15 September 2014

Seven From Mizoram Held Under Anti-Conversion Law in MP

By Milind Ghatwai

Bhopal, Sep 15 : Seven persons, including two women, from Mizoram were arrested under Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act for allegedly offering money to a labourer to convert to Christianity in Badwah, Khargone district, late on Friday.

In a complaint, Sunil Prajapati, 42, said he was offered Rs one lakh to convert and was told that he would find peace in Christianity. While the Badwah police claimed that Sunil was the complainant, another version said local activists of the VHP and Bajrang Dal took up the matter with the police.

In-charge of Badwah Police Station V S Parihar told The Sunday Express that besides the seven accused from Mizoram, the police were also looking for three local persons who helped the missionaries in their attempt to convert more people.

Parihar said the accused were active in the region for nearly a month and a half and the local people were under an impression that they were teachers in a Christian school. The police are yet to approach the authorities of the educational institution to verify if they were indeed teachers. He said those arrested were sent to judicial custody on Saturday.

Decline in Chayote's Harvest Due To Inadequate Rainfall

Aizawl, Sep 15 : 'Chayote' growers in Mizoram have been facing problems due to sharp decline in the harvest of the horticultural product, owing to inadequate rainfall during monsoon.

'Chayote' (locally called Iskut) growers, mainly from Sihphir, Lungdai, and surrounding villages near Aizawl, used to get good harvest in normal rains and this horticulture produce is exported outside the state.

Mizoram Iskut Growers Association (MIGA), in a press statement said that this was the worst year for chayote cultivators since last 30 years.

"Mizoram used to harvest 60,000 to one lakh quintals per year during the past 30 years while the harvest was expected to be hardly 7,000 quintals this year," the statement said.

The MIGA expressed the hope that the government, including the Centre would extend help.

Educational Institutions To Reopen in Manipur

Imphal, Sep 15 : The Manipur government has decided to reopen all educational institutions from Monday following an agreement with the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS).

This decision was taken yesterday after the JCILPS agreed in a meeting with the government to lift the "indefinite public curfew", imposed since September 11 by students wing of the Committee to press implementation of inner line permit system in Manipur, an official release said.

Educational institutions were closed in the state since September 11 following the "indefinite public curfew" launched by JCILPS.
Educational institutions to reopen in Manipur

The Manipur government to reopen all educational institutions on an agreement with the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System.

During the meeting between Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh and representatives of JCILPS last night, the government also agreed to release all the arrested members of the JCILPS including women volunteers.

A spokesperson of the JCILPS said if the government failed to release the arrested persons including top JCILPS members without any condition till September 19, the committee would reimpose "public curfew" which restricted movement of non-Manipuris particularly migrant labourers who do not have valid documents.

JCILPS, supported by various social organisations and students bodies, launched the agitation for implementation of the inner line permit system in the state because the number of outsiders including migrant labourers had "outnumbered the tribal population in the state", the spokesperson said.

As a precautionary measures, more than 150 non-Manipuris particularly labourers in Imphal west, Imphal east and Bishenpur districts were being kept at Dharamsala relief camp.

2 Manipur Boys Beaten Up in South Delhi

2 Manipur boys beaten up in south Delhi Police said they have apprehended two of the accused, both juveniles, and are looking for another person involved in the crime.

New Delhi, Sep 15 : Two youths from Manipur were brutally beaten up in south Delhi's Munirka village after they allegedly got into an argument with a group of locals. Police said they have apprehended two of the accused, both juveniles, and are looking for another person involved in the crime.

The incident was reported around 9.30pm on Saturday when the two youths, Lulminlal Haokip (21) and Lepmin Len (18) were sitting on the footpath near Babulal Chowk in Munirka village. They alleged that two youths, who were smoking near a shop, kept laughing at them. When they called one of them and asked what the matter was, the boy started abusing them.

When they protested, the boys called two of their friends who were nearby. Soon the two groups got into a fight during which one of the locals picked up a rod from a construction site and attacked Haokip and Len. Though Haokip escaped the blows, Len was hit on his back and arms which left deep cuts. The boys even called one of their elder brothers to help them in the brawl.

By this time, the others from the locality had gathered at the spot. Seeing a crowd, three of the boys managed to escape but one of them was caught.

The two youths was rushed to a local hospital where Haokip was released after first aid, but Len had to undergo a few stitches on his wounds. Cops later apprehended another accused. Police said a case of causing hurt has been registered.

In their statement, the two injured youths told that the fight broke out after racial and abusive comments were passed against them. They said that both of them were students in south campus of Delhi University and staying at a flat near Babulal Chowk. They had gone to get grocery when the incident happened.

"Initially we tried to reason, but they wanted to put up a fight purposely and started hitting us without a provocation," Len told the cops.

Police said that two accused youths were produced before a juvenile justice board and later sent to a reform home on Sunday.

Toyota looks to enhance operations in India's North East

Toyota looks to enhance operations in India's North East
Guwahati: Japanese car giant Toyota plans to increase operations in India's North Eastern region, where its sales have grown at double the national average of 3 percent annually.

The company, which is present in India through a joint venture with Kirloskar group, is looking to set up an area office in the North East considering its rising importance.

"The North East market is currently growing by 6 percent in our representative segment against a national growth of 3 percent. It is expected that in the second half of the year, the North East market will show much healthier growth," Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) Senior Vice President and Director (Sales and Marketing) N Raja said.

The North East market contributes 20 percent of the total eastern market, therefore making it very significant region for TKM, he added.

Last month, TKM sold 11,215 units in India, down 6.6 percent as compared to 12,007 units in August 2013.

With rising sales in the eight states of the North East, the auto maker plans to strengthen presence in the region.

"We do intend to establish an Area Office in Guwahati at the right time in future," Raja said without giving any timeline for having the establishment.

