2011

March  - 17

News Highlights

Police resorts to firing in Aalo, 144 Cr PC declared

AAPSU demands ouster of DC

ITANAGAR, Mar 16: Police had to resort to firing after supporters of All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union General Secy Tujum Poyom reportedly attacked the chamber of Deputy Commissioner and damaged his official car. Forty rounds were fired in air to disperse the crowd that had gathered following the arrest and subsequent release of the student leader.

144 Cr Pc has been invoked in Aalo town, the headquarters of West Siang to contain the situation.

Poyom was taken into custody for forcefully trying to reenter the guest house of Aalo from where he was evicted yesterday.

The Administration states that Poyom was compelled to be evicted from for his unruly behavior and creating disturbances to govt offices in the peak of its working month. Students says district administration led by DC Amzad Tak had resorted to such tactics because Poyom had resorted to RTI Act to dig out facts relating to the district.

Meanwhile, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union strongly defending its General Secretary Tujum Poyom has demanded the ouster of West Siang Deputy Commissioner Amjad Tak from the district for forcefully evicting Poyom from the Circuit House.

AAPSU president Takam Tatung in a press communiqué today said the DC’s act was childish, immature and unbecoming of an IAS officer.

“The over-enthusiastic DC has not only tarnished the hard earned image of our GS but instead has challenged the sanctity of the apex students’ body of the State. We will not tolerate such gimmicks.”

Defending the General Secretary, Tatung claimed that Tujum’s stay in the Circuit House is not an issue but the over-bearing district administration made issue out of it in order to divert the main issue.

He said that administration’s main contention is on filing of RTIs by Tujum and alleged that the DC worked on behest of some vested party for some benefits.

“Is filing RTI a crime? Is it crime to stay in a Circuit House?” he questioned.

On Tuesday, the district administration claimed that Poyom had occupied the Circuit House unauthorized for the last 21 days and filed RTI at DC office to get contractual benefits from different departments.

Reacting sharply to firing by the security personals this afternoon, AAPSU questioned the role of SP incharge who reportedly gave order for firing. AAPSU claimed that around 40 rounds of bullets were fired to disperse the protestors who demanded early bail out of Tujum.

AAPSU has demanded to the State government to constitute an enquiry committee to unearth the truth.

Meanwhile, the Galo Students Union General Secretary Pakmik Taipodia has alleged that DC himself is the contractor of DC office building construction. While condemning the act of DC, he said that Mopin, the main festival of Galo community is round the corner but the DC has provoked such unnecessary incident and thus demean the festivity spirit. West Siang District Student’s Union (WSDSU) and the Kargu Kardi Students’ Union (KKSU) in a joint press statement said that during his stay in Aalo, Poyom  was engaged in solving the issue of boundary demarcation of the Higher Secondary School Aalo and was there to attend as chief guest in the advance Mopin celebration of the Donyi Polo Govt. College Kamki and SFS College Aalo.

It questioned the statement of the district administration in which it had stated that student leader was indulged in filing of RTI. Is he reluctant to disclose any fact regarding the works undertaken by the District Administration, the unions asked.  

The union said that the DC was noncooperative in providing information when asked for it through the RTI Act. while accusing him of misusing his govt. machinery to curtail some ones very right.

Poyom’s stay in the circuit house was never a problem for him until he filed for information under the RTI Act at the DC office, the Unions said.

It appealed  the Chief Secretary of the state to initiate necessary against the Tak while demanding that he apologize for his misbehavior.  

 

Poma, Rillo and Jote battles Mithun deaths as epidemic break out

Staff Reporter

ITANAGAR Mar 16: Villagers of Poma, Rillo and Jote is battling to save their domestic animals from epidemic which has gripped the area. Domestic animals like cow, goat, and chicken have been dying because of epidemic. However it is death of Mithun, the animal dear to villagers, which is bothering the residents of Poma, Rillo and Jote village.  Large numbers of Mithun have died in the last few days because of this epidemic. In fact forest in and around these villages are filled with caracas of Mithun and it has become impossible to wander around the area because of filthy smell. Veterinary officials visited Poma village and provided medicine but it has not able to stop Mithun from dying because of the epidemic. Many of them have even tried traditional method but nothing has helped.

