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Arunachal Pradesh political crisis: CM Nabam Tuki meets President Pranab Mukherjee

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Opposition BJP and rebel Congress MLAs got together on December 17 to “vote out” Tuki and to “elect” a rebel Congress MLA in his place but the Gauhati High Court intervened to keep in abeyance decisions taken at the “rebel session”.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Against the backdrop of a political crisis in his state due to a tussle between factions of the ruling Congress, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki met President Pranab Mukherjee in Hyderabad on Wednesday.”I called on him. I apprised him the situation. The matter is now sub-judice,” Tuki told PTI.Opposition BJP and rebel Congress MLAs got together on December 17 to “vote out” Tuki and to “elect” a rebel Congress MLA in his place but the Gauhati High Court intervened to keep in abeyance decisions taken at the “rebel session”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress has accused the BJP of hatching a conspiracy to topple the Tuki government, but the saffron party has maintained that it has nothing to do with the dissidence in the ruling party in Arunachal Pradesh. The President is here for his customary southern sojourn which concludes on December 31.

Rajya Sabha passes SC/ST Bill, supplementary demands without debate

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The House returned to Lok Sabha the Appropriation (No. 4) Bill and the Appropriation (No. 5) Bill containing the second batch of supplementary demands as part of grants for 2015-16 to meet government’s expenditure.
File Photo

After days of adjournments, the Rajya Sabha unanimously passed the crucial SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill along with two bills on supplementary demands for 2015-16, within minutes without any debate.The House returned to Lok Sabha the Appropriation (No. 4) Bill and the Appropriation (No. 5) Bill containing the second batch of supplementary demands as part of grants for 2015-16 to meet government’s expenditure. As the House reassembled at 2 PM after four adjournments earlier, the Opposition criticised the government’s move to bring the Juvenile Justice Bill through the supplementary agenda route.Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad objected to this saying that the ruling party itself was complicating the issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have said that we want to pass the SC/ST Bill. At the all-party meeting, I had said that the Juvenile Justice Bill should be tabled. But it was not in agenda today. But because of media reports, the government has now put it in the supplementary business. It is only a ruse to shame the opposition in public by saying that we had presented (the bill) but the opposition had objected,” Azad said.He said the matter can be taken up tomorrow and should be listed as the first in the business. “This is being done only so that the media and public criticise us. Don’t use the House to play the media,” Azad said.Following this, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien took up the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2015. This was passed unanimously through a voice vote without any discussion. Congress leader Hussain Dalwai did not move his motion for certain amendments after his party asked him not to do so. There was thumping on the desk as the House passed the Bill. The two Appropriations Bills were also passed in a similar manner without any discussion.TMC leader Derek O’Brien stood up and told the Chair that it was important to mention that the Bills were passed unanimously and not in a din. To this, a smiling Kurien said, “How can there be din? There is perfect calm and tranquility. Everybody is cool. A cool breeze is blowing. I don’t know where this breeze is coming from”.As Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi sought taking up of more Bills, Azad hit back saying, “all of us have agreed and I said we will pass Bills in the next three days. We had said we will pass the SC/ST Bill and we have fulfilled our promise.””We have shown our efficiency, capability and cooperation by passing the three Bills in such a short time. We should not be penalised for our efficiency”. Naqvi then stood up and urged the opposition to “show some more strength”.The opposition members argued that it was decided at the all-party meeting that after the passage of the Bills, there would be debates on issues like intolerance, floods, price rise and the issue of Arunachal Pradesh, on which there was an agreement. The Congress received support from CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury who said discussion on these issues should be taken up after the bills have been passed.As Naqvi insisted that more bills be passed on Monday, Congress members came into the aisles and then entered the Well shouting slogans demanding the resignation of the Finance Minister over alleged bungling in the DDCA. Kurien then adjourned the House till 3 PM.

Arunachal Pradesh political crisis: Governor has acted within constitutional powers, says Kalikho Pul

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The Governor has summoned the House under Article 174 (Clause 1) of the Constitution and he has the power to summon the House as and when he deems fit, he said.

Dissident Congress MLA Kalikho Pul

PTI
Dissident Congress MLAs from Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday said that Governor J P Rajkhowa has acted within his constitutional powers by summoning the session of the state Assembly.”BJP MLAs in the House had moved a proposal to impeach Speaker Nabam Rebia and no notification regarding this was issued by the Speaker during the stipulated period of 14 days. It was only after the stipulated period was over that the Governor summoned the House,” dissident MLA Kalikho Pul said.The Governor has summoned the House under Article 174 (Clause 1) of the Constitution and he has the power to summon the House as and when he deems fit, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Governor has both discretionary and guiding role and he is protecting the integrity of the Constitution,” he added.The Gauhati High Court had stayed the decision of the Governor to advance the Assembly session from January 14 next year to December 16 and the proceedings of the House in the makeshift premises.”The matter is sub-judice and we will not say much about it but will appeal against the order in the High Court. We want the Court to give us a chance to explain and we have full faith in the judiciary,” he added.Pul also alleged that the Governor is “under threat and is not safe in the Raj Bhawan. The state DGP and Chief Secretary are not listening to him and so how can the common people be safe in the state?”The whole world has seen how the ministers owing allegiance to Chief Minister Nabam Tuki have misbehaved with the Governor and used unparliamentary language inside the Raj Bhawan. Their supporters have held dharnas and blocked roads with a patient dying on way to the hospital,” he said.

Rajya Sabha logjam ends but no consensus on GST

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After the hour-long deliberations, Ansari said the meeting was “good”.

Courtesy: Priya Saraf
The logjam in Rajya Sabha was broken on Friday with Opposition agreeing for passage of some bills and allowing its normal functioning on the remaining three days of the Winter session at an all-party meeting convened by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari, but a consensus eluded GST.After the hour-long deliberations, Ansari said the meeting was “good”.Members from different parties decided to pass the SC ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, the Appropriation Bills, the Anti Hijacking Bill, the Atomic Energy Amendment Bill, the Commercial Courts Ordinance Bill and the Arbitration and Conciliation Amendment Bill by December 23 when the current session comes to an end, sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “nothing new was discussed at this meeting apart from what was discussed earlier at the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting.”When asked whether Congress has agreed to passage of some bills, he said that some of the bills on which his party has committed support like the SC/ST bill will be passed alongwith Appropriation Bill.”There was no discussion on GST. The discussion was on some bills on which there is a general consensus. Everybody is aware that there is no consensus on GST. Not only Congress has some reservations but other parties also ,” Azad said when asked whether any decision on GST was taken in the meeting.The GST bill, which has already been passed by the Lok Sabha, must be passed by the Rajya Sabha by December 23 and then sent to the states for passage to enable the GST regime to be rolled out by April 1, 2016.Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, however, said, “there has been a very meaningful discussion in the meeting. A number of parties have expressed concern over Parliament not functioning.”All of them decided that the House should function. It has been decided to pass the pending government bills even by sitting late,” he said.Asked about the crucial GST bill, Naqvi said that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made an appeal to the opposition to pass the constitution bill as well in the conducive atmosphere that has emerged after the meeting.”But, I don’t think the main opposition party has an agreement on this,” he said, adding that other opposition parties favour a passage of the bill.Ever since the winter session started on November 26, proceedings in the Rajya Sabha have been disrupted over a variety of issues with Congress accusing the Modi government of “political vendetta” in the wake of the National Herald case. The Arunachal Pradesh imbroglio and Union Minister V K Singh’s ‘dog’ remarks also triggered uproar in the House.It was also decided that three bills – the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, the Whistle Blowers Protection Amendment Bill and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill – will be discussed during the remaining period but the course of action will be decided upon later.Opposition wants two bills including the Whistle Blowers Protection Bill to be referred to a Select Committee.During the meeting it was also decided that discussions on matters of public importance like price rise, impact of flood and drought on agriculture, intolerance and a discussion on the developments in Arunachal Pradesh will also be taken up during the last three days.Naqvi said that members have agreed to compensate for the loss of legislative business in the House by working for extra hours.Asked if the issue of giving more powers to Rajya Sabha Chairman to act against members disrupting the House was discussed at the meeting, he replied in the negative.The meeting also saw Naresh Gujral (SAD) asking both the major parties BJP and Congress to sort out the differences among them to avoid disruptions in Parliament.After the meeting, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said,”the Rajya Sabha was not functioning till today, except that we passed one bill and some other intervention took place. The Chairman was very disturbed and anguished over this. Many of us share that feeling and seeing that there are only three more days left, called a meeting of the leaders of all parties.”Kurien said that through that meeting Ansari expressed his anguish and also urged members to pass at least those bills for which there is general consensus and agreement.”He also listed such bills. About six bills he listed and appealed to the leaders that they should cooperate in running the House smoothly and in disposing of these bills and the leaders of all parties responded favourably and positively.”Therefore it was decided that on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 2 to 4 pm these bills will be taken and 4 pm onwards there are certain issues over which the members are agitated and those issues will be taken up and the House may sit beyond 6 pm for disposing those discussions,” Kurien said.The Bills on which there is broad agreement are SC/ST bill anti hijacking bill, appropriation bills, attomic energy bill, commercial courts Ordinance and the Arbitration and Conciliation Bill.”In addition to that three bills we will be taking up, Child labour bill, whistleblower bill and juvenile justice bill, these bills will be taken up and they will be discussed and disposed of or may be sent to select committee as the House decides,” Kurien said.

Hopes on GST dash as Rajya Sabha heads for complete washout

Leader of the House Arun Jaitley countered her statement by even producing a copy of comments of appreciation by her in the temple’s visitor book and power minister Piyush Goyal aggravated the situation by calling her statement as “another incident of manufactured problems and manufactured discrimination”.

Modi government’s hopes to pass key legislative bills, including the GST, seem to have all but dashed in the winter session with no let-off in disruptions in sight by the Congress-led opposition in Rajya Sabha during the last three days.Besides Congress and other opposition parties raking up one issue after the other, the ruling party’s members also played their role to stall the Rajya Sabha with ill-timed comments and playing some hardball politics, raising doubts whether there is an attempt of an internal sabotage by the treasury benches.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aware that the House will go in a tumult on the issue of religious intolerance that was ruling the roost at the start of the session because of Dadri and death of Dalit children, the BJP took a soft approach by yielding to opposition’s demand to have a discussion on the rational of celebrating Constitution Day on November 26.In a bid to strike cord with the opposition parties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself hit a conciliatory note in his reply to the debate. In a well-measured speech bereft of any harsh comments, Modi said that “nobody in the country needs to give a certificate of his patriotism. Everyone in this country is a patriot.”But the House got in a logjam over Congress member Kumari Selja’s statement regarding alleged denial of entry in Bet Dwarka temple. The House showed a glimmer of hope of conducting business with all members expressing solidarity during a debate on Chennai floods but the chances faded as BJP raked up Selja’s temple visit issue again.Leader of the House Arun Jaitley countered her statement by even producing a copy of comments of appreciation by her in the temple’s visitor book and power minister Piyush Goyal aggravated the situation by calling her statement as “another incident of manufactured problems and manufactured discrimination”. All hell broke loose after that resulting in washout for another two days until the minister expressed regret.When the House met again on December 4, to counter Congress charges on Dalit issue, BSP supremo Mayawati raised the matter of cabinet minister, VK Singh’s ‘dog’ remark on the murder of two Dalit girls in Haryana’s Faridabad. The issue was joined in by other opposition parties. Naresh Agarwal of the Samajwadi Party also demanded a reply from the government on the statement made by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat thus stalling proceeding of the house on December 4.The next week saw the Congress taking up cudgels on the Delhi High court notice to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case. Congress rushed to the well repeatedly blaming PM Modi for vendetta politics. All efforts made by Chairman Hamid Ansari and deputy chairman P J Kurien to delink parliament with a court matter failed to pacify Congress members resulting in a total washout of the entire week’s proceedings business from December 7 to 11.The penultimate week starting on December 14 began on a promising note with external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj giving a detailed account of her Pakistan visit during Heart of Asia conference and decision to start comprehensive bilateral talks with Pakistan.As soon as she completed, the house went through frequent disruptions on Abohar incident in Punjab with Mayawati accusing Punjab government of not acting against atrocities on Dalits. The issue kept the house busy till after afternoon and thereafter Congress raking up the issue of Kerala chief minister Ommen Chandy being deliberately kept out from a function of unveiling of statute at the insistence of the PMO. The day adjourned with members protesting for taking up SC/ST atrocities bill instead of Whistle blowers bill that was listed ahead.On the next day, angry Congress members raised their pitch against the Arunachal Pradesh governor for calling assembly session on his own without consulting the council of ministers and fixing up the agenda himself. They got support from Left parties and the JD (U). Calling it murder of democracy they trooped into the well and despite deputy chairman P J Kurien ruling that matter a governor can be discussed only after giving a substantive motion, they did not budge.The BJP got into double trouble when Arvind Kejriwal announced CBI raids at Delhi CM’s office on tweeter and Mamata Banerjee tweeting “shock” in solidarity. TMC member Derek O’Brien raised the matter in the Rajya Sabha that was soon joined by the members of the entire opposition, including Left parties and the Congress, arch rival of AAP in Delhi.Despite Smriti Irani and Piyush Goyal requesting the chair not to adjourn the House and if need be conduct the proceedings until midnight, the deputy chairman had no option but to adjourn it a few minutes after 3pm.While CBI raids took a back seat on Thursday as AAP and Congress resorting to brazen it out in public, the Arunachal Pradesh picked up heat again with almost entire coming in support of Congress seeking indulgence of the house to protect the constitutional norms in the state.Despite deputy chairman requesting that the matter for a substantive discussion is under consideration of the chairman, Congress led opposition did not allow house to function describing Arunachal developments a very serious matter that can jeopardise the security of the country.

Arunachal Pradesh political crisis: BJP declares rebel Congress leader Kalikho Pul as next CM candidate

Today, a ‘no confidence’ motion by 11 BJP MLAs and two Independent members was ‘adopted’ with deputy speaker T Norbu Thongdok, who is also a rebel Congressman, in the chair.

Rebel Congress MLA Kalikho Pul celebrates with supporters after he was elected as” Chief Minister” by 33 legislators in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday.

PTI
In an interesting turn of events in the Arunachal Pradesh political upheaval, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday declared Kalikho Pul as their Chief Minister candidate.”The sitting chief minister has to prove his majority against the person we are proposing. We are projecting the name of Kaliko Pul for the post of Chief Minister,” leader of the Opposition Tamiyo Taga said.”The next step is to vacate the chief minister post. I have submitted one no confidence motion to be taken up tomorrow in the assembly. There would be a composite floor test for the government. Everything is same but the name is different composite floor test, it is not exactly a no confidence motion,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Today, a ‘no confidence’ motion by 11 BJP MLAs and two Independent members was ‘adopted’ with deputy speaker T Norbu Thongdok, who is also a rebel Congressman, in the chair. 33 MLAs said yes to no-confidence motion against Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and no MLA from the Chief Minister faction was present.Meanwhile, the Congress earlier on Thursday said there could be no business in the Rajya Sabha, because of the recent political developments in Arunachal Pradesh.Briefing media in New Delhi, leader of opposition in the Upper House Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Central government is using the Governor, who is upholder of the Constitution, for political gains. He alleged that the Centre is trying to destabilise Arunchal Pradesh government.In reply to a query, another spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala clarified that the Congress Party has not called any of its state leaders to Delhi on December 19.

Arunachal Pradesh political crisis: Gauhati HC stays all proceedings of present Assembly session till Feb 2

Coming down heavily on the notification issued by Governor J P Rajkhowa advancing the session, Justice Hrishikesh Roy observed that prima facie it was in violation of Art 174 and 175 of the Constitution dealing with convening of the session Governor and his message to House.

Rebel Congress MLA Kalikho Pul celebrates with supporters after he was elected as” Chief Minister” by 33 legislators in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday.

PTI
In a new twist to the ongoing political drama, the Gauhati High Court on Thursday kept in abeyance all decisions, including the removal of Arunach Pradesh Assembly Speaker Nebam Rebia, at a special “session” on Thursday, hours after Chief Minister Nabam Tuki was “voted out” and a dissident Congressman was “elected” as CM in a hotel.Coming down heavily on the notification issued by Governor J P Rajkhowa advancing the session, Justice Hrishikesh Roy observed that prima facie it was in violation of Art 174 and 175 of the Constitution dealing with convening of the session Governor and his message to House. The court order came on a writ petition filed by the Speaker challenging the Dec 9 notification issued by the Governor advancing the Assembly session to December 16 from the scheduled day of January 24, 2016.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier today, in a bizarre turn of events, Opposition BJP and rebel Congress MLAs got together in a local hotel to “vote out” the Nabam Tuki-led Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh and to “elect” a rebel Congress MLA as the new “chief minister”. The dramatic development came a day after they “impeached” Speaker Nabam Rebia in a make-shift “Assembly” premises in a community hall.Issuing notice, Justice Hrishikesh Roy kept in abeyance the impugned decisions including the notification issued by the Deputy Speaker restoring the membership of 14 suspended MLAs and the holding of the “session” at a new place and also the decision taken at the “session” yesterday in which the Speaker was removed. The judge allowed petitioner Kapil Sibal to implead the government of Arunachal Pradesh as a party respondent. He posted the case for next hearing on February 1, 2016.Eleven BJP MLAs and two Independent MLAs joined hands with 20 Congress rebels to meet at a conference hall of a hotel here as the Assembly premises have been sealed since Wednesday. Today, a “no confidence” motion moved by BJP MLAs and Independent MLAs was “adopted” with Deputy Speaker T Norbu Thongdok, who is also a rebel Congressman, in the Chair.A total 33 members of the 60-member house, including 20 dissident Congress MLAs, later “elected” another dissident Congressman Kalikho Pul as the new “chief minister” of the state. The Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and his 26 supporting MLAs boycotted the proceedings terming them as “illegal and unconstitutional”.The Chief Minister later wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking their intervention to “uphold” the Constitution in the face of the “unprecedented murder” of democracy and “bypassing” of a democratically-elected government by Governor Jyoti Prashad Rajkhowa.Angry over the Governor’s action in calling a session of the Assembly bypassing the government the Congress has paralysed the Rajya Sabha for the last two days. MORE PTI UPL Yesterday, a delegation led by Congress President Sonia Gandhi met President Mukherjee in Delhi and lodged a strong protest against Rajkhowa.”It is clear that the BJP top leadership in connivance with some dissident Congress MLAs planned to destabilize the democratically-elected Congress Government in Arunachal Pradesh. This is obviously a pre-planned design involving the highest functionaries of the Central Government in this unprincipled enterprise,” the Congress chief told reporters after handing over a memorandum to the President.On Thursday’s “proceedings” were held in the new venue as the make-shift premises where Speaker Nabam Rebia was ‘impeached’ on Wednesday was vandalised by miscreants and the MLAs opposing Tuki were not allowed to enter the Assembly premises by security forces. As per directive of the Speaker, the district administration has sealed the Assembly premises since Wednesday.The MLAs then with “due consent” from Governor J P Rajkhowa shifted the venue to the conference hall of a in Naharlagun. The “session”, which was chaired by Deputy Speaker T Norbu Thongdok passed the motion by voice vote and signature consent by 33 members in the absence of 26 Congress MLAs including Tuki and his council of ministers.Thongdok announced Pul as the “new Leader of the House” and said that the “proceedings” would be sent to the Governor who would ask the new chief minister and his council of ministers to take the oath of office shortly.

