'Hindu Bengali refugees need humanitarian consideration'

SILCHAR, Oct 4: Controversy has been going on centering round the NDA Government’s Notification of September 7, granting shelter and citizenship to the Hindu Bengali refugees and other minorities of Bangladesh and Pakistan. But, it is to be mentioned here that these minorities are the victims of religious persecution and forced to migrate from their native lands. What the protestors forget is that the Notification speaks of humanitarian consideration. There is no dispute over the fact that Hindu Bengalis in particular live in fear.
During change of government or political disturbances, there have been instances of their houses being burnt, properties and business interests looted, lands forcibly taken away and women folk subjected to humiliations. In order to escape from such atrocities, they have taken shelter in different states of the country. It is only in the state of Assam that the voice of protest against the Notification continues.
Union Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju, in a statement clarified that the Hindu Bengalis are not a burden on Assam and that the Centre will decide that the state alone does not have to bear their burden. Moreover, the Notification is yet to get legal sanction. Apart from the legal and constitutional aspect, it is relevant to point out that refugees are a worldwide problem. According to UN report, more than 50 million refugees plague almost all the countries, not excluding India.
Around 9 million Syrians hit by IS repression and civil war have to leave their home land and seek shelter in European Union countries. It has been described as the worst crisis since the World War II. The European Union countries have agreed to accept them. Pakistan hosts 1.6 million refugees. In Lebanon, 1 in 5 inhabitants is a refugee. The countries which care more for refugees than their own population are Jordon, Malta, Mauritania, Chad, Djibouti, Kenya, South Sudan, Liberia, Lebanon and Montenegro. The United States of America has refugees counting 10 to 15 million from all over the world.
These countries have given shelter and protection purely on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Under international laws and conventions, nations have a moral and legal obligation to accept refugees and provide them asylum. Refugees are entitled to a full and fair hearing and not rejection. International Refugee Law aims at protecting persons seeking asylum from persecution. The 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol and Customary International Law apply to all countries of the world.
Under Article 1 (a) 2 of 1951 Refugee Convention, the term refugee describes any person who due to the fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion or political opinion is unable to get protection of that country and is unwilling to go back. Under Article 33 of the 1951 Refugee Convention, a country is under obligation not to return a refugee to a country where he would be at risk of persecution.
It is significant that the retention of Sylhet with Assam could have eased much of the burden of refugees. Political watchers described it as a sellout of Sylhet to East Pakistan by Assam Pradesh Congress Committee. It was according to the Mountbatten’s plan for partition of India that saw referendum on Sylhet. While Hindus of Sylhet voted for Assam, Muslims by and large voted for Pakistan. It is also relevant to mention that Nehru – Liaquat Pact of 1950 and Mujib – Indira Pact of 1971 speak of providing protection to Hindu Bengali refugees.
It is also worth to refer to the National Human Rights Commission vs Arunachal Pradesh vide case of 1966, Section (1) 7421, in which the Supreme Court of India had warned against any threat to the life of Chakmas who migrated from East Pakistan in 1964. The Supreme Court sternly dealt with the ultimatum given by All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) to the Chakmas to leave the state or face death. Arunachal Pradesh Government was directed to protect ‘life and liberty of every human being and it cannot permit anybody or group of persons like the AAPSU to threaten Chakmas to leave the state’. Like the Syrian refugees and the refugees around the world, the Hindu Bengalis uprooted from East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, deserve human considerations to live a dignified existence. (Source:SentinelAssam)

