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ISSUE NO 1.22

POLITICS

APRIL 16, 2000





NEWS THIS FORTNIGHT

First conference of Rabha body
Kurung Kumey 14th district in Arunachal
Congress returns to power in Garo Hills council
Majuli indifferent to Nagen Sarma's killing
Special Manipur house session to elect dy speaker
Asomiya Pratidin editor picked up by police
New NEC secy
Opp stages walkout in Mizoram House
Censure move against Sahidul defeated
Differences surface within MSCP over CM's statement
Cong in a fix over ADC polls in Tripura
Assam Accord tripartite talks: Centre's nod for seat reservation
Police action on editor: Opp, leading citizens join protest
Centre agrees on quota for indigenous people
Central panel to resolve Arunachal issues
Centre, AASU find definition of 'Assamese'
No compromise on 100 pc demand : AASU
AASU for arrest of Madani & Muhib, warns radicals
Tiwa Sahitya Sabha session decision on script
2 Bangla nationals die in BSF-BDR clash


First conference of Rabha body
BOKO, April 1: The first annual conference of Rabha Hasong Surakhya Parishad was held recently at the Bamunigaon High School with a two-day programme. The first day's programmes began with the registration of delegates. Later, the delegates' meeting was inaugurated by Dhirendra Choudhury, president, reception committee. The cultural function in the evening was inaugurated by Prabin Rabha an artiste of All India Radio, Guwahati. The next day's programmes began with hoisting of the flag by Sarat Chandra Rabha, CEM, RHAC. Bagejori, a souvenir brought out on the occasion was inaugurated by Surjya Mazumdar, noted educationist of south Kamrup. This was followed by smriti tarpan by Dhaneswar Rabha, advisor to the party. A new committee of 61 members was formed with Dhaneswar Rabha, and Anukul Rabha as president and secretary respectively. (Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 2, 2000)
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Kurung Kumey 14th district in Arunachal
ITANAGAR, April 1: Arunachal Assembly has passed the State Re-organisation of districts (Amendment) bill 2000 creating the 14th district in the state. The new "Kurung Kumey" has been bifurcated from lower Subansiri district. The bill was moved by Chief Minister Mukut Mithi and adopted by the house by voice votes. The new district comprising 11 administrative centres would facilitate the people living inmost remotest parts of the state including those residing near Indo-China border. (PTI; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 2, 2000)
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Congress returns to power in Garo Hills council
TURA, April 2 - The Congress has turned the tables on the NCP and its allies in the Garo Hills Autonomous district Council (GHADC) by returning to power courtesy a stay order from the Shillong Bench of the Guwahati High Court. While the NCP-led Opposition was celebrating following their gain to power in the council by a voice vote against the executive committee of Winsang Sangma of the Congress, the latter was in the meantime away at Shillong seeking the intervention of the High Court. His answers came with the court passing a stay on the proceedings of the house much to the surprise of the NCP. With this order all speculations about who is in power in the council has finally been answered. This is a major blow to the NCP and particularly to the council's chairman Edmund K Sangma whose attempts at grabbing power from the Congress have repeatedly turned futile. Earlier in December also, the Opposition had gone for a no-trust motion against the Congress in the council but with little success. (Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 3, 2000)
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Majuli indifferent to Nagen Sarma's killing
KAMALABARI, April 3: Residents of Majuli, the biggest river island of the world, have failed to join the rest of the people of the state in condemning the dastardly killing of Nagen Sarma who was the state PWD and forest minister. While public meetings and silent marches have been organised all over the state to condemn the cowardly act, not even a single public meeting was held for the purpose at Majuli. Apart from flying the party flag at half-mast, AGP leaders had done little to mobilise public opinion against the inhuman act. Relentless campaigning by late Sharma had played an important role in the AGP's recent victory in the Majuli LAC by-election. The same people of Majuli had raised their voice against terrorism and violence after the brutal assassination of Sanjoy Ghose, general secretary of AVARD-NE. It is felt they should again lead the fight against militancy and terrorism. (Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 4, 2000)
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Special Manipur house session to elect dy speaker
