Posts Tagged ‘Guwahati’
Guwahati, Dec 10 (IANS) The winter session of the Assam assembly got off to a stormy start Monday with the opposition All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) demanding a discussion on the recent clashes in lower Assam and disrupting the house proceedings.
The problem started after AIDUF legislator Majibur Rahman alleged that the government had not followed the recent orders of Assam Governor J.B. Patnaik to confiscate illegal arms.
The party’s legislators disrupted proceedings in the question hour, forcing Speaker Pranab Gogoi to adjourn the house for 10 minutes.
Soon after the proceedings restarted, 18 AIUDF legislators pressed for an adjournment motion, which the speaker refused to allow.
Pandemonium prevailed for more than an hour as the AIUDF members alleged that illegal arms were in the hands of Bodo rebels and these should have been confiscated after the clashes in lower Assam which claimed more than 100 lives since July.
As the speaker refused to admit the adjournment motion, the AIUDF legislators staged a walkout and later announced they would boycott the next four days of the session.
Party leaders, however, later told reporters that a final decision on the proposed boycott of the assembly session would be taken at a meeting.
On behalf of the government, Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain said that the house was prepared for a discussion but the matter should be brought before it in accordance with the rules.
Guwahati, Dec 7 (IANS) A local court Friday convicted 11 of the total 16 accused of the infamous G.S. Road molestation case here and sentenced them to two years jail each. Four were acquitted due to lack of evidence while one accused was found to be a juvenile.
Pronouncing the verdict, Kamrup Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) S.P. Moitra sentenced each of the eleven convicts including prime accused Amarjyoti Kalita to two years rigorous imprisonment. A fine of Rs.3,000 was also slapped on each of them.
The verdict further mentioned that the period of imprisonment already undergone by the convicts during investigation and trial will be adjusted against their term.
The convicted include Puspendra Das, Sikandar Basfor, Dhanraj Basfor, Nabajyoti Baruah, Nabajyoti Deka, Deepak Deb, Rubul Ali, Deba Das, Rupkanta Kalita and Ghanasyham Kumar Malik, while the court acquitted local television channel journalist Gaurav Jyoti Neog, Hafizuddin, Diganta Basumatary and Jitumoni Deka due to lack of evidence.
Police had arrested a total of 16 people for their involvement in the infamous case July 9 that rocked the entire country. However, one of the accused was found to be a minor and his case was being heard in the Juvenile Justice Court.
All the accused were currently on bail.
Advcate Bhaskar Dev Konwar, who represented the 11 accused, said that they are not happy with the judgement and they would approach a higher court.
“We have submitted an application to the CJM as we are not satisfied with the judgement. Since we have the statutory right to appeal before the sessions court within 30 days, we have also approached the court to uphold the existing bail of the convicts during the appeal period,” Konwar said.
A group of men publicly molested and stripped a teenage girl outside a pub in Guwahati July 9 evening. The incident created a country-wide furore after the video clip of it was telecast and the visuals went viral on the internet.
Kalita, the main accused, remained absconding since July 9 but finally surrendered to Varanasi police in Uttar Pradesh July 23.
The government had constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by Superintendent of Police (Operations) Ranjan Bhuyan, to deal with the case. The SIT submitted a charge sheet Sep 4 listing the 16 as accused.
Guwahati, Dec 7 (IANS) Assam Governor J.B. Patnaik has suggested that the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) authorities rehabilitate the violence-affected people of the Bodoland Territorial Areas Districts (BTAD) on the basis of the voters’ list and not on the basis of land ownership.
Patnaik’s suggestion came at a meeting with Assam government officials and the BTC leadership at the Raj Bhavan here Thursday. He also emphasized the rehabilitation be completed within a specific time-frame.
Over 100 people died and close to five lakh people were displaced during the violence between the Bodos and Bengali speaking Muslim settlers that rocked the Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri districts since July this year.
Although some of the displaced people, others could not since they did not have land documents -considered a pre-requisite for the rehabilitation process.
“The voters’ list should be taken as the basis because every voter is supposed to be a citizen of the country and in a democracy, the people’s representatives are elected by the registered voters of the country.
“The BTC has also been the representative of the people of Bodoland,” said Patnaik, adding that denying voters their citizenship would mean neglecting the process of elected democracy.
Patnaik also mentioned that he was endowed with special powers under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution for the governance of such areas and suggested that the BTC should apprise him of the development and other issues regularly from time to time.