Will Sonia Gandhi clean the ‘dirt’ in Parliament, asks Uma Bharti

Replying to questions on cleaning Yamuna, Bharti said under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Ganga and Yamuna rivers would be cleaned but wondered who would clean the dirt inside the House.

Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, who is engaged in an ambitious task of cleaning the Ganga and Yamun rivers, on Thursday took a dig at Congress in Lok Sabha for disrupting Parliament as she asked whether Sonia Gandhi would take the lead to clean the “dirt” in the House.Replying to questions on cleaning Yamuna, Bharti said under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Ganga and Yamuna rivers would be cleaned but wondered who would clean the dirt inside the House.Pointing towards the Congress members, who were shouting slogans in the Well of the House, she said some day they come with the issue of Arunachal Pradesh, some day they come with the CBI raid on an officer of the Delhi government, some day with some other issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Who will clean this dirt. Ma’am (Speaker) will you ensure that this dart will be cleaned? Will the Congress President take the lead in cleaning this dirt,” she asked amidst thumping of desk by BJP members.

Congress plans grand show on eve of Rahul-Sonia appearance in court

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The Congress sources said it would be a show of strength to express solidarity with the party leadership and register protest against senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy’s attempts to implicate its leaders with the charge of usurping properties of the defunct newspaper National Herald in Delhi and eight other cities.

Sonia Gandhi and other Congress leaders after submitting a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee demanding removal of Arunachal governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa

dna
The Congress is planning a grand show on Saturday, when Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi and five other leaders are appearing before a magistrate’s court here in the National Herald case. They party has summoned all its chief ministers, state party presidents and MPs to the AICC headquarters at 24 Akbar Road here on Saturday for a likely march along with leaders to the Patiala Courts.The Congress sources said it would be a show of strength to express solidarity with the party leadership and register protest against senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy’s attempts to implicate its leaders with the charge of usurping properties of the defunct newspaper National Herald in Delhi and eight other cities.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As a strategy, Rahul has decided not to offer bail or sign a security bond as he prefers to be sent to judicial custody. Though, earlier it was decided that Sonia will file for a bail bond because of her fragile health along with 86-year old treasurer Motilal Vora, party sources said, Congress president may also opt for jail to secure a sympathy for ‘victimisation by the ruling BJP and the Modi government’. They said Sonia and Rahul were taking a cue from former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi whose political fortunes resurrected following her arrest in 1977 after losing the elections.

Arunachal Assembly: Ministers used unparliamentary words, says Governor

The Governor claimed that he had issued the order on December 9 advancing the winter session from January 14 to December 16 as per laid down provisions of the Constitution and the law and in exercising powers conferred on him under Clause (1) of Article 174 of the Constitution of India.

Arunachal Governor Jyoti Prashad Rajkhowa

Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prashad Rajkhowa on Tuesday night alleged that some ministers who called on him to request him to withdraw the order advancing the winter session of the state Assembly used “unparliamentary languages.””They used unparliamentary words and gestured in an animated and threatening manner against the Governor when they, along with Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, met him today,” a Raj Bhawan communique said.The Governor said they have legal option to challenge his order. The Governor claimed that he had issued the order on December 9 advancing the winter session from January 14 to December 16 as per laid down provisions of the Constitution and the law and in exercising powers conferred on him under Clause (1) of Article 174 of the Constitution of India. Legal experts were also consulted, the Governor claimed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, not willing to listen to him, the ministers questioned his authority and judgement, he said.”Some of the ministers got very agitated and led by Education Minister Tapang Taloh, used unparliamentary words and gestured in very animated and threatening manner before leaving the Raj Bhavan,” the statement said.They also virtually “threatened” to disturb the Assembly session starting from tomorrow, it claimed adding the Governor expressed extreme disappointment at the behaviour of the ministers, particularly when the Chief Minister himself had sought the appointment for official deliberation.

Even beef-eaters can be RSS members, says senior leader Manmohan Vaidya

The leader said this in Arunachal Pradesh.

dna Research & Archives
At a time when the question of eating beef has dominated the national discourse frequently, with many states going for stricter laws and the Dadri incident leading to the debate about intolerance, a senior RSS leader has made a sensational statement.According to The Telegraph, Manmohan Vaidya said that RSS doesn’t dictate food habits but eating beef is not traditional across the country. However, he stated that it is fairly common practice in Arunachal Pradesh. He said that beef eaters can also become part of RSS. According to the report, there are nearly 3000 RSS members in the state who consume beef. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vaidya also firmly rejected charges of growing intolerance in the country. He said people of certain ideologies are always intolerant to contrarian views. Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi earlier said that those who beef can go to Pakistan. One is unsure whether he is aware that some RSS members are beef-eaters.

North eastern states have lost 628 sq kms of forest: State of forest report

North eastern states constitute only 7.9 percent of geographical area of the country but accounts for nearly one-fourth of the country’s forest cover, the report said. It is one of the 18 biodiversity hotspots of the world due to these rich forests.

Uttarakhand has mostly lost moderately dense forests

Even as the Indian State of Forest Report 2015 recorded an increase of 3,775 sqkm in the country’s forest cover compared to the last survey in 2013, the hill states of north east and Uttarakhand, regions with some of the country’s best forests, have witnessed a setback. According to the report’s data north eastern states there has been a net decline of 628 sq km in the forest cover since 2013. The loss is more than the total area of Mumbai city.North eastern states constitute only 7.9 percent of geographical area of the country but accounts for nearly one-fourth of the country’s forest cover, the report said. It is one of the 18 biodiversity hotspots of the world due to these rich forests.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The top-five states who have recorded a negative changes in forest cover are Mizoram, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. Mizoram’s 88.9% area is covered by forests and the state has lost 306 sq kms of it while Uttarakhand whose 45.3% area is forests lost 268 sq km of it.The State of Forest Report survey, during its ground truthing, tried to ascertain reasons for the increase and decrease in forests. It states that Mizoram has lost forests cover due to shifting cultivation patterns and other ‘biotic’ pressure on forest lands. On the other hand, Uttarakhand has lost forest cover due to rotational felling and diversion of forest land for developmental activities.Incidentally states such as Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, that have both recorded loss of forest cover, are planning to build over a hundred hydro power projects each to harness major rivers. Several of these projects fall in dense to moderately dense forests and have faced opposition owing to the large forest cutting it will cause. The 2,880MW Dibang Multipurpose Project (DMP) in Lower Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh will alone cut down 45.77 sq km of forest.As part of the survey, forest cover across states is categorised into Very Dense Forests, Moderately Dense Forests and Open Forests. An analysis of the report’s data shows that Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur and Uttarakhand have all mostly lost moderately dense forests. Categories of forest based on density Very dense forest are lands with tree canopy density of 70 %and above, moderately dense forests have a tree canopy density of 40 percent and more but less than 70 % while open forests have a canopy density of less than 10 percent.

Awards Wapasi: Noted historian Shekhar Pathak from Uttarakhand returns Padma Shri

A historian, writer and academician from Uttarakhand, Pathak was awarded the Padma Shri in 2007.

A historian, writer and academician from Uttarakhand, Pathak was awarded the Padma Shri in 2007. (mussooriewriters.com)

Noted historian from Uttarakhand Shekhar Pathak on Monday announced his decision to return Padma Shri in protest against what they call the “atmosphere of growing intolerance” in the country. He is the second eminent personality from Uttarakhand to return his award after noted writer Nayantara Sahgal. Announcing the decision at the ongoing 4th Nainital Film Festival which got underway in the tourist town today, Pathak said his move was in “protest against the atmosphere of growing intolernace in the country and the neglect of the Himalayan region”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said being the son of the Himalayas returning the award was also his way of registering his protest against the “loot” of its resources. A historian, writer and academician from Uttarakhand, Pathak was awarded the Padma Shri in 2007. Also known for his concern for the environment, he founded “People’s Association for Himalaya Area Research (PAHAR), a Nainital-based a non-profit organization for research on Himalayan people, established in 1983. He also edits an annual journal published by it.In 2007, he took up a three-year project to study the Himalayan people along with Magsaysay Award winner, Chandi Prasad Bhatt, traversing the Himalayas, from Leh to Arunachal.

Indian, Chinese troops hold meet on Arunachal border

The proceedings reflected a mutual desire of maintaining and improving relations at the border

A ceremonial Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) between India and China was held near Bumla in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh on the occasion of Chinese National Day, weeks after a face-off between the two along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.The Indian delegation was led by Brigadier D S Kushwah, Commander of Tawang Brigade while Colonel Tang Fu Cheng, Commander of Tsona Dzong Garrison represented the Chinese delegation, a defence communique informed in Itanagar on Saturday. The meeting was marked by unfurling the national flags of India and China, followed by ceremonial address by both the delegation leaders. Thereafter a function showcasing vibrant cultures took place, the statement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The proceedings reflected a mutual desire of maintaining and improving relations at the border. Both delegations interacted with each other in a congenial and cordial environment. The delegations parted amidst feelings of bonhomie and commitment towards enhancing the existing cordial relations and maintaining peace along the LAC.Both sides also sought to build on the mutual feeling for upholding the treaties and agreements signed between the governments of the two sides to maintain peace and tranquility along the LAC, the communique added.A similar exchange of pleasantries between the two countries was yesterday held at the Chinese Border Personnel Meeting huts at Chushul and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) in eastern Ladakh to mark the 67 Anniversary of Chinese National Day.The BPM, on the occasion of Chinese National Day on October 1, is conducted every year by Chinese troops with great enthusiasm, the communique said.

Grant citizenship to Chakma, Hajong tribals in 3 months: Supreme Court

The apex court said that Chakmas have a right to be granted citizenship and it is even “recognised by judicial decisions that they cannot be required to obtain any Inner Line permit as they are settled in Arunachal Pradesh

The Supreme Court has directed the Centre and Arunachal Pradesh government to grant citizenship within three months to Chakma and Hajong tribals who had migrated from Bangladesh in 1964-69, saying they cannot be discriminated in any manner.”It is well known that the Chakmas and Hajongs were displaced from the area which became part of East Pakistan (now in Bangladesh) on construction of Kaptai Dam and were allowed to be rehabilitated under the decision of the Government of India… “They could not be discriminated against in any manner pending formal conferment of rights of citizenship. Their status also stands duly acknowledged in the guidelines of the Election Commission of India,” a bench of Justices Anil R Dave and Adarsh K Goel said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The apex court said that Chakmas have a right to be granted citizenship and it is even “recognised by judicial decisions that they cannot be required to obtain any Inner Line permit as they are settled in Arunachal Pradesh.” The court passed the order on a petition filed by Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas (CCRC) seeking direction to grant citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong tribals who migrated to India in 1964-1969 and were settled in the Arunachal Pradesh.”As earlier held by this Court, the Delhi High Court and Gauhati High Court, they need to be protected and their claims of citizenship need to be considered as per applicable procedure,” the court said.

Indian Army amd China’s PLA personnel meet and agree to maintain peace along LAC

Leh/New Delhi: After a fresh face-off, the armies of India and China had two meetings at two places in Ladakh today during which the two countries agreed to maintain peace and tranquility along the 465-km long Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Ladakh sector.

The meetings were convened to discuss last week’s face-off in Burtse area which ended in the wee hours of Sunday. The meetings of senior officers of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Indian Army took place in Chushul, located 202 km southeast of Leh and Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO), 250 km northeast of Leh.

Chushul, which is located near the breathtaking Pangong lake, is one of the five officially agreed BPM points between India and China where army officers from both sides can meet and sort out differences along the border.

The other four BPMs are in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. BPM point on the LAC near DBO was operationalised last month. During the meetings, the Chinese side was asked about the alleged violation by building of hut 1.5 km deep inside the percieved Indian territory in Burtse, the sources said, adding “both sides agreed to adhere to no defence construction along the LAC”.

Representative image. AFPRepresentative image. AFP

Representative image. AFP

ITBP and Army jawans had demolished a hut that was built 1.5 km inside the LAC on Friday in Burtse, 210 km northeast of Leh, leading to a face-off between the two sides. The hut, with a solar panel on top, had a camera which recorded the movement of Indian troops, the sources said, while giving details about the Chinese incursion bid.

The construction was done by the PLA apparently to claim that the area belongs to them. This area is adjacent to Depsang plains where PLA had pitched camps in April, 2013 that had led to a three-week long stalemate.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei had claimed in Beijing yesterday that that no face-off had taken place in the border area and said “the Chinese border troops have been performing their duties on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).”

He was responDing to a question on new stand-off at Ladakh where Indian troops removed a hut built by the PLA troops that had camera and other facilities.

This is a consistent position maintained by China since the first Depsang stand-off broke out during the visit of Premier Li Keqiang in 2013 to India, asserting that the PLA troops are carrying out activities in their side of the border.

China has been trying to make inroads in Burtse area as it will give access to the PLA to monitor the activities of Indian troops based in Old Patol base besides trying to deny an advantage to India to overlook the Karakoram highway linking the territory illegally occupied by China with Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir(PoK).

Besides, India has an Advanced Ground Landing (AGL) facility in DBO which was activated in August 2013 and the Indian Air Force(IAF) had managed to land a C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft at the air strip located at 16,614 feet above sea level.

The initial existence of a hut was seen first on a satellite imagery after which a joint patrol of ITBP and army was sent to the area to have a report from ground zero. Later, it was decided to demolish the hut which prompted the PLA to reach the area resulting in a face-off.

Indian troops displayed the banners in Chinese asking the PLA to return to their side, the officials said. India and China share over 4,000 km of LAC. China claims approximately 90,000 sq km of territory in Arunachal Pradesh besides 38,000 sq km in Jammu and Kashmir sector.

PTI

Stand-off between Indian, Chinese troops near Line of Actual Control in Ladakh

According to officials in the know of developments, the Chinese troops had built a temporary hut in Burtse, North of Ladakh, which was subsequently demolished by the ITBP and Army jawans on Friday. China is said to be eyeing this area, which gives advantage to India to overlook the Karakoram highway linking the territory illegally occupied by China with Pakistan- occupied-Kashmir.

Indian and Chinese troops recently had a face-off along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, the same area where People’s Liberation Army had pitched camps in April, 2013 that had led to a three-week long stalemate.According to officials in the know of developments, the Chinese troops had built a temporary hut in Burtse, North of Ladakh, which was subsequently demolished by the ITBP and Army jawans on Friday. China is said to be eyeing this area, which gives advantage to India to overlook the Karakoram highway linking the territory illegally occupied by China with Pakistan- occupied-Kashmir.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Besides, India has an Advanced Ground Landing facility in Daulat Beg Oldi which was activated in August 2013 and the Indian Air Force had managed to land a C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft at the air strip located at 16614 feet above sea level. After reports about the construction of a hutment reached ITBP personnel, a joint patrol of para-military forces and the Army was sent to the area after which it was demolished. Attempts for a flag meeting did not succeed as Chinese side did not revert on the date for a meet, the sources said.The PLA troops had made attempts to push the Indian troops back but these were thwarted, they said. Indian troops displayed the banners in Chinese asking the PLA to return to their side, the officials said. India and China share over 4,000 km of LAC. China claims approximately 90,000 sq km of territory in Arunachal Pradesh besides 38,000 sq km in Jammu and Kashmir sector. Defence Ministry officials in Delhi declined to comment.

Things get tough for NSCN (K) as NIA announces reward on top leaders

48 NSCN (K) cadres led by Chailai Pansa and Bopa Wangnow are camping in village Lahu district Tirap. They plan to attack security forces in retaliation to a recent operations against NSCN (K) at Noklak in Nagaland.

