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September 30

Theravada Buddhists celebrate

Madhu Purnima

ITANAGAR, Sep 29: The Theravada Buddhist across the state celebrated Sitang Chale popularly known as Madhu Purnima or Honey Offering Festival with great pomp and gaiety on Monday.

The Honey Offering Festival is a Theravada Buddhist religious ceremony that commemorates the service and sustenance provided by animals to the Buddha during his 10th rains retreat at Parileyya Forest.

According to legend, during his retreat, a monkey brought a honeycomb for the Buddha to eat, while an elephant brought fruit and protected the Buddha from wild animals. When the Buddha accepted the gift of the honeycomb, the monkey, overjoyed, began to leap from tree to tree, but suffered a deadly fall in his reckless jubilation. Because of his generous gift, however, the monkey was immediately reborn in the Heaven of the Thirty-Three (Pali: Tavatimsa), the second of the six heavens in the Desire Realm. Since these events are believed to have taken place on the day of the full moon, the occasion has come to be commemorated as Madhu Purnima, or “honey full moon.”  The festival is observed on the full moon of the 10th lunar month, mostly by Theravada Buddhists of Namsai and Changlang districts.  

The Theravada Buddhist residing in Capital Complex observed the day with full devotion and enthusiasm. The lay practitioners pledged to observe the five precepts—to refrain from taking life, stealing, sexual activity, lying, and intoxicants—and many also vowed to observe the eight precepts during the ceremony.

The ceremony was also marked by a long period of chanting, paying homage to the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha, followed by offerings of food, flowers, incense, lamps and listening to the Dhamma talk from Scholar Kesang Aryadhamma. The lay devotees also shared the accumulated merit with friends, relatives, and all sentient beings.

 

CLP endorses all-party decision

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: The Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in its meeting held under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister and CLP leader Nabam Tuki today unanimously endorsed the decisions taken by the All Party meeting held on Sept 28 with regard to filing of a review petition in the wake of the Supreme Court judgment of September 17 for granting of citizenship to Chakmas and Hajongs and their permanent settlement in Arunachal Pradesh.

 

DC issues prohibitory order

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: In view of damages caused by the domestic animals/cattle and to prevent unhealthy and unhygienic atmosphere, the Lohit Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Magistrate has issued an executive order prohibiting free loitering of domestic animals like pigs, cows, goats and such other domestic animals within Tezu township areas.

The order further directed all the owners to keep their domestic animals within fenced areas etc. with immediate effect, failing which such animals shall be captured and disposed off through public auctions by the District Administration. (DIPRO)

 

Seminar on drugs abuse

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: The department of sociology, Don Bosco College, Jollang conducted its annual department seminar on the topic “Drug abuse among the students of Arunachal Pradesh”.

The resource person for the seminar was Patey Tayum, Chairman of Arunachal Civil Society (NGO). He emphasised on the role of family and individual on curbing the drug menace from society.

Principal of the college Dr. Fr. R.K. Nicholas Guangdiat suggested that drug abuse can be fought and overcome only if we work together as a unit and abstain and prevent oneself from the habit. A small video titled “culture of death” was shown to highlight on how popular culture is slowly overshadowing the values and morals that society has instilled upon each and every one of us.

The seminar discussed the situation of drug abuse in Arunachal Pradesh, the factors which lead the youngsters towards drug abuse and the impact of drug abuse on academic performance.

 

Maintain Bahadur Hill Reserve Forest: Society

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: The land owners of 160 ha Bahadur Hill Reserve Forest in West Sinag district under the banner of Bahadur Hill Development Society has asked for maintaining the forest reserve area and reacquiring the land occupied by the public within its jurisdiction.

In its memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister, expressing resentment over the occupying of land within the reserve forest by various individuals, it said that if the government is unable to maintain the reserve forest area, the land may be returned back to them.

If the government fails to act to our demand, then the cost of the land be compensated to us, it further added.

 

Anti Corruption Sena to make spot verification of State, CSS works

ITANAGAR, Sep 29: Papum Pare district unit of Anti-Corruption Sena has stated of conducting spot verification/inspection of all the completed as well as on-going State and Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSSs) under various departments in Papum Pare district.

The district unit of Anti-Corruption Sena has sought cooperation from all the officials, contractors and general public during the team’s inspection and verification for better implementation of the schemes.

