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Guwahati, June 23: Police arrested five ANLA rebels, including the outfit’s commander-in-chief Suber Sangma from the city today.

The police said two suspected linkmen of the outfit were also apprehended.

They said the accused were picked up in an operation conducted by the crime branch of city police at Guwahati railway station and Paltan Bazar.

Among the arrested were the outfit’s physical and drill instructors George Sangma alias Robert and Buttu Sangma and cadres Emprosh Arengh and Alanson Sangma.

The two linkmen were identified as Samir Kumar Rai and George Sangma.

A police source said George Sangma alias Robert, Alanson and Buttu had come from Hojai by Nagaland Express to meet the other cadres in Guwahati who had come from Goalpara in a Hyndai Santro bearing registration number AS-18D/0351.

“Samir was the driver of the car,” he said.

“During interrogation, the outfit’s commander-in-chief said the outfit has around 60 AK-series rifles, four M-16 rifles, 10 9mm pistols, 12 .32 revolvers and 15 grenades,” he said.

He said Hersing D’shira is the chairman of the outfit.

 
By A Staff Reporter

Source: www.telegraphindia.com

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Guwahati, June 23: The body of a 21-year-old woman was found with her throat slit at Noonmati here today in what is being suspected to be a case of sexual assault and murder.

Her partially clothed body fuelled suspicion of rape before murder.

Police, however, said they would wait for the autopsy report to confirm rape.

A police source said the victim, a college student , had left her house in the Noonmati police station area around noon for library, after which she is suspected to have been abducted and murdered.

Her body was recovered in a shrubbery around 2pm. The police have detained two youths in connection with the murder.

The source said the duo were friends of the victim and first to spot her body.

“We are questioning them to find out if they have any role in the crime. Since they are being questioned on the basis of suspicion and their involvement is not yet established, they have not been arrested,” the source said.

A case has been registered under Section 302 IPC at Noonmati police station and the post-mortem was conducted at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.

The murder has sparked tension in the area with family members and neighbours of the victim staging protests with her body demanding arrest of the culprits.

Deputy commissioner of police (central) Amitava Sinha visited the scene of crime and took stock of the investigation.

“Whether she was sexually assaulted before murder can only be confirmed after we receive the post-mortem report. An investigation is on to ascertain the motive,” Sinha said.

 
By A Staff Reporter

Source: www.telegraphindia.com

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The PCBA office in Guwahati. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, June 23: A study carried out by the Pollution Control Board Assam on the ambient air quality in the state over a seven-year period revealed that gaseous pollutants have remained in the low pollution category.

“According to the study, gaseous pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in all the 22 monitoring stations of the state were in the low pollution-level category, almost 50 per cent below the permissible limit,” Gokul Bhuyan, senior environmental engineer, PCBA, told The Telegraph today.

Six monitoring stations are in Kamrup metro district, three in Tinsukia, two each in Bongaigaon, Sivasagar and Cachar, and one each in Nalbari, Nagaon, Lakhimpur, Baksa, Golaghat, Dibrugarh and Sonitpur districts.

The pollution regulator had carried out the study between 2008 and 2014 under the National Air Monitoring Programme. The data were collected on monthly/quarterly/half-year basis depending on the anticipated pollution fluctuations at each station.

“In terms of two other pollutants, the study said suspended particulate matter (SPM) and respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) in Kamrup metro were more in the ‘critical-pollution level category’ than in the 11 other districts,” Bhuyan said.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the pollution level in a residential area is said to be low when the gaseous pollutants and RSPM are between 0 and 30 micro gram per metre cube, moderate between 31 and 60, high between 61 and 90 and critical when they are above 90.

“At least three monitoring stations in Kamrup metro – Bamunimaidan, Khanapara and Gopinath Nagar – recorded a higher concentration of RSPM in ambient air than the permissible limit over the past seven years, which is a matter of concern,” he said.