IMPHAL, April 4: The deputy speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly will be elected on April 6. A special session of the Manipur Assembly will held on that day at 2-30 pm. The Assembly secretary L Joute has issued a notification in this regard. Member of the Manipur Legislative Assembly from Tadubi and FPM MLA Raina is the only candidate who has filed his nomination paper for the post. Deputy Chief Minister Leishangthem Chandramani Singh and two others had proposed his name. Today is the last date for submission of nomination papers. No one except K Raina filed nomination papers for the post of deputy speaker till the last hour. Opposition parties in Secular Democratic Front (SDF) failed to nominate a common candidate for the post following a decision of its meeting held this morning here at the Opposition parties lobby at Assembly secretariat. (Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 5, 2000)
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Asomiya Pratidin editor picked up by police
GUWAHATI, April 6: Haider Hussain, editor, Asomiya Pratidin, has been taken into police custody at around 1 a.m. tonight from his residence in Santipur. Sources informed that Hussain was followed by police to his residence from the newspaper's office in the Maniram Dewan Road at around 11.30 p.m. After his arrival in his residence the police team cordoned off the house and began a search. The search went on for more than one hour during which mostly papers, documents and diaries were looked into. Sources further said that the residence of Hussain's landlord was also raided by the police team. Later, at around 1 a.m., Hussain was reportedly taken to Bharalumukh police station. However, when contacted the Bharalumukh police expressed ignorance about the incident. Other sources late in the night informed that Hussain has been picked up allegedly on the charge of maintaining links with the banned ULFA. Police have reportedly claimed ample evidence to establish that he had addressed a meeting on April 7, 1998 held on the occasion of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the outfit. It is also learnt that he is being interrogated in a city police station at the time of filing this report. (Staff reporter; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 7, 2000)
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New NEC secy
SHILLONG, April 6: HWT Syiem, IAS, has taken over as secretary, Northeast Council (NEC), from PL Thanga, IAS, planning advisor and in-charge secretary, yesterday. (UNI; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 5, 2000)
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Opp stages walkout in Mizoram House
AIZAWL, April 6: The entire Opposition on Wednesday staged a noisy walkout in the state Assembly following denial of a zero hour request by the speaker to discuss a burglary of confiscated weapons from the deputy commissioner's office, report agencies. Leader of the Opposition and senior MPC leader Lalhmingthanga had requested the speaker Lalawia to hold a zero hour on Tuesday to discuss the burglary of four sophisticated Chinese-made pistols from the 'Malkhana' of DC, Aizawl's office on Sunday. But the speaker denied the request claiming that the police was still in the process of getting more inputs about the incident. Pandemonium broke out after speaker R Lalawia invited Tawnluia to make a statement with Opposition leader Lalhmingthanga objecting to it on the ground that he was disallowed to make a statement on the issue during zero hour on Tuesday. Tawnluia continued his statement over the din. Leader of the Opposition Lalhmingthanga later told UNI that by not allowing discussion on the issue and accepting the home minister's request for making a statement showed that the speaker was biased in his approach. "We would continue to protest till the time the speaker accepted our request," he added. (UNI; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 7, 2000)
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Censure move against Sahidul defeated
GUWAHATI, April 7: In reply to censure motion brought against him, the panchayat and rural development minister, Sahidul Alam Chowdhury today said in the Assembly that all MLAs are responsible for DRDA work in the state as they all are members of governing committees. Denying allegation of corruption brought against him the minister said he cannot be made responsible for anomalies, if any, in implementing DRDA schemes as the money for all the schemes come from the Centre directly to respective district administrations. He also gave a detail account of DRDA schemes implemented in the state. The censure motion, which was brought by Congress MLA Ardhendu Dey, was defeated in the house by voice vote. The minister in his reply today alleged that Opposition Congress MLAs and block development officers nexus as far as implementation of DRDA schemes in the state in concerned. Earlier Deputy leader of Congress in the state Assembly Ardhendu Kumar Dey today alleged rampant corruption in DRDA, while moving a censure motion against panchayat and rural development minister Sahidul Alam Chowdhury. Dey with the help of Assembly proceedings and official documents said that though the DRDA spent Rs 40,91,360 to procure green house materials in Dhemaji district, in fact the actual price of the materials procured can not exceed the amount of Rs 