The state unit of Anti-Corruption Sena in an order has directed its district and block units to make spot verification and vigilance of all the completed and ongoing central and state sponsored schemes in various departments in Arunachal Pradesh and submit the findings in October.

 

DWU distributes items to workers

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: Under the Labour Welfare Scheme of the Arunachal Pradesh Building & Other Construction Worker’s Welfare Board (APBOCWWB) various items like gumboot, helmet and mosquito nets were today distributed to the working class in the office of the District Worker’s Union (DWU) at Roing.

Altogether 150 workers were distributed with the package by District Labour & Employment Officer, District Art & Culture Officer and District Information & Public Relation Officer, Roing.

Ita Mimi president district Workers Union while highlighting about various labour welfare schemes exhorted the workers to register their names in the APBOCWWB. (DIPRO)

 

Veterinary team visits flood affected Mer and Gadum

PASIGHAT, Sept 29: A team of veterinary doctors led by the District Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Officer Dr. Jikom Panor today visited flood ravaged Gadum and Mer villages under Mebo Sub-division to ascertain the cause of reported outbreak of cattle disease.

The team also conducted animal health camp at both the villages. While surveying the grazing area, the team found plenty of toxic plants, known as Lantana camara. Preliminary investigation revealed that animal died of lantana poisoning. However, Lantana samples were collected and are being sent to laboratory for diagnosis, informed the DVO. DIPRO

 

Donation for flood victims

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: Expressing concern over the miserable condition of the people of flood ravaged Anpum and Loklung villages under Lower Dibang Valley district, Minu Lowang, a social activist along with prominent singer Jeli Kayi donated an amount of  Rs 50,000 to Adi Bane Kebang for the flood victims. The amount was collected by conducting a charity show at Naharlagun on Sept 26.

Meanwhile, Rajiv Gandhi Students’ Union along with students of the newly-introduced Masters in Social Work department also collected an amount of Rs. Rs. 44,834 and handed over the amount along with relief materials to ABK for flood victims.

 

GWS, TCS appeal for peace

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: A joint meeting was held among the senior members of Galo Welfare Society and Tagin Cuitural Society yesterday to discuss the issue related to recent Aalo rape incident.

The members of both the community appealed both the families to maintain peace and tranquility to avoid any communal tension.

The members of both the apex body further resolved to stop escalation of further communal tension and assured to do a fact finding mission shortly to resolve the issue.

 

APMCC holds protest rally

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: The Arunachal Pradesh Mahila Congress Committee (APMCC) organised a rally here today protesting against replacing of the Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi’s picture from the postal stamps.

Calling it an insult to the history of India and demanding apology from the Centre, the committee said, we should not forget about the 1971 Pakistan war led by Indira Gandhi, which saw the creation of Bangladesh and revolutionary development of Information Technology initiated by Rajiv Gandhi that has benefitted everyone.

APMCC called for continuing with the postal stamps with the pictures of the former prime ministers.

 

Awareness prog. on drug abuse, early marriage

SEPPA, Sept 29: Over 700 students from various schools of Seppa attended a day-long awareness programme on drug abuse and early marriage organised by the All East Kameng Students Union (AEKSU) at St. Joseph Secondary School here today.

DDSE Kata Rangmo dwelt at length on the demerits of early marriage and advised against early marriage while, Dr. SK Suman explained about the ill-effects of drug abuse.

AEKSU vice president, Kalai Sangdo, who was also present on the occasion, appealed the students to not take drugs and alcohol and concentrate on their studies. (DIPRO)

 

Orgs call for constitution of Lokayukta

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: The Adi Students’ Union (AdiSU) and Adi Bane Kebang Youth Wing (ABKYW) has called for constituting Lokayukta in the state.

In its memorandum submitted to the Governor, it said that the Lokayukta is yet to be constituted after its bill was introduced in the assembly in March last year.

Corruption prevails openly in our state and stands at the most highest position according to National Corruption Chart, it claimed. Poor people of the state find it difficult to move the Gauhati High Court for filing PIL against corrupted officers, MLAs etc. as huge monetary involvement is involved. The only device to fight against corruption in the state for a poor citizen is Lokayukta, for which our constitution has empowered the Governor with the right, the memo read.