Comparatively, locations such as Gauhati University (Jalukbari) and Boragaon had RSPM within the permissible limits except during 2013.

Respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) is a causative agent of mortality and morbidity. Fine particles on their own or with combination with other air pollutants are linked with a number of health problems like premature death, aggravated asthma, acute respiratory symptoms, chronic bronchitis and decreased lung function.

Air quality is represented by the annual mean concentration of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5, which are particles smaller than 10 or 2.5 microns).

The pollution board has also worked out an index for measuring the air quality of Guwahati, and based on the first air quality index (AQI) ratings, the city’s air quality during 2014 has been “satisfactory”.

The air quality index is a tool for effective communication of air quality status. It transforms complex air quality data of various pollutants into a single number (index value), nomenclature and colour.

 
By Saurav Bora

Source: www.telegraphindia.com

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Imphal, June 23: A ceasework by the employees’ union of the Imphal Municipal Council (IMC), which is demanding a revision of salary according to recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, has paralysed the council’s activities.

The strike entered its 13th day today and the employees union’ has decided to continue it till its demand is fulfilled.

Ph. Chaoba, the spokesperson for the Imphal Municipal Employees Union, told The Telegraph, “With rising prices and increase in the cost of living, we are suffering a lot with our old salary. We might have to stop sending our children to schools and colleges.”

Chaoba said some sweepers had been kicked out by their landlords for not paying rent for months.

Laishram Ibohal, an employee of the council, said, “I was arrested for hooking power illegally after my connection was cut off for not paying the bill. How can we pay bills when we are ill paid?”

He said Geet Nepram, the director of the municipal council, who also serves as the director of the Planning and Development Authority, Municipal Administration Housing and Urban Development and Manipur Urban Development Agency, should explain why he had not recommended a pay hike for regular employees of the municipal council.

The demand to implement the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission was made in December 2003. The spokesperson said they had been invited for negotiations on Saturday. However, no agreement could be reached.

Chaoba said the employees on contract get the revised payscale, while the regular employees are neglected by the authorities, using funds crunch as an excuse.

According to the employees’ union, there are nearly 210 regular employees in the council. The employees have been staging a sit-in at the IMC complex in Imphal. They have asked the people to co-operate and bear for some time while they are on strike.

The union has alleged that the police have tried to disrupt the sit-in.

 
By Ngangbam Indrakanta Singh

Source: www.telegraphindia.com

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Imphal, June 23: The Manipur government is working on a legislation to tackle the problem of frequent bandhs and blockades in the state, deputy chief minister Gaikhangam said here today.

Gaikhangam’s remark came after an indefinite economic blockade called by the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur disrupted supply along the Imphal-Dimapur Road (National Highway 2) and Imphal-Jiribam Road (National Highway 37), which pass through the hill districts of Tamenglong and Senapati, since midnight last night.

As the government pondered a way out of bandhs and blockades, two citizen’s organisations, the Meitei Youth Front South East Asia and the International Meitei Forum, today jointly announced a counter blockade to stop supply of essential commodities from Imphal to the five hill districts from midnight tonight.

The All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur has called the blockade to demand, among other things, regularisation of posts of 268 college lecturers and 333 school teachers, engaged on contract and ad hoc basis respectively, in the hill districts, setting up of Scheduled Tribes Commission and bifurcation of additional director (hills) from the school directorate’s office.

“An economic blockade, that too indefinitely, to disrupt supply of essential commodities is violation of human rights. Such things are unheard of in other parts of the country. The government is working on a legislation to tackle the issue of bandhs and blockades,” Gaikhangam, who is also the home minister, told reporters on the sidelines of a Congress programme.

The Imphal-Jiribam and Imphal-Dimapur highways are the only supply lines of Manipur. Various citizens’ organisations called strikes and blockades frequently along these routes to press for their demands, causing scarcity of essential commodities.

Gaikhangam said the state government has been working on the legislation for sometime but does not want to pass it hastily, as all the pros and cons and legal aspects of banning such activities need to be examined.

