Jorhat, Oct. 3: Poachers killed a rhino at Kaziranga National Park in the wee hours today but failed to take away the horn because of prompt action by the forest guards.

Forest guards and the poachers also engaged in a fierce gun-battle but the group of poachers managed to escape under cover of darkness.

The carcass of the rhino was found near Sarali forest camp under Burapahar range of the national park.

Empty cartridges of AK-47 rifles were recovered from the encounter site.

Official sources said forest guards rushed to the area after hearing a gunshot from near Sarali camp and accosted the group of poachers.

The carcass of the male rhino was recovered later. “The poachers failed to take away the horn because of prompt action by the forest guards,” a Kaziranga official said.



Imphal, Oct. 3: A group of citizens from Manipur valley today reached out to troubled Churachandpur town to share the grief of the relatives of the nine people who died during the ongoing agitation against the three bills passed by the state Assembly.

The 12-member delegation of the Citizens Committee Manipur paid customary respect to those who died during the agitation.

The delegation, headed by former chief minister and chairman of the citizens’ committee Radhabinod Koijam, presented sugar, milk, shawls and financial assistance to the relatives of those who died, according to customary practice to show respect to the victims.

The citizens’ committee is the first organisation from the valley to reach out to Churachandpur town to condole the deaths after trouble broke out in the town on August 31 night, hours after Manipur Assembly passed the Protection of Manipur People Bill, Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill and Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment Bill).

Nine persons died during the three days of violent agitation and many were injured.

The agitation against the bills transformed into a movement for creation of a separate administration for the five hill districts.

The town shut down after 1pm today as a part of the ongoing agitation.

The delegation visited the office of the Joint Philanthropic Organisation, a conglomerate of citizen organisations of Churachandpur district, located at the town’s hospital and interacted with the leaders of the philanthropic organisation.

The delegation handed over milk, sugar, shawls and financial assistance to the relatives of the victims through the leaders of the organisation, which is taking care of the relatives of those who died and the injured.

A prayer session was also held for the departed souls.

“We came here today to show respect to the departed souls, to show sympathy to the people suffering in the town and also to appeal to the agitators to find a way to get the ongoing agitation resolved,” Koijam told the organisation.

Stating that the visit has nothing to do with politics and is meant only to show brotherly love, Koijam offered help to the people of the town in their efforts to restore normalcy in the area.

Citizens of Manipur Valley concerned with the development at Churachandpur town formed the citizens’ committee on September 20 with the motto “living together, progressing together and maintaining harmony”.

Today’s visit was the first effort of the committee for maintaining a cordial relationship between the various communities living in Manipur.

Mangcha Thangjom, convener of the philanthropic organisation, welcomed the visit by the delegation and said he was happy with the gestures of the valley committee.

By Khelen Thokchom


Kokrajhar, Oct. 3: Mission Tejaswee – Anaemia Free Assam was launched in Kokrajhar today at a ceremonial programme with vows to prevent anaemia.

Bodoland Territorial Council principal secretary Anupam Roy attended the programme and declared the mission open.

The mission includes a set of activities to be implemented till October 31 for the prevention and treatment of anaemia across the state.

Kokrajhar health joint director J.C. Boro said the mission is to ensure high coverage of iron-folic acid administration in pregnant women and efforts to increase the administration and compliance of iron-folic acid syrup among children aged six-60 months.

Roy said it is a way to increase awareness and knowledge on prevention and treatment of anaemia and also to reduce its incidence in the state.

Niranjan Baruah, assistant deputy commissioner (health) addressed the participants and said anaemia is a serious public health problem among pregnant women, infants, young children and adolescents.

Five militants belonging to Muslim Tiger Force of Assam were apprehended from Guwabari area in Kokrajhar district this morning.

Five arrested: Police sources said based on “secret information”, a joint operation was launched by Kokrajhar police and the army that apprehended five members of the Muslim Tiger Force.

The arrested rebels have been identified as Aminur Islam, Nijam Ali, Anirudin Mondol, Najir Hussain, Nur Hussain, all residents of Kamalsingh Kurshakati village in the district.

Five countrymade rifles, 10 rounds of live ammunition of 7.62mm pistol and other documents were recovered from them.

By Our Correspondent


Villagers block the tracks at Dautuhaja railway station. Telegraph picture

Haflong, Oct. 3: Altogether 245 families of 14 villages of Dautuhaja constituency under Maibang police in Dima Hasao district of Assam have threatened to block rail tracks at Dautuhaja station between Maibang and Mahur on the Lumding-Silchar stretch if compensation is not paid for their land accrued and damaged by the railways for broad gauge conversion.