Non implementation of the bill shall not be viewed as mere act of the state government, and the union shall move for legal proceeding, they warned.

 

DC urged to help fire victim

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) State Secretary Vijay Sonam has appealed to the East Kameng Deputy Commissioner to provide immediate relief to one Tani Rawa of Rawa village, whose dwelling house was gutted in a fire on Sept 24.

Sonam, in a letter to the DC further urged for providing building materials to the poor victim for his quick rehabilitation.

 

IAF recruitment drive ends

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: The Airmen Recruitment Rally conducted by the Indian Air Force at Dera Natung College witnessed as many as108 candidates appearing in Group Y (non- technical) and 28 candidates appearing in Group X (technical). Out of the appeared candidates, 20 got selected in Group Y and two got selected in Group X. Those selected would undergo final medical test at Tezpur. (DIPRO)

 

DC asked to issue order

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: Claiming that various rampant illegal structures are being constructed within government allotted quarter complexes in Pasighat, the Bogong Banggo Yameng Kebang (BBYK) has urged the East Siang DC to issue an order asking such people to vacate the quarters.

Because of the rampant encroachment within the township, maintaining RoW has become a problem, stated a letter to the DC.

 

ATI training on pay fixation

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: A three day training on “Pay Fixation” in two batches, one for ministerial staff of Capital Complex and other for District Administration ministerial staff commenced at Administrative Training Institute (ATI), Naharlagun today.

All together 66 trainees- 33 each from Capital Complex and districts are attending the programme sponsored by DoPT, GoI.

Taniyang Tatung (FAO), Directorate of Audit & Pension and Somnath Hore (Overseer), Directorate of Printing and Stationery are the main resource persons for the training.

ATI Director Pate Marik, Deputy Director (Training) Priscilla Tayeng attended the inaugural function and advised the participants to be punctual and disciplined during the training for successful conduct of the training programme.

 

Voluntary blood donation camp

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: A blood donation camp will be held at Blood Bank of Arunachal State Hospital, Naharlagun on October 1 as part of National Voluntary Blood Donation Day-2015 celebration.

The camp is being organised under the aegis of Arunachal Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (APSACS) Naharlagun with theme “Save Humanity, Save Precious Life - Donate Blood”.

 

CCSC thrash ASC, enter final in Abotani Cup

ITANAGAR, Sep 29: Capital Complex Sporting Club (CCSC) stormed into the final of the state level 4th Abotani Cup Football Tournament thrashing Arunachal Sporting Club (ASC) in the first semifinal at RG Stadium, Naharlagun today.

Biri Pada (22nd min), Tadar Kojum (30th, 58th mins), Gyamar Kuku (49th min) and Nguri Abin (76th, 78th mins) were the scorers for CCSC.

For ASC, Rigio Topu (86 min) and Nguri Kampo (88 min) scored one goal each.

CCSC will play against the winner of tomorrow's second semifinal between Todo United FC-B and Arunachal Pradesh Police in the final on Oct 2.

 

Deomali, Hunkan FC win in T Wangchadong Memorial Football

ITANAGAR, Sep 29: Deomali FC defeated Lanwang Khatang FC 3-1 in a match of the first Thansen Wangchadong Memorial Football Tournament at Nehru Stadium, Khonsa today.

Samroi Moidam scored two goals and Sonu Thiknok one for the winning team while the consolation goal for defeated team was scored by A Sonhway Sawin.

In another match of the day, Hunkan FC beat Thinsa Soccer Club 4-3 through penalty shootout.

Khonsa Village FC will play against Longo FC tomorrow at 1 pm and Lapnam Youth Assocaition will take on Borduria Youth Association at 3 pm.

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News Impact

Raj Bhawan unhappy with “upsetting

and dispiriting” media report

SC verdict on Chakma - Hajong and AAPSU rally

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: Reacting to news item published on Tuesday’s edition relating to SC verdict on grant of citizenship to Chakma and Hajong refugees in the state and subsequent (All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) rally in Capital, where the student leaders had expressed displeasure at the Raj Bhawan for not allowing them to meet the Governor, officials said that such misleading report is very upsetting and dispiriting.

“Raj Bhawan is well aware of the issues through media reports and the copy of the judgement given by the Government of Arunachal Pradesh, and has already asked the State Government to furnish a detailed report on the issue” read an official release.