He further said that the BTC’s accounts should be properly maintained, audited by the accountant general and the reports placed before the legislature.
He also suggested immediate introduction of the panchayati system in BTC areas which was an essential part of democratic reforms so that the fruits of development could be enjoyed by the people at the grassroots.
Patnaik also observed that there was a deep sense of mistrust among the people in BTAD and urged peace panels be set up at the village level in order to eliminate such mistrust.
He also appreciated the dedicated services of the Gandhian workers in the period after the post violence and said that they should be encouraged to continue their mission till peace was achieved.
“Peace could not be restored by the government alone,” he said.
Guwahati, Dec 6 (IANS) A Maoist leader, who is on the most-wanted list in Chhattisgarh, was Thursday arrested in an Assam town, police said.
Anand Singh Kharwal alias Anandji, wanted in several cases in Chhattisgarh and carrying a bounty of Rs.5 lakh, was held in Tezpur in Sonitpur district, around 250 km from here.
“The Maoist leader is a big catch for us. Based on information, a police team carried out an operation in the town and arrested him,” Additional Director General of Assam Police (Special Operations Unit) Pallab Bhattacharjee told IANS.
He said Assam Police’s Special Operation Unit was interrogating Kharwal.
He said they had informed Chattisgarh Police about the arrest.
“We were told that there is a bounty of Rs.5 lakh on Anandji,” said Bhattacharjee.
Although Left Wing Extremism is a recent phenomenon in Assam, Sonitpur is one of the seven districts where Maoist activities are growing.
Guwahati, Dec 5 (IANS) Militant group Ulfa Wednesday said it will launch an agitation against the union government for allegedly insulting Assam by calling the 13th century Ahom ruler Sukapha as a “foreigner”.
The Ulfa statement comes barely days after the union government refused to include a Assam cultural tableau in the Jan 26 Republic Day parade that proposed to highlight the arrival of Sukapha, considered the father of modern Assam, into the state.
“This is another example of the government’s attitude towards Assam. To call Sukapha a foreigner is the ultimate insult to Assam,” the statement said.
“We will launch a series of programmes against this insult after the Magh Bihu (the festival starts mid-January),” it said.
Assam’s cultural affairs department, in its proposal for inclusion of the tableau in the parade, had erroneously mentioned Sukapha as a conqueror and not as Ahom ruler. The proposal was rejected during a screening and the Ahom ruler was termed a “foreigner”.
Guwahati, Dec 4 (IANS) A one-horned rhino was shot dead by suspected paochers in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park Monday night, forest officials said Tuesday. The killers, however, failed to take away the rare animal’s horn.
Park director N.K. Vasu said the poachers could not chop off the horn and fled the area after forest guards retaliated.
“Last night, there were reports of firing from the Burhapahar range. Our forces launched an operation against the poachers. They had hit the rhino and killed it but could not take away its horn,” he said.
Vasu said cartridges of the AK series of rifles and 303 ammunition was recovered from the site.
As many as 14 rhinos have been killed till date this year in the park, located around 240 km from here.
“There have been continuous attempts to kill rhinos. Our staffs and security forces have been working hard to prevent this,” said Vasu.
He said joint operations by forest officials and police had led to arrest of over 50 poachers in three months.
He said about 235 security personnel, including those from the Central Reserve Police Force and the Assam Forest Protection Force, have been deployed in the park.
Guwahati, Dec 3 (IANS) Listing the steps his government have taken to curb infiltration from Bangladesh, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Monday asserted he had raised the issue with the neighbouring country’s leaders during his visit to Dhaka last year.
He also sought to refute reports that he had said there were no Bangladeshis in Assam.
“My statement has been misinterpreted. I have never denied the presence of illegal immigrants in the state. If that would have been the case, my government would not have brought out the White Paper on foreigners’ issue,” Gogoi said in a statement issued here.
“The White Paper is a testimony to the fact that our government is committed towards the influx issue,” he added.
Some local newspapers and a television channel Sunday reported that Gogoi had made the remark while addressing a public rally at Juria in Nagaon.
Gogoi said his government had taken a slew of initiatives to strengthen the machinery for detection and deportation by setting up river police stations to prevent infiltration through riverine routes, increasing the number of foreigners’ tribunals, installing floodlights, construction of barbed wire fencing and border roads, setting up detention centres, updating the national register of citizens, among others.