Moving a step closer to declare National Socialist Council of Nagalim – Khaplang (NSCN-K) a proscribed organisation, the Centre on Thursday announced an award of Rs10 lakh and Rs7 lakh reward on its commander in-chief Niki Sumi and Chairman SS Khaplang respectively.But the tough action does not seem to have deterred the dreaded insurgent outfit as according to intelligent inputs, 48 well-armed cadres of NSCN (K) have positioned them to attack security forces in Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh.The inputs discussed at length in multi-agency centre (MAC) on Friday said that<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>48 NSCN (K) cadres led by Chailai Pansa and Bopa Wangnow are camping in village Lahu district Tirap. They plan to attack security forces in retaliation to a recent operations against NSCN (K) at Noklak in Nagaland.Niki Sumi is suspected to have led a group of rebels from three insurgent outfits on June 4 to carry out an attack on the convoy of Dogra regiment in Manipur’s Chandel district that killed 18 Army jawans, while aging chairman Khaplang is believed to have given the clearance for the attack.Announcing the award, the national investigation agency (NIA) said, “S S Khaplang is head of the NSCN (K) group and Niki Sumi is holding the charge of armed wing of said group. They were closely associated with the decision to attack Assam Rifles personnel at Indira Gandhi Stadium, Kohima on March 26 and subsequent string of attacks on armed forces including the attack on 6 Dogra Regiment Convoy in Chandel district of Manipur on June 4 killing 18 Army personnel.”The total number of militants who participated in the attack was 23 out of whom two were killed on June 4 in retaliatory action by the Army in Chandel district of Manipur, official sources said.During the investigations, NIA examined several surrendered militants of NSCN-K, who also helped them identify many of the accused.In retaliatory strikes following the ambush, Indian army commandos had hit two insurgent camps at different locations along Myanmar’s border with Nagaland and Manipur, inflicting significant damage and casualties.NSCN(K), which walked out of a ceasefire agreement with India in March this year, has been involved in a series of attacks in tandem with some other militant groups in the North-East under the banner of ‘United Liberation Front of South East Asia’.

Bengal, northeast speculate joint elephant census to prevent repetition

Kolkata: The central government may simultaneously launch a elephant census in West Bengal and the northeastern states in 2016 to prevent repetition and avoid errors in counting, an official said on Monday.

“We have conveyed this idea to the central government in a recent meeting and when the approval comes, the counting will occur simultaneously in north Bengal and north-east Indian states since the elephants move along the corridors between these states,” said West Bengal chief wildlife warden BR Sharma.

Representational image. APRepresentational image. AP

Representational image. AP

Sharma said this would ensure no animal is counted twice or omitted. The next census is scheduled between February and April 2016.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, in north-eastern India, the endangered species range extends from the eastern border of Nepal in north West Bengal through western Assam along the Himalaya foothills as far as the Mishmi hills in Arunachal Pradesh.

From here it extends into eastern Arunachal Pradesh, the plains of upper Assam, and the foothills of Nagaland. Further west, it extends to the Garo and Khasi hills of Meghalaya to parts of the lower Brahmaputra plains and Karbi plateau in Assam.

In Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, and the Barak valley districts of Assam, isolated herds occur. The elephant distribution is contiguous with those of Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar.

There are around 9,000 elephants and 22 corridors in the north-east Indian states, said Sharma.

In addition, Sharma said a plan to establish a transboundary protected area for Royal Bengal tigers across the Indian as well as Bangladesh side of Sundarbans has also been conveyed.

IANS

No peace pact without fulfilling demand for Naga sovereignty, integration: NSCN(IM)

Integration means that all Nagas spread across different states and countries must live under one administrative umbrella: Muivah

Photo Courtesy: ANI Twitter
NSCN(IM) has rejected “rumours” that the outfit was backtracking on integration and sovereignty, saying they were the “core issues” and there can be “no solution whatsoever” without fulfilling the two issues. However, NSCN (IM) general secretary Th Muivah acknowledged that the “first initiative” to seek a political solution as opposed to a military one to the Naga freedom struggle was taken “from the Indian side.” “If the Government of India respects the rights of the Nagas, Nagas can come closer to India, otherwise there can be no meeting point. Therefore, sovereignty of Nagas has to be worked out,” he said<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Muivah said with the Naga issue was reaching the “crucial political stage” and with change of mind in the Indian leadership, it is time for Nagas to come together and work collectively in the interest of the Naga nation. In his address to the 69th Naga Independence Day celebration held on Saturday at the outfit’s council headquarters at Hebron, 115 km from the state capital, he said, “Do you want to drive away the Nagas further? Mind that without integration there will be no solution whatsoever… don’t doubt, we are standing for integration at any cost.” “Remember, without integration there can never be a solution,” he said.Integration means that all Nagas spread across different states and countries must live under one administrative umbrella, he said.Maintaining that rumours about NSCN (IM) backtracking on integration and sovereignty were the “handiwork of external forces with vested interests”, Muivah said that the Government of India has responded to the demand for integration by saying “Yes, let us see the way to work it out.”On sovereignty, he said that there was no way the NSCN (IM) would give it up as the whole idea of the Naga freedom movement was based on that very foundation. “Our unique history and position must be respected. Otherwise there can be no meeting points,” he said.Muivah said that after both the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India understood each other’s position, they agreed to share sovereign powers based on the understanding that sovereignty lies with the people in a democracy. “And we decided to call it as framework agreement.” He exuded confidence that the “framework agreement” would provide “enduring, inclusive peaceful coexistence between the two entities.” Muivah also acknowledged that some “practical difficulties” have to be solved but not at the expense of the Nagas. If Nagas irrespective of groups, factions or tribes forgive each other and forget past bitterness, “then God will surely not fail the Naga people,” he added. Maintaining that the Naga people will respect the rights of the neighbours, Muivah said,”They should also respect our rights too. Please understand it seriously. We will be good neighbours forever.”Representatives from apex Naga civil organisations including the Naga Hoho, ENPO and UNC also shared messages on the occasion. Speakers representing Naga communities living in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar appealed to the NSCN (IM) not to sideline them from the final solution.

No change in ceasefire ground rule in Naga pact: Interlocutor

There has been no change in ceasefire ground rule which has been in place since 1997 when the NSCN-IM for the first time agreed for peace talks, sources said quoting Ravi’s communication.

PM Modi in Nagaland for the peace pact (File Photo)

PTI
Interlocutor for Naga peace talks RN Ravi is believed to have conveyed to the Union Home Ministry that no change has been made in ceasefire ground rule while signing an agreement with NSCN-IM recently. The interlocutor is said to have conveyed to the Home Ministry that it was a framework for a final settlement to bring a lasting peace in Nagaland, sources said. There has been no change in ceasefire ground rule which has been in place since 1997 when the NSCN-IM for the first time agreed for peace talks, sources said quoting Ravi’s communication.The interlocutor’s letter came after the Home Ministry sought a clarification on the agreement signed by him and NSCN-IM on August 3. The content of the agreement is yet to be disclosed. However, Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang said that the Naga peace pact is only a “formula” for a final accord.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi told him that North Eastern states would be consulted before finalisation of the peace accord. The NSCN-IM, which had given up its original demand of sovereignty a few years ago, has been asking for integration of Naga-inhabited areas in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. All three states are opposed to the outfit’s demand.

Wreckage of missing Pawan Hans helicopter found in Arunachal Pradesh: Union Minister Kiren Rijiju.

The Union Minister said that Air Force chopper is hovering over the area where the wreckage has been found.

The wreckage of Pawan Hans helicopter, which went missing after taking off on August 4, has been found in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tirap district.”The Air Force has confirmed that the wreckage of the missing helicopter has been found 12 km south of Khonsa, the headquarters of Tirap district,” Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju told PTI here.The Union Minister said that Air Force chopper is hovering over the area where the wreckage has been found.However, the fate of the three occupants, including a young IAS officer Kamalesh Joshi, of the chopper is yet to be known.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The massive search operation was launched to locate the chopper which went missing after taking off from Khonsa in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tirap district on August 4.

Naga delegation to meet NSCN-K chief SS Khaplang: CM TR Zeliang

Naga rebel group NSCN-K had abrogated the ceasefire agreement and attacked security personnel, including a convoy of army killing 18 soldiers in Manipur in June.

TR Zeliang

File Photo
Naga peace pact is only a “formula” for a final accord, Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang on Sunday asserted while seeking to allay apprehensions of other northeastern states, and said that the other members of Assembly were even ready to step down to make a new beginning. Voicing confidence that other rebels groups would also come on board after the signing of agreement between NSCN-IM and the Centre, he said a 16-member Naga delegation will visit Myanmar to meet SS Khaplang, the chief of the other Naga rebel group NSCN-K which had abrogated the ceasefire agreement and attacked security personnel, including a convoy of army killing 18 soldiers in Manipur in June. “I along with all members of the Nagaland Assembly are ready to step down, if an acceptable and honourable solution is found to the Naga people, in order to make a new beginning,” the Chief Minister, whose Naga People’s Front is an NDA ally, said. His remarks are significant as the region has a history of rebels groups joining political mainstream and even assuming power after signing of peace accords. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that the agreement will not affect non-Nagas and will resolve the problems of North-East, Zeliang said that he will speak to other chief ministers of the region. Chief Ministers of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh have said they will not cede an inch of their land. They have protested for being consulted before signing of the pact with NSCN-IM on Monday. “The pact signed by Centre and NSCN-IM will help bring peace to the North-East. I will speak personally to my counterparts of neighbouring states to allay their apprehensions over the agreement,” Zeliang said at a press conference here, a day after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Solving the Naga problem is solving the problems of the North-East. Non-Nagas of the North-East should not have any negative thinking about the pact with NSCN-IM,” he said.Zeliang said the peace pact was only a formula for a final agreement and what he understood after meeting Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh was that the Naga political problem will be resolved through sharing of power between the government of India and the Naga people. “Today we have trust and confidence in Prime Minister Modi,” Zeliang said.Highlighting the key aspects of the formula, he said Naga customary system and land holding system will be respected by the Centre based on the “unique history of Nagas” and it will be applied across the Naga inhabited areas of the Northe East, including Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. “This Naga issue does not pertain to only Nagaland. Naga problem is covering the entire Naga contiguous region. So, respecting the traditional land holding system, customary system, it covers the entire Naga (community) wherever they are…,” he said.

Congress dares PM Narendra Modi to make Naga Peace Accord public

Holding PM Modi guilty of “obstinacy, obscurity and arrogance”, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “PM Modi has chosen to keep the elected governments of Assam, Arunachal and Manipur in complete dark with no involvement either in the process of negotiation or finalisation of terms of peace agreement.”

PM Modi

PTI
Congress launched a frontal attack on the Modi government charging it for misleading the country on Naga peace accord and blamed the Prime Minister Modi for “breaching the principles of cooperative federalism with impunity”.To put its point forward it presented the three chief ministers of Congress ruled north-eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Assam who also lambasted the Central government for keeping them in total dark about the developments.Holding PM Modi guilty of “obstinacy, obscurity and arrogance”, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “PM Modi has chosen to keep the elected governments of Assam, Arunachal and Manipur in complete dark with no involvement either in the process of negotiation or finalisation of terms of peace agreement. What is appalling that that till date these elected governments neither have knowledge of terms of accord not have they been consulted.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Charging the PM with not informing the parliament the terms of accord, not holding an all-party meeting to discuss it and not even telling the contents to his own ministers and even the defence ministry, Congress dared the PM to make the terms of the Accord public. Attacking PM Modi, Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi said, “My first objection is that it violates the democratic principles and parliamentary procedure by not taking approval of the cabinet. The PM does Man ki Baat with the whole nation but does not convey Mann ki Baat even to his cabinet colleagues.”Debunking the Accord, as was also reported by the dna, Gogoi said, “How the Naga interlocutor can be the signatory of the accord. His signatures do not have any validity. The Accord is valid only if the home secretary or joint or some other high official signs it on behalf of the government of India. Questioning government’s secretive silence on features of Accord, Gogoi asked Is it indeed an accord or not or as NSCN (IM) chief Muivah said the solution has not been arrived as yet. “If that is so then what is the great achievement?” Gogoi asked.Expressing shock the way the issue has been handled, Manipur chief minister Ibobi Singh said he was told by MoS Jitender Singh that was nothing but simply a framework of agreement. “The why PM said it is an Accord. The whole of Manipur was agitated for not keeping them informed and forcing the accord on them,” said Ibobi Singh.The three chief ministers and Surjewala also charged BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman of telling blatant lies by asserting that the chief ministers were called for a meeting in Niti Aayog to discuss the peace agreement. Putting documents on record, both Ibobi Singh and Gogoi said, neither through any written letter not orally they were told such a thing. “We refused to take part in the Niti Aayog meeting as it called to discuss Land Acquisition bill which we are boycotting. The same day all the chief ministers of northeast were called but no agenda for the meeting was communicated. We boycotted that meeting also because of complete indifference on account of PM to grant audience for full six months on the issue to discuss special status for NE states,” they said.

Arunachal Pradesh: Pawan Hans chopper untraced for fifth day

The search operation is concentrated in the thick jungles between Sanliam and Dadam villages in Tirap district.

Pawan Hans

File Photo
Mystery continued to shroud the fate of the missing Pawan Hans chopper in Arunachal Pradesh with three people on board as search parties failed to trace it for the fifth day on Saturday. Five choppers including M-17, A1-30 and a Chetak of the Army and Indian Air Force conducted 11 sorties during the day, while Army, IRB, state police and locals conducted ground search in Tirap district to trace the chopper but in vain, state civil aviation secretary B M Mishra said. “We are trying to utilise all available resources to locate the chopper as per available leads from the locals who claimed to have sighted the chopper on the day it went missing. Despite our all-out efforts we have not succeeded till now,” Mishra added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The search operation is concentrated in the thick jungles between Sanliam and Dadam villages in Tirap district. Some search teams are camping in the jungles between these two villages, District Information and Public Relation Officier (DIPRO) Dehang Bosai informed from Khonsa.A Sukhoi conducted a numbers of recce in the past two days but failed to scan the probable area which is covered with dense forest. The Dauphin chopper of state-run Pawan Hans went missing with Tirap Deputy Commissioner Kamlesh Kumar Joshi and two pilots Captain M S Brar and Captain Rajeev Hoskote, after it had taken off from Khonsa in Tirap district at around 10.45 am on Tuesday.Joshi’s relatives, including his wife have arrived at Khonsa. Director General of Civil Aviation has ordered a preliminary inquiry into the incident, while Pawan Hans authorities deputed teams from New Delhi and Guwahati and ordered an internal inquiry.The district administration has also announced incentives for villagers engaged in the search.

Sonia Gandhi questions sagacity of Naga Accord

The NSCN (IM) that came down from its demand to assimilate these seven districts in Greater Nagalim wants far greater autonomy to be given to these districts so that Naga identity and culture could be preserved there.

When Congress president Sonia Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, calling him arrogant for not taking chief ministers of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam onboard before signing the Naga Peace Accord she was both right and wrong.Right, because Naga Peace Accord, as Prime Minister’s Office claimed to have clinched in a high optics drama on Monday evening, cannot take place without taking all the stakeholders on board that includes Nagaland and the other affected states of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and the NSCN (IM) and its faction groups in ceasefire agreement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In fact, Naga peace accord would not only require signatures of all the stakeholders that includes union home secretary and other officials on behalf of the government of India but will also have to get the clearance of the cabinet after being vetted through by different ministries, especially law, defense and tribal affairs.And wrong, because as it transpires now that the signed deal is not an Accord but merely a framework of agreement that has put on paper what would be the broad contours of the final agreement or Accord.”The actual and the difficult part of the work begins now where you have to carefully draft the agreement after talking to all the stakeholders and taking into account their suggestions. The three states, especially Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh will have to be consulted at length on tricky issue of what status needs to be given to the seven Naga-dominated districts,” said sources.The NSCN (IM) that came down from its demand to assimilate these seven districts in Greater Nagalim wants far greater autonomy to be given to these districts so that Naga identity and culture could be preserved there.Manipur has four Naga dominated districts of Ukhrul, Senapti, Tamenglong and Chandel while Arunachal Pradesh has three – Tirap, Changlang and Longding.Sources said, it is not going to be an easy issue as the states would not like leave their control on these districts and would want to keep them under their ambit while the Nagas, riding on the feeling of victory, would like to extract maximum possibly autonomy and gains.The reverberations “secret” peace deal with NSCN (IM) were felt even on Thursday when Naga interlocutor R N Ravi was summoned by union home minister Rajnath Singh to brief his office about the framework of agreement.Home ministry was taken by surprise on Monday when Prime Minister’s office suddenly announced inking of a Peace Accord with NSCN (IM). To its embarrassment it did not have any answers on the “historic Naga Accord”.An updated Rajnath Singh is expected to make a statement on Naga development in the parliament in coming days that will finally throw some light on the contours of the agreement reached between the two sides.

CPI(M) questions Naga Peace Accord, asks what were the terms and conditions

Yes, the news was shared with us after the accord was signed. But how can we react if we do not know anything about it? What were the terms and conditions he questioned.

File Photo: Narendra Modi has announced the signing of an accord between the National Socialist Council of Nagaland

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Thursday agreed with Congress stand on the Naga peace accord that it was historic, but unacceptable. He said that the accord should have been made after more discussions and consultations.No accord can be made over night, he said to ANI here. There should have been more discussions. The central govt needs to work together on important matters like this.Yes, the news was shared with us after the accord was signed. But how can we react if we do not know anything about it What were the terms and conditions he questioned.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a historic move, the central government and the NSCN-IM signed the Naga Peace Accord settling an almost 20-year-old peace negotiation process that started in 1997 after the ceasefire agreement was signed by the group.Congress chief Sonia Gandhi slammed the accord saying, “The Prime Minister did not even think of taking into confidence our Chief Minister of Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh who are directly affected. We’re actually shocked, that he didn’t even think of taking into confidence our CMs.”