On the first day of the students’ blockade, various Manipur-bound trucks carrying commodities remained stranded along the two national highways in Nagaland and Assam, transport agencies said.

The first impact of blockades is felt by fuel consumers as it triggers panic-buying, forcing pumps to shut down within hours of opening as stocks dry up.

Official sources said the minister for consumer affairs, food and public distribution, Moirangthem Okendro Singh, held a meeting with officials last night to discuss the stock of essential commodities, particularly fuel and cooking gas, and to chalk out strategies to ensure regular supply of commodities.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of the home and public distribution department and representatives of transport agencies.

Highlighting their grievances, the transport agencies urged the government to provide security escorts for trucks regularly or deploy adequate security personnel along the highways.

The sources said the meeting decided to provide CRPF security escorts regularly for trucks carrying essential commodities from outside the state along the two highways.

The minister also assured the truckers that he would approach the Union home ministry to solve the problem of supply arising out of frequent strikes and blockades in Manipur.

 
By Our Special Correspondent

Source: www.telegraphindia.com

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Borjhar, June 23: A 32-year-old army jawan from Assam died yesterday in Israel, where he was posted as part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission.

The cause of death is not yet known.

Havildar Kamal Deka’s family, at Haberikura village in Kamrup district, about 50km west of Guwahati, told The Telegraph today that his colleague informed them about his death yesterday.

Bhabatosh Deka, a relative of the soldier, today said Kamal had contacted his family on Sunday around 11am and said he might be admitted to a hospital because of respiratory problems.

Kamal has left behind his wife Dulumoni, five-year-old son Siman and his parents, Premadhar and Tara.

Kamal had joined the army in 2002 and was first posted at Mangaldoi in Darrang district. He was later posted at Missamari in Sonitpur district and had gone to Israel on a peacekeeping mission of the United Nations in January this year. Family members said Kamal had visited his village before leaving for Israel.

“I have an urgent mission to go abroad so I will not be able to take part in the community feast (uruka) on January 14,” Kamal had told his family before leaving for Israel the same day. Kamal was the youngest son of Premadhar and Tara Deka.

Bhabatosh Deka said Kamal was very keen on joining the army since his school days. “After passing his matriculation he used to run 9km every day to realise his dream,” Bhabatosh said. He said it was Kamal’s “never-say-die attitude and honesty” that earned him the chance to go to Israel.

Bhabatosh said they had formally informed Kamrup district administration and sought help to bring Kamal’s body back to his village.

 
By Kishore Talukdar

Source: www.telegraphindia.com

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Bangalore University. (Bangalore News Photos)

Bangalore, June 23: Girls from the northeastern states heading to tech city for college education will soon have a dedicated hostel with their own cuisine on Bangalore University campus.

The university syndicate has sanctioned 22,000 square metres of land within its verdant environs for the hostel whose construction is being financed by the North Eastern Council (NEC).

“This project aims to attract more girls from the Northeast to Bangalore by offering exclusive accommodation,” registrar K.K. Seethamma told The Telegraph here today. A university delegation, led by the registrar, had signed an MoU with the NEC in Shillong on June 8 to construct the hostel. The three-story building will come up at a cost of Rs 13.85 crore. “It will have 96 rooms on three floors (ground plus two),” said Seethamma.

Under the agreement, 75 per cent of the beds, which would accommodate nearly 250 girls, would be earmarked for students from the Northeast. The remaining will be at the discretion of the university, which will maintain the facility, she said. At present students, irrespective of their background, are accommodated in four hostels, of which only one is on the university campus. But a good number of Northeast students manage on their own.

Students enrolled in any of the 73 affiliated colleges of the university can avail of the facility at a fee that would be decided later. “They may even get their own cuisine as we plan to outsource the canteen which would be run by the girls themselves,” said Seethamma.

