02 September 2014

Crimes Against Northeast Indians in Delhi up 270%

By Deeptiman Tiwary

New Delhi, Sep 2 : Though the government has repeatedly said that people from the northeast living in Delhi are safe and that there is no specific targeting of people from the region, government data paints a different picture.

According to the home ministry, in the past three years, crimes in which people from the northeastern states are victims have gone up by 270%.

The data gives credence to observations by the government-appointed M P Bezbaruah committee that people from the northeastern states are racially discriminated against in Delhi. The 11-member committee, formed after the fatal attack on Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Tania earlier this year, recently submitted its report to the government where it held that 86% of northeasterners living in Delhi had faced some sort of racial discrimination.

Between 2005 and 2013, close to two lakh people from the northeaster migrated to the Capital.

The home ministry data shows that crimes against people from the northeast states increased from 27 in 2011 to 73 in 2013. The crimes that witnessed the highest increase were on expected lines: molestation, rape and hurt. While molestation increased by 177% in the period, rape cases increased from one in 2011 to 17 in 2013.

Although the government claims that it has taken a series of steps to ensure safety of persons from northeastern states in Delhi, in a statement in Lok Sabha — minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju maintained that "it is not a fact people from north-eastern states are being ill-treated in different states of India including Delhi" and that attacks against them were "random" — the Bezbaruah committee has held otherwise.

It said in its report that people from the northeastern states faced more problems in Delhi than in other metros such as Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata. It also said that over two-thirds of women from northeast states had reported that they faced harassment in Delhi.

The government says a series of steps — which include regular police patrolling of colonies where people from northeastern states live as well as race and gender sensitization programmes — have been taken following the death of Tania to ensure the safety of people from the region in Delhi. They will hopefully bear fruit.

‘Fenced-out’ Tribals Yet To Shift To Mizoram

http://d30fl32nd2baj9.cloudfront.net/bangla-media/2013/02/28/bangladeshborder.jpg/ALTERNATES/w300/BangladeshBorder.jpgAizawl, Sep 2 : Despite instructions from the Indo-Bangla Border Fencing Compensation Demand Committee's (IBBFCDC), at least 450 families, mainly from Chakma and Bru communities, are yet to shift to the Mizoram side of the India-Bangladesh border.

IBBFCDC leaders said 450 families, who are living beyond the fence demarcating the border, had been ordered to relocate within the Indian territory. However, the families have not shifted, claiming they had not been able to shift as they have not received any compensation from the government.

"The contractors in charge of the border fencing delayed paying compensation," one of them said, adding that only those whose lands were damaged in the fencing process have been compensated.

Most of the affected people belonged to south Mizoram's Lunglei district and hail from Malsuri, Tablabangh, Bindasora, Silkur, Tipperaghat, Khojoysuri, Bandiasora and Nakuksora villages. Many families have lost their homes, kitchen gardens and cultivable land due to the 319-km-long India-Bangladesh border fence in the Mizoram sector.

UNC Plans agitation over deaths in police Crackdown

By Iboyaima Laithangbam

Imphal, Sep 2 : The dead bodies of two Tangkhuls who were killed in a police crackdown in Ukhrul district on Saturday were eventually buried at Tangkhul Nagalong ground on Monday after a mass condolence meeting there. It was attended by thousands of persons of the district and representatives from other Naga areas.

Meanwhile, a ban on all national projects in the state and vehicular movements was also announced. Besides, the meeting resolved not to accept Rs 5 lakh exgratia announced to each of the families.

A day long meeting was held at Tangkhul Nagalong ground at the district headquarters with the dead bodies kept there. L. Adani, the president of United Naga Council which has been spearheading agitations demanding alternative arrangements for the Nagas in Manipur said that all national projects in the state will be banned. Besides, no movement of vehicles shall be allowed in the Naga areas with effect from 6 a.m. on September 4. The bans shall continue till the union government intervenes to find out an amicable solution.

During the condolence meeting, it was resolved that the exgratia announced by the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh on Sunday in Imphal shall not be accepted. Both the victims were declared as martyrs. Both of them hailed from Tuinem village about 22 km away from the district headquarters. They were married and both the wives are at advanced stage of pregnancy.

Indications are that if there is no positive response from the government, indefinite economic blockade may be imposed against Manipur.
01 September 2014

Give Manipur its Life Back, And Irom Sharmila Her Freedom

Freedom fighter: Irom Sharmila is the most Gandhian figure of this generationBy Shiv Visvanathan


Often a phase, a body, a story of a person hangs like a question mark over a nation; stating things in a way which is unique.

When a young woman called Irom Sharmila decided to fast over a decade ago, the Indian state misread her acts.

They thought they would outlast her, out-think her, slander her, but every shed has a genius which can outwit a coercive state. Over 10 years, Irom Sharmila became a symbolic foil to Army rule, to a state which could not think beyond the Army for any act of policy.