Naga Peace Accord without consulting North-East CMs shows arrogance of government: Sonia Gandhi

Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday once again launched a frontal attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi questioning the Naga Accord.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday slammed the Modi government over the Naga peace accord, accusing it of not taking chief ministers of north eastern states into confidence and said it showed its “arrogance”.Opening another front against the government, Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, who have been protesting against the suspension of 25 Congress MPs from Lok Sabha, charged that the voice of the three states of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh is being “suppressed”.Talking to reporters in Parliament complex, the Congress President said when she called her party’s chief ministers in the three states, who are directly affected by the Naga accord, she found that they were “totally blank” on the issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Nobody has even bothered to brief them, perhaps not in detail, but in a wide sense. After all, our chief ministers are directly affected, be it Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh or Assam. So, what do I take from this? From this I take that this government is arrogant.”This Government keeps on saying that everybody has to be taken along and that they will hold consultations with all, will take the views of all Chief Ministers. Then what happened? Their arrogance is now even more clear than before.And it is an insult not only to the chief ministers, but to the people of these states and to the federal structure of our country,” she said.Also read: Will oppose NSCN-IM peace pact tooth and nail if it affects Assam: Tarun GogoiThe pact was signed in the presence of the Prime Minister, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval by the outfit’s leader T Muivah and government’s interlocutor R N Ravi at the PM’s residence in Delhi.The signing of the pact is the culmination of over 80 rounds of negotiations that spanned 16 years with first breakthrough in 1997 when ceasefire agreement was sealed.Meanwhile, agitated over the suspension of 25 of its members in Lok Sabha and bolstered by support from most opposition parties, Congress took to the streets to protest for the third day to.Earlier, leading the protest Congress President Sonia Gandhi termed the move as ‘murder of democracy’. she had said, “The way our MPs have been suspended, it is anti-democratic. It is a murder of democracy. It is government’s duty to function the parliament.”

PM should make his stand clear on Naga peace accord: Tarun Gogoi

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should make his stand clear that the Naga peace accord does not affect the interests of Assam.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should make his stand clear that the Naga peace accord does not affect the interests of Assam.”To allay apprehension of the people, PM should make his stand clear that the Naga peace accord does not affect the interest of Assam,” he tweeted. He said union minister Prakash Javadekar gave credit to Modi for Naga peace deal within 15 months of his assuming office.”Will he also give credit to PM for depriving NE states of Special Category Status,” he tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gogoi on Tuesday welcomed the Naga peace agreement signed on August 3 and said, “We appreciate peace in Nagaland and welcome settlement of Naga issues, but we will oppose tooth and nail any move that affects the interests of Assam.”The agreement has been reached after prolonged struggle by the Naga group and it will help in restoring peace and prosperity in Nagaland. But it is astonishing why the clauses of the agreement are kept in the dark,” he said in a statement.The Ministry of Home Affairs, he said, has even given the impression that it is in the dark about the details of the agreement.”To keep such an important document under wraps raises doubt about its veracity. It also raises doubt that the peace deal might affect the interests of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh,” he added.

Will oppose NSCN-IM peace pact tooth and nail if it affects Assam: Tarun Gogoi

He said he had strongly opposed the ceasefire with NSCN-IM when it was extended to Assam earlier.

Tarun Gogoi

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Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said he would oppose the central government’s agreement with Naga militant outfit Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) if it hampers his state’s interest, reports The Economic TImes. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has said that he would oppose the peace accord between the Centre and the Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM if it threatens Assam’s territorial integrity. “If it (the accord) affects Assam, I will oppose it tooth and nail,” Gogoi told ET.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said he had strongly opposed the ceasefire with NSCN-IM when it was extended to Assam earlier. He added that the Centre cannot make decisions about Assam without consulting him. He said that he will have objections only if the peace acord includes Assam’s territory. “If the accord pertains to only Nagaland and does not talk about Assam’s territory, then I have nothing to say, I will welcome it”, he added. Nagaland’s neighbouring states have been cautious about the peace deal as one of the key demands of the group was to get all the regions inhabited by Nagas including ones in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh under one state. Other Northeastern states do not have the details of the peace accord.Violent protests have followed the Nagaland’s demand. In Manipur a mob had set fire to the state assembly in 2001.

India in peace deal with Naga rebels

India’s government signs a peace deal with a leading Naga separatist group, bringing to an end one of the country’s oldest insurgencies.

Pakistan provocations are proof that Modi-Doval’s dual strategy is working

India-Pakistan ties are back to normal – that is, the usual state of semi-peace and semi-war. That this is being interpreted in political and media circles as a defeat for Narendra Modi‘s recalibration of Pakistan policy to resume talks shows how little people understand strategy.

The correct Indian strategy against Pakistan will always have to be multi-faceted – realistic dialogue, backed by tough action and aggressive retaliation on the ground, when required. Both peace talk and war-like actions are critical to strategy. We do not seem to understand that war and peace go together, not separately. The readiness to wage peace, when the time is opportune, and the readiness to wage war, when required, is what makes for successful strategy. One without the other will lead to failure.

Indian policymakers, unfortunately, have never understood the importance of the iron fist in a velvet glove. We have let strategy be decided by public emotion or political peace fantasies, leading to regular failure. This is why we have lurched from extraordinary optimism when peace talks appear to be heading somewhere (Shimla, Lahore, and last May), and undiluted anger when Pakistani perfidy becomes visible (this usually follows the first).

To those who think that India’s strategy should only focus on Pakistan’s perfidy and nothing else, the simple point is this: this response, too, is driven by anger. It is not effective. Those who say we should not engage Pakistan at all, should ask themselves this: if this policy is right for Pakistan, why don’t they apply this logic to China, India’s bigger enemy and more potent threat to our long-term territorial and strategic interests? But all analysts steadfastly, without any fear of contradiction, maintain that we should both engage China and be prepared to defend our borders with it.

The logic of engagement and tough ground postures on the border with Pakistan is stronger for another reason: we cannot have a Pakistan strategy that is separate from our China strategy. What we are up against is a Sino-Pak joint strategic gameplan where Pakistan will take on India from the west while China will start pressuring us from the east (Myanmar, Arunachal).

PM Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. FirstpostPM Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Firstpost

PM Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Firstpost

There is huge strategic convergence between Pakistan’s and China’s postures towards India right now because both are “greedy” powers that want the territorial status quo with India altered without any concessions on their part. Pakistan wants to keep PoK and wrest a bit of Muslim Kashmir, and China wants to keep China-occupied Kashmir and grab a piece of Arunachal, especially Tawang. These are problems left behind by our mistakes in 1948, and China’s in 1962. In 1948, we failed to keep the war going in Kashmir long enough to recapture PoK (we possibly needed another month or two to finish the job), and China made the mistake of retreating from large parts of our north-east due to the onset of winter and its own doubts about its ability to hold on. It now wants to make up for that lapse, now that it has the military and economic capacity to do so. Tawang is key to final Chinese control of Tibet.

This convergence of Sino-Pak territorial interests makes it vital for us to work both prongs of dialogue and defence capability simultaneously. We need to carry this strategy forward till we are in a position to deter both our enemies with the development of economic and military strength.

The Chinese are trying to do exactly that with Pakistan. They are planning to build a $40 billion economic corridor to ensure that Pakistan is strengthened economically and strategically to counter India – and to slow down our economic and military renewal process. This is an economic-cum-military race we cannot afford to lose.

So, the Modi government is right to work on both axes – dialogue and determined military responses to cross-border provocations. That Pakistan is busy testing our determination so soon after Ufa should come as no surprise. It was to happen and has happened.

The difference between Pakistan and India is this: Pakistani strategy is decided by the army, which uses civilian governments to send out dovish messages even while deciding the stance on the border without civilian intervention. In India, civilian government is deciding strategy (no doubt, with military inputs) both on the diplomatic front and on the border. Till recently we had a half-baked non-strategy decided by hope or anger or despair with Pakistan.

Manmohan Singh had the right idea on engaging Pakistan, but the wrong one on not ever responding to border provocations. Under Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, the ground response is being made robust – and as long as talk and military action below the threshold of war continue consistently, Pakistan will get the message. The only danger is this government too will behave emotionally to Pakistani provocations by suspending talks – as we did last year. We cannot afford to again be so inconsistent. Then we are back to square one – that is, a situation of zero strategy, where our enemies have the initiative and we are only reactive.

The fact that Pakistan has felt it necessary to demolish the Ufa goodwill so quickly is proof that the dual-strategy of dialogue-plus-military response is working. We need to stay the course.

Green clearance to country’s biggest proposed hydro project challenged in NGT

The environmental clearance (EC) to the country’s biggest proposed hydroelectric project (HEP), the 2880MW Dibang Multipurpose Project (DMP) in Arunachal Pradesh has been challenged in the Kolkata bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT). The petition, filed on Thursday, states that there has been no application of mind while appraising the project. It has expressed concern that the project would cause “irreversible environmental damage and destroy one of the last refuge of pristine biodiversity of one of the mega biodiversity hotspot of the world and immense downstream impacts on livelihood and wildlife in Assam”.

The environmental clearance (EC) to the country’s biggest proposed hydroelectric project (HEP), the 2880MW Dibang Multipurpose Project (DMP) in Arunachal Pradesh has been challenged in the Kolkata bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT). The petition, filed on Thursday, states that there has been no application of mind while appraising the project. It has expressed concern that the project would cause “irreversible environmental damage and destroy one of the last refuge of pristine biodiversity of one of the mega biodiversity hotspot of the world and immense downstream impacts on livelihood and wildlife in Assam”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The DMP will see construction of a mammoth 278-metre tall concrete gravity dam and it will submerge a vast forest area of 4,577.84 hectares or 45.77 sq km, of which major chunks are community forests. The forest land to be diverted is also a major habitat of endangered species such as tiger, leopard, snow leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Slow Loris, Himalayan Black bear, Leopard cat and Fishing Cat.Quashing the project’s environmental clearance, declaring the Dibang-Dihang Biosphere Reserve as a ‘No-Go Zone’ for massive HEP’s are the key prayers of the petition. In addition, it has also asked the Tribunal to commission a detailed basin based cumulative impact assessments of HEP’s in the entire Dibang valley through an interdisciplinary expert group for scientific evaluation of sites.The petition highlights two major contradictions and anomalies in the process of granting environmental clearance for the project. Firstly, the petition claims that the MoEFCC granted clearance without following the due process. It says that ignoring an earlier NGT order, no downstream impact and cumulative impact assessment was carried out. Secondly, the petition stresses that the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) twice rejected recommending the project for clearance. But, after the FAC was reconstituted, the project was recommended for forest clearance even though there was no major change made to the proposal.Even the public hearing process, the petition says, has not been taken into account while giving the clearance. Before clearing the project, no public hearing was carried out in the downstream areas of Assam while in Arunachal Pradesh, the Idu Mishmi tribes have strongly opposed the project.The petition has also drawn attention to the seismic vulnerabilities of the region and to the issue of ecological flow of Dibang River. The DMP site lies close to an active Fault Line in the Mishmi Thrust of the Mayudia Group in Eastern Arunachal Pradesh. It has a witnessed seismic activities, including the Great Assam earthquake of 8.6 magnitude in 1950. The Environment Impact Assessment of the project makes only cursory remarks on the natural and reservoir induced seismic threats, the petition added.

NSA Ajit Doval to visit Myanmar on June 17

Asserting that the two governments have been in “constant touch”, top government sources said Doval will undertake the visit with a view to discuss with the authorities there “further joint action” against Northeast insurgents.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval will visit Myanmar on June 17 where he will meet their top leaders which could include President U Thein Sein, days after Indian Army carried out a counter-insurgency operation along the India-Myanmar border.Asserting that the two governments have been in “constant touch”, top government sources said Doval will undertake the visit with a view to discuss with the authorities there “further joint action” against Northeast insurgents. Doval, who is said to have been closely involved in planning June 9 operation along the India-Myanmar border, will also meet senior security and defence officials during his visit. An appointment with the President has also been sought.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Noting that the armies of the two countries have “excellent” working relations, sources rejected reports that Myanmar has expressed displeasure or protest against Indian Army’s operation against insurgents.The sources have maintained that India invoked May 2014 Border Agreement with Myanmar on border cooperation which provides for a framework for security cooperation and exchange of information between security agencies of the two countries.A key provision of the pact was conduct of coordinated patrols on their respective sides of the international border and the maritime boundary by the Armed Forces of the two countries.In a pre-dawn cross-border operation, elite commandos of the army in coordination with the air force went a few kilometres inside Myanmarese territory to destroy two camps of insurgents hiding there after their recent attacks in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh by suspected NSCN(K) and KYKL outfits.

Arunachal Pradesh: Activists slam Centre’s plans to build dams on Siang

In a statement faxed to Bharati and the prime minister’s office, the forum today said the plan to build the dams “is yet another example of Delhi’s step-motherly treatment towards the people of Northeast”. It criticised the Centre’s policy on rivers stating that “on the one hand you are diligently busy in Clean Ganga and Save Ganga and on the other hand you are planning a disaster on Siang sitting at Delhi.”

Uma Bharati

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Dam activists in Arunachal Pradesh have called the Centre’s plans to build two massive dams on Siang river a case of “discrimination, imperialism and neo-colonialism”. On June 4, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati told reporters that “the solution on Brahmaputra’s perennial flow lies in middle Siang” and that the river “is the answer for floods in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam”. After Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi claimed that his state had not been informed of any such proposal, the NGO Siang People’s Forum has also joined in to express its opposition.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a statement faxed to Bharati and the prime minister’s office, the forum today said the plan to build the dams “is yet another example of Delhi’s step-motherly treatment towards the people of Northeast”. It criticised the Centre’s policy on rivers stating that “on the one hand you are diligently busy in Clean Ganga and Save Ganga and on the other hand you are planning a disaster on Siang sitting at Delhi.”The forum’s general secretary Oyar Gao also raised the issue of the river’s sanctity saying that the Siang is referred to as Aane (mother) in the same manner as Ganga Maiya. Slamming the plan, the forum questioned the minister “which part of Arunachal did you visit and interact with which stakeholder before making the statement”.Over 40 dams have been planned on the Siang river basin which originates in the Tibetan plateau as the Yarlung Tsangpo river and flows into Assam to become the Brahmaputra. While none of the projects have yet taken off, activists from both Arunachal Pradesh and Assam have been opposing the plans.Last year in February at an election rally in Pasighat – the epicentre of anti-dam protests in the state – Prime Minister Narendra Modi had won the support of dam activists from the area after he stated that he would prefer smaller hydro power projects and honour the sentiments of the region’s people. The irony of Bharati’s statement was not lost on Gao who wrote that such move “creates doubt and confusion”.Gao also said that he is “saddened” by the u-turn on the issue by the BJP since it came to power at the Centre.Questioning its motives, the forum asked if the Centre was attempting to “bail out the state government from financial crisis through mega dams” or if it was working for the benefit of “power developers by bulldozing concerns of affected citizens”.The Siang flows for 294 km in the state and many of its tributaries serve as a lifeline for close to 2.5 lakh people. Gao in his statement said that the forum “will not sacrifice it (Siang) for the benefit of few corrupt politicians.”

Explained: How the Indian Army carried out the Myanmar operation

The operation was guided by “specific and precise” intelligence input, highly placed sources have said.

Representational Image

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In a first such cross-border operation, special forces of the Indian Army in coordination with the air force on Tuesday, carried out a surgical strike inside Myanmar, killing nearly 20 insurgents of groups believed to be responsible for the deadly ambush in Manipur that killed 18 soldiers on June 4.How the operation was plannedThe operation was guided by “specific and precise” intelligence input, highly placed sources have said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to reports, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Army Chief Dalbir Singh both camped in Myanmar and did an on-ground assessment to structure the entire operation and ‘cutting edge intelligence’ was used to identify and mark the two militant groups. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given the go ahead to the Indian Army for “hot pursuit” of militants into Myanmar, Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore disclosed on Tuesday.How the operation was executedThe operation began early on Tuesday morning and ended by afternoon. Elite commandos of the army went a few kilometres inside Myanmar territory to destroy two camps of insurgents belonging to NSCN(K) and KYKL outfits and suspected to be responsible for the attacks in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh last week. According to reports, the two camps comprised of approximately 150 militants. The official figure of casualties is 20, but some reports suggest that the number could even be pegged at about 100. No casualties were reported among Indian soldiers.The army is said to have sent a communique to their Myanmar counterparts only minutes before embarking on the operation.The army was assisted by Mi-17 helicopters of the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army’s para commandos that struck two camps of militants and “inflicted significant casualties.” The Indian ambassador met a minister from Myanmar after the government offices opened at around 9.00 am in the morning. The operation was well underway at that time. Indo-Myanmar relationsA controversy over the cross border operation is unlikely, as there is a treaty between the two countries from the 1990s, on operations across the border. Minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, a former colonel, said, “We crossed over to the Myanmar territory. We have good relations with them and we carried out the strike.”Additional director general of military operations, Major General Ranbir Singh has said that more such operations, in cooperation with Myanmar authorities, could be planned in future.

Communicate, deliberate & oppose Narendra Modi government, Congress CMs told

To address the sagging morales of party workers, Congress president Sonia Gandhi attributed her party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha elections and then in successive assembly polls to communication failure.