Temple desecration: SP Rajbeer Singh's effigy burnt, Barak valley bandh today

SILCHAR, Sept 27: In protest against the highhandedness of Rajbeer Singh, SP of Cachar, in arresting BJP MLA and four other leaders as well as uncalled for lathi-charge on peaceful protesters before the police outpost of Tarapur, his effigies were set on fire by workers and supporters before all the police stations and outposts of the district. Besides, BJP has also given call for dawn to dusk bandh in Barak Valley on Monday. The party is also planning to move higher authorities for his transfer from the district who has become a liability for the people.
Cachar SP Rajbeer Singh, IPS, has become a controversial person since his joining here 2 months back. The way he handled a situation calling for the restrained role of police on Saturday only showed his incompetence. Trapped in his own discomfiture, he apologized publicly for arresting Dilip Paul, MLA, and four other BJP leaders who included Kaushik Rai, district president, Babu Singh, in-charge of rural cell, Rajesh Das, Yuva Morcha president, and Gopal Roy, an important functionary of the party.
Condemning his uncalled and unwarranted action, Kabindra Purkayastha, former MP and ex Union Minister, said his observation on the sequence of events was quite amazing. The way he arrested MLA and others was unbecoming of an IPS SP. He added to say he was action as subservient to the Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. From the security in-charge of Chief Minister, he was rewarded as the SP of a sensitive but peaceful district of Cachar. The arrest of MLA, according to him, was against all cannons of justice, law and civilized society.
Kaushik Rai, Cachar district president of the party, described SP’s action as smacking of ‘goonda raj’. His language against the MLA to disrobe him was not only most un-parliamentary but also highly derogatory. The people of Cachar have not come across such SP or any police officer of this ilk. Rajbeer Singh is ignorant about rules and laws and is misfit for the post he holds. Publicly, he admitted that he was following the dictates of the Chief Minister in carrying out all the operation. Kaushik Rai cautioned if he is not immediately removed, law and order problem will never improve.
The SP faulted in every way. It is true the MLA was released, but the damage was already done. His attention was more concentrated as if it were to rein in BJP leaders and workers than to hunt down the culprits behind the desecration of Kalibari temple at Meherpur and defiling lane number 13 of Link Road of the town. The situation that emerged and enveloped could have been tackled discreetly and with farsight. There was neither violence nor any provocative action by the BJP leaders and workers.
That it was a preplanned plot to hook BJP leaders was more apparent when all of them after coming out of a meeting in the house of Uday Shankar Goswami, a senior functionary of the party, they were arrested by a police team led by ASP Subhasini Shankaran. They were then taken to Tarapur police outpost where Rajbeer Singh was present. As the news spread, hundreds of workers and supporters surrounded the outpost. The CRPF and police were ready to rain down indiscriminate lathi-charge on them, seriously injuring many, not sparing women members. Deepayan Chakraborty, president of Silchar town committee, Rakhi Choudhury, ward commissioner, had to be admitted in Silchar Medical College and Hospital.
It was his utter ignorance of law, as Kaushik Rai pointed out, the SP took them to the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, but instead of producing them before him, they were taken to M K Das, in-charge District Magistrate, on whose advice, section 107 was slapped against them. He released them immediately which only further brought to the fore the ignorance of law by an IPS officer. This was admitted by Rajbeer Singh himself before the media.
M K Das at the same time had a dig at the SP for being ignorant of rules and procedure for the arrest of an MLA without the permission of the Speaker of the House. Rajbeer Singh was further criticized for keeping the district administration in the dark about the lathi-charges made by police twice, once in the night of Friday and the following day in the noon. The SP should act in coordination with the district administration at every step when law and order situation arises.
M K Das has sent a detailed report to the Chief Secretary on the events. In the meantime, the legal cell of advocates have decided to file cases against SP for preventing the lawyers from entering the Court premises. BJP has also filed two cases against him at Tarapur police outpost. The women front of the party has decided to hold protest demonstration before the office of the SP on Tuesday brandishing broomsticks and chappals for humiliating and beating up peaceful female demonstrators before the Tarapur police outpost. (Source:SentinelAssam)