Sudden sprout in death of Mithun is forcing many villagers to sell them at throw away price.

“Some villagers have sold Mithun even for throwaway price of 2 thousand. This is the most serious epidemic to have struck over village. We urge government especially veterinary department to help us,” told one villager of Poma.

He further added, “For villagers like us loss of Mithun is hard to bear. We can’t afford   to buy new one. We urge government to compensate us for this loss.”

 

Indigenous Theatre Festival and Workshop of NE India

RONO HILLS, Mar 16: Rajiv Gandhi University is organizing a Mega Event of Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) -- “the IGNCA Indigenous Theatre Festival and Workshop of NE India” on March 19 in the University Auditorium.

The programme will focus on the Folk and Traditional Theatrical Art forms of the North East India with special showcase of Dhuliya-Bhaoria (Devi Durga) and Loi-Kaba (Return from Exile) from Assam and Manipur respectively.

There will be 60 members in the teams including artistes, officials and documentation technicians. Padma Shri Awardee Mamang Dai will be the Chief Guest at the Inaugural Function and Professor Lokendra Arambam, Artistic Director of IGNCA Festival will highlight the significance of the Festival.

 

Dolo rubbishes allegations

ITANAGAR, Mar 16:  Former Deputy Chief Minister Kameng Dolo has denied the allegations of misappropriation of fund sanctioned under the Chayang Tajo constituency and diversion of fund to other places like Seijosa, Bameng and Kenewa during his  tenure.

Dolo, in a statement today said that some unidentified persons of  Chayang Tajo constituency are trying to misguide the masses, particularly the people of East Kameng district by leveling such fabricated and fictitious allegations in order to tarnish his political image.  

Had the funds been diverted and misappropriated, it could be easily traced out through RTI, Dolo said adding that instead of heralding such baseless allegations, the persons in question could demand for fact finding committee to ascertain the truth.

 

Itanagar Expo draws large

number of visitors

ITANAGAR, Mar 16: Large number of the visitors and buyers  thronged  to the ongoing Tata Motors International Expo 2011 at Nyokum Lapang ground today. The Expo was formally inaugurated on Feb 13 last. Apart from corporate giants like Aircel, Dyna Roof, Tata Motors, trade agencies from  various foreign countries like Thailand, Kenya, Pakistan are participating in the Expo.  

The expo has proved to be best platform for the consumers to bargain properly for their choicest products. Moreover the Aircel is providing free mobile connection to the people during the Expo.  Artisans from the department of handicrafts  played a key role with their presence during the Expo. A food festival is being organized under the same venue to add flavor to the trade fair.

The International Expo-11envisages to be the platform to showcase immense potentials  that  the state capital and other parts of the  Arunachal Pradesh possess.

The main objective of the Expo is to foster relations in regard of trade and commerce, especially with other countries to promote business potentials of the state. The expo will continue till March 24.

 

RTI and Arunachalees

Taba Ajum

ITANAGAR, Mar 16: While attending recently concluded 3rd national convention on RTI at Shillong, this journalist had rare opportunity to know how people from rest of country are reaping benefit of this law to fight against corruption. Educated, un-educated, youth, old men and women everybody seems to have made best use of RTI to fight for justice.

Sushila, an uneducated woman in her mid 60s and resident of Rajasthan shared how RTI had changed her life. “I am uneducated but that has not stopped me from using RTI to get information about various schemes meant for villagers like us. For people like us RTI is the best weapon to seek some sort of justice against corruption.”

Likewise there were many inspiring stories shared which shows how RTI has become biggest weapon to fight corrupt system of India. Listening to those success stories, suddenly I was wondering why RTI Act have not been of much success in Arunachal Pradesh.

Though Arunachalee citizens are one of the most active users of RTI, success stories are very few in numbers.

In Arunachal these days the most common method to threaten any officers if he/she do not dance to the tune of any individual or organization is to file RTI against the officer. “Tum Jyada acting mat karo. Tumhara against RTI file karega and media main publish kar dega,” this is the most used threatening sentence of Arunachal.

Like every other developmental schemes and projects, even RTI has become the most abused and misused law in Arunachal. People use RTI either to settle personal scores or to blackmail officers and politicians. Often in various media houses, we receive RTI copy and press release alleging corruption by some officers or politicians. Excitedly media houses also publish these releases, thinking that people of Arunachal care for state and are fighting against corrupt system.