The blockade started yesterday and continued today also.

“We will continue the blockade till we do not get compensation,” a villager said.

A civil suit was filed by 14 gaonburahs (village heads) of the affected area on June 6, 2005, before the regional court in Haflong which was set up under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

On December 10, 2013 the court ordered the Northeast Frontier Railway to pay nearly Rs 34 crore to the affected people within a period of 30 days failing which the railways will have to bear the cost together with interest at 9 per cent per day from the date of the order.

The railway authorities then filed a writ petition (civil) before Gauhati High Court. The court registered a case (No. 761/2014).

Justice B.K. Sharma, after hearing both sides on July 24 this year, directed the railways to release the compensation amount to the affected villagers.

“The authorities of the Northeast Frontier Railway have caused heavy and extensive damage to the property of the tribal people during the course of implementing of the project for broad gauge conversion. But the railways has not yet paid a single penny to us; we will not withdraw our agitation till we do not get compensation. We have been fighting for our right for the last 10 years,” Haichungbe Zeme, a villager, said.

Bipul Langthasa, a gaonburah of N. Simplangdisa village, said: “Our fertile land has been accrued or damaged by the railway authorities; our paddy fields were damaged by random earth-cutting. Dumping of earth has also affected the villagers. We have written to all the higher authorities in the district and also to the Prime Minister. Without compensation we will not withdraw the blockade.”

According to reports, the general manager of the NF Railway, R.K. Gupta, told reporters in Guwahati on September 28 that there are chances of beginning passenger services on the section from the first week of November.

By Samsul Alam


Guwahati, Oct. 3: A 44-year-old cancer patient from Hailakandi district was found dead in a lodge here at Ganesguri last night. Police suspect it to be a suicide.

Sources at Dispur police station said the body of Nizamuddin Barbhuiya was found hanging from the ceiling of room number 30 of AR Lodge at Ganeshguri, where he was staying for the past two days. Police said he had come to the city for treatment.

“In our preliminary investigation, we found CT scan reports of the victim that indicated that he had lung cancer. We are suspecting that he might have committed suicide,” police said.

Barbhuiya was a teacher of Fayetbon ME School at Algapur in Hailakandi district in Barak Valley, 400km from here.

In another incident, a 17-year-old girl reportedly committed suicide today in the city’s Satgaon area.

The police said tenants of her rented house rushed her to GNRC Hospital after she was found hanging from the ceiling of her room last night. The doctors at the hospital, however, found her dead.

Her body was handed over to the police by the hospital this morning. She was a student of Class XI in a city college.

“We received a note purportedly written by her where it was written that no one is responsible for the incident. We have sent the letter for forensic examination to ascertain whether it was written by her,” police said.

“However, it is not yet clear on why she had taken the extreme step. So, we are still investigating in the case,” said the investigating officer at Dispur police station RB Baniya.

The body has been send to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) for autopsy, police said.



Leaders of the pressure groups speak to villagers in Garo hills on their polling rights and the need to

keep ‘outsiders’ at bay

Shillong, Oct. 3: Pressure groups in the Garo hills region of Meghalaya have alleged that names of “encroachers and illegal immigrants” have found their way into the electoral rolls for the ensuing Garo Hills Autonomous District Council elections.

They said such an eventuality was “illegal” and that they should not be allowed to participate in the polls.

On October 12, voters in the five administrative districts in 29 constituencies of the Garo hills will elect their representatives to the district council.

The Garo Students’ Union, Federation of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo People, Federation for A’chik Freedom, A’chik Youth Welfare Organisation and the Association for Democracy and Empowerment are touring different parts of the region to register their protests against inclusion of non-indigenous people in the voter list.

These groups have been holding meetings to “mobilise and involve” the indigenous people regarding their rights to protect and preserve customary laws and traditions under the Sixth Schedule and the Assam and Meghalaya Autonomous Districts (Constitution of District Councils) Rules, 1951.

The groups have pointed out that as per one rule, “A person shall not be deemed to have taken up his fixed habitation in the district merely by the reason of his having resided therein in connection with his civil or military service or in exercise of any profession or calling.”

They have also alleged that in the plains belts of West Garo Hills, there are several “dual voters”. These voters, they alleged, cast their votes in both Assam and Meghalaya. “If the dual voters are also included in the electoral rolls for the district council, then the returning officers have not diligently processed the electoral rolls,” GSU president Tengsak G. Momin said in a statement issued together with all the other groups.