With tenders to be floated in a week, the university expects to lay the foundation in the first half of August. “Under the agreement, we need to finish the work in 30 months. But we plan to get it up and running in 10 months so that students can occupy the rooms next year,” said the registrar.

On why a dedicated hostel wasn’t considered for boys from the Northeast, she said most of them live independently although four existing university hostels are ready to take them.

Simant Sharma, spokesperson for Assam Association Bangalore, said Northeast associations had sent a memorandum to the Prime Minister, the President and the home minister last year, seeking a girls’ hostel. “We thought it was imperative, especially after attacks on our students in Delhi,” said Sharma, who is also the founder of North East Integrity, Development and Empowerment Association, a national body with chapters in other cities as well.

Nido Tania, son of an Arunachal Pradesh Congress leader, was beaten to death in Delhi last year. Several Northeast students have been victims of alleged racial attacks in Bangalore as well. Thousands of people from the Northeast, many of them students, had fled the city in August 2012, following SMSes threatening them with attacks.

“We thought dedicated hostels could keep them safe,” Sharma said.

Monica, a commerce student from Manipur who lives as a paying guest in the city, feels the hostel could make a difference. “We need some assurance about our safety although there have been no incidents of late. My only issue would be commuting between my college (near MG Road) and the hostel which is in the university,” she said about the upcoming hostel located 15km from her college.

However, there are others who think a separate hostel would be like confining the students to a ghetto.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea at all,” said a senior member of a Northeast association who didn’t want to be identified.

A technical consultant in the city said, “The governments should instead be focusing on creating a safe cosmopolitan environment for all students. We don’t want to live in cities within cities. Agreed there were attacks against our people even in Bangalore, but this is not a solution.”

More than 50,000 students from the Northeast are believed to be studying in Karnataka, most of them in Bangalore.

 
By K.M. Rakesh

Source: www.telegraphindia.com

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Hira, Robin Neog’s wife, with his body in Guwahati on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, June 23: Robin Neog, producer of Ashirbad Theatre, was found lying dead on the road at Lokhra here last night. Police believe it to be a case of accident.

Relatives said Neog had left his apartment near Rajgarh Road, about 10km from Lokhra, last evening to meet “someone”. Around 1am, he called up his wife to say he was unable to return home, as he could not find any vehicle.

The police said around 2.30am they had received a call about a body lying on the road and later identified it as that of Neog. He was cremated at Nabagraha after a post-mortem. Neog, 62, who is said to have introduced glamour in Assam’s bhramyoman (mobile) theatre, is survived by two sons, wife and mother.

Neog was born on February 21, 1953 at Biswanath Chariali in Sonitpur district. He had graduated from Gauhati Commerce College. He began his career as an actor and continued to act even after starting his theatre group, Ashirbad Theatre.

Neog’s first film as an actor was Srimoti Mohimamoyee, directed by Pulok Gogoi.

“I first saw him acting in a play in New Delhi. I was impressed enough to offer him the role of the protagonist in my movie,” Gogoi recalled. He said Assam had lost a fine cultural worker.

Seeing Neog’s performance in Srimoti Mohimamoyee, film director Abdul Majid had offered him the protagonist’s role in Ponakon, which is said to be his best performance.

Neog later devoted himself to mobile theatre. When the producer of the popular Hengul Theatre, Prashanta Hazarika, passed away, Neog ran it for five years from 1999 as its executive producer. In 2004-05, he started Ashirbad Theatre at Sonapur in Kamrup (metro) district and made it one of the most popular theatre groups.

Neog invited Seema Biswas of Bandit Queen fame to act in Hengul Theatre, adding a new chapter in the history of mobile theatre in Assam. He also brought popular Assamese actors like Jotin Bora, Raag Oinitom and Kopil Bora to Ashirbad Theatre.

Bora said: “He introduced glamour in mobile theatre. He brought me again to mobile theatre through Ashirbad Theatre. The play Dora Hobo Kon, in which I acted, was a super hit. During the nineties, I worked in mobile theatre but left as I saw no future in it. But he infused confidence in me. He always cared for artistes and ensured that they got liberty.”