6,11,600. Similarly, similar profligacies were marked in procuring the green house materials in other districts of the state. Moreover, 50 per cent of the materials shown against purchase and paid for, has not been procured by the DRDA, Dey alleged. The DRDA also spent an amount of Rs 4,76,10,406 on printing during 1998-2000. But, almost all the presses awarded with the contracts were not approved by the state government and evidences are there that some fake presses were awarded with the contracts. In this case also 50 per cent of the work orders billed for, has not been executed by these presses. During 1998-99 the Union government released an amount of Rs 54,409.94 lakh to the state DRDA. Of it, an amount of Rs 31,26,00,000 was spent by the DRDA. Though the Union government has banned purchase of tool kits, the state DRDA procured many tool kits recently, Dey said, adding, while making purchase, the Nalbari DRDA did not deduct any sale tax, nor there was any beneficiary list, stock book, order copy list etc maintained by the DRDA in the district. And in Hailakandi district, where the DRDA has one or two vehicles, the DRDA spent Rs 3,28,603 on petrol, Rs 1,29,371 on vehicle repairing, among others, Dey said. Opposing the motion, AGP legislator Dilip Kumar Saikia said that against the gloomy picture of rampant corruption in the DRDA during the previous Congress regime in the state, the DRDA under the present state government has taken up various developmental activities and has constituted a monitoring committee to put a brake on corrupt practices in the DRDA. But, the Union government with its latest decision to provide only 75 per cent grant against the earlier provision of 80 per cent, has dealt a serious blow to all developmental plans of the state rural development department, he said. (Staff reporter; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 8, 2000)
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Differences surface within MSCP over CM's statement
IMPHAL, April 7: Differences have surfaced among senior leaders of the ruling MSCP over a recent statement of Chief Minister and party president Wahengbam Nipamacha Singh demanding Kashmir-like status for the state, MSCP sources said here on Thursday. The MSCP working president and union minister of state for youth affairs, T Chaoba Singh said the statement was the 'personal view' of Nipamacha Singh. The Chief Minister had neither consulted the party nor the other ruling partner, Federal Party of Manipur, Chaoba Singh told reporters on Tuesday. 'A minister or Chief Minister who was sworn in under Indian Constitution should not raise such demand.' In the statement issued by his secretariat some weeks ago, Singh had said the state government would demand more facilities along the lines of Manipur state Constitution Act 1947 and Kashmir-like status for it. Nipamacha Singh was not available for comment as he was in Delhi. Party sources, however, said the Chief Minister expressed 'unhappiness' when informed of the objection raised by the union minister. (UNI; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 8, 2000)
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Candidates' reluctance to contest ADC polls puts Cong in piquant situation
AGARTALA, April 8: Tripura Pradesh Congress faced an unprecedented situation on Friday as none of its proposed candidates for the ensuing Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous district Council (TTAADC) elections appeared ready to file nominations. Friday was the last date for filing of nominations and the candidates were afraid of invoking militants' wrath if they contested the elections. However, at the last moment, the PCC leadership after day-long efforts, managed to persuade 18 partymen, to save face of PCC and file nominations, although reluctantly. Many of these 18 were not in Congress' declared list of candidates. The party could not contest in 10 more seats in the absence of willing candidates. (TTAADC has 28 elected members while two members are nominated by governor). The partymen were against the Congress contesting ADC elections in view of increased militant activities and displacement of lakhs of non-tribal electorate from ADC areas. Most importantly, the outlawed militant organisation NLFT has openly launched electioneering in favour of Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT). The militants threatened that no one other than IPFT candidates would be allowed to fight elections. Any villager found either contesting or campaigning or voting for any party other than IPFT will be killed on the spot, the NLFT announced. The situation turned so serious that the Opposition as well as the ruling Left Front workers were either forced to campaign for IPFT by the insurgents or leave their villages. Even the Tribal Welfare minister Aghore Debbarma admitted the NLFT had indeed made the situation critical. Under such circumstances, while all other Oppositions including BJP, Trinamool Congress, Janata Dal (U) and even Tripura Upajati Juba Samity (TUJS) boycotted the ADC polls, the Congress decided to participate. (Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 9, 2000)