He said he had also taken up the issue of increasing the number of judges in the foreigners’ tribunals to expedite the pending cases with the central government.
The chief minister challenged the statement Saturday by a visiting delegation of parliamentarians from Bangladesh, who not only said that there is no influx from Bangladeshi post 1971 but also blamed the Indian government for not officially taking up the issue with Dhaka.
Gogoi said he had raised the issue with the 12-member, all-party Bangladeshi delegation.
“I apprised them about the fact that the influx problem has all along been there and there was a prolonged agitation which eventually culminated in the signing of the Assam Accord. However, the influx is on the decline. I also conveyed to them that my government is committed towards detecting and deporting those who came after March 25, 1971 as per the Assam Accord.”
Gogoi said he even took up the issue of influx with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during his visit to Dhaka with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh September 2011.
Guwahati, Dec 1 (IANS) A 12-member delegation of Bangladeshi MPs Saturday blamed the Indian government for not taking up with Dhaka the issue of illegal migration from the country to Assam and other northeast India states.
The statement by the visiting delegation of Bangladeshi parliamentarians at a press conference here assumes significance at a time when protests are on across the state over the issue of illegal infiltration from Bangladesh and the fact that the neighbouring country often refuses to accept the illegal immigrants after they are pushed back by India.
The delegation of MPs from different political parties added that Dhaka would never endorse illegal immigration.
“We will never accept illegal migration. In fact, the word itself is illegal,” Toffail Ahmed of the Awami League said. He added: “We will examine the issue if India takes it up with us”.
The delegation, however, said that the issue of illegal immigration would never affect the bilateral relation between the two countries.
“Common border management’ would help solve the problem of illegal migration,” said M.K. Anwar, a member of the delegation and a member of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
The delegation said Bangladesh also touched upon the issue of northeastern insurgents using the Bangladeshi soil and said that the country wouldn’t allow its soil to be used by the militants of India’s northeast.
“Our prime minister (Sheikh Hasina) made a commitment to India and she has fulfilled it,” Anwar said.
“Bangladesh has taken a very strong stand against the insurgents. (After the crackdown by Dhaka), there is currently not a single militant of the northeast in Bangladesh,” he said and added that discussions were on as regard the issue of the extradition of arrested United Liberation Front of Asom leader Anup Chetia.
The delegation said issues such as Teesta water sharing and the Tipaimukh dam could be resolved through bilateral negotiations.
Earlier in the day, members of the delegation visited the memorial of legendary singer-composer Bhupen Hazarika and paid their homage. The team would meet Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Sunday before flying back to Dhaka the next day.
Guwahati, Dec 1 (IANS) The central government is likely to declare two districts of Assam as Maoist-affected, making them eligible for special benefits, Rural Development Jairam Ramesh said Saturday.
“Dibrugarh and Tinsukia may join the list of (such) districts as the ministry has moved a proposal to the Planning Commission,” Raman told the media. “We expect an announcement soon.”
Ramesh added: “There are intelligence reports that Maoist activities are on the rise in the two districts.”
Dibrugarh and Tinsukia will receive a package of Rs.30 crore each annually for developmental activities under the Planning Commission’s Integrated Action Plan (IAP).
Currently, 82 districts in the country are covered under the plan.
Ramesh’s statement assumes significance as Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has taken up the issue of Maoist activities in Assam with Prime Minister Monmohan Singh, who is an MP from the state.
During Manmohan Singh’s visit to Assam in April, Gogoi asked him to include seven districts under IAP.
The state government has asked deputy commissioners of the seven districts to implement more developmental schemes to contain the spread of Maoists.
Ramesh said the central cabinet had approved a plan to reduce household density criteria of 500 to 250 for construction of roads in hilly and tribal areas of the northeastern region.
He said the government had built 13,000 km of rural roads in the northeast in 11 years at a cost of Rs.7,100 crore and was likely to clear proposals for another 4,500 km of roads this fiscal.
Guwahati, Nov 30 (IANS) With the troubled Kokrajhar district limping back to normalcy, the All Bodo Students’ Union (Absu) has requested the state government to take immediate steps for ensuring protection of land and other civil rights to the people in Bodoland Territorial Areas Districts (BTAD).
ABSU president Promod Boro said that competitions over scarce resources are the main reasons behind the current political unrest in the BTAD and the government should take immediate steps to discuss, negotiate and resolve pending political problems to ensure protection of land and other civil rights to the people.