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi arrive to attend Congress chief ministers’ conclave at party headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday
B B Yadav
dna
At a day-long conclave of chief ministers of nine-Congress ruled states, the leaders were told to learn better communication skills and formulate a common position with the party’s leadership to put up a collective fight against the central government led by prime minister Narendra Modi. The leaders had been at crossroads with their own chief ministers, who at times had taken different lines from the Congress position, be it the land bill, GST or some other issue, giving the NDA leverage. To address the sagging morales of party workers, Congress president Sonia Gandhi attributed her party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha elections and then in successive assembly polls to communication failure. “We can have great accomplishments, but they have to reach the people,” she said, asking for formulating a comprehensive communication policy to arrest the further decline of the party. Even former prime minister Manmohan Singh acknowledged that his successor has been a more adept salesman, event manager and better communicator than him. The last such CMs’ conclave was held in Guwahati in April 2012 that threw up the idea of RTI and MGNREGA.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A resolution adopted by the nine Congress states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Uttarakhand accused the Modi government for its “boastful claims, exaggerations and downright falsehoods” of its achievements over the past year. It said the central government’s systematic efforts have been to deny the UPA government its rightful credit for the progress made by the country during its 10-year rule. The assembled chief ministers also decided to carry forward the UPA government’s unfinished task of passing state-level laws to give statutory status to the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan and the Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP), agreeing with Sonia Gandhi that this would be the best tribute to the memory of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar on the occasion of his 125th birth anniversary. The resolution adopted by them also condemned “the despicable efforts being made by the ruling establishment to denigrate and destroy the multi-faceted legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru, the architect of the modern Indian nation-state.” It resolved to uphold his vision at all times. It also condemned the Modi government’s hasty and ill-considered abolition of the Planning Commission and doing away with special category of states, adversely affecting the eight northeastern states, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir as also the new state of Andhra Pradesh. Party vice-president Rahul Gandhi asked CMs to defend the rights-based paradigm, defend decentralisation, and follow the basic Congress thought pattern of decentralised power to panchayats and empowerment of people. He asked for the evolution of new ideas so that “we face the next election with a new model, a new way of thinking about the future and I think the state governments have a big role to play.” He exhorted chief ministers to focus clearly on one or two programmes and showcase them as the best in the country whether it is education, PDS or any other issue. Since states are supposed to implement the UPA government’s landmark 2013 land acquisition law and the national food security act, Sonia Gandhi earlier told the CMs that Modi has to be strongly opposed for his turnabouts on the two laws. She pointed out that the attempt to reduce coverage of food security from 67% to 40% is alarming while the entire system of food procurement, including MSP (minimum support price to farmers) is under assault. She wanted the assembled chief ministers and other senior party leaders to focus on three immediate issues: Manner in which UPA flagship programes are being implemented by the Centre and the impact of the changes, dilution of UPA’s key pro-poor policies and the Congress-ruled states role on new schemes introduced by the Modi government. BJP response to Congress charges of over-centralisation Benefits to Congress-ruled states in wake of implementation of 14th finance commission Assam will gain an additional Rs 6,696 crore in 2015-16 which is an increase of 49% from 2014-15.Karnataka will get an additional Rs 8,497 crore in 2015-16 which is an increase of 48% from 2014-15. Kerala will get an additional Rs 8,912 crore in 2015-16 which is an increase of 92% from 2014-15 Uttarakhand will get an additional Rs 8,274 crore in 2015-16 which is an increase of 124% from 2104-15 Arunachal Pradesh will get an additional Rs 5,399 crore in 2015-16 which is an increase of 278% from 2014-15. While the total taxes and grants transferred to the states increased by Rs 2,03,192 crore, the reduction in transfers for centrally sponsored schemes is only Rs 63,240 crore, which is a net gain of 1,40,000 crore to the states Congress ruled states like Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh are the biggest net gainers from this increase in fund transfer by the central govt with gains between 35% to 50%. Other Congress-ruled states have also gained significantly

40 suspected NSCN (K) militants fire at Assam Rifles camp in Arunachal Pradesh, no casualties reported

“The AR personnel, who were on alert as per prior intelligence report, retaliated which compelled the militants to flee under cover of darkness,” Singla said adding, cross firing from both the sides lasted for about ten minutes.

Suspected NSCN (K) militants on Sunday fired at an Assam Rifles (AR) camp in remote Lazu area in Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh, three days after the group ambushed an army convoy killing 18 soldiers.A group of 40 NSCN (Khaplang) rebels attacked the camp in the Indo-Myanmar border region at around 2.30 AM, Tirap SP Ajit Kumar Singla said.However, there was no report of any casualty, he said.”The AR personnel, who were on alert as per prior intelligence report, retaliated which compelled the militants to flee under cover of darkness,” Singla said adding, cross firing from both the sides lasted for about ten minutes.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 70 empty cartidges of AK-47 rifle, along with unexploded bombs, were recovered from the site, he said.A massive search operation was underway in the area after the incident.This is the second incident after NSCN (K) claimed responsibility for killing 18 personnel of 6 Dogra infantry regiment in an ambush in Manipur’s Chandel district on June 4.NSCN-K had in March abrogated a 14-year-old ceasefire with the Centre.

AFSPA removed in Tripura after 18 years: Why it was enforced and why it is gone now

A bit over 18 years after the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) was enforced in Tripura, the state government on Wednesday decided to withdraw the Act.

“In view of the significant taming of terrorism in Tripura, the council of ministers today (Wednesday) decided to withdraw the AFSPA from the entire state,” Chief Minister Manik Sarkar told reporters.

AFSPA had been enforced in Tripura in 1997. AFP

AFSPA had been enforced in Tripura in 1997. AFP

“The security forces recently exhaustively reviewed the law and order situation in the state. Considering the reports of the security forces, the council of ministers decided to recommend to the union home ministry to issue a notification to withdraw the AFSPA,” he said.

“The decisions were taken in view of the decrease of militancy-related incidents in Tripura over the last few years. However, the security forces would be watchful over the situation,” Sarkar said.

AFSPA provides unlimited powers to security forces to shoot at sight, arrest anybody without a warrant, and carry out searches without consent . All this knowing that they wouldn’t face any legal action for any action undertaken under the act.

The central act was first enforced in Tripura on 16 February, 1997 when terrorism was at its peak in the state, which shares an 856-km border with Bangladesh.

Members of two separatist groups – National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) – are still sheltered and accused of getting arms training in Bangladesh. These two groups have been demanding the secession of Tripura from India.

Local rights groups and political parties in Tripura had described the act as “draconian” and wanted it repealed. “Tribal parties such as the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura and the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura had been demanding the withdrawal of the Act, saying it was aimed at suppressing the State’s 33 percent tribal population,” said a report in The Hindu.

Ever since it was enforced in Tripura, the Act, as per its provisions, was reviewed and extended after every six months.

“When the Act was imposed there were only 42 police stations and two-third of the entire police station areas were under this act,” CM Sarkar said on Wednesday.

However, in view of the improvement in the situation and fewer terrorist activities being reported, the Tripura government in June 2013 reduced operational areas of the AFSPA to 30 police station areas. Before that, out of 72 police stations in Tripura, AFSPA had been force in 40. The total number of police stations in Tripura is 74 now.

According to a Deccan Herald report, Tripura saw a rapid decline in militancy over the past five years as hundreds of militants surrendered. The ruling Left Front, which has been in power in Tripura since 1993, has been contemplating the withdrawal of the law and had the support from opposition parties like the Congress and BJP, who were also in favour the move.

The report quoted unnamed sources in the Home Ministry as saying that talks on the issue of withdrawal of AFSPA from Tripura had been on for the last few months.

The last six-month extension to AFSPA was given in November 2014, when police had said militants had killed two BSF troopers, a civilian driver and had abducted several people in six different incidents in the state.

However, perhaps the most prominent evidence of the decline of militancy and separatism in Tripura came when the state recorded over 84 percent voter turnout in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, one of the highest voter turnouts in the country, according to the Election Commission.

On Wednesday, when the state government decided to withdraw the Act, an official with the home department said: “Though the four-and-half-decade-old terrorism has been tamed in Tripura, the state government is always cautious about the terror outfits and their activities.”

In one of the first political reactions, Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram welcomed the withdrawal of AFSPA.

Besides Tripura, AFSPA is also in force in Manipur (excluding the Imphal Municipal Council area), Assam and Nagaland and in the Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh. Manipur’s human rights activist Irom Sharmila has been on an indefinite hunger strike for over 15 years, demanding the withdrawal of the act in her home state.

(With agency inputs)

Puzzled by Modi govt’s decision to issue e-visa to China: Chidambaram

New Delhi: Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday described as “puzzling” the Modi government’s decision to extend e-visa facility to China, which is still giving stapled visas to people from Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh.

“It is a puzzling decision. You have offered e-visa to China,” Chidambaram told PTI.

Former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram.Former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram.

Former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram.

Ignoring concerns of the intelligence agencies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced during his China visit that India will grant e-visas to Chinese tourists, making it the 77th country to get such a facility.

Disagreeing with Modi’s decision, the former Finance Minister sought to know the justification for such a decision.

“China continues to issue stapled visa for people from Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. How do you reconcile to these two things? China not willing to give visa to Indian citizens from Arunachal and Jammu and Kashmir. What is the justification of giving e-visa to China?” he asked.

Modi made the announcement while addressing students and faculty at the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing on 15 May.

With the extension of e-tourist visa facility for Chinese nationals, the total number of countries being provided the facility has gone up to 77 from a mere 11 countries in October 2014.

Last year 6,76,000 Indians have visited China, while only 1,74,000 Chinese had visited India in the same year, which shows a huge gap between inbound and outbound tourist flow between the two countries.

Currently, India is in the process of developing various tourist circuits out of which Buddhist Circuit and Himalayan Circuit can be of great interest to the Chinese tourists coming to India.

India is also organising an exhibition of contemporary art in Shanghai in November this year.

The year 2015 is being observed as a ‘Visit India Year’ by China and 2016 will be ‘Visit China Year’ by India.

PTI

Kiren Rijiju gets it wrong on beef row: His smackdown of Naqvi is no reason for Indians to celebrate

This has been a rare moment of PDA for the tightly-controlled Modi sarkar. And by that we mean Public Display of Animosity.

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju socked one to Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abaas Naqvi. Reacting to the Maharashtra beef ban Naqvi had advised those who are “dying without eating beef” to go to Pakistan or the Arab countries or any part of the world where it is available.

Rijiju responded in Aizawl on Tuesday to his colleague’s bombast. “I eat beef, I’m from Arunachal Pradesh, can somebody stop for me? So let us not be touchy about somebody’s practices,” said Rijiju.

Round One definitely to Rijiju. Well, sort of. Even as social media was beginning to celebrate him as an anti-beef ban activist, Rijiju beat an ungainly retreat, claiming he had been “misquoted by the media.”

Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. Image courtesy: IBNLiveMinister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. Image courtesy: IBNLive

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. Image courtesy: IBNLive

“I was misquoted on the beef ban issue. Said India is a secular country, food habits differ. Hindu faiths and sentiments must be respected in Hindu majority states,” he said.

To be more accurate, Rijiju has not been misquoted, but misinterpreted by those who skimmed past the many qualifiers to his statement.

Rijiju deserves all the kudos for not shying away from what makes him different from his BJP peers, or for that matter, from the rest of his countrymen. His message: India is not a homogeneous country but a diverse mix of cultures. It does not make anyone less Indian because they eat beef, or oppose Narendra Modi or want Vande Mataram as the national anthem. And it does not matter what they do in Pakistan because, guess what, India is not Pakistan.

Even so, in his original statement, Rijiju’s assertion came saddled with qualifications.

“If Maharashtra is Hindu majority, or if Gujarat is Hindu majority, Madhya Pradesh is Hindu majority, if they are to make laws conducive to the Hindu faith, let them be. But in our place, in our state where we are majority, where we feel whatever steps we take, you know, laws which are conducive to our beliefs, it should be. So they also should not have a problem with the way we live, and we also should not have a problem with the way they live.”

It sounds like an unexceptionable live-and-let-live statement, but if we unpack it, it raises some intriguing and touchy questions about the idea of India. Rijiju appeared to have been speaking out for minority rights in a “multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-communal” country but in fact was, perhaps inadvertently, reinforcing a majoritarian viewpoint. He was, in effect, saying what the majority says, goes. Maharashtra can do what it likes as long as it does not tell Arunachal Pradesh what it cannot eat.

According to the 2001 census, only a handful of states are not Hindu majority – Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Lakshwadeep and the North-East . Even in the North-East Tripura, Sikkim and Assam are Hindu majority. By Rijiju’s logic, most of India could ban eating beef tomorrow and it would be perfectly democratic. Even states like Goa and Kerala, where eating beef is not uncommon, have over 60 percent Hindus. If those Hindus banded together and voted in a referendum on eating beef they could ban it easily.

Of course, this assumes that most Hindus support beef bans and does not get into B R Ambedkar’s theories about Beef Eating and Untouchability. Or the Young Bengal society’s challenges to the strictures of Hinduism as lampooned by this poem quoted in Freedom and Beef Steaks: Colonial Calcutta Culture by Rosinka Chaudhuri.

Kings, Priests, and Laws, and Creeds, are but the tools
Which cunning knaves employ to govern fools
Down with Kings, Laws and Creeds then, and in chief
With any creed prohibiting roast beef.

The point here is really about freedom rather than beefsteaks in modern India. The point is, does Kiren Rijiju have a right to his cultural practices outside of Arunachal Pradesh? Should Karen Rijiju, as an Indian citizen, live in an India where eating beef legally is ghettoized to little pockets by law? Or would he need an Arunachal Pradesh card the way foreigners sometimes have to show their passport to be served alcohol in dry countries?

Many countries have no compunctions about enforcing their religious beliefs and constrictions on residents and foreign visitors. But this is about Indians in India. And India, as a country is officially still secular republic. As Salil Tripathi puts it succinctly in Mint “it is wrong not only because many Hindus may not eat beef, nor because some do, but because Hindu eating preferences cannot dictate a rule for all Indians.”

Rijiju says “We must respect each other’s practices. There cannot be force on anybody about your practices, your faith.” But if a government by virtue of its majority passes a law that bans the religious or cultural practice of a minority group in its state, is that not “force”? Or could Naqvi turn around and tell Rijiju that he is not forcing Rijiju to give up beef? He just cannot eat it in Maharashtra.

And that’s what’s missing in the gauntlet Kiren Rijiju just threw down. “I eat beef, I’m from Arunachal Pradesh, can somebody stop me?”

The question Mr Rijiju is where? I eat beef in Delhi? In Mumbai? Anywhere in India? Or do you have to fly to Itanagar to eat beef legally? As the realtor says it’s all about location, location, location.

Actually this is really not about beef at all. It’s about the kind of country we want India to be.

Rijiju gets it wrong on beef row: His smackdown of Naqvi is no reason for Indians to celebrate

This has been a rare moment of PDA for the tightly-controlled Modi sarkar. And by that we mean Public Display of Animosity.

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju socked one to Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abaas Naqvi. Reacting to the Maharashtra beef ban Naqvi had advised those who are “dying without eating beef” to go to Pakistan or the Arab countries or any part of the world where it is available.

Rijiju responded in Aizawl on Tuesday to his colleague’s bombast. “I eat beef, I’m from Arunachal Pradesh, can somebody stop for me? So let us not be touchy about somebody’s practices,” said Rijiju.

Round One definitely to Rijiju. Well, sort of. Even as social media was beginning to celebrate him as an anti-beef ban activist, Rijiju beat an ungainly retreat, claiming he had been “misquoted by the media.”

Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. Image courtesy: IBNLiveMinister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. Image courtesy: IBNLive

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. Image courtesy: IBNLive

“I was misquoted on the beef ban issue. Said India is a secular country, food habits differ. Hindu faiths and sentiments must be respected in Hindu majority states,” he said.

To be more accurate, Rijiju has not been misquoted, but misinterpreted by those who skimmed past the many qualifiers to his statement.

Rijiju deserves all the kudos for not shying away from what makes him different from his BJP peers, or for that matter, from the rest of his countrymen. His message: India is not a homogeneous country but a diverse mix of cultures. It does not make anyone less Indian because they eat beef, or oppose Narendra Modi or want Vande Mataram as the national anthem. And it does not matter what they do in Pakistan because, guess what, India is not Pakistan.

Even so, in his original statement, Rijiju’s assertion came saddled with qualifications.

“If Maharashtra is Hindu majority, or if Gujarat is Hindu majority, Madhya Pradesh is Hindu majority, if they are to make laws conducive to the Hindu faith, let them be. But in our place, in our state where we are majority, where we feel whatever steps we take, you know, laws which are conducive to our beliefs, it should be. So they also should not have a problem with the way we live, and we also should not have a problem with the way they live.”

It sounds like an unexceptionable live-and-let-live statement, but if we unpack it, it raises some intriguing and touchy questions about the idea of India. Rijiju appeared to have been speaking out for minority rights in a “multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-communal” country but in fact was, perhaps inadvertently, reinforcing a majoritarian viewpoint. He was, in effect, saying what the majority says, goes. Maharashtra can do what it likes as long as it does not tell Arunachal Pradesh what it cannot eat.

According to the 2001 census, only a handful of states are not Hindu majority – Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Lakshwadeep and the North-East . Even in the North-East Tripura, Sikkim and Assam are Hindu majority. By Rijiju’s logic, most of India could ban eating beef tomorrow and it would be perfectly democratic. Even states like Goa and Kerala, where eating beef is not uncommon, have over 60 percent Hindus. If those Hindus banded together and voted in a referendum on eating beef they could ban it easily.

Of course, this assumes that most Hindus support beef bans and does not get into B R Ambedkar’s theories about Beef Eating and Untouchability. Or the Young Bengal society’s challenges to the strictures of Hinduism as lampooned by this poem quoted in Freedom and Beef Steaks: Colonial Calcutta Culture by Rosinka Chaudhuri.

Kings, Priests, and Laws, and Creeds, are but the tools
Which cunning knaves employ to govern fools
Down with Kings, Laws and Creeds then, and in chief
With any creed prohibiting roast beef.

The point here is really about freedom rather than beefsteaks in modern India. The point is, does Kiren Rijiju have a right to his cultural practices outside of Arunachal Pradesh? Should Karen Rijiju, as an Indian citizen, live in an India where eating beef legally is ghettoized to little pockets by law? Or would he need an Arunachal Pradesh card the way foreigners sometimes have to show their passport to be served alcohol in dry countries?