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Assam Accord tripartite talks: Centre's nod for seat reservation
GUWAHATI, April 10: The Union government today agreed on principle to provide reservation of seats in Parliament and the state Legislature for indigenous people of the state as per the provision of Clause VI in the Assam Accord signed way back in 1985, informed AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharyya, a signatory to the Accord. The tripartite sub-committee, which has representatives of the Union government, state government and the AASU, in its meeting held here today discussed the issue of Constitutional safeguard to the people of the state under Clause VI of the Assam Accord. The AASU representatives attending the meeting demanded 100 per cent reservation of seats in the state Legislature and Parliament for indigenous people to which the Central team led by the joint secretary of home affairs, GK Pillai, agreed on principle. But the Central team said the percentage of seats to be reserved would be finalised in the next round of discussion the date of which is yet to be fixed. The tripartite sub-committee on Clause VII of the Assam Accord also had a discussion. The Clause VII of the Accord deals in all round economic development of the state. It was for the first time since the Assam Accord was signed, the Clause VII was discussed. The AASU members of the sub-committee during the discussion today submitted detailed proposal on flood control, construction of Subansiri Dam, agricultural development, industrial development and implementation of Assam gas cracker project. The AASU also demanded reservation of jobs for local people in various public and private sector industries in the state and revival of sick industries. The Assam government representatives said that the work on gas cracker project would be started by the end of the current month. After a threadbare discussion, the Union government representatives observed that there was lot of scope for further discussion on these key issues relating to the economic development of the state. They promised to take up the issues in next round of meeting of the sub-committee, the AASU Adviser informed. Tripartite sub-committees to review the implementations of Clause VI and VII of the Assam Accord were formed in July, 1999. It was for the first time the committees met at Secretariat Conference Hall at Dispur today. The Union government team was led by the joint secretary of the ministry of home affairs, while the state government representatives included Prafulla Chandra Sharma, commissioner accord implementation, Himangshu Das, planning commissioner among others. The AASU representatives included advisor, Samujjal Bhattacharyya, general secretary Amiya Bhuyan, Basanta Deka, Technocrats Abola Sharma and Dilip Deka among others. (Staff reporter; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 11, 2000)
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Police action on editor: Opp, leading citizens join protest
GUWAHATI, April 10: More than hundred people including journalists, intellectuals, politicians, social workers and student leaders besides others staged a two-hour demonstration here at the office of Nationalist Congress Party (which was earlier the office of Congress-S) to protest the detention of the Asomiya Pratidin editor Haider Hussain. Speaking on the occasion, editor of Aaji Ajit Kumar Bhuyan said that the government has failed to meet the basic aspirations of the public. He also alleged that the Assam government has initiated a conspiracy to mentally torture the journalists of the state, and added that Haider Hussain was the first victim of this strategy. Addressing the gathering, senior Congress leader and former union minister Pawan Singh Ghatowar in an obvious reference to the state government, said that just as it is futile to talk to a fool about light and darkness, it is equally pointless to talk to this government about democracy and the right of the Fourth Estate. Among others who spoke on the occasion included leader of the Opposition, Assam Legislative Assembly, Sylvius Condopan; editor of Dainik Agradoot Kanak Sen Deka; former MP Bolin Kuli, former GU vice-chancellor Debaprasad Baruah, social worker Preeti Baruah; vice-president of state BJP Parbati Prasad Goswami; former minister Anjan Dutta; AJYCP president Bimal Prasad Choudhury and Sadou Asom Karmachari Parishad secretary general Charan Deka. Editor of The Northeast Daily Wasbir Hussain, executive editor of Asomiya Pratidin Adip Kumar Phukan, AJYCP general secretary Apurba Kumar Bhattacharyya also participated in the protest. (Staff reporter; The Northeast Daily; Guwahati; April 11, 2000)
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Centre agrees on quota for indigenous people