But after first press release suddenly those organizations or individual who filed RTI vanishes and never show their face again.

Poor media persons later get to know that “deal” has been done!

In fact along with RTI, media is also misused by people of Arunachal. In the midst of all this, still there are some organizations that have effectively used RTI to fight against corruption in the state.

Meanwhile people of Arunachal have to deal with problem of paying rupees 10 per copy for RTI application as state information commission had increased the fees last year.

 

Capacity building prog. on eco-tourism begins

Mossang urges women to shoulder responsibility

Staff Reporter

ITANAGAR, Mar 16: The   two-day capacity building training programme  on rural tourism, eco-tourism and home stay in Arunachal Pradesh began at  Conference hall of directorate of tourism here today.  The representatives of women SHGs, PRIs, NGOs and educated unemployed  women from Upper Siang, Papum Pare, East Kameng, Upper  Subansiri, Lohit, Changlang and Lower Subansiri and Tawang district are participating in the 1st phase of training programme being organized by the tourism department under gender budgeting.

In her inaugural address of the programme as chief guest, Arunachal Pradesh State Women Commission chairperson Komoli Mossang called upon the women folk to shoulder responsibility at par with their male counterpart for all round development of the society. Advocating the need  for gender budgeting  to bring the women in forefront, Mossang said  that the international agencies and Govt of India  have  realized the contributions of the women in nation building and, therefore, formulated various policies to ensure  mass participation of women in Govt policy making.

Lauding the tourism department for organizing such progamme on gender budgeting, more particularly for women SHGs,  the SCW chairpersons also stressed the need of formation of more SHGs to enhance financial position of the women section.

She further said that such training programme on eco tourism and home stay involving women is a bold steps to boost tourism sector in the state.

Earlier, tourism director A K Singh  in his welcome address said his department is putting all efforts  to create networks of rural tourism involving local people.

Pointing out the vast tourism potentials of the state, Singh said   the 1st phase of capacity building programme  involving women is an step towards promoting eco tourism and rural tourism in Arunachal. The remaining district will be covered under the  2nd  phase of capacity training programme, he said.

During  the technical session, Tourism assistant director, HRD, Bengia Manna Sonam gave a detailed overview of eco tourism, rural tourism and home stay.

Resource persons from SIRD, tourism department and various other Govt agencies, besides tour operators are imparting the training to the participants.

 

DASU exempts passenger vehicles from eco-blockade

ITANAGAR, Mar 16: The Dibang Adi Students’ Union today said that it has exempted passengers vehicles from the purview of the economic blockade which was launched on March 13.

The ire of protesters in the form of blockade is directed over detaining of three individuals and seizure of their guns  who were reportedly caught by local villagers of Chidu Kebali on Friday when they were found hunting illegally inside the community forest area.

The union said that it has already submitted its demand to the Dibang Valley DC demanding immediate convening of meeting involving the  Adis, Idus and Govt representatives in order to resolve all issues.

 

DNGC gets first place

ITANAGAR, Mar 16: An Inter-College Debate Competition was organized at Rajiv Gandhi University on March 14 on the topic entitled “Eco-Tourism in Arunachal Pradesh: Prosperity.”

Participants from affiliated colleges of Rajiv Gandhi University took part in the debate.

Lalthlampuia of Dera Natung Govt College, Itanagar stood in first place. Wokim Mungray of J. N. College, Pasighat and Jyoti Panka of Hills College of Teacher Education, Naharlagun bagged second and third place respectively.

Prof. Tamo Mibang, Vice-Chancellor, Rajiv Gandhi University distributed the prizes.

Prof. P. K. Panigrahi acted as the speaker while Prof. N. Nagaraju, Prof. R. M. Pant and Dr. Ashan Riddi were the judges in the Competition.

 

East Siang sounds alerts

PASIGHAT, Mar 16: Superintendent of Police, Pasighat R Padu informed that the life convict 54 years old Tadon Tatik S/O. Takar Tatik, of Mirbuk village, Pasighat, has been released prematurely from District Jail, North Lakhimpur, (Assam), in compliance with the order of High Court. However, after pursuing the matter by the learned Additional Advocate General, the High court has passed the direction to re-arrest Tadon Tatik (life convict) on November16 last.