Recently, the District and Sessions court Judge A. Guneswor Sharma ruled that Irom Sharmila could not be arrested because hers was not an act of suicide. Sharmila was fasting but she did not refuse forced feeding. The same judge released her only so that the state could arrest her again.


Normalcy

Reasons of state are more compulsive than reasons of humanity or judgment of law. A fragile woman threatened a nation state and the latter, like a Puglian dog does the predictable, re-arrests her before the people can sense her sense of freedom. Irom Sharmila is the most Gandhian figure of this generation. Like each Gandhian she is uniquely different. She does not weave, she does not spin, the only threats on her are the plastic tubes stuck into her. Her regimen is as rigorous as an ashram dweller, but her home is a hospitable bed guarded by security forces.

Yet there is a joy and laughter no security force can suppress. She openly claims that she is no martyr, no fundamentalist, dying to sacrifice her life, for her life is too precious for that. She wants AFSPA to end so she can marry the man she loves, engage in ordinary things which can make life so meaningful.

She claims she just wants to return to the normalcy of living and refuses to be a monument or a statue to some cause. All she is saying, simply like Simone Weil in Manipur, is: "I have no right to enjoy life when that normalcy, that dream of walking and living without constraint or fear is not available to my people."

She is right. AFSPA is a draconian band against normalcy, a way of freezing life, at 4pm. So that the Army and insurgence can take over Manipur by 6. At 4 you can sense the tension, shops start shutting down, watch woman packing the bundles because the streets have to be deserted at six. This is the obscenity Irom is protesting.

Once you unleash an Army against your own people , the Army gets brutalised and citizens become more vulnerable, democracy dies a ritual death every day, and Delhi does not even give it a footnote as it is obsessed with security. What we have here is an apolitical impasse between an Army that will not risk its soldiers without AFSPA, which gives the demonic powers, and a woman who claims that a people deserve the normalcy of life, livelihood and living.

Over 10 years since her fast began, the struggle of Irom Sharmila reflects a deep need for change in Manipur
Over 10 years since her fast began, the struggle of Irom Sharmila reflects a deep need for change in Manipur

One has to go beyond the frozen script. Politics needs the humility to admit it has emasculated the lives of people, not only torturing innocence but destroying the innocence of Manipur. To re-arrest her is the knee-jerk act of a knee-jerk society. India as a society and the BJP as a new regime has to realise first that AFSPA is not the only solution and secondly, it distances other solutions.

Tyranny as order is not an act of problem-solving and sensitive judges and intelligent officers have realised this. I am not quoting seditious documents but reading from the Justice Jeevan Reddy report which needs a second look and time-bound application.

We need peace, and we need to realise that the last thing India needs to do is to behave like Israel and Gaza strip. As a nation, we have to realise law and order is a loaded term. It can be insensitive for the security forces and yet it can also be a beginning of grumbling, but welcoming normalcy.

Today, AFSPA has almost become a frozen contract between the Army and insurgence to freeze politics. Irom's rearrest merely confirms this.

Let us realise that Narendra Modi cannot relate to SAARC till he renews the border areas in the North-east. The two cannot be isolated. To even think so is silly. This is a domain which will open further as a new railway line will be built across Manipur, all the way to Burma and Thailand.

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The government has to realise that it is not the middle class in Delhi that wants change. The people in Manipur also do. It needs the humanity which realises that the brutalisation of Manipuri students in South Delhi and devastation of the state may both come from the suppression of Manipur.

Many experts and Army officers will tell you over tea that, "these people are different. They don't understand democracy". Irom's fast is an answer to such illiteracy.

It is the simple wisdom of a woman telling the Army, telling the insurgence that there is a world of life and living beyond them. If that is sedition, let me call it the highest form of patriotism, a patriotism which is a toast to life and which is intensely life giving.

One realises that politics is the art of the possible. Army officers often confess that they can't send the bodies in without AFSPA. I realise that the Army is only the wing of the state. All Irom's fast is asking for is return to politics and to citizenship.

A continued state of emergency desecrates the society and democracy. And this we cannot allow. This is the content of her appeal. It's a prayer to return the normal everyday to Manipuri life.

The writer is a social science nomad

Cowards Against The Brave

By Garga Chatterjee

It is not accidental that there are four lions staring down at anyone who might take the Satyamev at face value.


 

Certain truths are always hidden from public attention. Hence, beyond the affected victims, they do not form a part of public memory. In the year 1966, when the Indian Air Force was bombing large parts of Mizoram, including the present capital city of Aizawl, many Mizos were desperately trying to seek refuge to save their life. The sanitised term “collateral damage” was not in vogue back then.
Those were not the days of precision bombing. That there is no such thing called precision bombing even now is evident from Gaza to Baghdad, where those who claim precision in targeting undesirables provide a rich harvest of dead non-combatants.