GUWAHATI, April 10: The Union government has agreed on principle to the Assam Accord demand of the AASU for reserving seats in the Assembly and the Lok Sabha constituencies for indigenous people of the state. This was stated by the AASU advisor Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharyya here on Monday afternoon. A four-member delegation led by Bhattacharyya earlier attended a tripartite meeting on implementation of the Assam Accord. The meeting presided over by joint secretary (NE) of the ministry of home affairs GK Pillai. Officials of both the central and the state government participated. The AASU advisor also said that the centre was convinced that the rights of the indigenous people of Assam are in threat and there is a need for initiating a special measures to protect the same. "However the meeting could not decide how many seats of Assembly and Lok Sabha should be reserved for the indigenous people. The issue will be settle in the next tripartite meeting," he said. Bhattacharyya said that the meeting also discussed in length about the measures to be taken for the economic development of the people of Assam and stressed the need for taking speedy steps in this regard. (Staff reporter; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 11, 2000)
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Central panel to resolve Arunachal issues
ITANAGAR, April 11: The Centre would set up a committee to resolve issues like issuance of no-objection certificate for open-cast coal mining in Arunachal Pradesh and reduction in LPG and kerosene prices, as demanded by the state government, according to union minister for petroleum and natural gas Ram Naik. The union minister, who was on a five-day visit to Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, informed Chief Minister Mukut Mithi on Monday that the proposed committee, consisting of additional secretary of his ministry and state chief secretary, would work for resolving the issues by two months. He also said that the Centre would soon sign an agreement with the state government for production sharing at new oil field s found in the state under the New Exploration Licensing Policy, a ministry spokesman told reporters here on Monday. Naik, who was accompanied by union minister of state for oil and natural gas E Punnuswamy and union minister of state for water resources Bijoya Chakraborty, left for Delhi on Tuesday. The minister's visit coincided with the discovery of a new field by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) at Panidihing in Upper Assam on April 7. Naik, who arrived here on Monday, informed Mithi of the Centre's recent decisions on using the cess collected from sale of diesel in infrastructure development, authorising use of LPG as an automotive fuel and adoption of a long-term policy declaration in hydrocarbon sector, the sources said. The minister has also said the Centre would take up a 500 MT bottling plant at Kimin in Papum Pare district to meet LPG demand of the state, they said. (PTI; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 12, 2000)
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Centre, AASU find definition of 'Assamese'
GUWAHATI, April 11: The centre has said that an acceptable definition as to who are the "indigenous people" of Assam have been found at last with a consensus opinion. Speaking to The Northeast Daily here Tuesday, GK Pillai, joint secretary (Northeast) in the ministry of home affairs, said that those people whose names figure in the 1951 National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam and their descendants would be regarded as 'Assamese people.' And in the state's seven districts where the NRC of 1951 is not available, the electoral rolls of 1952 would be taken as the basic document. In the case of these seven districts, those people who had their names enrolled in the 1952 voters' list and their descendants will fall under the category of 'Assamese people.' The search for the definition was necessitated by the demand of the AASU for 100 per cent reservation of Assembly and Lok Sabha seats in the state for the "indigenous people of Assam." The AASU has been making this demand by riding on the provisions of Clause Six of the Assam Accord. The Clause states: "Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people." According to well informed sources, about two-thirds of Assam's 126 Assembly constituencies could be converted into reserved seats for which only those falling under the newly defined category of 'Assamese people' could contest. Of course, bona fide people migrating to Assam after 1951 too would be regarded as citizens of India and residents of Assam and can cast their votes in the reserved seats. The centre has accepted in principle the demand for reservation of seats in the Assam Assembly and the Lok Sabha for the indigenous people. But, things were stuck over the definition of indigenous people. "That problem is over now. We have achieved a major breakthrough," Pillai, who chaired a tripartite meeting with the AASU and the state government here Monday, said. (Special correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 12, 2000)
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No compromise on 100 pc demand : AASU