Arrested miscreants planned sabotage to paralyze Manipur economically

SILCHAR, Sept 16: The four saboteurs identified as Mostor Ali Laskar (62), Afzal Hussain Laskar (23), Azmal Hussain Laskar (27) and Atabur Rahman Laskar (32), who fell into security dragnet on Tuesday in a joint operation of Assam Rifles and Assam Police, with the blue-print to blow up Barak and Fulertal brides, came out with startling revelations during interrogations by higher police officials as well as intelligence, central and state. In their failure to target either of the major bridges, they were planning to blow up other bridges in between.
In fact, in the wake of turmoil in Manipur over the issue of ILP and 3 Bills, vigilance and alertness by security forces have been tightened in the Lakhipur sub-division area through which the important link National Highway passes to Manipur. It also came to light that they were working as the conduits of Naga rebel group, NSCN (K). Sufficient indications about it emerged from their sustained interrogations. Their plan to cause disruptions in communications to paralyze Manipur economically was to be operated within the next two or three days.
As one top police officer said there is sufficient ground to believe after preliminary interrogation that the four persons have established link with Khaplang group. It is also likely that other allies of NSCN (K) might be lending support. An important angle which has come out is that Mostor Ali Laskar and his two sons Afzal Hussain Laskar and Azmal Hussain Laskar who come from the same village of Tulagram Part II have developed intimacy with Atabur Rahman Laskar of Tulagram Part I.
The nexus or closeness has not been without any motive. All the three Aftabur, Afzal and Ajmal have been involved in timber-smuggling from Manipur through river Barak. The timbers sailing through Barak are then loaded in the jungle infested areas up valley. It is this clandestine business which brought them closer to NSCN (K). Aftabur, who is a Congress worker, was in business in Nagaland. It was during his stay there that he came in touch with the Naga group.
The house of Aftabur, as disclosed, was the rendezvous for closeness with Khaplang faction. It was clear that the Nagas being unhappy with the Bills passed by the Manipur Assembly, Khaplang group wanted the four persons to carry out the sabotage or subversive in order to create pressure on economic front of the state. Interestingly, another angle has been pointed out by central intelligence which does not rule out the involvement of ISI of Pakistan which has been active to provide all sorts of logistic and material support to the northeast militants in general.
It is also surmised that the huge explosives and other accessories were supplied by the ISI. It is on record that the now defunct People’s United Liberation Front (PULF) of Manipur got all sorts of help and boost up from Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The four linkmen have also been carrying out extortions in vulnerable pockets of Cachar-Manipur border areas. The map seized from their possession indicated their sinister design. Further grilling is likely to reveal many more facts about their future plan of action. (Source: SentinelAssam)