But despite efforts to re-arrest the convict, he is evading police arrest.

SP appealed the citizens to share information to ensure re-arrest of life convict Tatik and intimate Pasighat police immediately of his whereabouts. DIPRO

 

Contractor association resents

ITANAGAR, Mar 16: Contractor Association, Upper Siang District President Mida Boko expressing displeasure over lack of allotment of contract work to district level contractors said that many contractors in district level are being deprived of works as most of the tenders were not called in district headquarters, which led to low participation of district level contractors.

He appealed the government to streamline the award of contract work in district level so that the district level contractor would avail the opportunity.

He further appreciating the present government for bringing various developmental activities expressed the hope that the Chief Minister will look into the contractors grievances and continue its noble activities for the welfare of people of the state.

 

Minu first Arunachalee to get master’s degree in physical Edn.

ITANAGR, Mar 16: Tadang Minu became the first Arunachalee to get Master’s Degree in Physical Education.

Tadang completed her post graduation in the discipline from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab.

She is also the first lady from Arunachal Pradesh to get a diploma in Boxing from Netaji  Subhas National Institute of Sports,  Kolkata.  

She did her graduation from D.N.G.College.

She represented the state many a times at national level boxing championship.

She also represented her university in All India Inter-varsity Meet in Kayaking, Yachting and River Rafting for three consecutive years and won a Silver medal in Yachting held in Nanital and a Bronze in Kayaking held in Jammu & Kashmir.

She is presently working as a Physical Trainer in Lakhsmi  Bai National Institute of Physical Education North East Regional Center , Guwahati.

Meanwhile, Minu expressed her willingness to serve her state in near future.

 

Family planning campaign

ITANAGAR, Mar 16: A family planning campaign under the aegies of NRHM was organised from March 10-15 at Diyun community health centre, Changlang District.

A total number of 234 operations of Tubectomy were successfully conducted by Dr.Dilip Dutta, Gynaecologist CHC Ruksin and Dr Komlo Tayeng,Anaethesist General hospital Pasighat along with their team.

The camp was successfully organised by the cooperation and active participation of DMO Dr.Pramathesh De, DRCHO Dr. P Dutta and Dr.S.K Dey M.O. i/c Diyun. Parliamentary Secretary C.C Singpho distributed Hearing aids and 3 wheel Chairs to the Physically challenged people.

Alongside the tubectomy operations, family welfare advocacy and awareness campaigns were also organised.

 

ANYA interim committee

ITANAGAR, Mar 16: An interim committee of All Nyishi Youth Association (ANYA) has been constituted in a meeting here today with Achung Yumlam  as president for six month.

The formation of the committee was necessitated following in-fighting between two groups of ANYA, which affected and halted the welfare activities of the Association, according to a release.

The meeting further cautioned both the groups, one led by Nabam Tarin and another by Taring Mama, to restrain from claiming themselves as presidents of the  ANYA.

The meeting was attended by Nyishi youths of five Nyishi dominated districts.

News Impact

Ban piracy: Forum

ITANAGAR: Expressing concern over the growing menace of piracy in entertainment media, the Arunachal Artiste Forum has appealed the Chief Secretary to ban sale of duplicate cassette and CDs of songs and movies.

Pirated cassettes which has flooded the market has badly affected the artiste community of the state, the Forum said  and also urged upon the CS to ban unauthorized downloading of audio-visual materials.

Downloading of movies or entertainment items or copying of such things are direct violation of Copy Right Act, the Forum said  and has given a month’s time to completely ban the piracy.

 

Mopin at Ziro

Ziro:  Adi and Galo communities residing in Lower Subansiri would celebrate the Mopin Festival-2011 in a befitting manner.

The meeting constituted a seven member new Mopin-Solung Festival Celebration Committee(MSFCC) with Er.Gumdo Doji, SE(E) as President and Dagi Angu, SCO, as General Secretary respectively.

The meeting also decided to invite Nyibu (priest) from Aalo for preparation of Mopin Alter and chanting of Hymns.