When the Mizos were getting bombed with the kind of discrimination and precision using incendiary bombs that only an Air Force raised on Gandhian ideology can provide, many of the bombed people must have had a lot of thoughts rushing through their heads. It is my suspicion that some of thoughts were not exactly ones of affection towards the Union of India.

Legally, sedition involves incitement of disaffection towards the state. It is not entirely impossible that some Mizo fathers and mothers incited their daughters and sons to be disaffected towards the powers that were bombing them. And in doing so, they became serious criminals under the law of the Indian Union’s land.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had famously proclaimed that affection for the state (the Union of India in the Mizo case) could not be manufactured or regulated by law. However it is quite possible to create a situation where the grandchildren of bombed people are made to turn out in smart saffron, white, and green uniforms for August 15 festivities in Aizawl.

School children under the watch of armed personnel seem to be a favourite setting for affection manufacturing activities. Smiling children. Happy nation. Waving flags. Zero sedition. No one is a bigger criminal than a state that uses its armed might against civilians it considers to be its own citizens. Incidentally, Mizoram shares a border with the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Some things don’t change – the name of the aggressor and the victim may change.

Like most black laws that an anxious nation-state uses to curb anything that tries to puncture its mythology and glorious creation story, the axe is typically used to shut up those who try to adhere to the official Hindustani slogan “Satyamev Jayate” (truth alone prevails). It is not accidental that there are four lions staring down at anyone who might want to take the Satyamev pronouncement at face value.

Very often, the lions go out to hunt in packs. Too many undesirable people, whose remains will never be found, know this well. That is how much of the instant justice for sedition is meted out. It is only when a relatively powerful person breaks the silence that the lions seem unsure what to do. They roar, but don’t bite.

Recently, there has been uproar against a member of the Indian Union parliament, and said member’s comments are said to have been “seditious.” Kalvakuntla Kavitha, a Telengana Rashtria Samithi member of parliament, allegedly said: “Jammu and Kashmir, and Telangana were both forcefully, and at the same time, annexed to the Indian Union. When I say I feel strongly, it’s because we were both separate countries, but were merged with the Indian Union after Independence. In 1947, we were not a part of India.”

Her father is the elected chief minister of Telengana, a newly established state whose contours resemble in a large way the Nizam of Hyderabad’s erstwhile dominion. Her father’s stature, her MP status, and the reading down of the sedition law in 1962 will ensure that no harm comes to her as far as the sedition case is concerned.

The hunted have always outnumbered the hunters, and anything that puts the focus back on the hunted expands liberty. There is no space for naiveté at the level of a parliamentarian, but even with its cynical calculation and political intent, whatever opening is provided, ought to be cherished and celebrated. Only rarely do the contradictions between the powerful come to the fore – when it comes to the origin myths of a nation-state like the Indian Union.

What is left unsaid in the slogan “truth alone prevails” is “when.” Does truth prevail by its own merit as if my magic, is it allowed to prevail strategically to earn points for openness so that more damaging truths can be suppressed?

Section 124(A) of the Indian penal code deals with sedition. Sedition is a law for the powerful against the powerless, of the anxious against the confident, of fiction against fact, of the rulebook against dreams, of the coward against the brave.

An anxious nation-state fears plebiscites. A humane state embraces the people’s will. People who expose origin myths as well as the crimes of the government under whose jurisdiction they live are typically targeted as seditious. They disrupt the long lullaby of the non-violent creation of India and Indians. To consider a nation-state and its political mythology holy is a slur to the sacred – the kind that predates all man-written books, laws, and constitutions.

We must all be fearful of lions because a beast that has tasted blood does not rest even when it is not in the jungle. The shrillness with which K Kavitha has been demonised only shows the weak and tense foundations of the India-making project. And she hasn’t even gone halfway down the path of the parliamentarian, the departed GG Swell, who showed bomb-covers in the Lok Sabha when patriotic tricoloured lions refused to own up to their aerial hunt in Mizoram. Lions love Section 124(A). As long as the hunter holds sway about the story of the hunt, sedition laws will remain. The browns are an unfortunate people.

Brus Demand Status Like Kashmiri Pandits

Agartala, Sep 1 : More than 30,000 displaced Reang/Bru tribal people from neighbouring Mizoram, sheltered in seven camps in North Tripura district, have demanded a status like Kashmiri Pandits or Tamil refugees.

The Mizo Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF), the only organisation of the inmates, submitted a 13-point charter of demands including the status like Kashmiri Pandits or Tamil refugees to a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) delegation led by its Additional Secretary Rajib Gauba when it visited the camps, MBDPF general secretary Bruno Mesa said.