Sankalpajit Hazarika, producer of Hengul Theatre, said he was a child when he met Neog. “He was like my father. As an actor he was alone capable of keeping the audience focused. But in the later part of his life he faced financial problems,” Hazarika said.

 
By A Staff Reporter

Source: www.telegraphindia.com

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Ruling party seeks president’s intervention: Police block Assam Congress protesters in front of Raj Bhavan in Guwahati on Tuesday. (PTI)

Guwahati, June 23: The ruling Congress in Assam today moved President Pranab Mukherjee to “restrain” governor (acting) P.B. Acharya from allegedly trying to use his office in the interests of the BJP.

A large number of Assam PCC leaders and workers staged a protest in front of Raj Bhavan here this morning against the controversial role of Acharya before sending a memorandum to the President seeking his intervention. The memorandum was submitted through the Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner.

The development, according to sources, has widened the growing differences between Raj Bhavan and Dispur.

Even though the memorandum signed by several senior leaders of Assam PCC stated the governor has been acting like an agent of a particular political party, leaders who participated in the protest accused Acharya directly of using his office and status for political benefits of the BJP. The protesters also shouted slogans and asked the governor to go back for being an agent of the BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

PCC vice-president Ripun Bora told reporters at the protest site that there is an urgent need of an intervention by the President since Acharya “is behaving like a spokesperson for the BJP by violating constitutional conventions.

PCC president Anjan Dutta, who could not be present during the protest owing to party assignments in Upper Assam yesterday had told this newspaper that they would request the President to “restrain” the governor or “relieve him” of his additional charge of Assam.

The memorandum mentioned a public meeting organised by Keshab Smarak Sanskrit Samittee and Patanjali Yoga Committee at Silchar in Cachar district on Saturday where Acharya accused the Congress of looting the country more than Mughals and British and said such a derogatory statement of the governor in a public meeting is an insult to the 129-year-old Congress party credited for its immense role in the freedom movement.

The memorandum also talked about the governor’s recent controversial nominations to Dibrugarh University court. The PCC has alleged that out of 12 nominated court members, four have no other background except being from the RSS. Such a move is an attempt of the governor to “saffronise” the state’s education system, the PCC alleged.

Dispur has already objected to the governor’s nominations saying it is contradictory to the state government’s policy. Bharat Chandra Narah, press adviser to Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, yesterday referred to the government’s decision not to appoint political persons to the governing bodies of colleges, following a demand by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU).

On the other hand, lending its weight behind Acharya, the Assam BJP today criticised the Congress government for dragging the governor into a political controversy.

BJP spokesperson Rupam Goswami in a statement issued today said the ruling party, in a bid to deflect the people’s attention from its failures on various fronts, is unnecessarily creating a controversy surrounding the governor.

“If the state government has any problem with the governor, then they should bring it to the notice of the President. There should be no discussion about the state’s top constitutional post in the public,” the statement said.

On the conflict between Acharya and Dispur, the AGP today said the governor is acting more like a political leader, which does not augur well for democracy.

 
By A Staff Reporter

Source: www.telegraphindia.com

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Centres move resented

Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, June 21 The Freedom Fighters Family Coordination Committee has vehemently resented the latest move of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to discontinue the Swatantrata Sainik Samman (SSS) Dependent Family Pension to those who have been drawing States dependent family pension and State Freedom Fighter Pension.

The Coordination Committee has alleged in a statement here on Saturday that such a move is an insult to the aged freedom fighters and their dependents and demanded immediate revocation of this move.

The Coordination Committee has further demanded steps to benefit the economically backward sections of the people.

The Government should give up its discriminatory approach of benefitting people on the basis of castes and tribes and initiate a move to benefit those people, who are economically weak, the Coordination Committee added.

 

Source: www.assamtribune.com