Currently, the entire North East market is being addressed out of the East Regional Office in Kolkata.

The company, however, has exclusive sales, service and customer relation personnel in the region.
When asked if the company planned to invest in the region for building capacity or other activities, Raja said: "...We will study the market and decide accordingly."

Talking about sales, Raja said petrol variants of TKM models contribute to around 45 percent of sales on an average, while diesel ones contribute to about 55 percent.

"Innova, Etios, Liva, Cross and Fortuner have seen very good response in the North East region. We also have seen growing demand for premium vehicles like Camry and Land Cruiser," he added.

Comparatively a new entrant in the region, TKM is selling approximately 150 cars per month in North East with Assam contributing the highest at an average of 110 units a month.

Talking about future roadmap, Raja said: "We are in the process of establishing and stabilising our network in North East. The customers are now getting the touch and feel of world-class quality of Toyota vehicles and at the same time, the exposure to international sales and service infrastructure."

TKM has six dealerships in the region at Guwahati, Nagaon, Silchar and Dibrugarh in Assam, Dimapur in Nagaland, and Shillong in Meghalaya.

Northeast Civil Society Groups Demand Repeal of AFSPA

Dimapur, Sep 15 :  Civil society groups from the seven sister States of North East, assembled in Gawahati on Thursday to deliberate on the various aspects of the imposition and continuance of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 and took a resolution to take up intensive mobilisation of the masses in the NE to oppose this draconian law and struggle against the AFSPA by linking up with other peoples’ movements in the region.

They also resolved to constitute a North East platform for a broader coordination and coalition of various human rights groups, civil society groups, peoples’ movements at both regional as well as at all-India level by going beyond ethnic, tribal and community affiliations.

The civil organisations also adopted a resolution to lobby with the MPs from NE as well as other sympathetic parliamentarians to facilitate procedural and substantive actions to repeal the AFPSA at the earliest.

The civil society organisations participating in the event were Centre for Research and Advocacy, Human Rights Alert, Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti, WinG-India, NE Dialogue Forum, Borok People Human Rights Organisation, Barak Human Rights Protection Committee, People’s Right to Information and Development Implementing Society of Mizoram.

Eminent personalities like Prof Apurba Kr Baruah, advocate Bijon Mahajan, writer and social activist Kaka Iralu, Dr Prasenjit Biswas, Professor of Philosophy, NEHU, Babloo Loitongbam, Executive Director, Human Rights Alert, Anjuman Ara Begum, member, WinG-India and Prof Akhil Ranjan Dutta among others spoke on the various aspects of the imposition and continuance of AFSPA.

The cvil society organisations noted that it was on the September 11, 1958 that the President of India signed the Act, and the same day 9/11 is observed as anti-terrorism day. The struggle against State terrorism started on the same day.

People are outraged by the horrendous stories of atrocities committed by the armed forces, including aerial bombing, forced grouping and re-grouping of villages, burning down of villages, enforced disappearances, extra-judicial executions, rape and other forms of sexual violence, torture and inhuman degrading treatment, etc., under the impunity provided by the AFSPA, they observed. The groups also expressed their outrage at the fact that rape and other forms of sexual violence has been used as a weapon of militarisation under the impunity provided by AFSPA.

The groups expressed concern that the AFSPA is being increasingly used to gag and subvert the democratic voices against the unsustainable, predatory and anti-people mega dams and other development projects.
12 September 2014

Mizoram Govt Clarifies Centre Has No Intention To Shift NIT

Aizawl, Sep 12 : Mizoram government today said that the Central government did not have any intention to shift out the National Institute of Technology (NIT) from the state due to non-availability of sufficient land for establishment of the NIT campus.

According to an official statement the land allotted for the NIT by the state government near the lone Lengpui airport, about 40 km from Aizawl, after ground demarcation, was found to be smaller than the initial measurement.

"The state Land Revenue and Settlement department issued Land Lease no DLL 58 of 2012 for an area of 164.2 acres to the NIT on October four, 2012," the statement said, adding, however that when the IRCON International undertook ground demarcation in June this year, the allotted land was found to be only 140.16 acres.

The state chief secretary was informed about the shortage and the state Land Revenue and Settlement department has been conducting detailed verification, it said.

Though the Centre wanted 300 acres for the purpose, the required size could not be available in Lengpui area, the statement said.

"It was unfortunate that a press release issued by some people said that the Centre intended to shift the NIT from Mizoram and it was confirmed from Joint Secretary (Technical Education) Ministry of HRD Pravin Prakash that there was no such move," the statement added.

KK Paul to be sworn as Mizoram Governor on 16 Sept

Aizawl, Sep 12 : Meghalaya Governor Krishan Kant Paul is likely to be sworn-in at the Aizawl Raj Bhavan on 16 September to take additional charge of Mizoram's governor, sources in the Raj Bhavan today said.

Paul was appointed to take additional charge of the Governor of Mizoram and Manipur after Manipur governor Vinod Kumar Duggal's resignation was accepted by the President Pranab Mukherjee today.

 Governor of Meghalaya, KK Paul. Image courtesy PIB
Governor of Meghalaya, KK Paul. Image courtesy PIB
Duggal, who took additional charge of Mizoram since 8 August last resigned on 27 August.
Mizoram had five governors during this year.

Vakkom Purushothaman resigned on 11 July after he was transferred to Nagaland from Mizoram by the BJP-led NDA government on 6 July.

After Purushotham resigned, Kamla Beniwal who was the governor of Gujarat was transferred to Mizoram. She was sacked as the Governor.

The Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) or the Mizo students federation on September eight faxed a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi protesting frequent transfer of Mizoram governors and urging the latter not to use the state as a dumping ground for governors unwanted by the Centre.

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