AAMSU to go for agitation on NRC

SILCHAR, July 2: Along with other organizations of Barak Valley, All Assam Manipuri Students’ Union (AAMSU) is planning to go for agitation if their demand for making 2014 voters’ list as the cut-off date for NRC update is not met. The insistence on 1951 legacy data or 1971 voters’ list has created serious problem for those among the community who have no alternative documents as demanded. Addressing a press-meet here today in the COCPIN office at Itkhola, AAMSU president Seram Herajit Singh who was assisted by F Lokenath Singh, vice president, said Manipuris have been living in different parts of Assam with largest concentration in Cachar.
According to the 2001 census, Manipuri population in the state was 1,54,059 and 40,000 voters. Herajit Singh quoted an official record to establish that Manipuris have been living in Assam since 1770. He however modified the figure and claimed that they have been living since the 16th century. He also pointed out that the people of his community are neither foreigners nor outsiders. But the way, modalities for update have been fixed and framed has created problems for many who are unable to trace out or find relevant documents of 64 or 44 years ago.
F Lokenath Singh found some sort of design to deny citizenship rights to linguistic minorities of the state. He claimed a large chunk of the more than 3.5 lakh Manipuris would be deprived of being part of the NRC and subsequently of the voters’ lists.
Okram Churamani Singha, former principal, Gurucharan College, on the basis of an order dated January 14, 1928, passed by J P Mills, Deputy Commissioner of Cachar, said that Manipuris first cleared the jungle and settled at Lakhipur 100 years ago. The order was passed in the context of a dispute over a burningghat on the bank of river Barak which some other inhabitants of another community wanted its removal.
The Deputy Commissioner expressed his inability to remove the burningghat because government long after built a dak bungalow and mohorir’s quarters. It will remain where it is unless the Manipuris of their own free will remove it. J P Mills’s order makes it clear that Manipuris were the first to settle in Lakhipur long ago. Okram Churamani Singha said Manipuris being the oldest settlers of Cachar should not be made the victims of harassment in the name of NRC update. Other who were present at the press-meet included S Kamalakanta Singha, ex president AAMSU and advisor Y Ram Kumar Singha. (Source:SentinelAssam)

NRC update: Farmers' body wants 2014 rolls

SILCHAR, June 30: A massive public meeting was organized today by Bharatiya Krishak Sramik Mahasamiti (BKSM) at Narsingtola ground here. It was followed by a public rally which started at 11 am and after moving through the main thoroughfares of the town concluded in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar. They also submitted a memorandum to the Central and the state government through the Deputy Commissioner, S Viswanathan, , demanding the inclusion of voters’ list of 2014 as admissible document for ongoing NRC update.
Besides this pressing demand, the memorandum also contained a four point charter of demands which include enhancement of daily wages for the rural and tea garden labourers to Rs.300 and providing them social security, minimum Rs.100 to be paid for every working day to house maids, landless rural and tea garden workers should be given land rights and pattas against them. They also demanded for immediate release of Pratima Pahari who is a bonafide citizen of India but has been confined in detention camp.
Sripada Dhar, general secretary, BKSM, said Naren Orang, Arjun Orang and Suman Orang, who are members of the Mahasamiti, have been falsely accused of being Maoists and presently are in jail. Demand was also raised for their immediate release.
It was further reiterated that as the voters’ lists from 1951 to 1971 are not only erroneous but also incomplete, the Mahasamiti have demanded acceptance of the voters’ lists of 2014 as an admissible document in the ongoing NRC update.
Sripada Dhar questioned how can the Bengali speaking people be treated as illegal migrants when they have been living in Assam for more than last 300 years? After partition, lakhs of Bengalis, both Hindus and Muslims, migrated to many parts of the country from East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. They have been accorded citizenship in all other states with the sole exception in Assam. The constitution guarantees equal rights and fundamental exercise of franchise by all sections of people, irrespective of caste, creed and community. On the same strength Bengalis have also the fundamental and constitutional right to have citizenship and franchise.
Islam Uddin Laskar, president, BKSM, reminded that due to chauvinism, Assam has been witness to its several vivisections. He cautioned if the demands of the poor and downtrodden people of Barak Valley do not get justice, they will have no option left but to go for more intensified agitation. (Source:SentinelAssam)