GUWAHATI, April 12: The AASU will not compromise on its demand for 100 per cent reservation of seats for indigenous people of the state in the Parliament, Legislative Assembly and local bodies under the provision of Clause VI of Assam Accord which grants constitutional safeguard to indigenous people. Addressing a press conference here this morning, the AASU leaders disclosed that in the last round of tripartite sub-committee meeting on implementation Clause VI of Assam Accord, the definition of indigenous people of the state was agreed upon by the AASU, Union government and the state government. It was decided that those whose names are registered in the National Register of Citizens (NRC), 1951 and their descendants would be defined as indigenous Assamese people. The indigenous Assamese defined as such will enjoy constitutional safeguard under the provision of Clause VI of Assam Accord. The AASU also stated that in those districts of the state which do not have NRC, 1951, the voter list for 1952 will be considered as the basis to define Assamese people. The AASU advisor, Samujjal Bhattacharyya informed that present system of reservation of seats for SC, ST and OBC communities would continue, even if, reservation of seats for indigenous people is granted under the provision of the Assam Accord. The AASU president Probin Boro said that citizens originating from other states of the country, who are living in Assam, would continue to enjoy all the rights granted by the Constitution except that they would not be able to contest election in the state provided centre grants 100 per cent reservation to Assamese people. The AASU advisor, Bhattacharrya said that constitutional safeguard under the Clause VI of Assam Accord must be granted as the identity of the indigenous people was today at stake in view of unabated infiltration from Bangladesh. He said the demographic pattern of the state had been changed due to continuous influx forcing the AASU to demand for 100 per cent reservation of seats for indigenous people in Parliament, state Legislature and local bodies. "We cannot tolerate a person of Bangladeshi origin becoming Chief Minister of Assam," he said. The AASU prior to submitting its definition of indigenous Assamese people before the tripartite sub-committee in the last round of meeting on April 10 last at the state Secretariat Conference Hall here, had a series of discussions with anthropologists, social scientists and historians of the state. The tripartite sub-committee agreed to the definition of Assamese people putting to rest all debate over the sensitive issue. Following the tripartite sub-committee meeting the Union government has agreed in principle to reserve seats for indigenous people in the Parliament, state Legislature and local bodies. However, it was yet to accept the demand for 100 per cent reservation as raised by the AASU. The issue will again come up for discussion in the next round of meeting. The AASU leaders informed that they also demanded immediate steps for economic development of indigenous people of Assam as per the provision of Clause VII of the Assam Accord. In the last round of meeting of tripartite sub-committee on April 10 last, the AASU pointed out that perennial flood problem had been the major hurdle in the path of development in the state. They demanded that the flood problem must be declared as national problem by the government of India. The AASU also demanded the Centre to ensure that the oil industry, tea industry, telecom, railway etc procure all items required by them from local entrepreneurs. The AASU president, today lambasted the bureaucrats manning the Assam Accord Implementation department for their indifferent attitude and demanded replacing of these set of officials by another efficient group of officials. The AASU general secretary, Amiya Kumar Bhuyan called upon the people of the state to extend support to its demand for cent per cent reservation of seats in elected bodies for indigenous people. He warned the political leaders who are nurturing political ambition on the basis of their support base among the immigrants, against trying to whip up a fresh controversy about the definition of indigenous Assamese people. The AASU leaders today criticised the all India president of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, Maulana Asad Madani for making sweeping statement in a recent public meeting here that there was not a single Bangladeshi in Assam. The AASU also lambasted him for demanding a white paper from the state government on on-going operation against activities of Pakistani ISI in the state. (Staff reporter; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 13, 2000)
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AASU for arrest of Madani & Muhib, warns radicals
