communist government. I can only pray that good sense prevail among them. I hope that God will answer my prayers," said Annie Joseph, a Catholic joining the prayers in Thiruvananthapuram.

Bishop James Pazhayattil of Irinjalakuda, in his diocese's prayer event, also on March 15, reminded people to participate in the election as an opportunity "to register their protest."

Archbishop Andrews Thazhath of Trichur issued a pastoral letter accusing the communists of launching malicious campaigns against the Church and its leaders. The letter was read out in his parishes on March 15.

Christians are traditionally supporters of secular Indian National Congress Party in Kerala where pro-Hindu parties have not received much support.

State education minister M.A. Baby, however, dismissed the Church leaders' allegations against the communist party and the LDF government as baseless.

"I've made it clear that the education department is not targeting the Church institutions," he said in an interview, adding that the government's move on management of educational institutions was to target those institutions that focused on profit-making.

"We believe in social justice," the Catholic minister said. He criticized the bishops for waging an anti-communist war in the state. "If the Church has any grievances, they could have raised it with the government," he stated.

Journalist and political commentator P. Venugopal said Church leaders had ignored the fact that it was the leftist parties that came forward to protect Christians in last year's violence against the Church people in eastern India's Orissa state.

"Many Church leaders are self-centered and do not understand the socio-political situation on the national level," he said.

Christians represent only about 6 million of Kerala's 31 million population but they are politically strong in some areas.

Hindu threats spark heavy security around Jesuit college

MANGALORE, India (UCAN) -- Threats from Hindu radicals have forced a Jesuit college in southern India to conduct annual examinations under heavy police security.

Radical groups have accused St. Aloysius College in Mangalore of discriminating against some Hindu students who were denied hall tickets -- special admittance cards for examination participation.

The groups have also threatened to attack the college's principal and rector, forcing the civil administration to impose orders to prohibit outsiders entering the campus of 13,000 students during the March 13-26 examinations.

"Now the examinations are being held with tight police security," said Jesuit Father Richard Rego, who teaches in the college.

The students affected by the heightened security are from the Pre-University Course (PUC) department of the century-old campus, that also has a primary school and a high school. The college conducts bachelor's and master's courses in various subjects.

PUC principal John D'Silva, a Catholic layman, clarified the college had to refuse hall tickets to 12 students whose attendance fell short of the required minimum. Six of them are Hindus, four are Catholics, and two Muslims, he said. He pointed out that the college was only following a government rule on class attendance and the college action had "no communal angle" to it.

The government requires 75 percent attendance in classes before a student is eligible to take examinations. However, it gives discretionary powers to colleges to reduce the percentage if absence was due to college-related activities.

The affected students chalked up less than 50 percent attendance, the principal pointed out.

Hindu groups, however, said the college had denied tickets to about 50 Hindu students.

Srinidhi, a member of the national committee of the pro-Hindu Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Parishad (all India students' council), told the press the college had initially penalized more students for low attendance, but later issued hall tickets to many of them after making them pay fines.

He said the college had not informed students about their low attendance.

However, Father Rego said the institution regularly informs parents about their children's academic progress and attendance status. The propaganda against the college by Hindu radicals has been so strong that many people now believe the college has done some injustice to Hindu students, he added.

The priest said the college acts every year on the issue of low attendance, but this year radical groups used it as another excuse to attack a Church institution. He added that these groups hope to divide people on the basis of religion.

Karnataka state has witnessed several attacks on Christians and their institutions since the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, Indian people's party) came to power in May 2008.

Rohit Someswar, a Catholic social activist, said the incident is part of harassment Christians have faced since then. According to him, the failure of 12 students, out of a total of 4,000, to meet attendance requirements, is "quite normal."

Source: UCA NEWS

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