21 November 2014

Manipur Erupts in Anger

Imphal, Nov 21 : Various student bodies and civil organizations are seething in anger over the killing of a Manipur student in the national capital and the attack on a state student in Bangalore.

Victim Zimram Kengo, a PhD scholar at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, was found murdered with his throat slit inside his rented room at Kotla Mubarakpur in South Delhi on Wednesday night. He hailed from the Naga-dominated Ukhrul district.

"This is not the first case of racial attacks on people from the northeast reported in mainland India, particularly New Delhi. We condemn such killings," Seth Shatsang, president of the All Naga Students' Association, Manipur (ANSAM) said. "How many bodies should be brought to Manipur from mainland India to wake up the state government?" said Seth Satsang. The culprits should be awarded befitting punishment following the law of the land, he said, while urging the Centre to take stringent measures to ensure such racial attacks on the NE people are stopped at once. "It is time, rather it's too late, for the state government to press the Centre to take steps for curbing such shameful crimes, he added.

In Bangalore, a 22-year old student from Manipur suffered head injuries when he was attacked by three men here on Wednesday night. Samuel, who is admitted to a hospital, said the assailants attacked him as they found his physical features different from them. Samuel, on his way home, was teased by three strangers. Ignoring the men, he moved ahead but they came from behind and attacked him.

Various other civil society groups joined voices to urge the Centre for framing a specific policy to end racial discrimination against NE people in different cities. Wednesday's incident came barely four months after miscreants thrashed to death a 30-year-old Shaloni from Tungjoy village in Manipur's Senapati district.

M C Mary Kom Receives Rs 5 Lakh For Boxing Academy

Star Indian woman boxer M C Mary Kom today received Rs 5 lakh for setting up a boxing academy in her native state of Manipur from a private insurance company through its initiative "Need for Champions".

The London Olympic Games bronze medal winner received the cheque with her husband Onler and thanked "Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance" for supporting her career from early on through its philanthropic arm - Edelgive.

"Sponsors' support is very important for getting medals and producing champions. Through my academy I will be trying to not only produce boxers from Manipur but from all over India," said the five-time world champion who won the 51kg Asian Games gold medal in Incheon last month.

"After seven years women's boxing is becoming tougher with more and more competition at the Olympic Games, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games," said the Manipur star. "Women's boxing is being recognised in the country because of my hard work, dedication and determination to the sport," she added.

Former India hockey captain Viren Rasquinha, who is the CEO of not-for-profit sports promotion organisation Olympic Gold Quest said that among the list of OGQ-supported athletes, the Manipur boxer "is most recognised".

Narendra Modi Wants Final Solution To Naga Imbroglio within 18 Months

By Manan Kumar

Thuingaleng Muivah and Isak Chishi Swu

New Delhi, Nov 21 : With his eyes set to have a peaceful Northeast to help expand trade with South Asia, prime minister Narendra Modi has instructed interlocutor R N Ravi to come out with a proposed settlement that could be a final solution to the simmering Naga issue.

Sources said, Ravi, former chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee and ex-special director of Intelligence Bureau, has been asked to try and clinch a solution preferably within a year to 18 months.

Unlike former governments, the emphasis this time is not on a resolution but on a solution which, means the Centre is approaching the issue with a hardened stand of pushing for a settlement on its own terms and putting the onus to accept the proposal on National Socialist Council of Nagalim -- Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM).

Getting rid of the baggage of previous UPA government during which the last interlocutor R S Pandey and before him Ajit Lal had worked hard in shaping up a proposed settlement, new interlocutor Ravi is expected to start the negotiation afresh to find out and lay down a new solution.

In an apparent indication to sound out Centre's tough bargaining policy, Modi has chosen not to meet the NSCN-IM top leaders -- Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah who are camping in Lutyen's Delhi, just a couple of kilometres from Prime Minister's house, for past since mid-September.

This is the first time that the "proud" leaders have waited for so long to meet the PM. The earlier PMs used to give them time rather promptly.

This change also indicates if the Modi government is trying to tell the rebel outfit that the solution would not hinge on a political dialogue but within the given administrative framework which would suggest a drop down for the NSCN-IM, considered to be most formidable in the Northeast.

However, it will also sound out a clear message in general to all the other insurgent outfits in the region that the government's stand would remain tough, sources said.

Modi is expected to discuss the issue with chief ministers of both Nagaland and Manipur during this visit to the Northeast in the end of this month.