Khasi-Jaintias demand justice for victims

Silchar, June 29: Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) and Barak Valley Khasi-Jaintia Welfare Organization (BVKWO) have jointly impressed upon the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police, Cachar, for meting out justice to the Rema Punjee residents in the Lakhipur sub-division of the district. According to them, a few days ago, an unfortunate incident involving the inhabitants of Borokompi Khasi Punjee and Rema Hmar Punjee leading to misunderstanding, disturbances and tension amongst the communities.
The victims of conflict and clashes around 54 individuals have taken shelter in the Hmarkhawlien Union High School, Fulertal. Both the organizations have urged upon the sub-divisional administration to provide necessary essential reliefs to the victims at the earliest after proper verification from the voters’ list. They should also be rehabilitated in their respective villages by providing them adequate security and safety.
Khasi-Jaintia Welfare Organization has also asked the authorities concerned to investigate the root cause behind this unfortunate incident and give justice to the residents of the village and people of the locality. The guilty behind the disturbances and tension should be booked at tried as per the legal provisions. Besides justice, they also want restoration of peace and tranquillity in the area. They have pointed out that cordial relations have always been existing for decades and people irrespective of their caste, creed and communities have been living in peace.
It has been pointed out in a joint memorandum by the organizations to the District Magistrate of Cachar that Borokompi and Chotokompi are of the same punjee and under the same headmanship as established by the British in the year 1937-38. Presently, Borokompi Khasi Punjee is having around 50 families, surviving on pan jhum cultivation for several decades.
Identifying the culprit Lowis Suchen of Borokompi Khasi Punjee as the main conspirator, the organizations have strongly demanded punishment to him. According to them, Lowis with the help of some miscreants began to give threats to the villagers by disturbing the punjee people. He used to file false and fabricated cases against some villagers and even instigated around 15 Khasis of other villages to encroach and occupy the land which falls under the jhum permitted boundary of Borokompi village. But, the miscreants working in cohort with them realized the motive of Lowis and deserted him.
The organizations have stated that in retaliation, some miscreants under the leadership of Rejoy Hmar and Rova Hmar from Kumba Hmar Punjee under Udharbond police station and some other outsiders have illegally and forcefully encroached the jhum permitted land of Borokompi Khasi Punjee. They mowed down valuable trees, burned the jungles and cut down more than 3,000 pan plantations. This has caused huge loss and damage to the Khasi villagers. They have approached the SDO (civil) Lakhipur and the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar several times, airing their grievances.
It has also been pointed out that the Beat Forest Officer of Harinagar clearly mentioned in his field report to the Range Officer of Jirighat, Lakhipur, the exact picture. On the basis of this report, the Executive Magistrate of Lakhipur directed Rejoy Hmar and his group not to enter in to the disputed land till the disposal of the case. Violating the directive of the Executive Magistrate, Rejoy Hmar and others forcefully constructed bamboo huts, burning and clearing the jungles for rubber plantation. The circumstances compelled the headman of Borokumpi Khasi Punjee to approach SDO (civil), apprising him of the details.
But, the signatories to the memorandum, .., regretted that there was no timely intervention and strong action against the miscreants by the local administration. They have again asked upon the administration of Lakhipur for arranging relief to the 54 victims of Rema Hmar Punjee taking shelter in Hmarkhawlien Union High School, Fulertal, besides providing them rehabilitation. (Source: SentinelAssam)

NGO raises public issues with the Governor

Silchar, June 29: The Anchalik Unnayan Sanstha (AUS) of Lakhipur submitted a memorandum recently to the Governor of Assam, P B Acharya, highlighting the problems being faced by the people of sub-division due to lack of development in every sphere. It is to be noted that, Lakhipur, with its population of around 2.5 lakhs, was declared as a sub-division way back in 1992. But even after more than two decades, not a single permanent office of various state departments including PWD, treasury, agriculture, irrigation, court and settlement offices have been set up in the sub-division.
As a result of which, the people of the area have to travel all the way to Silchar for any official related works. In terms of health care, there is only a 6 bed public health centre in the sub-division which is inadequate to meet the medical care and needs of common people. The patients have to travel all the way to Silchar Medical College and Hospital for any major and critical health issue. The members of the Sanstha requested the Governor to look into the issues and to exert his good offices to provide relief to people of the sub-division. The memorandum was signed by Anil Das Talukdar, president of the Sanstha, Khokan Sutradhar, Alpona Sutradhar and Joy Das along with other members. (Source: SentinelAssam)