Many countries have no compunctions about enforcing their religious beliefs and constrictions on residents and foreign visitors. But this is about Indians in India. And India, as a country is officially still secular republic. As Salil Tripathi puts it succinctly in Mint “it is wrong not only because many Hindus may not eat beef, nor because some do, but because Hindu eating preferences cannot dictate a rule for all Indians.”

Rijiju says “We must respect each other’s practices. There cannot be force on anybody about your practices, your faith.” But if a government by virtue of its majority passes a law that bans the religious or cultural practice of a minority group in its state, is that not “force”? Or could Naqvi turn around and tell Rijiju that he is not forcing Rijiju to give up beef? He just cannot eat it in Maharashtra.

And that’s what’s missing in the gauntlet Kiren Rijiju just threw down. “I eat beef, I’m from Arunachal Pradesh, can somebody stop me?”

The question Mr Rijiju is where? I eat beef in Delhi? In Mumbai? Anywhere in India? Or do you have to fly to Itanagar to eat beef legally? As the realtor says it’s all about location, location, location.

Actually this is really not about beef at all. It’s about the kind of country we want India to be.

Kiren Rijiju hits back at Union Minister Naqvi, says I eat beef, can somebody stop me?

Rijju also said that while states having Hindu majority could enact legislation banning cow slaughter, it could not be imposed on north eastern states where majority of the people are eating beef.

Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday described the statement recently made by Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on cow slaughter as ‘not palatable’.During a visit to Aizawl, Rijju said, “I eat beef, I’m from Arunachal Pradesh, can somebody stop me?,” reported a leading daily.Rijju also said that while states having Hindu majority could enact legislation banning cow slaughter, it could not be imposed on north eastern states where majority of the people are eating beef.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming the recent statement of Naqvi as “not good”, he, however, said that the Minister was using his freedom of speech and expression. He said that the cultures, traditions, habits and sentiments of all the people in the country should be respected and honoured. Meanwhile, taking a pot-shot at BJP government, Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed tweeted, “Modi government’s MoS Home and BJP leader Kiran Rijiju says ”I eat beef”. When Mr Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is sending his own minister to Pakistan?.”Few days ago, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had asked that those “dying” to eat beef to leave for Pakistan.However, later he defended his remarks by saying faith of millions should not be hurt over choice of eating.”This is not a matter of controversy. If one talks about cows, definitely crores of people revere it, they worship it and call it ‘Gomata’. I am a Muslim and in my locality if somebody says that I will sell pork, I will not say anything but all the Muslims in that locality will throw him out.””In Islam, pork is prohibited. That is why it should not be sold or even seen. How can one think that when such a large section has faith for cow and worships it, you expect to cut it in front of them and a legal suit is given to it…One has to think about this issue,” Naqvi said.Disapproving his ministerial colleague Naqvi’s remark, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said, “It is natural that people should realise their responsibilities. The Prime Minister has also said so time and again.”

Dibang hydel project in Arunachal Pradesh cleared despite huge ecological impact

Clearance for the country’s largest capacity hydropower project comes in the backdrop of stiff local opposition and multiple rejections by the environment ministry’s own expert committees

A year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then campaigning for Lok Sabha elections, assured the people of Arunachal Pradesh that small hydropower projects and renewable energy would be pushed as against large dams, his government has just done the opposite. The ministry of environment, forest and climate change has granted environmental clearance to the controversial 2,880MW Dibang Multipurpose Project (DMP) in Lower Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh. The project, pegged at Rs25,347 crores, would be developed by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Limited and according to the clearance letter would take nine years to be completed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The clearance for the country’s largest capacity hydropower project comes in the backdrop of stiff local opposition and multiple rejections by the environment ministry’s own expert committees on grounds that the sheer size of the project will adversely impact forests, wildlife and livelihood.To begin with, the project will be see construction of a mammoth 278 metres tall concrete gravity dam. A vast forest area of 4,577.84 hectares or 45.77 sq.kms, of which major chunks are community forests would be submerged due to the project. In fact, the forest advisory committee of the environment ministry recommended the project for forest clearance last year, even though, they had rejected it twice and even said that the ecological impacts outweight its benefits. In addition, the community forest rights of the Idu Mishmi tribe have not been settled under Forest Rights Act.The hydel project is located just 11kms from the Mehoa Wildlife Sanctuary that is home to the tigers, leopards, the vulnerable clouded leopard specie and Himalayan black bear. The habitat in the sanctuary is rich in diversity at is changes with increase in altitude and comprises of tropical evergreen and temperate forests. Downstream, the Dibru Saikhowa national park in Assam is also home to tigers, leopards, Bengal florican.”Downstream, agriculture, wildlife, livelihoods will all be affected. The submergence area is huge and all these impacts have not been considered. The clearance puts a condition of carrying out an impact study five years after work begins, but this should have happened earlier,” said Himanshu Thakkar, co-ordinator, South Asian Network on Damns, Rivers and People (SANDRP)He added, “Those displaced and rehabilitated in the Tehri project are facing landslides in the rehabilitated area. This shows that large dams make the area prone to landslides.”Before clearing the project, no public hearing was carried out in the donwstream areas of Assam while in Arunachal Pradesh, the Idu Mishmi tribes opposed the project during their public hearing. The Peaking power impact of the project too, has not been mapped effectively. During winter, when the Dibang river is stable and farming is also carried out, release of a maximum of 1,400 cubic metre per second of water will have adverse impacts on agricultural lands and wildlife. Also, it makes the downstream region vulnerable to flash floods.In the light of Nepal earthquakes, it is also important to note that the project site lies on an active fault line. The Great Assam earthquake of 1950, measuring 8.6 on Richter scale is one precedent when it comes to seismic vulnerabilities. Impacting environmentDuring construction, an estimated 32 lakh truckloads of boulders and 16 lakh truckloads of sand would be extracted from the Dibang river basin, according to South Asian Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP)Approximately 198 lakh cubic metres of muck would be disposed in the river bankThis would further impact 120 hectares of the river.The Idu Mishmi tribes number only up to about 10,000 – 12,000 while a project staff about 6,000 would be working in the region, which may potentially lead to conflicts.

Roadblock ministry is now clearance ministry

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar often speaks of how his ministry has promoted the ‘ease of business’ in India

Diluting the Forest Rights Act, giving the nod to a host of road and rail projects in green zones, disempowering tribals to empower industry and amending guidelines to hasten the implementation of project. With all this and more in just 12 months, the ministry of environment, forest and climate (MOEF&CC) has earned itself a new moniker – the ‘clearance’ ministry.From being termed a roadblock by India Inc to being viewed as clearing the way to development, the ministry, central to the environment-economy balance of any nation, has undergone a complete turnaround in the one year that the Modi government has been in power.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ministry has been on clearance spree sinceBetween June and December 2014, the MOEF&CC reportedly cleared 190 projects worth Rs.6.31 lakh crore. However, many of these are seen as detrimental to the protection of environment and wildlife in the country. “Last one year, there is virtually not a single step that the government has taken that shows they are concerned about environment issues. In their own document of achievements, they have enlisted only the relaxation of norms and clearances and there nothing about improvement of environment. The only thing to show is pollution monitoring mehcanisms, which is like buying a thermometer for treating fever,” said Ritwick Dutta, environmental lawyer. A good example of what Dutta said are the host of hydel projects proposed in Arunachal Pradesh that are based on ecologically critical rivers. Last September, the 3,000 MW Dibang multipurpose hydel project, (the biggest in the country) that was twice rejected by the forest appriasal committee of MoEF&CC, was given the forest clearance following directives from the Prime Minister’s Office.“Soon after the NDA assumed power, there were clear instructions from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to relax a host of environmental norms and tweak them to project the ministry as business friendly. Many of these changes were brought in during the first few months of the government,” said an official privy to key changes.Unlike his predecessor Jayanthi Natarajan, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar often speaks of how his ministry has promoted the ‘ease of business’ in India, one of the many mantras adopted by the BJP-led government.Initial movesAmongst his first moves as environment minister was to initiate the online submission of applications for obtaining environment, forest and coastal regulation zone clearances. Though the process of online submissions was initiated under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Javadekar has claimed all credit.Soon after, the ministry cleared several projects that were rejected by the previous regime. In fact, the ministry under Javadekar has been marked by its hurry to change environmental norms, mostly through executive orders and notifications.The government granted general approval to border road projects within 100 km of the Line of Actual Control on the India-China border. Besides, in 117 Left Wing Extremist districts, projects were exempted from going through the two stage forest clearance process and only general approvals were enough. This meant that these projects would not be scrutinized for the ecological impact they would have on the forests.Amongst the ministry’s most controversial moves has been the leniency it has shown in granting clearances for linear projects such as highways, transmission lines, railway lines and reservoirs which involve ‘linear diversion’ of land. The ministry amended guidelines to enable work on projects to begin work immediately after obtaining in-principle approvals and after they had paid compensatory levies. The ministry also gave powers to regional offices to issue forest clearances for all sizes of projects.Following this, the ministry diluted the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) that is responsible for clearing projects falling within 10 km radius of protected areas. The ministry reconstituted the NBWL and reduced the number of independent members, who were an active part during the UPA rule. The reconstituted NBWL cleared as many as 140 projects in the 12-13 August, 2014 meeting, but the ministry’s decision was soon challenged in the Supreme Court and the ministry had to climb down from their stand and bring in independent members in the body.Road, rail projectsThe NBWL and forest advisory committee (FAC) have approved several road projects and railway projects that pass through critical green corridors connecting protected areas.In 2014, FAC cleared the twice rejected proposal for widening the Gondia-Jabalpur railway line that will cut through the corridor connecting Kanha and Pench tiger reserve. Another railway project, passing through Ratapani tiger reserve on the Bhopal-Itarsi line, was also approved.With regards to road projects, NBWL approved the diversion of forestland from Dandeli wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka, the Namdapha tiger reserve in Arunachal Pradesh. For NH-6 and NH-7, key corridors such as the Kanha-Indravati across Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, Bor-Melghat and Nagzira-Navegaon in Maharashtra would be affected. In addition to this, two irrigation projects were also approved around the Melghat tiger reserve in Maharashtra.Tribal rightsThe ministry’s efforts to dilute the Forest Rights Act (FRA) have faced tough opposition from the ministry of tribal affairs. Following a directive from PMO, the environment ministry prepared draft guidelines that would dilute FRA and do away with the mandatory consent of tribal gram sabhas to divert forest land for linear infrastructure projects (non-forestry purposes) and those ‘public utilities managed by government. The tribal ministry termed the provisions of the draft guidelines an encroachment. “We have had meetings with the environment ministry to sort out these issues and the entire process is to simplify and delineate forest clearances from the FRA nod,” said an official from tribal ministry.

India and China sign $22bn in deals

India signs trade and economic co-operation deals worth $22bn ($14bn) in Shanghai as PM Narendra Modi’s visit to China draws to a close.

PM Narendra Modi extends preferred e-visa to China

Pledging to improve historically weak economic links between their countries, India and China also signed 24 deals worth over $10 billion, including MOUs in the area of skill development, railways, establishing sister relations between cities of the two countries among others.

Brushing aside objections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced granting of e-visa (electronic visa also called visa on arrival) facility to the Chinese nationals in Beijing even as he urged China to “reconsider its approach” to issues that have long strained ties and complicated business between the two Asian giants.Pledging to improve historically weak economic links between their countries, India and China also signed 24 deals worth over $10 billion, including MOUs in the area of skill development, railways, establishing sister relations between cities of the two countries among others.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Modi’s announcement on e-visas took everyone by surprise as only a couple of hours before had India’s foreign secretary S Jaishankar said categorically, “We are expanding it (e-visa) bit by bit. With regard to China, no decision has been taken yet on extending e-visa.”While India has been quickly extending e-visa facility to several countries, the proposal to grant it to China was hanging fire amid strong opposition by union Home ministry on the advise of Central security agencies.Incidentally, Modi chose to announce the initiative while addressing the faculty of Tsinghua University in Beijing and not during his joint appearance before media with Premier Li Keqiang.Explaining the rationale Modi said, “About 33 percent of the world’s population is either Indian or Chinese. Yet, our people know very little of each other… We must seek inspiration from the pilgrims of the ancient times, who braved the unknown in search of knowledge, and enriched us both,””So, we have decided to extend electronic tourist visas to Chinese nationals. We are celebrating the Year of India in China in 2015.”However, the move has come as a bit of surprise for China watchers, as Beijing so far has not offered any concession on issuing stapled visa to Indian citizens of Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir that remains a sore point in the relationship between the two countries.Questioning the rationale behind the decision, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “He should explain whether China has abandoned the policy of stapled visa that it gives to Indians.”Government sources, however, said after no decision could be arrived at the secretary-level inter-ministerial talks, it was left to the prerogative of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).dna had also reported on April 20 that despite Intelligence Bureau’s caution not to provide e-visa facility to China, PMO was thinking to move ahead and give Chinese the preferred treatment.The IB had red-flagged the issue on various counts including frequent issuance of stapled visa by China to people from Arunachal Pradesh and J&K.The e-visa, enabled by electronic travel authorisation, allows prospective visitor to apply for an Indian visa from his or her home country online without requiring a visit to the Indian mission. The fee can also be paid online.Once approved, the applicant receives an email authorising travel to India and applicant can travel with a printout of this authorisation. On arrival, the visitor presents the authorisation to the immigration authorities who stamp the entry into the country.Tourism Ministry had been pitching for offering the facility to China as during December 2014, a total of 14,083 e-tourist visas were issued as compared to 2,700 during December 2013, registering a growth of 421.6 per cent.It believes that extension of e-visa to China can boost India’s tourism industry as Visit India that is being celebrated this year can attract a large proportion of 100 million Chinese tourists who visited abroad last year and spent billions of dollars.

Forget border deal: CCTV’s India map reveals China’s ever growing appetite for land

True to form, even as President Xi Jinping laid out the red carpet for Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday (14 May), China’s state-controlled TV showed an India map with Jammu & Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh lopped off. This was only to be expected as China believes in unsettling guests from whom it wants major territorial concessions.

The Chinese leadership has a way of showing two sets of teeth; the smiling one for official occasions, and the snarling one that resides barely below the surface. When Nehru visited China in 1954, he failed to see the second one. He was overwhelmed by flag-waving crowds all along the route from airport to city, but the Chinese were all the time preparing to annex Tibet fully, and the military campaign in 1962. During Vajpayee’s visit to China as foreign minister of the Janata Party government in 1979, China invaded Vietnam, a friendly country. Smiles and bared fangs went together.

PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Xian on Thursday. PTIPM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Xian on Thursday. PTI

PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Xian on Thursday. PTI

Deceit and duplicity are the hallmarks of Chinese diplomacy and the art of war without actual fighting, as Firstpost explained in this earlier post. Map-making is a key tool in this area. When it suits them, the Chinese will say they will re-examine their maps for accuracy; when it doesn’t, they will publish the maps as they want them to look.

As Arun Shourie explains in this interview to The Indian Express, this attitude foxed Jawaharlal Nehru, who proved very gullible when the Chinese played their games with maps in the 1950s. Apparently, when Nehru brought up the issue of Chinese maps showing parts of India as Chinese territory, Premier Zhou Enlai dismissed them as old maps put out by the Kuomintang. Years later, when these maps still remained unchanged, and Nehru enquired again, Zhou told him they were the correct maps. Zhou was ready for battle.

So when China publishes Jammu & Kashmir and parts of Arunachal Pradesh as regions outside India, we should take the message seriously. These maps tell us how Chinese geopolitical ambitions have changed and how they want the sub-continent’s final maps to look. This is their strategic goal, and they will seek to achieve it through sweet-talk, intimidation, and the use of Pakistan as proxy warrior against India.

The Chinese are unlikely to engage in direct warfare with nuclear India, as this could jeopardise their global gameplan. Too many nations are now unhappy with Chinese sabre-rattling ad bullying. The Chinese may not want a global gang-up against them by militarily engaging a rising India. So they are periodically showing their teeth to keep us in a state of uncertainty. They want to remain friendly enough to prevent us from scaling up militarily too quickly; but they also want to keep us off balance strategically by engaging in verbal belligerence and regular border incursions.

China, like Pakistan, is a greedy nation, and fundamentally wants to change the status quo along our borders. Its ambitions have changed since the time of Nehru, and today, as part of its global power vision, it wants to take more than it is ever willing to give as part of any border settlement. This is why we should be in no hurry to bring up the border issue or seek a settlement.

What has changed about China’s ambitions in the 1950s and now is this: China has effectively withdrawn its old offer of allowing us to keep Arunachal Pradesh in return for keeping the parts it annexed in Ladakh – Aksai Chin. (Read this Business Standard story to understand why)

Its earlier strategic thinking was that Aksai Chin and parts of Ladakh were crucial to its control of Tibet. Hence the need to grab that piece of land from India. Having connected Tibet from that route, its ambitions have grown, especially after its economic rise after the 1990s. It now wants to protect not only its roads and links to Tibet, but also build a corridor to the Indian Ocean through the Baloch port of Gwadar. This needs it to control a part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) – which only a partnership with Pakistan can guarantee, since PoK is in its control. Access to West Asia runs through PoK.

In short, China’s economic rise has expanded its ambitions in Kashmir/Ladakh beyond just access to Tibet. PoK is now crucial to its future economic success and trade with West Asia.

On the east, China has abandoned its old assessment that India can keep Arunachal Pradesh. It now believes it made a mistake in 1962 by withdrawing from Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Tawang is psychologically crucial to its hold on Tibet as it was the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama and hosts an important 17th century Tibetan Buddhist monastery. The current Dalai Lama (the 14th) spent some time in Tawang when he fled Tibet in 1959 after the Chinese takeover. China also believes any Tibetan unrest may have its origins in Tawang.