 

Road closed

ITANAGAR: The stretch of road from Papu Nallah to Central Jail, Jully would remain closed for vehicular movement due to extensive earth cutting work for widening the road, according to a departmental release.

 

Cultural unity show

ITANAGAR, Mar 16:  Cultural troupes from songs and drama division of union ministry of human resource, Guwahati branch will perform an Indian Cultural Unity show at  Vivekananda hall here on March 17 evening.

 

Doji shines

ITANAGAR, Mar 16: Nyanu Doji, Mechanical Engineering student of SSBT College of Engineering and Technology, Jalgaon, Maharashtra has been adjudged as the first prize winner for the project exhibition in National Level Technical Festival “Tultechfest 2011” held at Tuljapur, Maharashtra recently.

 

Departmental enquiry sought

ITANAGAR, Mar 16: All Bogum Bokang Students Union demanded authority concerned to initiate departmental inquiry to unearth the truth behind alleged procurement of fake documents by WRD EE Yingkiong. The union in a release said that it would not tolerate any officer serving without valid documents in the district.

 

State level essay

ITANAGAR, Mar 16: Arunachal Pradesh Information Commission after evaluation of answer scripts of district level winners of state level essay competition on RTI and Good Governance in Arunachal Pradesh has adjudged Niama Jangju, class X students of JNV School, Nafra as 1st position winner of the competition along with Kaling Jamoh,Class XII students of IGJGHSS, Pasighat and Byabang Dobur class VII student of Holy Child Academy School, Yupia as 2 prize winners and Lucky Singh, class X students of Govt HSS Changlang as 3rd prize winner.

 

Court admits Writ petition

ITANAGAR, Mar 16: The writ petition filed by Nyapain Sangram and Phassang Development Vigilance Committee (NSPDVGC) against mis utilization of SPA fund of 2009-10 of as many as 20 various MIP schemes amounting to Rs 3 crore at Nyapin-Sangram has been admitted by Itanagar Bench of Gauhati High Court, informed NSPDVGC in a release.

The petition was filed after a series of meeting were held by the panchayat leaders and public of the area and complaint lodged with the chief secretary about the mis utilization of fund.

The panchayat leaders and the committee alleged that no scheme has been implemented in any village although 20 numbers of MIP schemes were shown in various villages.

The committee urged the state government to stop further allotment of SPA fund of the year 2010-11 to Nyapin constituency to avoid misuse of Govt. fund.

 

IMWA prohibits

ITANAGAR, Mar 16: Itanagar Market Welfare Association (IMWA) has strictly prohibited slaughtering of domestic animals at roadside and in front of shops.

IMWA, while seeking cooperation of all meat sellers in this regard, cautioned that violators would be  dealt  sternly.

 

Contractor’s demands

ITANAGAR, Mar 16: All Arunachal Registered Contractor Association (AARCA) appealed to the State Government to make a proper guidelines so that contractors of every category could get  works.

“This could be possible only if the works are categorized and packaged as per the classification of the contractors,” AARCA said in a release.

A team of AARCA which conducted a whirlwind tour of various districts also claimed to have found various anomalies and political interferences in awarding contract works, especially in the districts of Siang valley. Works are being awarded to the relatives of influential political leaders without maintaining proper tender notices (NIS), AARCA alleged.

NIT must be published in reputed newspapers against all such works whose cost exceeds Rs.50,000, AARCA said.

While demanding all the work departments to comply with tender procedures in letter and spirit, AARCA appealed to the Government to publish a white paper on the performances of all firms in the last five years to identify the deserving contractors.

 

Union appeal

ITANAGAR, Mar 16: Arunachal Below Poverty Peoples’ Union (ABPPU) in a letter to Chief Minister appealed to the Chief Minister to provide free Hepatitis-B vaccine in the state.

It further said that the Union in collaboration with Care North East Foundation will organise massive awareness campaign on Hepatitis-B in all the districts of the state which will be kickoff from Khonsa on April 15. It appealed to the government to provide free Hepatitis-B vaccine to the organizer as their assistance to the needy people.

 

Mopin at BHU

Itanagar, Mar 16: The Galo students studying in Banaras Hindu University, varanasi, Uttar Pradesh celebrated Mopin on March 13.