শিলচরে সেতু ওড়ানোর ছক ফাঁস

The map recovered from the possession of the four arrested persons. Telegraph picture
শিলচর, ১৬ সেপ্টেম্বর, ২০১৫:সদরঘাট সেতু উড়িয়ে দেওয়ার পরিকল্পনা ভেস্তে দিল পুলিশ। গ্রেফতার করা হয়েছে চারজনকে। উদ্ধার করা হয়েছে ইম্প্রোভাইজড এক্সপ্লোসিভ ডিভাইজ তথা আইইডি বোমা, ইলেকট্রনিক ডিটোনেটর ও ৫২টি জিলেটিন স্টিক। সঙ্গে একটি স্কেচ। এর মাথায় সদরঘাট সেতুকে চিহ্নিত করে লেখা হয়েছে ‘মেন টার্গেট’। লক্ষ্মীপুরের বরাক সেতু পর্যন্ত যাওয়ার রাস্তা আঁকা রয়েছে নক্‌শাটিতে। নাগা জঙ্গিরাই এর পিছনে রয়েছে বলে জানিয়েছে পুলিশ।
পুলিশ সুপার রাজবীর সিংহ জানান, পরিকল্পনা করেই সোনাই থানার তুলাগ্রামে ঘাঁটি গেড়েছিল এনএসসিএন-খাপলাং গোষ্ঠীর দুই ক্যাডার। পক্ষ কাল ধরে তারা আসা-যাওয়া করছিল। মাঝেমধ্যেই তুলাগ্রামের মস্তর আলির ঘরে রাত কাটাত। গোয়েন্দা সূত্রে খবর পেয়ে কাল রাতে আসাম রাইফেলসকে সঙ্গে নিয়ে পুলিশ অভিযান চালায়। টের পেয়েই অন্ধকারের সুযোগ নিয়ে জঙ্গিরা পালিয়ে যায়। তল্লাশি চালিয়ে মস্তর আলির ঘর থেকে বিস্ফোরক সামগ্রীগুলি উদ্ধার করা হয়। জঙ্গিদের আশ্রয় দেওয়ার অভিযোগে ৬৫ বছরের মস্তর আলি ও তার দুই ছেলেকে গ্রেফতার করা হয়। তাদের জেরা করে তুলে আনা হয় একই এলাকার আতাবুর রহমান লস্করকে।
মস্তর আলি রাজমিস্ত্রিদের ঠিকাদার। তার বড় ছেলে আজমল হোসেন লস্করও ঠিকাদারি করে। আরেক ছেলে আফজল হোসেন কাছাড় কলেজে পড়ে। জেরায় তারা পুলিশকে জানিয়েছে, এলাকার পঞ্চায়েত সদস্য আতাবুর রহমান লস্কর তাদের আত্মীয়। তার মাধ্যমেই নাগা যুবকদের সঙ্গে তাদের পরিচয়। বাড়িতে আসা-যাওয়া। ক’দিন আগে দু’টি ব্যাগ নিয়ে তারা আসে। সরলমনেই তারা অনুমতি দেয়। বোমা বা বিস্ফোরক রাখার কথা জানা ছিল না বলেই দাবি মস্তর ও তার ছেলেদের।
গ্রেফতারের পর থেকে আতাবুর বিভিন্ন সময় বিভিন্ন কথা বলছে বলে জানিয়েছেন পুলিশ সুপার। মাওবাদীদের পর নাগা জঙ্গি। পুলিশ সুপার অবশ্য সাধারণ মানুষকে আশ্বস্ত করেছেন। তাঁর দাবি, নিরাপত্তা রক্ষীরা সতর্ক রয়েছে। জঙ্গি আনাগোনা আগেও ছিল, এখনও আছে। পুলিশ সক্রিয় বলেই ধরা পড়ছে। এতে ঘাবড়ে যাওয়ার কিছু নেই। তিনি জানান, রিমোট কন্ট্রোলের সাহায্যে সাড়ে ছয় কিলোগ্রাম জিলেটিন ও দুই কিলোগ্রাম আইইডি-র বিস্ফোরণ ঘটালে সদরঘাট সেতু পুরোপুরি উড়ে যেত। এতে মারাত্মক ক্ষয়ক্ষতির আশঙ্কা ছিল। ভয়াবহ দুর্ঘটনার হাত থেকে বাঁচা গিয়েছে বলেই মনে করছেন তিনি।
কেন এমন পরিকল্পনা নাগা জঙ্গিদের, তা-ই এখন খুঁজে দেখছেন পুলিশ কর্তারা। অতিরিক্ত পুলিশ সুপার সুভাষিণী শঙ্করনকে পাশে বসিয়ে রাজবীর সিংহ বলেন, প্রাথমিক পর্যায়ে তাঁদের মনে হচ্ছে, নাগা জঙ্গিরা মণিপুর থেকে এখানে আসা যাওয়া করে। মূল লক্ষ্য, বরাকবাসীকে বিপাকে ফেলা নয়। গুয়াহাটি থেকে শিলচর হয়ে মণিপুরের যে সড়ক যোগাযোগ চালু রয়েছে, তাকে স্তব্ধ করে দিয়ে তারা মণিপুর সরকারের উপর চাপ সৃষ্টি করতে চায়।
উল্লেখ্য, গত মাসেও খাপলাং গোষ্ঠীর দুই ক্যাডার কাছাড় জেলার জিরিঘাটে ধরা পড়েছিল। আরও কেউ লুকিয়ে রয়েছে কিনা, সে ব্যাপারে নিশ্চিত হতে পুলিশ বিভিন্ন সূত্রকে কাজে লাগিয়েছে। সেই সঙ্গে কাল রাতে পালিয়ে যাওয়া দুই জঙ্গিকে গ্রেফতারের জন্য সব ধরনের চেষ্টা চালানো হচ্ছে বলে পুলিশ সুপার জানান।(Source:anandabazar.com)