A key component of Modi's talk would be how to establish peace between warring Manipur and Naga groups who are demanding autonomy of the state's Naga-dominated hill districts and tackle NSCN-IM that wants integration of the Naga areas under a single administrative umbrella.

Observers within the government say that the tough posturing by the Centre could find answers for a lasting peace in the Northeast that is necessary to take trade with ASEAN group of countries like Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and PDR Laos etc.

A peaceful northeast can help India reach its aim of increasing the bilateral trade with ASEAN to $ 100 billion by 2015 and to $ 2000 by 2022.

To take the trade to this level and beyond, Manipur can serve as a major gateway from border point of Moreh to Myanmar and beyond right up to the doorsteps of ASEAN countries.

"We are looking forward to conclusion of negotiations for an ASEAN-India Transit Transport Agreement by 2015. The Tamu-Kalewa-Kalemyo sector of the India - Myanmar – Thailand trilateral highway project is expected to complete in 2016 and will create a new dynamics of synergy of trade and cultural relations with South Asian countries," said an official of the ministry of external affairs.
20 November 2014

A Heady Mix of Northeast Football, Food & Music

By Siddharth Saxena

New Delhi, Nov 20 : This must be the season of Northeastern cultural assertion in the Capital. And not a moment too soon.

Close on the heels of the much attended North East Festival 2014, comes the North-East Tamchon football tournament, a little-known but yet strangely popular annual ritual here, the eighth edition of which kicked off earlier this week.

For the regular Northeasterner seeking some sense of identity away from home, football has often shown the way.

The antidote that delivers them from the discrimination and suspicion, sometimes violent, that confronts them on a daily basis on the 'mainland' as they call it, the sport can whip up a spontaneous sense of belonging which even their love for music possibly cannot match.

For starters, football remains faithful to old world idea of being easy to set up; it is cheaper and a less of a logis tical and organisational headache than a rock concert, swear the organisers. It was this premise that made the Tangkhul Naga Society Delhi, the event organisers, choose football over music when they first felt a need for a platform to showcase Northeastern identity in the Capital way back in 2006. Crucially, the event is named after RN Tamchon, ACP, Delhi Police who served between 2000-2003 and was looked upon by the community in the Capital.

The concept, no doubt, was also inspired by the scenes that unfolded at the 2004 Nationals hosted by Delhi, where a hitherto indifferent Capital got a first-hand taste of what Northeastern fanaticism and love for football was like. Students, salesmen and office-goers by the thousands would throng to the Ambedkar Stadium to see Manipur play, screaming their support and playing their music in the stands. Such an outpouring of support from the region had never been previously seen in the Capital and it gave rise to the distinct possibility of a group's identity and belonging that had not been manifest in this fashion through a sport.

Somewhere, the Tamchon tournament continues to do the same. The idea of inviting non-league teams representing communities and tribes from the region states caught on. Last season, a good 20,000 strong crowd turned up to see Hmar FC a Mizo-Manipur combine win the title and the organisers hope a greater number will turn out at the Nov 29 final this time.

For now, they have put a cap on requests for participation to 16 teams because the size of the event is getting out of hand.

With a shoestring budget of Rs 18 lakh, the society which organises the event purely through volunteers, fears that any more would get out of hand.

At this year's opening ceremony, a good couple of thousand had already taken the stands in the late November afternoon, breathlessly expectant of the events to follow.

Almost as if on cue, food stalls cropped up in the second tier of the Stadium momos by the bucketful, brimful containers of drippingly tempting pork curry, fried fish and an assortment of evening snacks were whipped up by smiling matronly women who knew what they had to do.

And if there's football and food, how could full-throated singing be far away. Schoolgirl Chonchon Varah belted out a hair-raising rendition of Whitney Houston's One Moment in Time, before a five-tribe choir group gave us the tournament's theme song.

"This is what we do," sighed organising secretary Kharingpam Chahing, clearly wanting to chat more on the issue of race, discrimination, integration, safety... and football. He needn't have bothered. The impromptu festival scenes at the stadium was evidence enough.

25 Mizoram Gazetted Officers Have Vigilance Cases Against Them

Aizawl, Nov 20 : Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla on Wednesday said there are 25 gazetted officers working in the state government who have vigilance case against them.

Replying to a question from Lalrinawma of the Mizo National Front (MNF) in the Assembly, Lal Thanhawla said those having vigilance cases included a chief engineer of the public works department, director of a department, two executive engineers, two doctors and one state police service officer.