The celebration began with 'Popir 'and smearing of rice powder. All the Students belonging to Arunachal Pradesh were present and took equal interest in making the event a success.

The programme was followed by narration of Historical background and origin of Mopin by Jumge Lollen, student of LL.B final year.

Kike Loya, LL.B (final year) was selected as MR. Mopin and Libi Karbak, MA (English) was crowned as MISS Mopin.

Rice pudding was also cooked and served despite the difficulties to prepare such thing in a far off place.

No liqour were served in order to give a message to all in general that festivals are meant for strengthening brotherhood and spreading fraternity and not to get drunk.

Ijum Riram and Gumto Kato of Law faculty were the priest for the day.

Gei Noshi and Babu Lingu were the President and General Secretary of Mopin Celebration Committee respectively.

 

Lok Adalat held at Tawang

TAWANG, Mar 16: Out of six numbers of compoundable cases listed for the Lok Adalat, four cases were amicably disposed of today at the Lok Adalat held at Tawang.  

The The District Legal Service Authority, Tawang district organized the day long programme. While initiating the proceedings of Lok Adalat, the DC-cum-Chairman, District Legal Services Authority explained to the litigants about the concepts of alternative dispute resolution system in general and the objectives of Lok Adalats in particular for speedy and expeditious justice to common citizens.

 

CORRECTION

In a news item relating to AAPSU GS in our yesterday’s edition, the  ‘Galo Welfare Society’ was wrongly mentioned in place of ‘Galo Students Union’. The error is deeply regretted.

Where are headed to?

Dear Editor,

We are joining our fellow North-eastern states in the list of "insurgent affected states".

Where do you see our state in near future? I see our state failing and our people fighting on their own. I see us, hiding inside our house, locked from outside, so that no one knows that we are home. So that we may keep our family away from the corruption wave and to protect them from the violence on the streets.

Few months back, everyone was talking and discussing about the infamous PDS scam.

Where is it now? Where are the concerned citizens? I think, they are somewhere around, standing in a queue, infront of fair price shop just to know that there’s no more grains in the shop.

What are our Changlang and Tirap brothers and sisters doing in their homes right now? They may be hiding somewhere or few courageous people may be out to feed their family but are aware that they must return home before 4. And what about our CM and other big brothers? I guess they are just warming their couch somewhere around Itanagar. Who cares.

An Officer, accused of corruption, giving guest appearance at some programme. An apex student union GS arguing with district authority over some room occupying issue or another GS giving an ultimatum and threatening Govt. "If our demand is not met, we will blame authority if any law and order problem breaks out."

What do you expect from our present Govt?

And amidst all these issues, what's the future of our students? Arunachal is about everything, where you will find a well established school with extra large campuses. On the other hand a degree college lacking in all the facilities and campus, leave out the infrastructure.

Believe me, if there was a proper investigation of all the colleges around Arunachal, MHRD and other high authorities will shut almost all the colleges.

Moreover, who will teach in govt schools if they don't give payments regularly? Imagine how an SSA teacher or an IT-Instructor is surviving at some outskirt and remote village and they haven't received their payments for months. They themselves don't remember how many months it has been?

A friend of mine, working as an IT-Instructor at some Govt. school, tells me that he himself has forgotten how many months it has been since he received his last payment. Imagine the future of IT- sector in our state.

Last but never the least, we are Arunachali and we love our state.

Yours,

N L Richo,

NIT Patna (on email)

 

 

Restore power supply

Dear Editor,

I on behalf of Bana area would like to draw the kind attention of District Administration and the concerned department of East Kameng District that since November 2010, the whole Bana area is reeling under complete darkness following sudden breakdown of lone transformer.

The damaged transformer is laying at somewhere garage in Tezpur (Assam) for repair since last January.

Due to power failure in the Bana area the people particularly the students preparing for their home exams due next month are facing numerous hardships and the lone BSNL tower is unable to function due non-availability of electricity.

Further, recently due to non-availability of electricity few houses were burnt into ashes at Yangsey village because of use of candles.          Therefore, I on behalf of Bana Area Development Committee urged upon the authority concerned and MLA 11-West Seppa to immediately resolve the problems by installing new transformer at the earliest for greater interest of the people of Bana area.            