China considers Tawang and large parts of Arunachal Pradesh as southern Tibet, and till 2003, even the Dalai Lama seemed to agree. However, the Dalai Lama changed his position in 2008 and said it was a part of India. Reason: he realised that if China were to ever reclaim Tawang, it would mean the end of Tibetan hopes of even limited autonomy within China. China wants to appoint the next Dalai Lama after the current one passes, and as long as some part of Buddhist Tibet stays outside China, there is always the possibility that another Dalai Lama could merge from there, threatening Chinese hold on the region.

China’s India policy thus has three goals – one is to use sidekick Pakistan to bog India down in the sub-continent; the second is to use PoK as its route to Gwadar and West Asia; and the third is to reclaim Tawang so that it can control the future of Tibet and its malcontents.

Shaky control over Tibet is why China plays a Jekyll-and-Hyde game with India. It wants to play Jekyll to see if India will barter Tawang for some pieces of silver or minor pieces of non-strategic territory. It plays Hyde whenever India seeks to strengthen itself. It also unleashes its lapdog Pakistan on us.

Let’s be clear: China will not settle the border issue with India without Tawang and parts of PoK, some of which have already been ceded by Pakistan to China as part of its own border settlement.

This is precisely why we must alter strategy on China and the border.

First, we have to realise that the Dalai Lama and Tawang are our only elements of leverage. Both morally and strategically, these are the top cards we must hold at any cost. On his return, Modi must host the Dalai Lama, and start issuing stapled visas for Tibetans from China seeking to visit India. But China won’t allow too many Tibetans to travel to India, unless they are pet political poodles it can trust. We should expect no Chinese concessions on Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin.

Second

, we should forget about solving the border issue anytime soon. Instead, we should keep strengthening our military and economic presence in Arunachal Pradesh consistently to deter China. China’s economic might will peak over the next 10-15 years; ours will start rising after 2020, when our demographic advantage continues, while China’s dwindles. We have to prepare to hold our ground indefinitely. A 50- to 100-year strategic vision on China is what we need, not a quick border solution. That won’t happen in our lifetimes, unless we cave in inexplicably. If we seek any quick-fix on the border, it will come only at our cost.

Third, we should seek solutions to the lopsided trade balance. China must be asked to buy more goods and services from India to rectify the balance, or spend its surpluses in erecting good quality infrastructure here with long-term payback periods.

Fourth, India should enforce strict cyber security and physical checks on Chinese telecom and electronic products. The fact is we simply import too much hardware from our neighbour. This increases the probability that the Chinese will intentionally embed malware that will compromise our security at some future date. We keep hearing of Chinese hackers breaking into this government system or that every now and then; the fact is this is made easier by our over-dependence on Chinese hardware for everything from laptops to mobile phones to dongles. We should erect non-tariff barriers to Chinese electronic hardware and link it to more Chinese imports from us.

The Chinese are playing both hardball and softball with us because they are scared of our leverage on the Tibetan question. Our strategy should be to ensure that we never lose this leverage ever.

Wrong maps will not change the situation on the ground. Our priority should be to strengthen ourselves on the ground. Just as Pakistan publishes its own maps of India, so does China. We should keep protesting, and raise a ruckus every time – just as they do whenever we shake hands with the Dalai Lama or our PM visits Arunachal Pradesh.

Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words and wrong maps won’t do much damage. We should do unto China what China does to us.

Forget border deal: Wrong maps show China has shifted goalposts since 1950s

True to form, even as President Xi Jinping laid out the red carpet for Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday (14 May), China’s state-controlled TV showed an India map with Jammu & Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh lopped off. This was only to be expected as China believes in unsettling guests from whom it wants major territorial concessions.

The Chinese leadership has a way of showing two sets of teeth; the smiling one for official occasions, and the snarling one that resides barely below the surface. When Nehru visited China in 1954, he failed to see the second one. He was overwhelmed by flag-waving crowds all along the route from airport to city, but the Chinese were all the time preparing to annex Tibet fully, and the military campaign in 1962. During Vajpayee’s visit to China as foreign minister of the Janata Party government in 1979, China invaded Vietnam, a friendly country. Smiles and bared fangs went together.

PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Xian on Thursday. PTIPM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Xian on Thursday. PTI

PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Xian on Thursday. PTI

Deceit and duplicity are the hallmarks of Chinese diplomacy and the art of war without actual fighting, as Firstpost explained in this earlier post. Map-making is a key tool in this area. When it suits them, the Chinese will say they will re-examine their maps for accuracy; when it doesn’t, they will publish the maps as they want them to look.

As Arun Shourie explains in this interview to The Indian Express, this attitude foxed Jawaharlal Nehru, who proved very gullible when the Chinese played their games with maps in the 1950s. Apparently, when Nehru brought up the issue of Chinese maps showing parts of India as Chinese territory, Premier Zhou Enlai dismissed them as old maps put out by the Kuomintang. Years later, when these maps still remained unchanged, and Nehru enquired again, Zhou told him they were the correct maps. Zhou was ready for battle.

So when China publishes Jammu & Kashmir and parts of Arunachal Pradesh as regions outside India, we should take the message seriously. These maps tell us how Chinese geopolitical ambitions have changed and how they want the sub-continent’s final maps to look. This is their strategic goal, and they will seek to achieve it through sweet-talk, intimidation, and the use of Pakistan as proxy warrior against India.

The Chinese are unlikely to engage in direct warfare with nuclear India, as this could jeopardise their global gameplan. Too many nations are now unhappy with Chinese sabre-rattling ad bullying. The Chinese may not want a global gang-up against them by militarily engaging a rising India. So they are periodically showing their teeth to keep us in a state of uncertainty. They want to remain friendly enough to prevent us from scaling up militarily too quickly; but they also want to keep us off balance strategically by engaging in verbal belligerence and regular border incursions.

China, like Pakistan, is a greedy nation, and fundamentally wants to change the status quo along our borders. Its ambitions have changed since the time of Nehru, and today, as part of its global power vision, it wants to take more than it is ever willing to give as part of any border settlement. This is why we should be in no hurry to bring up the border issue or seek a settlement.

What has changed about China’s ambitions in the 1950s and now is this: China has effectively withdrawn its old offer of allowing us to keep Arunachal Pradesh in return for keeping the parts it annexed in Ladakh – Aksai Chin. (Read this Business Standard story to understand why)

Its earlier strategic thinking was that Aksai Chin and parts of Ladakh were crucial to its control of Tibet. Hence the need to grab that piece of land from India. Having connected Tibet from that route, its ambitions have grown, especially after its economic rise after the 1990s. It now wants to protect not only its roads and links to Tibet, but also build a corridor to the Indian Ocean through the Baloch port of Gwadar. This needs it to control a part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) – which only a partnership with Pakistan can guarantee, since PoK is in its control. Access to West Asia runs through PoK.

In short, China’s economic rise has expanded its ambitions in Kashmir/Ladakh beyond just access to Tibet. PoK is now crucial to its future economic success and trade with West Asia.

On the east, China has abandoned its old assessment that India can keep Arunachal Pradesh. It now believes it made a mistake in 1962 by withdrawing from Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Tawang is psychologically crucial to its hold on Tibet as it was the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama and hosts an important 17th century Tibetan Buddhist monastery. The current Dalai Lama (the 14th) spent some time in Tawang when he fled Tibet in 1959 after the Chinese takeover. China also believes any Tibetan unrest may have its origins in Tawang.

China considers Tawang and large parts of Arunachal Pradesh as southern Tibet, and till 2003, even the Dalai Lama seemed to agree. However, the Dalai Lama changed his position in 2008 and said it was a part of India. Reason: he realised that if China were to ever reclaim Tawang, it would mean the end of Tibetan hopes of even limited autonomy within China. China wants to appoint the next Dalai Lama after the current one passes, and as long as some part of Buddhist Tibet stays outside China, there is always the possibility that another Dalai Lama could merge from there, threatening Chinese hold on the region.

China’s India policy thus has three goals – one is to use sidekick Pakistan to bog India down in the sub-continent; the second is to use PoK as its route to Gwadar and West Asia; and the third is to reclaim Tawang so that it can control the future of Tibet and its malcontents.

Shaky control over Tibet is why China plays a Jekyll-and-Hyde game with India. It wants to play Jekyll to see if India will barter Tawang for some pieces of silver or minor pieces of non-strategic territory. It plays Hyde whenever India seeks to strengthen itself. It also unleashes its lapdog Pakistan on us.

Let’s be clear: China will not settle the border issue with India without Tawang and parts of PoK, some of which have already been ceded by Pakistan to China as part of its own border settlement.

This is precisely why we must alter strategy on China and the border.

First, we have to realise that the Dalai Lama and Tawang are our only elements of leverage. Both morally and strategically, these are the top cards we must hold at any cost. On his return, Modi must host the Dalai Lama, and start issuing stapled visas for Tibetans from China seeking to visit India. But China won’t allow too many Tibetans to travel to India, unless they are pet political poodles it can trust. We should expect no Chinese concessions on Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin.

Second

, we should forget about solving the border issue anytime soon. Instead, we should keep strengthening our military and economic presence in Arunachal Pradesh consistently to deter China. China’s economic might will peak over the next 10-15 years; ours will start rising after 2020, when our demographic advantage continues, while China’s dwindles. We have to prepare to hold our ground indefinitely. A 50- to 100-year strategic vision on China is what we need, not a quick border solution. That won’t happen in our lifetimes, unless we cave in inexplicably. If we seek any quick-fix on the border, it will come only at our cost.

Third, we should seek solutions to the lopsided trade balance. China must be asked to buy more goods and services from India to rectify the balance, or spend its surpluses in erecting good quality infrastructure here with long-term payback periods.

Fourth, India should enforce strict cyber security and physical checks on Chinese telecom and electronic products. The fact is we simply import too much hardware from our neighbour. This increases the probability that the Chinese will intentionally embed malware that will compromise our security at some future date. We keep hearing of Chinese hackers breaking into this government system or that every now and then; the fact is this is made easier by our over-dependence on Chinese hardware for everything from laptops to mobile phones to dongles. We should erect non-tariff barriers to Chinese electronic hardware and link it to more Chinese imports from us.

The Chinese are playing both hardball and softball with us because they are scared of our leverage on the Tibetan question. Our strategy should be to ensure that we never lose this leverage ever.

Wrong maps will not change the situation on the ground. Our priority should be to strengthen ourselves on the ground. Just as Pakistan publishes its own maps of India, so does China. We should keep protesting, and raise a ruckus every time – just as they do whenever we shake hands with the Dalai Lama or our PM visits Arunachal Pradesh.

Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words and wrong maps won’t do much damage. We should do unto China what China does to us.

Modi’s China visit: High-octane reception muddied by CCTV map

The optics have gone awry. The symbolism has turned putrid. High sounding statements signifying little have filled the diplomatic space as usual.

This appears to be the report card of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Day One of his three-day maiden official visit to China, undoubtedly his test by fire in high table international diplomacy as he is just about to complete first year in office.

PM Modi’s first leg of his high-octane China visit in Xian promised a rich harvest of positive optics as Chinese President Xi Jinping went on record as saying that Modi was the first foreign leader whom he had received in his home province Xian. It came as a reciprocation of sorts since Xi himself had begun his maiden India trip eight months ago in Ahmedabad, in Modi’s native state Gujarat.

Modi and Jinping after talks on Thursday. PTI imageModi and Jinping after talks on Thursday. PTI image

Modi and Jinping after talks on Thursday. PTI image

However, the way Modi went about touching statues while visiting the excavated site of Terracotta Warriors triggered snide remarks among the Twitterati. Uncharitable remarks on the social media about Modi’s day out in Xian were a far cry from the oodles of praise he received during his trip to the United States, particularly his cameo at the Madison Square Garden.

Yes, the Chinese President did away with protocol and received Modi in his hometown Xian, the first foreign leader on whom he bestowed this honour.

“You received me very warmly in your hometown. I am very glad to receive you in my hometown,” Xi told Modi in Chinese. Modi, in Hindi, responded, “This is an honour to 125 crore Indians whom I am representing as Prime Minister.”

But the entire symbolism of the visit turned putrid when China’s national television broadcaster CCTV beamed a controversial map of India that showed Arunachal Pradesh as ‘south Tibet’ and excluded large parts of Jammu and Kashmir soon after Modi landed in China.

This was Chinese cartographic aggression, not very different from China’s military aggression when troops has made a deep incursion into Indian territory in Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir during Xi’s India visit in September 2014.

On both occasions the Chinese position on boundary dispute with India has remained the same, though the two incidents are separated by eight months. It only shows that nothing has changed on the crucial boundary dispute issue from the Chinese perspective.

However, China sought to placate India by the usual inane sweet talk. People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China (CPC), published an article by the current Chinese ambassador to India, Lu Yucheng, quoted him as saying that the relationship between China and India would soon take off like a “high speed rail”. Yet another piece in the Chinese state-owned media extolled the Indian PM by saying that “Modi was trying to use Yoga-style diplomacy” to improve India-China ties.

Needless to say that such praise means nothing when the Chinese national broadcaster CCTV purposely and provocatively aired a wrong map of India.

For his part, PM Modi did raise India’s concern over China’s plans for infrastructure projects in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir in a “free and candid exchange of views” and also voiced India’s objections to China issuing stapled visas for residents of Arunachal Pradesh.

But the Chinese side belted it away by expressing the hope that India will announce extension of the “e-visa” scheme to Chinese nationals after his formal talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Friday.

Moreover, Modi’s concerns over the growing trade deficit of well over $40 billion in China’s favour was met with the Chinese concerns about India’s “investment climate,” which includes connectivity, red tape, unhappiness over visa and security restrictions for Chinese businessmen.

Thus China has matched India point by point, yielding little ground on its previously stated positions.

Last, but not least, Modi’s arch rival back home, the Congress party, raised some very pertinent and uncomfortable questions as he completed first day of his three-day China visit.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala demanded to know if the country’s defence preparedness will be compromised by the Modi government’s decision to curtail the strength of the proposed China-specific Mountain Strike Corps (MSC) by half because of a resource crunch.

Surjewala contended that in 2013 the UPA government had announced the formation of the MSC, a 90,000 strong Army battalion specifically to prevent intrusion by Chinese troops, at a cost of Rs.64,478 crore. However, just three weeks ahead of the PM’s visit to China the Defence Ministry reduced the sanctioned strength of this battalion by 50 percent and the official reason given for this was a severe fund shortage.

Evidently, PM Modi’s ongoing China visit hasn’t gone the way his government would have liked to at the end of first day of his three-day visit. He still has time to salvage the situation. We will have to wait and see if he can do it.

China’s CCTV shows India’s map without Arunachal, Jammu & Kashmir

Beijing/New Delhi: In a controversial move, China’s state-owned television CCTV showed India’s map without Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh while reporting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s visit.

The wrong map was displayed during a bulletin when Modi was in Xi’an city where he held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in his hometown.

ccyv-chinaccyv-chinaChina has been laying territorial claim over Arunachal Pradesh and parts of Jammu and Kashmir but India has been strongly resisting it.

The unresolved boundary issue has been a sticking point in the relations between the two major Asian countries and both are making efforts to settle it through Special Representatives’ talks. The Special Representatives have held 18 rounds of discussions so far.

China says the border dispute is confined only to 2,000 kms mostly in Arunachal Pradesh whereas India asserts that the dispute covered the western side of the border spanning to about 4,000 kms, especially the Aksai Chin area ceded to China by Pakistan.

Taking strong objection to depiction of the Indian map wrongly, Congress questioned the Prime Minister whether he would raise the issue strongly with the Chinese leadership.

“Official Chinese media is showing maps depicting Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin as Chinese territory and the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir out of India’s boundary,” Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala asked, “Will the Prime Minister take up the issue strongly and as a first priority with the Chinese leadership?”

He said the party has several fundamental questions which need to be addressed by the government “on priority.”

Surjewala said that in 2013, the UPA government had announced the formation of the Mountain Strike Corps (MSC), a 90,000 strong Army battalion specifically to prevent intrusion by Chinese troops, at a cost of Rs.64,478 cr.

“However just three weeks ahead of the PM’s visit to China, the Defence Ministry has reduced the sanctioned strength of this battalion by 50 percent. The official reason given was a severe fund shortage,” he claimed.

The Congress spokesman sought to know whether country’s defence preparedness will be compromised by this decision and whether there is a “shifting of poles” qua strategic decision?

Surjewala also brought to the notice of the Prime Minister that China has already committed over $46 billion of investment in Pakistan, including in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. These investments include trains, highways, military equipment and ports.

“Does it not interfere with India’s sovereign claim over the territory and whether it amounts to balancing out India in geo-political arena,” he asked.

Noting that just days before the PM’s visit, BJP president Amit Shah had cancelled his scheduled meeting with the Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama, Surjewala asked, “Does it mean re-shifting of goal post on part of the Government?”.

He said stapled visas to people from Arunachal Pradesh continue to be a major issue of concern. He recalled that last year, Kiren Rijiju was reportedly told not to attend the banquet hosted by Prime Minister in honour of the visiting Chinese President.

China’s plan to build multiple dams on Bramhaputra and its impact on Assam remain an open issue even today, he said adding that the repeated incursion by Chinese army into Indian territory including Ladakh have always remained a source of major flash point between the two countries.

PTI

PM Modi should pack Sun Tzu’s ‘Art of War’ for inflight reading on his way to China

When it comes to China, it is best for India to think along parallel tracks: the economic relationship, the cultural linkages, and the border standoff have to be dealt with separately, even though they may be interlinked.

This is what Narendra Modi should keep in mind as he begins what promises to be the most important visit by an Indian Prime Minister to its most important neighbour: China.

To come back with some diplomatic or economic gains, Modi needs to understand three things: first, how China thinks; second, how it is executing its strategy for Asian dominance; and three, how it sees India and how we see it. And yes, Modi’s in-flight reading en route to China should include a copy of Sun Tzu’s classic, The Art of War. The Chinese leadership knows this text by heart.