He alleged that several people from neighbouring Bangladesh, who live in the Garo hills, had first entered Assam to get valid documents and then presented themselves as Indian citizens.

“Several plots of land belonging to the Garos are being encroached upon, especially in Monabari, Ujjengre, Chibinang, Boldamgre, Jongkipara and other areas. Most of these encroachers who are illegal immigrants have entered their names in the electoral rolls. Have they been thoroughly checked? The answer is most probably a ‘no’,” Momin alleged.

He demanded that the “dual voters, illegal immigrants, land encroachers and squatters” must not be allowed to exercise voting rights in Meghalaya because their eligibility to vote “is in question”.

“Let alone the question of their eligibility to vote in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, it is downright illegal to allow them to participate in elections to a district council which is a protected enclave that belongs only to the tribals. The electoral rolls of an Assembly election are being used as the electoral rolls of the district council,” Momin said.

He said everyone “must understand” that the spirit of the Sixth Schedule is “entirely focussed” on protecting tribal areas and interests by allowing self-governance through constitutional institutions at the district or regional level.

“These institutions are entrusted with the twin tasks of protecting tribal cultures and customs and undertake development tasks,” Momin added.

By Andrew W. Lyngdoh


Borjhar, Oct. 3: The Kamrup district administration has prohibited the traditional boat race in the district for a month, following two boat mishaps in the Kulsi river in Champupara.

The district administration officials said Section 144 CrPC had been issued in this regard, prohibiting boat race as a safety measure to prevent such mishaps.

Sources said the prohibition would be effective this entire month.

A private mechanised country boat capsized on September 28 in the Kolohi at Champupara under Chaygaon constituency in south Kamrup at 12.30pm. The boat was plying from Laruajan to Gumi. Though the district administration could not specify the number of passengers on board, but eyewitnesses said the boat was overloaded.

Kamrup deputy commissioner Vinod Seshan today said only boat races had been prohibited in the district; there was no ban on travelling by boat. Boat is the only mode of communication for many, mostly those who live in riverine areas in the district.

Seshan said a police checkpost would be set up at Champupara to monitor the safe movement of boats.

Joint secretary of All Assam Traditional Sports and Dragon Boat Racing Association Shukumar Medhi expressed concern over the administration’s order.

“There has been no incidence of loss of human life in the history of boat race in south Kamrup. Also, the competitors, who take part in such sporting events, are very good swimmers. Instead of taking a knee-jerk decision to prohibit the race, the administration should take the initiative to improve the safety measures for those who use boats for everyday commuting,” Medhi said.

In October, during the time of several autumnal festivals like Durga Puja and Lakshmi Puja, traditional boat races are organised at different places, including Kukurmara, Kulshi, Palashbari, Gumi, Chhaygaon, Kordoiguri and Bortari in Kamrup district. Similar competitions are also held on the Kolohi and the Brahmaputra.

By Kishore Talukdar


Some of the teachers after their training in Guwahati on Saturday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, Oct. 3: The demand for trained kindergarten teachers has shot up as pre-schools continue to mushroom in the city.

However, with no government institution offering a nursery teachers’ training programme, private entrepreneurs are pitching in to meet the growing requirement.

Indian Skills Academy of Guwahati, a skills development and corporate training house, in association with Presentation Kindergarten School of Chenikuthi here, stepped forward to organise a two-day persona enhancement workshop for kindergarten teachers today.

The training encapsulated modules like parent management, grooming of teachers, effective listening, and structure of speech, group cohesiveness, conflict management and stress management, along with yoga and meditation techniques.

“All these help a teacher to augment her inner skills of handling a toddler and hone her skills a step ahead to take the responsibility to craft an ideal future citizen,” corporate trainer and managing director of Indian Skills Academy Anjan Chowdhury said.

Elated by organising such a workshop, Choudhury said, “Amid my vivid 21 years of training experience, where I trained several corporate houses that included state governments and central government organisations and college lecturers, among others, we never thought of thanking our roots, the pre-school teachers. It’s better late than never. I thought to do this right away and therefore, planned this workshop.”

A group of teachers of Presentation Kindergarten School, spearheaded by principal Jenny Brooks attended the workshop today. More teachers from other schools are likely to participate in the workshop tomorrow.

“It is very unique. The modules impressed me. I sincerely look forward to more such initiatives. I strongly believe that a parent-orientation programme of such a kind needs to be conceptualised,” Brooks said.