Yours,

Radu Degio

Chairman, Bana Area

Development Committee

 

 

Learning from RTI convention

Dear Editor,

It was a wonderful experience to attend the 3rd National RTI Convention at Shillong, once known as the ‘Scotland of the East’ by the British. The three day convention was a conglomeration of activists comprising of the young and old, villagers and city dwellers, semiliterate and professionally qualified and even the physically challenged ones from across the country. It was a privilege to be with the galaxy of luminaries belonging to social activism, judiciary, human rights, media.

The chief guest of the convention, the governor of Meghalaya, RS Mooshahary enthralled the activists with his inspiring speech. He recalled that, he’d fought with gun for the society during his stint in the IPS. He exhorted us to fight with pen and prove that pen is mightier than sword. While urging us to make use of RTI to fight corruption, he added that correct information and proper use of information is power. We also interacted with eminent personalities like the ex-chief justice of India J.S. Verma, former chief election commissioner of India J.M. Lyndoh, Magsaysay Award winning RTI activist Aruna Roy, Shekhar Singh and many others.

What fascinated me is that people in the rest of the country are working with missionary zeal to bring transparency in governance by invoking the RTI, which is still a far cry in our state. When the matter of attacks on activists was raised, the upright Mr. Lyndoh stressed that, at least ten RTIs must be filed by ten different people on one subject, so that, the attackers will have to take extra pain of attacking those ten people. Eventually they’ll refrain from committing the crime. The experience of Dr. Muzaffar Bhatt, an activist from Jammu & Kashmir was heart touching. Though he was proud of the Indian constitution he was aggrieved with the lack of transparency in the Indian democracy. Unlike his brethrens of the valley, who adopted the gun culture, he wielded the pen. He took recourse to RTI to unravel the mystery behind the 5000 missing youths of his state, withstanding physical attacks and even a cooked-up criminal cases leading to his arrest. But he is not faltered. He has faith in the RTI act.

In the workshop on RTI and environment, we expressed our concern over the upcoming mega dams envisaged by the government. The expert, a former member of the Environmental Appraisal Committee in the Ministry of Environment & Forest revealed that Environmental Impact Assessment (EIAs) are often fraudulently conducted. So he advised us to cross-check the EIA physically to detect whether any prescribed norms have been flouted. If found so, knock the door of the court for justice. The RTI activist fraternity also advocated for the release of the eminent human rights activist Dr. Binayak Sen, who is implicated in a sedition case. We also expressed our solidarity with the iron lady Sharmila, who’d completed her ten years of hunger strike demanding the repeal of Armed Force Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Manipur.

After attending the convention, I am optimistic that the RTI Act is poised to get stronger in the days to come. More and more activists are going to join the movement to make a change in the society. Last, but not the least, the Meghalaya Right to Information movement deserves a pat on their shoulder for organizing the convention which was outstanding on all fronts. Their endeavour to host this mega event will be remembered in the days to come by all, including fourteen of my friends from Lohit & Anjaw Districts. Meanwhile the thunderous slogan of “Challenge corruption, reclaim democracy” and “hum ladenge, hum jitenge” still echoes in my ears.

Yours,

Suraj Tayang,

Tezu, (on email)

 

 

144 Cr PC, an easy tool

Dear Editor,

I would like the authorities of Lower Dibang Valley to know that their parody as administrators is wretched. For whenever the situation in Roing stirs up a little, 144 Cr PC is enforced on the people in the town, leaving out the main centers of criminal activities viz. the villages where the trouble is brewing along the highway down to the check gate.

As has been the case in past bitter experiences community peace has been held at ransom by, and caused by such notorious people who've violated community or social law. And instead of punishing these criminals, the authorities have time and again let them walk away.

Now, the communal peace is a fragile matter that can only be safely maintained if there is no occurrence of trespassing or violations of community law. The community organisations should spare some time emphasizing this as peace is the sole necessity for a healthy atmosphere of coexisting.

Yours,

Imungu Ezelie,

(on email)

 

 

Declare results

Dear Editor,

Delay in declaring the results of the written test examination for Stenographer grade - III which was conducted under the Public Works Department during 2010 is irksome.

I am not happy with the delay in results declaration as less than 150 candidates appeared the examination.  Fair justice to the candidates is possible only with early declaration of the results.