He also said 3,655 gazetted officers have submitted property returns to the state Vigilance Department. 

Smokie To Perform in Kohima

By H. Chishi

Kohima, Nov 20
: Once again the stage is set for world famous English band Smokie and Amercian guitarist Vinnie Moore to rock Kohima.

Smokie — a household name and all-time favourite band — will perform on December 3 at Indira Gandhi Stadium hockey ground and Vinnie Moore of legendary US rock band UFO will perform during the Hornbill International Rock contest on December 4 coinciding with the 10-day festival from December 1.

Smokie will also rock Shillong on December 5. The Living next door to Alice band will also visit the Hornbill Festival at Naga Heritage village, Kisama, on December 4 before departing for Shillong.

The band is on a worldwide tour and will perform in more than 50 venues next year.

Several hundreds of fans of Smokie and UFO from the neighbouring states of Manipur and Assam are also expected visit Kohima.

Smokie guys will belt out their all time favourites, Living next door to Alice, Lay back in the arms of someone, Don’t play your rock and roll, Babe it’s upto you, among others.

Moore will also be one of the judges of the Hornbill International Rock contest where several bands from the country and abroad will perform.

Before leaving Moore will also conduct a guitar workshop in Dimapur for Naga music lovers. “True rock legends are characterised by the fact that they not only have added several classics to the rock history, but that their musically output, after many years, still takes place at a constantly high level and there is always something new and fresh coming up. UFO meet all this criteria,” Moore said.

“I will definitely watch the performance of Smokie,” said a fan K.P. Angami.

The organisers of the show are making all effort to stage a well-mannered concert adding that security would be tight during the performances by Smokie and Vinnie Moore.

Blockade by Bodo Delays Trains in Assam

By Samudra Gupta Kashyap

Guwahati, Nov 20 : Several trains including the 12423 Dibrugarh-New Delhi Rajdhani Express were delayed following a sudden blockade of railway tracks by the Bodo People’s Coordination Peace Initiative of Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts at the Kokrajhar railway station today. The agitationists were demanding immediate release of NDFB founder and chairman Ranjan Daimary alias DR Nabla who is currently lodged in a jail here.

Northeast Frontier Railway sources said while the New Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express was delayed by about 40 minutes, three other major trains – 12345 Howrah-Guwahati Saraighat Express, 15909 Tinsukia-Lalgarh Avadh-Assam Express and 15471 Alipurduar-Kamakhya Inter-City Express – were delayed by more than four hours.

Other important trains that were disrupted included the Gaya-Kamakhya Express, Dibrugarh-Kolkata Express, Poorvottar Sampark Kranti Express, Guwahati-Trivandrum Express and Kamrup Express, NF Railway sources said. The blockade that began suddenly at 5 M today was however withdrawn at 9:45 AM.

This was the second consecutive day that trains were disrupted in Assam. As many as five trains were disrupted and delayed yesterday after the All Assam Tea Tribes Association resorted to a railway blockade for nearly three hours at Sarupathar station in Golaghat district.

The agitators were demanding adequate security for people living on the Assam-Nagaland border. Trains that were delayed included Dibrugarh-Rangiya Express, Jorhat-Guwahati Jan-Shatabdi Express and Lumding-Tinsukia Express.
19 November 2014

Mizoram Starts League For Basketball

Aizawl, Nov 19 : Just six months after a home-grown professional football league propelled Mizoram to the Santosh Trophy title, a similar platform is being used to try and popularise basketball.

The Mizoram Basketball Association (MBBA) signed an agreement on Tuesday with Zonet Cable TV Pvt Ltd to put in place a professionally-managed league that will start by mid-February, with club and player registrations to be completed within this year.

Under the agreement signed by MBBA president Chalrosanga and Zonet Director Vanneihtluanga, Zonet will invest Rs 20 lakh for the first five years to organize the Mizoram Super League, while the MBBA will handle technical aspects and foot any extra financial undertakings.

Lalnunpuia spearheaded the hugely popular Mizoram Premier League – the two-year old football league organized in association with the Mizoram Football Association.

He is also one of the brains behind the MSL. He said that the first season will open in mid-February and take place over 10 weeks. Like the MPL, the MSL will follow strict criteria for competing clubs, including financial contracts with all players and allowing clubs to recruit foreign players as well as players from other Indian states.

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