Assam government will push for NRC inclusion

Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi here on Friday said that his government has decided to write to the Centre to take steps for inclusion of all persons whose names appeared on electoral rolls in the ongoing upgradation of National Register of Citizens.
Rejecting the charges of defending foreigners by his move, Mr Gogoi told mediapersons, “We could not take note that names of a large number of genuine Indians would not be included in the NRC if electoral rolls which was updated by the Election Commission of India is not treated as additional proof for inclusion of names in the NRC.” Mr Gogoi asserted, “There is no need for apprehension among people belonging to tea tribes, scheduled tribes, minorities and other ethnic communities as the Government will take all possible steps to ensure that their names are included in the NRC.”
Pointing out that various community leaders have informed that their names would not be included in the NRC on the basis of proposed documents treated for establishing legacy, Mr Gogoi said that Election Commission of India in its intensive revision had dropped the names of more than one lakh voters who failed to establish their Indian citizenship.
He also directed the authorities to write to the Registrar-General of India to clarify whether NRC upgradation being carried out in Assam would be considered as a genuine document of Indian citizenship.
Mr Gogoi also rejected the charges of delaying the process by asking for inclusion of Electoral Roll as a document to establish legacy. However, the stand of the Chief Minister has been viewed by several organisations in the state as an attempt by the ruling Congress government to include names of illegal Bangladeshi migrants who have managed to get their names enrolled in the voters’ list in the state, in the updated NRC.
The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), Assam Public Works (APW), Krishak Mukti Sangram Samity (KMSS) and many other apolitical and political organisations have been protesting the move of the government. They warned off intensive agitation over the issue.
The AASU leaders alleged that it was an attempt by the ruling Congress to protect its vote bank among illegal Bangladeshi migrants by derailing the on-going process of NRC updating. The AASU adviser Dr Samujjal Bhattacharrya said, “The NRC is being updated in the state on the basis of voters’ lists from 1951 to 1971 in order to include names of those Indian citizens who were resident of Assam before March 24, 1971, as well as their progeny.
(Source: Jun 27, 2015 - MANOJ ANAND | GUWAHATI

Hmar leaders resign in protest against administration's apathy

Silchar, June 25: In order to discuss the unpleasant incidents following the sudden attack of the Pnars of Boro Kumpi village on the simple and innocent Hmars living in the village of Choto Kumpi on June 2, 2015 without any provocation. The organized and mob attack did not have any plausible causes. According to knowledgeable circles, the planned attack by the Pnars was land dispute between the two communities.
Gideon Lalchomlien Hmar, president, Hmar Supreme House, Barak Valley said that as no action was taken against the culprits involved in the unprovoked attack on Hmars, all the frontline leaders of different organizations which include Hmar Inpui, Barak Valley Region, Hmar National Union, Assam, Hmar Students’ Association, Barak Valley, Hmar Youth Association, Hmarkhawlien Branch have tendered their resignation in protest against the indifferent attitude of the police and sub-divisional administration. He made it clear if after that anything untoward happened centring round the June 2 incident.
It is also surprising that the SDO (civil) who was approached for finding a solution to the dispute refused to take any initiative. Though FIR was lodged at Joypur police station on the day of incident itself, no action till date has been taken to arrest the accused persons. In order to shake up the apathy of the police and the administration, a massive protest procession by the Hmars was taken on June 12. Still, no action was taken against the accused named in the FIR.
This biased and indifferent attitude of the sub-divisional police officer, L Thangma, vice president, Hmar Supreme House, said it was clear that the Hmars have no more to look to be police or administration for justice. Nor did the ADC of Cachar M K Das take any action. Rather, as alleged, he showed his favour for the Pnar community and put the Hmar community on the dock. He reportedly held out that if in future any untoward incident occurred, the Hmar leaders will be held responsible. It is to be mentioned that Pnar community is a tribe of Jaintia.
Following the threat held by the ADC, Hmar leaders have tendered their resignations today from their respective responsibilities of different organizations represented by them. It was also alleged by the Hmar organizations that no relief materials came to the help of displaced Hmars of Choto Kumpi following the June 2 incident. The Hmars affected by the attack have been sheltered in Union High School without any basic facilities. Around 17 families are there without any proper food, compensation and rehabilitation.
Hmar leaders in unison expressed their dissatisfaction at the inept handling of the entire incident of June 2 and subsequently amicable solution to the dispute which is still brewing and might erupt again. Against this backdrop, Hmar leaders have been left with no other option but to resign en-mass. Hmar leaders have further made their stand clear on the ground if any incident happened in future, they will have no responsibility. Nor will they bear any responsibility.
These developments have been brought to the notice of the media-persons today at a press-meet held in the premises of pineapple factory, Hmarkhawlien, located around 50 km from here. Those who addressed the media-persons included Gideon Lalchomlien Hmar, L Thangma, T Sanghkhum, president, Hmar National Union, L Thanmawia Pajamte,vice president, and Jerome Khawjawl, secretary, Hmar Inpui, Barak Valley Region, Lalhlimsang, secretary, Hmar National Union and leaders of other organizations. (Source:SentinelAssam)