Yours’

Kaluk Nomuk

Naharlagun

 

 

An Act that has outlived its political purpose

Dear Editor,

The Arunachal Pra-desh Freedom of Religion Act is in force in Arunachal Pradesh from the year 1978. In the years following its enactment, much change has taken place in Arunachal Pradesh especially in the matter of adhering to or professing of religions. Hence the definition given to ‘indigenous faith’ in the above mentioned Act needs to be re-examined and amended.

In the Act under discussion Art 2,  section c defines “indigenous faith” thus:  

“indigenous faith means such religions, beliefs and practices including rites, rituals, sanctioned, approved, performed by the indigenous communities of Arunachal Pradesh from the time these communities have been known and includes Buddhism as prevalent among Monpas, Menbas, Sherdukpens, Khambas, Khamtis and Singphos, Vaishnavism as practiced by Noctes, Akas, and Nature worships including worships of Donyi-Polo, as prevalent among the other indigenous communities of Arunachal Pradesh.

This definition includes among “indigenous faith” such religions as Budhism and Vaishnavism that came into Arunachal Pradesh from outside at various periods in history.  History is not static. It moves on. Change affects all areas of life including religious practices.   New religions and religious practices have been adopted by indigenous people. The entry of Budhism and Vaishnavism into Arunachal Pradesh at different periods in history is an example of how this happened in the past. Today it is estimated that more than 40% of the indigenous people of Arunachal Pradesh are practicing Christianity. This matter can no more be ignored or reverted. The religious faith and practices of more than 40% indigenous citizens of a State can no more be classified as “non-indigenous”.  Christianity is now as indigenous as Budhism or Vaishnavism mentioned in the Act; the only difference being that each of them was accepted by the indigenous people at different periods in history.  The indigenous people of today, have as much right as our ancestors to choose our own religion.  The choice of Christianity by an indigenous person today is as legitimate as the choice of Budhism or Vaishnavism by ancestor a few centuries ago. Therefore, if Christianity is not included in the list of “indigenous faith”, then more than 40% of the state’s population faces an anomalous situation in which they are classified as practitioners of an “alien faith” and looked upon with suspicion.  The Arunachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act 1978 can then become a powerful tool in the hands of unscrupulous law enforcers to target more than 40% of the State’s population and persecute them for the routine practice of their religious beliefs. A democratic state cannot allow such a law to hang like a Damocles sword over the heads of almost half of its population.

Hence, it is my opinion that a detailed discussion should be taken up in the present Legislative Assembly on the matter of amending the definition of indigenous faith.

Let me approach the question from another angle. When we use the expression “indigenous faith”, the question that arises in my mind is: What is the term ‘indigenous’ referring to? Does it refer to the ‘theological content’ of a religion or to the identity of the person who professes the religion? From the fact that the Act names Budhism and Vaishnavism among “indigenous faiths’, it is obvious that the expression ‘indigenous’ does not refer to the ‘theological content’ of the religion because obviously the ‘theological content’ of both Budhism and Vaishnavism are from outside Arunachal. Hence the term “indigenous’ must refer to the identity of the person professing a religion. When a large number of indigenous persons profess a religion, that religion also becomes an indigenous faith. Now more than 40% of the indigenous people of Arunachal Pradesh are professing Christianity. There is no need to discuss about the ‘theological content’ of Christianity. It is not from Arunachal but it is Asian or more precisely from the present State of Israel. But Christianity reached India immediately after the death and resurrection of Jesus. So for the past two thousand years it has been indigenous to India with a ‘theological content’ that is firmly rooted in Asian soil. So Christianity is as legitimately Indian as Budhism or Vaishnavism.

I submit that the expression “indigenous faith” in the Arunachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act 1978 be amended to include Christianity. If this amendment is not legitimate then I submit that it must be amended to exclude Budhism and Vaishnavism from it as those religions also stand vis-à-vis  Arunachal Pradesh on the same footing as Christianity.  

Do I need to suggest that the best option before an enlightened Government would be to repeal altogether that obscurantist Act that is outliving its political purpose.

Yours,

Wangpon Sabin

Ex-President,

Tutsa Baptist Church Council

 

 

 

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