Mesa said the inmates were living in “inhuman” conditions for the past 17 years since they trickled into the camps following ethnic clashes with the Mizos. “There is no school for the children. Though a few schools were being run by some NGOs, they closed down due to funds crunch. There is hardly any healthcare provision for the inmates. Infant mortality is high because there is no vaccine or nutrition for them,” Mesa alleged.

He said, since repatriation would not be possible soon, the living condition of the camp inmates should be improved and they should be given proper healthcare and opportunity for education.

For a permanent solution, the Bru people should be repatriated in their homeland in Mizoram with adequate land, compensation and proper security, Mesa said.

There are 30,289 people in the seven evacuee camps. The MHA team would submit its report to the Ministry by September 12.

12-hr Naga Bandh Peaceful in Manipur

By NGANGBAM INDRAKANTA SINGH


Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh and deputy chief minister Gaikhangam (left) visit the injured in Imphal on Sunday. Picture by UB Photos

Imphal, Sep 1: The 12-hour strike called by the All Naga Students’ Union, Manipur across Naga-inhabited areas of the state since last evening against the killing of two protesters in police firing at Ukhrul yesterday passed off peacefully.
The Manipur government announced ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the victims.
Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, who declared the ex gratia, also assured financial help to those injured in the police action and were undergoing treatment.
The chief minister, who visited the injured at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences this morning, said maintaining law and order was imperative to protect the lives and property of the people.
“Deployment of security forces and imposition of prohibitory orders are not to harass people. The security personnel deployed at Ukhrul have been instructed to ensure that such unfortunate incidents are not repeated. We are waiting for the post-mortem report to institute any inquiry into the incident,” he said.
The chief minister was accompanied by deputy chief minister and home minister Gaikhangam, Deputy Speaker Preshaw Shimray and health minister Phunjathang Tonsing.
Police resorted to firing after protesters at a rally allegedly turned violent and set two vehicles carrying police personnel on fire.
The rally was organised to protest against the deployment of security forces in the Naga-inahbited areas, particularly in Ukhrul district, by the state government “in utter disrespect of the Indo-Naga ceasefire”, state government’s “disrespect for the tripartite talks” between the Centre, state government and the United Naga Council on an alternative administrative arrangement, “which has progressed to a logical stage” and the state government’s policies that encroached upon the ancestral lands of the Nagas and other indigenous communities.
The victims were identified as Ramkashing Vashi and Mayopam Ramraor, both from Teinem village.
The situation in Ukhrul today remained tense and highly volatile.
The district administration has requisitioned army and Assam Rifles, which kept a tight vigil.
The UNC has submitted a memorandum to Prime Minster Narendra Modi asking for urgent intervention of the Centre on the situation of the Nagas in Manipur.
The memorandum stated that the state government was making all efforts to destabilise the Indo-Naga ceasefire through militarisation of Naga areas on the pretext of law and order and thereby prevent early settlement of the decades-old Indo-Naga issue.
The council has called upon the Naga people to be prepared for any eventuality.
29 August 2014

Manipur Governor V K Duggal Resigns, 9th Gov To Go After NDA Came To Power

New Delhi, Aug 29 : Asked whether he was asked to quit, 69-year-old Duggal said "I have resigned on my own accord".

Vinod Kumar Duggal on Thursday night resigned as Manipur Governor becoming the ninth governor appointed by the UPA regime to quit since the NDA Government came to power in May this year.

Duggal, who holds additional charge of Mizoram as well, arrived in Delhi and called on President Pranab Mukherjee where he handed over the resignation.

“I have submitted my resignation to the President,” Duggal, a former Union Home Secretary, said.
Asked whether he was asked to quit, 69-year-old Duggal, who became the Governor of the Northeastern state on December 31 last, said “I have resigned on my own accord”.

Duggal, who served as Home Secretary from 2005 to 2007, is the second Governor to have put in his papers this week.

Earlier, Sheila Dikshit resigned as Governor of Kerala on August 26.

With this, Duggal, as IAS officer of 1968 batch, becomes the ninth Governor to have resigned since the Narendra Modi government came to power on May 26.

Five UPA-appointed Governors — M K Narayanan (West Bengal), Ashwani Kumar (Nagaland), B L Joshi (UP), B V Wanchoo (Goa) and Shekhar Dutt (Chhattisgarh), have already resigned after being nudged by the NDA government.

V Purushothaman, the Governor of Mizoram, had resigned after he was transferred to Nagaland in July this year while Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan tendered his resignation on August 24 after he was shifted to Mizoram.

After the new Government assumed office, two Governors including 87-year-old Kamla Beniwal, who had a running battle with Modi when he was Gujarat Chief Minister when she was governor of the western state, were sacked.

Lt Governor of Puducherry Virendra Kataria, a former Congress leader, was also sacked.

Uttarakhand Governor Aziz Qureshi has challenged Centre’s moves to ease him out of office, bringing the controversy over removal of UPA-appointed Governors under judicial lens.

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