According to Choudhury, perhaps kindergarten teachers are much more attractive than moms who sing, dance, play, eat and become good friends with a crying child who refuses to remain in schools under any circumstances.

“But there has been no tribute in his latter years to those who caught hold of our hands to introduce us to alphabets, wear a bib and eat, teach us toilet habits, wishing, greeting and other things that helped to make us a complete human being. The workshop is a tribute to these teachers and help them further hone their skills to meet future challenges,” he said.



Agartala, Oct. 3: The regional political parties are mulling coming together on a single platform to challenge the ruling Left Front ahead of elections to 587 village committees in the Autonomous District Council areas in February next year.

General secretary of the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT) Jagadish Debbarma said today his party would seek to bring together all anti-Left forces for the polls to the village committees to put up a strong challenge to the CPM. Asked whether his party would go for an alliance with its regional rival, the Indigenous People’s Front of Twipra (IPFT), he said “all options are open and no one is untouchable in politics”. IPFT president Narendra Debbarma had earlier said, “In order to put up a strong challenge to the CPM, we are ready for alliance with other parties.”

The Congress, on the other hand, is trying to revive its tribal front organisation by removing Bimal Chakma from the post of its Scheduled Tribes (ST) cell and installing Sachitra Debbarma, a retired schoolteacher. Sachitra had contested the Lok Sabha polls as a Congress candidate and is known to be good organiser.

“For the village committee polls, we need a strong organisational structure. That is why Sachitra has been appointed as president of the ST cell,” PCC president Birjit Sinha said. He, however, refused to answer a question on whether the Congress would ally with the regional parties. “The question of alliance will be considered by the high command.”

The BJP is yet to emerge as a viable force in the council areas though state BJP president Sudheendra Dasgupta said the “door is open” for parties who believe in “nationalist ideals”. He said no regional party has approached them yet. The state election commission has delimited 23 of the 58 blocks falling under the council raising the number of village committees from 527 to 587.

By Our Special Correspondent


Leaders of the forum at the news conference in Guwahati on Saturday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, Oct. 3: At least 14 Sahitya Sabhas, literary bodies of indigenous communities in Assam, today formed a forum for a joint agitation against the Centre’s recent notification allowing “minorities” from Bangladesh and Pakistan to stay in India without valid documents and for fighting “Muslim jihadis, among others.

The United Forum for Indigenous People of Assam was constituted at a meeting of the Sahitya Sabhas here today.

The chief convener of the forum, Kamala Kanta Mushahary, said they would begin the joint agitation with a dharna in front of the Raj Bhavan here on October 27 as the NDA government’s notification was “unacceptable” and “detrimental” to the interests and existence of the indigenous people of the state.

“We will launch a vigorous movement till the notification is withdrawn. We will not allow Assam to be used as a dumping ground for illegal migrants from Bangladesh and Pakistan who entered the state after March 24, 1971, irrespective of their religion. Through this notification, the BJP government is trying to give protection to thousands of Hindu Bangladeshi migrants illegally living in Assam,” he said. The Assam Accord, signed among the Centre, the Assam government and the All Assam Students’ Union following the Assam Agitation (1979-1985), had pledged to solve the foreigners problem. A tripartite meeting in 2005 had decided to update the National Register of Citizens, 1951, by including the names of all those who lived in the state till the midnight of March 24, 1971. The update is under way. The notification, which was issued on September 7 and allows minorities on “humanitarian ground” to live in India without valid documents, has left local organisations angry.

“We will invite literary bodies, student unions and non-political bodies of all indigenous groups to join us within two months and organise a massive rally in Guwahati. We expect one lakh indigenous people to participate in the rally to demand withdrawal of the notification,” forum chairman Dayananda Borgohain said. “Our movement may turn more vigorous than the historic Assam Agitation,” he added.

Mushahary said the forum would jointly fight “Muslim jihadi” groups. “The indigenous people are very worried over the activities of Muslim fundamentalists which came to light following recent arrests and busting of a training centre in Chirang district. We demand strong steps from the government to root out these groups,” Mushahary, who is also the general secretary of Bodo Sahitya Sabha, said.

The forum has demanded a white paper from the Assam government on the number of Hindu and Muslim migrants from Bangladesh who entered Assam after March 24, 1971.

The forum office-bearers plan to urge local leaders of all parties in Assam to oppose the notification and the “anti-indigenous people” policies of the Centre.