ILP row: Citizen groups stress on communal harmony

SILCHAR, Sept 15: Though everything is now quiet in Manipur and the rumblings in the wake of the 3 Bills having been passed by the state Assembly are no more heard, still for the sake of peace and harmony, Barak Upatyaka Banga Sahitya O Sanskriti Sammelan (BUBSOSS) and different Manipuri organizations in a joint statement have called upon the Ibobi Singh government and the intellectuals of the state to ensure that no further untoward incident of harassment of non Manipuris takes place.
Committee on Culture for Peace and Integrity (Cocpin), Manipuri Diaspora, Assam, and Manipuri Sahitya Parishad have come together with the Bengali literary and cultural body to express their deep concern at the sense of fear and panic among the non Manipuris and the Ibobi Government has been impressed upon to take effective measures for the safety and security of all sections of people. It has been pointed out that despite all the provocations, the traditional bond of friendship and brotherhood between the two communities has to be maintained.
In this respect, the joint statement has emphasized on the crucial role of intellectuals of both sides in order to defuse the tension and instill confidence among people, still sieged with fear. Besides, all have to be conscious so that there is no any baneful effect on the relations of other communities with Manipuris. Along with that, at this critical juncture, in the interest of all, maintenance of good relations is imperative. Any misunderstanding can imperil the sense of understanding and lead to conflict and tension.
Quite recently, all the Bengali and Manipuri organizations sat at an interactive conclave and exchanged their views and thoughts arising in the context of turmoil in the state of Manipur. All those present representing the organizations came to the consensus that all out efforts should continue for normality of situation. In order to preempt any attempts by any vested interests or group to disturb the harmony have to be foiled and for that the saner sections of people of this valley have to be on the frontline.
At the conclave also came up the present economic condition, worst shape of communications, highways and roads, as well as the discriminatory policy of the Assam Government towards this valley in regard to employment of local qualified youths. Gogoi Government was cautioned not to play with the sentiments and feelings of the people of this land locked region. The long pending demand for autonomous economic development council for this valley also was discussed. On this issue, Manipuri organizations reserved their opinion and said they would convey their decision in due course of time.
Those present at the meeting included Nitish Bhattacharjee, president, vice president Shyamal Kanti Deb, former central committee president Subir Kar, representing Barak Upatyaka Banga Sahitya O Sanskriti Sammelan, president of Cocpin M Kamalakanta Singha, vice president Rajkumar Gopal Singha, secretary K H Ranu Singha, L Tejomani Singha, president, Manipuri Diaspora, Assam, M Shanti Kumar Singha, general secretary, H Rajmani Singha, general secretary, Manipuri Sahitya Parishad, and Amal Singha, secretary, among others. (Source:SentinelAssam)

JIPF protests provocative reports, condemns harassment

SILCHAR, Sept 6: Though everything has fallen silent in the volatile Manipur caught in the flame of agitation by Joint Committee on ILP System (JCILPS), still reports are published from time to time in local news papers, highlighting the harassment of non Manipuris, particularly Bengali speaking community. There have been photographs of the harassed people in a local daily. Taking exception to such emotional, provocative and unedited news items being published for the last few weeks, the Joint Indigenous Peoples’ Front (JIPF) based at Lakhipur has in a representation to the sub divisional officer (Civil) of the subdivision has urged upon him to monitor such reports in the interest of age old communal harmony.
N Nandamohan Singha, convener, JIPF, said that during the ongoing agitation for introduction of Inner Line Permit (ILP), there might have been some unfortunate incidents which are condemnable. He clarified that the agitation for introduction of ILP is against the government and not against any community or group of people. The Front while supporting the ILP in Manipur expresses its strong objection to the harassment of any individual or group belonging to non Manipuris.
W Saratchandra, chairman of the Front, pointed out that it is the desire and demand of the indigenous people of the state for revival and reintroduction of the system that was earlier in force till it was withdrawn in November, 1950. However, every right thinking citizen should condemn the undesirable act of harassment in the name of a movement. The non Manipuris, bonafide Indian citizens, have every right to live in any part of the state of Manipur. It is in the fitness of things, pointed out W Saratchandra that in order to protect the culture, tradition and identity of the Manipuris, reintroduction of ILP system has become essential.
The sub divisional officer (Civil) has been particularly impressed upon to ensure that for maintenance of peace and communal harmony in this part of Cachar district, law and order machinery has to be geared up and put on alert. It is a fact and not myth that indigenous people of the state of Manipur have been gradually and systematically swamped by the people of other states. Though there is no Census report to establish the number of illegal immigrants, it has to be admitted if the trend continues the day is not far off when Manipuris will find themselves in minority.
It is to be recalled that ILP system in north eastern parts was introduced by the British Government mainly to protect the indigenous people of the areas and preserve their tradition and culture. Presently, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh are covered by ILP. There is every justification, as the Front leaders said, for the state of Manipur to have ILP system.
It is after a long drawn agitation that ILP was finally passed by the state Assembly along with 2 other Bills. There was widespread violent protest against the Bills in the hill district of Churachandpur. Among all the north eastern states, Assam is the worst affected by the ever continuous influx of Bangladeshis where the very identity and culture of Assamese and other indigenous people are at stake. Demographers and analysts agree that the present demographic topsy-turvy in Assam is due to vote-bank politics. It has been observed that even after the introduction of ILP, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh continue to reel under influx. (Source:SentinelAssam)