The students’ organisation recently held a national seminar on ‘Conflict in Bodoland: issue of influx and land alienation in Assam; Problems and perspective’ in New Delhi and came out with a set of 12-point recommendations. The suggestions will be handed over to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, other central government representatives, heads of all political parties and MPs from the northeast.
Three districts of Assam – Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri – witnessed their worst-ever violence between the Bodos and Bengali-speaking Muslims in July-August this year, leaving over 100 people dead and rendering over four lakh people homeless.
The violence erupted again earlier this month in Kokrajhar and spread to neighbouring Baksa district, killing 11 people, forcing the government to deploy the army and impose indefinite curfew for many days. The situation has, however, improved now and the curfew lifted for last few days.
Boro said he hoped the central government leadership will hold serious discussions on influx and protection of tribal lands in BTAD in parliament to chalk out ways and means to settle the problems in this regard.
“The issue of illegal influx should be considered as a national issue and the process to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) should be completed before December 2013,” he said.
Boro also appealed to the government to implement the existing laws, especially the Chapter X of the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation Act, 1886, for protection of tribal belts and blocks across the state and also to initiate legal action against those who had violated the law.
The ABSU, in the drafted recommendations, also mentioned issuance of short term work permits (work visas) to those who seek to enter the northeastern states from Bangladesh and other countries, and said this would not only help prevent illegal migration from the neighbouring countries but also document all cross-border movements.
Guwahati, Nov 28 (IANS) The anti−dam stir in Assam gained momentum Wednesday with activists blocking highways and burning effigies of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi after a fresh move was made to carry equipment to a site which, activists say, would impact downstream areas.
The protests were spurred following National Hydroelectric Power Corporation’s (NHPC) move to carry accessories to Lower Subansiri Hydro Power Project at Gerukamukh.
Activists from All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) −− a group opposed to mega dam −− blocked highways and held agitations in Dhubri, Bongaigaon, Lakhimpur and Dhemaji districts.
The two organisations also burnt effigies of Gogoi in all four districts and said that more agitations would follow.
Opposition parties in Assam −− the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) −− also seem to be chalking out strategies to oppose the NHPC’s move ahead of the forthcoming session of the assembly scheduled Dec 1.
AGP publicity secretary Manoj Saikia accused Gogoi of hatching a conspiracy to secretly carry the equipment to the Lower Subansiri Hydro Power Project.
“The Assam government and the central government had assured that construction work of the 2,000 MW hydro power project would be stopped till various organisations opposing the construction come to a consensus,” Saikia said.
The government had become a party to the mega dam lobby despite knowing that these dams might cause destruction in downstream areas, Saikia said.
The construction of the Lower Subansiri power project was suspended for several months due to opposition by the KMSS and other pressure groups on the ground that the project would have an adverse downstream impact on lives and environment.
According to reports, two barges −− M.V. Jal Taranga and M.V. Tidal Waves −− carrying turbines for the project have reached Dhubri.
The two barges left Kolkata dock Nov 7 and are bound for Pandu Port in Guwahati for the accessories’ onward transportation to Gerukamukh.
Guwahati, Nov 28 (IANS) The banned United Liberation Front of Asom’s (ULFA) protest day in the state passed off peacefully Wednesday, as authorities stepped up security across the region, an official said.
The state government had put the forces on alert for the past few days anticipating an attempt by the banned outfit to carry out subversive activities to mark its protest day, the official said.
The outfit observes Nov 28 as protest day against the launching of first ever military operation − ‘Operation Bajrang’ − against the militant outfit in Assam 22 years ago on the night of Nov 27, 1990.
ULFA’s newly appointed chairman Dr.Abhizeet Asom in his speech to mark the protest day and mailed to media Wednesday expressed firm commitment of the outfit to “defend the rights of Assamese people until restoration of sovereignty” in Assam.
“It is heartening to appreciate that people of Assam have not lost faith on my organisation as reflected by streams of boys and girls volunteering to join ULFA in the last 12 months,” claimed the organisation’s new chairman.
At present there are two factions of the outfit. One is led by its former chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and some other senior leaders, who are continuing peace talks with the government of India. The other faction led by its commander−in−chief Paresh Baruah alias Paresh Asom is still continuing with the armed struggle for a ‘sovereign’ Assam. Baruah is reported to be hiding somewhere in northern Myanmar.