Reuters imageReuters image

Reuters image

So what do we need to know about how China thinks or acts?

First, Chinese power has historically been focused on creating a cohesive society internally, through constant and brutal internal warfare. China has seldom sought territorial conquests outside during its five thousand year history. China considers itself culturally superior to the rest of the world, and believes the world should pay obeisance to its power and cultural refinement. “All under Heaven” was the mandate the Chinese gave their emperors. It did not change under Mao’s Communist dicatorship or Deng’s authoritarian capitalism that China adopted after Mao. China seeks formal recognition by the world, and India, of its superiority, culturally or otherwise. India poses a threat to its cultural superiority, if not economically or politically.

Second, China projects power more or less the way Sun Tzu, a second century BCE Chinese military strategist, taught it. The key elements of Sun Tzu strategy are deception and the consistent building of one strengths clandestinely. Sun Tzu advocated intimidating and overwhelming the enemy without war. China fights a war rarely, and then too only if it thinks it can win overwhelmingly. The key Sun Tzu precepts to note are the following quotes from his book:

“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”
And
“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

To counter China, India needs to understand when China is bluffing, and when it is genuinely capable of going to war over an issue.

In 1962, China went to war by fooling Nehru into believing the border issue was a small thing, when it was actually a big deal for China, which had just invaded and taken over Tibet. Even as it prepared for war, it lulled Nehru into believing it was all for peace. Little wonder we lost 1962.

Since the 1980s, China has been building its economic and military might slowly, but consistently. When Communist Soviet Union appeared to be a threat, it used the US as counter-weight to show strength to the enemy. After Mao, Deng realised that military might could not be sustained without economic might. China built the most powerful manufacturing capability over the next 20 years and became factory to the world. The world woke up too late to the Chinese threat.

Having achieved economic and military might next only to the US, China is now implementing the second of Sun Tzu’s maxims: subduing the enemy (or enemies) without fighting. It yanked Hong Kong out of Britain’s grasp without a fight. It has embraced Taiwan in an economic partnership where the latter ultimately has to succumb to a Hong Kong-like solution and Chinese takeover. The west will not fight over Taiwan. China has also enticed the rest of Asia with economic partnerships – and neutralised them. It is now trying to browbeat Japan and India to yield on its territorial claims by a show of high belligerence.

China is unlikely to go to war or push its luck too far on these issues, but only if both Japan and India play their cards right. We should not only build an alliance, but also beef up our economies and military might even while talking trade and culture with the Chinese. These parallel tracks are key to containing China. When they see strength, they back off.

This is what we can learn from Sun Tzu: “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”

Right now, both India and Japan are relatively weak vis-à-vis China. This is, therefore, a very good reason to appear strong and economically and politically aligned.

China is doing the same to us with its string-of-pearls alliances in the Indian Ocean. From Sri Lanka to Bangladesh to Nepal and, most certainly, Pakistan, China is trying to tell us it has us surrounded. Resistance to its geopolitical aims is pointless.

We have to stare back, and silently keep building our military strengths and alliances. We don’t need to provoke, but frequent trips to the north-east, regular consultations with the Dalai Lama on Tibetan concerns, and strategic conferences with the US, Japan, and Vietnam are vital to doing a Sun Tzu on China.

On trade, too, China currently holds the high cards – seemingly. In 2014-15, says Mint quoting the Confederation of Indian Industry, India imported $45 billion more from China than what we exported. Our manufacturing has hollowed out due to China.

Modi needs to tell China that this is unsustainable. China has to buy more from India, or allow its currency to appreciate significantly against the rupee. There is need for a direct rupee-yuan currency market that is not intermediated by the US dollar.

We could also throw hints that lucrative infrastructure projects could be offered to China if it is more reasonable on trade balance.

We can bring up the issue of Chinese dams on the Brahmaputra – and throw in the possibility of international arbitration for disputes in the area. China won’t accept, but we should bring it up nevertheless.

We should also whisper in Chinese ears about Islamic terrorism emanating from Pakistan. The Chinese know all about it, but there is no reason why we should not fan their fears relentlessly and give them unsolicited intelligence on what we know about the jihadi terror.

What we should never do is bring up the border issue or its alliance with Pakistan every time we meet up. Our interests are best served by indicating that we can defend ourselves. Bringing up the border repeatedly makes China feel that its actions on the border are rattling us. They are long-term players, and they are looking for signs that we are desperate for a settlement. We should never be desperate for a settlement of the border issue. We should be willing to wait till kingdom come. In fact, Modi should surprise China by never bringing up the border. If they want to, they can.

We also need to understand China’s real interests: they definitely want Tawang, the birthplace of the Dalai Lama, and probably not the whole of Arunachal Pradesh, which they call lower Tibet. But they will never tell us this. They are desperate to end Tibetan resistance to Han Chinese rule by taking all the Tibetan holy places and ensuring that the next Dalai Lama is under Chinese control. We should never support such a move – and must make it clear in closed-door meetings that India will never recognise a China-appointed Dalai Lama.

Unlike Pakistan, where our relationship is blighted by that country’s unremitting hatred of India (at least, as far as the Pakistani army is concerned), in China’s case the underlying cause of tension is not innate hostility (despite our humiliating defeat in the 1962 war), but the long-term power asymmetry that has gone unaddressed.

This asymmetry is what China wants to retain, and which Modi needs to correct. This correction is what China wants India to be deflected from through belligerent action.

When you are perceived as weak, bullies will try and intimidate you. And China is nothing if not a bully. This is what explains Chinese border incursions last September, just when President Xi Jinping paid a visit to India after Modi took over as PM; this is what is at play even now, as China’s official media keeps up a high-decibel anti-India chant, whether by warning him against visiting the north-east, and especially Arunachal Pradesh, or by alleging Modi is “playing little tricks” on the border.

This is typical Chinese strategy – to keep the other side off-balance by constantly trying to unsettle it with pinpricks or intimidation even while officially talking peace and good neighbourliness.

Last September, Modi appeared irritated that Xi’s visit was timed with a border incursion in the Chumar sector of Ladakh. He noted: “Yeh chhoti chhoti ghatnayen bade se bade sambandhon ko prabhavit kar deti hain. Agar daant ka dard ho to saara sharir kaam nahin karta hai”, The Times of India quoted Modi as telling Xi.

However, this time the government’s response seems to have been different. Even as the Chinese media upped the ante on Modi’s “little tricks”, the Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar ticked off the Chinese by protesting against their proposed investment in infrastructure in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and Modi himself met legislators from the north-east, including Arunachal Pradesh, to send a simple message to Beijing: two can play the game. Even as this shadow-boxing was on, Modi talked peace and poverty eradication as a joint India-China responsibility.

One hopes Modi and his China advisors have read Sun Tzu.

MHA will look into rolling back AFSPA in Arunachal Pradesh: Rajnath Singh

Itanagar: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has assured his ministry would look into rolling back of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Arunachal Pradesh, a major students union of the state said on Monday.

The assurance was given by Singh when All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) delegation met the minister at his residence in the national capital yesterday and submitted a memorandum to him.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTIUnion Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

Singh said the notification regarding extension of AFSPA to nine districts other than besides Tirap, Changlang and Longding is being kept in abeyance, AAPSU said in a statement on Monday.

He said he would discuss the issue with Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and the decision would be based on his (Rijiju’s) wish and interpretation, the statement said.

AAPSU president Kamta Lapung informed Singh that the strict tribal customs of Arunachal Pradesh prevent illegal activities from occurring and therefore AFSPA is not relevant in the state.

North East Students Organisation coordinator Pritam Sonam said while the people of Arunachal Pradesh are thankful to the Centre for inducting Rijiju as MoS for home affairs, it is unfortunate that AFSPA has been extended in the state after he got the portfolio.

Arunachal Pradesh is known as an island of peace and the people are peace-loving and patriotic, Sonam was quoted as saying in the statement.

PTI

India soldiers die in rebel attack

Indian police say eight soldiers have been ambushed and killed by rebels, one of whom also died, in the north-eastern state of Nagaland.

Centre asks states to highlight ‘success stories’ of flagship schemes

The NDA government, which is completing one year in office this month, has asked state governments including those ruled by opposition parties to highlight and “furnish success stories” of all Centrally sponsored flagship programmes, particularly those concerning rural economy, pertaining to this period.

The NDA government, which is completing one year in office this month, has asked state governments including those ruled by opposition parties to highlight and “furnish success stories” of all Centrally sponsored flagship programmes, particularly those concerning rural economy, pertaining to this period.On the directive of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, various ministries have asked state governments to “furnish success stories” of various flagship programmes of the Centre, which were undertaken by them in their states, sources said.In such a directive, the rural road division of the Union Ministry of Rural Development has asked all states including Congress-ruled Kerala, Karnataka and AIADMK-ruled Tamil Nadu to “furnish success stories” of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) in respect of their state, pertaining to 2014-15, in maximum of 600 words.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The success stories should be crisp and should focus on the innovation in the process/implementation/delivery as well as its impact on the local community/beneficiary habitations (with specific details of beneficiaries and habitations),” says a Ministry directive issued to state governments on April 30.The directive has been issued to all states except Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. In its circular, the Rural Development Ministry said that PMGSY is a major flagship programme of the Union Government in the field of rural connectivity.”Various states have during the last one year taken up successful interventions in planning, implementation, supervision and maintenance of rural roads assets, which must be highlighted for their replication by other states,” it said. The Narendra-Modi led government completes a year in office on May 26.

India plans to double troops at Sino-Indian border in Arunachal Pradesh

The Home Minsitry is likely to sanction 10,000 at the Sino-Indian border at Arunachal Pradesh.

The Indo-Tibet Border Police

In the background of repeated Chinese incursions at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the government has decided to double the number of security personnel manning the Indo-China border in Arunachal Pradesh in two years, according to an English daily. The Home Ministry is likely to sanction an additional frontier of Indo-Tibetan Border Police at the Sino-Indian border in the state, where currently only one frontier exists. The reports also suggests that another 10,000 personnel could be deployed so as to allow the force to rest and recuperate giving the ITBP a 100% boost there. However this could also lead to a stress among the security force leading to a hike in attrition rate.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report quotes ITBP DG Krishna Chaudhary expressing hope that both plans get sanctioned after meeting Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The proposed eight battalions of 10,000 personnel will guard 54 Border Outposts, apart from the 40 BoPs, in two years after receiving training. While the Indo-Pak border has BoPs at every 3-4 kms, the Sino-Indian border in Arunachal Pradesh in some places has BoPs every 50-100 kms.India and China share over 4,000 km of LAC. China claims approximately 90,000 sq km of territory in Arunachal Pradesh besides 38,000 sq km in Jammu and Kashmir sector. Indian and Chinese troops recently had two face-offs along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, in the same area where People’s Liberation Army had pitched camps in April 2013 leading to a three-week long stalemate. According to officials in the know of developments, the Chinese troops came to Burtse and Depsang areas in North of Ladakh, first on March 20 and then on March 28, apparently as part of attempts to reach Old Patrol Point, the last established base of Indian security forces. The PLA troops made attempts to push the Indian troops back but these were thwarted, they said. Vigilant Indian troops displayed the banners in Chinese asking the PLA to return to their side, the officials said. Ever since this incident, the Indian troops have been carrying out regular patrols to higher points along the LAC to keep check on movement of the PLA.

Majority of women drug users in Arunachal introduced to opium by husbands

Itanagar: A majority of women drug-users in Arunachal Pradesh were introduced to opium after marriage, by their husbands, a new study has revealed.

The study – “Women Who Use Drugs in Northeast India” – noted, “A household survey in the state found that 2.1 per cent of females were opium users” and that “a majority of them were introduced to opium by their husbands after marriage”.

Among 100 persons, who were surveyed, 6.4 per cent had taken drugs at least once (just ahead of Tripura’s 1.1 per cent), the study found.

A higher percentage of drug consumption was found prevalent amongst users in Manipur (28.2 per cent), Mizoram (17.4 per cent), Nagaland (14.9 per cent), Meghalaya (12.1 per cent), Assam (10.2 per cent) and Sikkim (9.8 per cent). The study was commissioned by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime under its regional initiative “Prevention of transmission of HIV amongst drug users in SAARC Countries”.

Representational image. AFP.Representational image. AFP.

Representational image. AFP.

This is the first comprehensive study of women who use drugs across all the eight states of the Northeast. The study said “substance use among women is associated with early initiation to sex, sexual abuse, greater number of sexual partners, exchange of money for sex, and infrequent use of condoms with sexual partners”.

It noted that among more than half of the women drug users in Arunachal Pradesh, the prime source of income is through selling drugs or sex.

Comparing the demographic characteristics of women who use drugs in high HIV prevalent (Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland) and low HIV prevalent states (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Sikkim and Tripura), the study said that women from the high HIV burden states are slightly older, more of them tend to be widowed/separated/divorced and a smaller proportion live with a partner/spouse.

Concerns were raised regarding the fact that in low HIV burden states, a significant proportion (57 per cent) of women begins to inject drugs without transitioning from non-injecting. It also stated that women in these states “who use drugs exhibit greater frequency of paid sex as well as sex in exchange for drugs”.

The study noted that caution must be exercised in the low HIV burden state of Arunachal Pradesh to mount and scale up harm-reduction interventions.

PTI

NDRF to get all-terrain vehicles soon

Representational Image

The premier rescue and relief agency, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), would soon acquire all-terrain vehicles which would enable the agency to better respond to landslides, floods or even CBRN (chemical, biological, radioactive, nuclear) disasters. During a presentation on disaster management at the recently-concluded Indian Science Congress, NDRF director General O P Singh said that the agency would be acquiring an ATV or two in the next six months. The ATVs are to be produced by Indian manufacturers. At the Science Congress, NDRF commandant of fifth battalion Alok Avasthy made a presentation on the NDRF rescue and relief work during recent disasters. Jammu and Kashmir had witnessed the worst deluge of the century in September last year. The disaster had claimed more than 280 lives and caused damage to property worth Rs 44,000 crore in the valley, said official statistics. Singh said that they were getting distress calls, of which they have counted almost 18,000, and also received text messages and emails. He said the NDRF responded to almost all the calls with the help of technology like Google person finder, so as to ensure the rescue of trapped people.Singh informed dna that two battalions would be added to the the existing NDRF battalions, taking the total strength to 15,000. It is likely that the two new battalions would be raised in the next two months. One battalion would be based in Uttar Pradesh while the other would be stationed in the north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Replying to a question, NDRF’s Singh made it clear that NDRF was the not the first force to reach any disaster location. He made it clear that during any disaster it is the local administration which is the first responder, and it is only after requisition that NDRF reaches the local areas within 20 minutes. If required, NDRF requisitions airplanes for reaching disaster-hit areas in far-flung regions.

BJP expresses solidarity with Arunachal student over hunger strike issue

Ujum Perying from Arunachal Pradesh is on a 72-hour hunger strike supported by her colleagues, against the paper leakage episode of September 24 last year.

BJP (Representational image)

BJP on Saturday expressed solidarity with the Ujum Perying, aspirant of APPSCCE (Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission Combined Examination) – 2014, who is on a 72-hour hunger strike, supported by her colleagues, against the paper leakage episode of September 24 last year.”We express our solidarity to Perying and her supporters who have set an example of non-violent protest to express grievances. Whatever, she is doing is good for our younger generation,” party’s Spokesman R K Khrimey told reporters.Also Read: BJP and AAP supporters clash in Delhi, AAP candidate’s car set on fireReferring to the inquiry by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) ordered by the state government to go into the details of the issue, the BJP leader said that enquiry was a ‘different issue’ but the Commission could take a quick concrete decision so that the future career of the students were not jeopardized.”We will soon approach the governor to apprise him the matter and to request him to call off the entire members and chairman of the Commission and to re-conduct the entire examination with a fresh set of members and a new chairman,” he added.Meanwhile, defying all assurances from the government as well as the Commission, Perying continued her fast for the third day on Saturday flanked by her colleagues and members from various organizations.

Nido Tania case: Delhi High Court issues notice to CBI and 4 accused

Nido Tania, a boy from Arunachal Pradesh was a victim of racial attack in January 2014 in New Delhi
File Photo

The Delhi High Court sought response of the CBI on a plea filed by father of Northeast student Nido Tania, who died last year after he was allegedly beaten up by some persons at Lajpat Nagar in Delhi.Justice Manmohan Singh issued notice to four adult accused Farman, Pawan, Sunder Singh and Sunny Uppal, seeking their reply on Tania’s father Nido Pavitra’s plea against the trial court’s decision to drop charges under the SC/ST Act against the culprits.”Notice issued to CBI. Notice also be served to the remaining respondents (four accused),” the court said, adding that the reply should be filed within two weeks.Meanwhile, the court directed Tihar Jail Superintendent to serve court notice to Farman, who is presently in judicial custody. The remaining three accused are out on bail. The court has now listed the matter for further hearing on April 22. Presently the accused are facing trial in the matter before a sessions judge.The plea filed by Pavitra, Congress MLA from Arunachal Pradesh, has sought quashing of the September 25, 2014, order of the sessions court which had held that no charge could be framed against the accused under the relevant provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.The plea, filed through advocate Prashant Mendiratta, had said that trial court had adopted wrong interpretation of the law and refused to frame charges against the accused under the provisions of SC/ST Act “despite the fact that the entire assault, which resulted in the untimely demise of a young man, was unequivocally and clearly motivated by the accused perceiving him as belonging to Scheduled Tribe”.19-year-old Tania, a BA first year student in a private university here, had an altercation with some shopkeepers at Lajpat Nagar market on January 29, 2014, after they made fun of his hair style. Following the altercation, the shopkeepers had allegedly thrashed him. He was brought dead to AIIMS the next day.

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