GUWAHATI, April 12 : AASU has demanded immediate arrest of the All India Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind president, Asad Madani, for challenging Assam government's action against ISI activities and accused both Madani and state irrigation minister Abdul Muhib Majumdar of being "anti-national." Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, three top AASU leaders - president Prabin Boro, general secretary Amiya Bhuyan and advisor Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharyya - alleged that several fundamentalist religious leaders have been playing politics with the illegal infiltration issue as well as the activities of the Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI, in Assam. "We shall never tolerate such acts and will be compelled to take strong action against such fundamentalist organisations and leaders if they do not stop working against the state's interest," Boro said. Madani, during his visit to the state last month, had declared that there were no illegal immigrants in Assam. Bhuyan said that the Supreme Court had already ruled that there are more than three lakh illegal infiltrators in Assam and the activities of the ISI have been proved with the arrest of many of its operatives in the state. "Madani's statement is contempt of court as well as anti-national, and he should be arrested immediately," he demanded. Bhattacharyya lambasted several political leaders, including Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and state Congress president Tarun Gogoi, who were present during Madani's address but remained mum. He also criticised irrigation minister Abdul Muhib Majumdar for playing politics on these sensitive issues. The AASU leaders informed that an acceptable definition as to who are the "indigenous people" of Assam has been reached in a meeting between the centre, state and representatives of the AASU. (The Northeast Daily has already reported the matter in its April 11 issue.) The tripartite meeting resolved that those people whose names figure in the 1951 National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam and their descendants would be regarded as 'Assamese people.' In the seven districts, where the NRC of 1951 is not available, the electoral rolls of 1952 would be taken as the basic document. Bhattacharyya said that unabated infiltration from Bangladesh has already changed the demographic pattern of Assam and indigenous people are going to be minorities in their own state. "Therefore, it is urgently necessary to provide constitutional safeguard to the local people of Assam," he said. The AASU leaders also accused a section of the Assam government officials of coming in the way of implementing the Assam Accord. (Staff reporter; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 13, 2000)
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Tiwa Sahitya Sabha session decision on script
GUWAHATI, April 11: A lengthy debate over the script for Tiwa language led the Fourth Tiwa Sahitya Sabha Session at Jagannath Kaliakshetra (at Dighalbaria Baidyabari, about 8 km North of Morigaon) to pass the issue over to a specialists' committee. The three-day session of the Sabha ended on Sunday. The Sahitya Sabha session also resented the state government's failure to keep its assurance for introducing Tiwa language as a subject in 30 LP schools of the Tiwa-dominated areas in the state as per the 1997 Tiwa Accord. The session also elected a 21-member new executive committee of the Sabha with Balairam Senapati as the president, Maheswar Pator as the general secretary and Sarat Pator as the editor of the Sabha journal. The next session of the Sabha will be held at Ulukunchi in Karbi Anglong district. The debate over the issue of the script emanated from the decision of the Tiwa Sahitya Sabha at its 1997 third Barapujia session to accept Roman script for Tiwa language, whereas, most of the Sabha delegates this time were opposed to the idea and were favouring Assamese script for the language, said some of the delegates. However, the predicament faced by the supporters of the Assamese script was that the majority of the outgoing executive committee members of the Sabha were supporters of the Roman script. The debate over the script lasted for two days of the session with majority of the about 350 delegates sticking to their demand for reviewing the 1997 Sabha decision on the issue, the delegates said. (Staff reporter; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 13, 2000)
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2 Bangla nationals die in BSF-BDR clash
AGARTALA, April 15: In a fierce encounter between BSF and Bangladesh Rifles at Rajnagar in South Tripura district, at least two Bangladeshi civilians were killed and three Indian citizens were injured. The incident took place around 10 am on Saturday morning. It is reported that the BDR personnel resorted to unprovoked firing at BSF jawans when the latter were chasing some Bangladeshi smugglers. The BSF retaliated heavily resulting in a fierce gun battle. The identity of the two Bangladesh nationals shot dead by the BSF has not been ascertained yet. However, police said it is suspected that both of them were smugglers. One of the bodies was recovered from Indians side. The Indian citizens injured in the encounter are villagers of the bordering areas who were hit by flying bullets in the crossfire. Tension prevails at Rajnagar and additional BSF teams were sent to the area and vigil along the border was intensified to avert any backlash from highly organised smugglers across the border. (Correspondent; The Assam Tribune; Guwahati; April 16, 2000)
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