It expressed its displeasure for “putting the institution of Governor of the State of Arunachal Pradesh in poor light” before the people, in spite of the Governor’s utmost concern for the progress and development and wellbeing of the State.   

“In spite of prior engagements, the Governor had agreed to meet the representatives after the already ongoing meeting with the Chairman and other members of Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation (BRLF) coming all the way from Delhi with prior appointment together with senior officers of the State Government, but the representatives did not turn up”, a Raj Bhavan communiqué said.

“It is a well established practice of Raj Bhawan, that whenever organisers of a rally want to submit a memorandum, usually the officers of the Governor’s Secretariat receive the memorandum at the Raj Bhawan main gate itself on behalf of the Governor” it said.

 

 

Status report on multi-crore PDS

scam submitted to HC

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: Arunachal Pradesh government has submitted a status report on multi-crore PDS scam to the Gauhati High Court, saying it has given prosecution sanction against five accused while in case of 13 others the sanction has not been granted.

Additional Advocate-General of the state Kardak Ete yesterday submitted the status report on behalf of the state government. The court had earlier issued arrest warrants against top government officials after they failed to turn up as respondents before it in a PIL.

The Supreme Court had stayed the arrest warrants against the officials who had filed a special leave petition challenging the high court's order.

As per the status report, the state government has given prosecution sanction against five accused in the scam while in the case of 13 others it was not accorded.

The PIL was filed in the Itanagar Bench of Gauhati High Court against the state in 2013 seeking the details of officers prosecuted in the Rs 1,000-crore public distribution system (PDS) scam.

 

 

Avail benefits of social security schemes’

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: Director of Postal Service in Arunachal Pradesh, Vinod Kumar today appealed to the people of the state to avail the benefit of social security schemes like Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna and Pradhan Mantri Jeewan Jyoti Yojna.

While explaining the various features of the Prime Minister’s social security schemes, Kumar informed that the media persons that all post office savings bank account holders between the age group of 18 to 50 years are eligible to avail benefits. Eligible members may also get themselves enrolled under the schemes at Itanagar head post office, he said.  

In Arunachal Pradesh there are more than 300 post offices under four sub-divisional level post officers. Under the heads of sub-divisional level post offices there are sub-post offices and in each cluster of two or three villages there is a branch post office where officials have started the social security schemes awareness campaign, Kumar further informed. Highlighting the importance and benefit of the  schemes, Kumar  said  that  Chief Secretary Ramesh Negi has already assured all kind of support in promotion of the schemes through various departments of the state Government.

He also capped upon the media fraternity of the state to   extend support for successful implementation of the social security schemes.

 

 

CS stresses on banks’ participation in scheme implementation  

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: Chief Secretary Ramesh Negi today urged upon all the banks in the state to take active part in implementation of various developmental Govt schemes in true spirit to improve CD ratio. He was addressing the SLBC meeting organised by the State Bank of India (SBI) for the quarter ended March and June 2015 at Banquet Hall here today.   While participating in the discussion, the CS also extended some suggestions for improvement of banking sectors.

Opening of new branches in 3 newly declared districts and at Chayangtajo of East Kameng district also discussed in the meeting.

Earlier, Gautam  Bhattacharya, General Manager, NW-1, State Bank of India, N E Circle, who is convenor of the SLBC for the state briefly highlighted  the achievements of the banks.

Principal Secretary, Finance, Satya Gopal and DGM (B&O), SBI, Zonal Office, (Jorhat,) Tilok Kumar Dhar also spoke on the occasion.

 

 

Women urged to play pivotal role for emancipation

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: Vice President of Tanii Supun Dukun, Liagi Miri has exhorted the women folk to play a pivotal role for overall development of womenfolk in the society. “A woman is mentally stronger than a man and can lead from the front,” said Miri in his inaugural address at the launching ceremony of the AWAZ (Apatani Women Association Ziro) at Govt. H S School Ziro on Sept 26.

“Women can multi task which is not an achievable trait for men, Miri opined and expressed hope that the Association  would  take revolutionary steps towards uplift of womenfolk of the area. Earlier, Miri had unfurled the AWAZ flag. Popi Sarmin (NGO) chairman, Habung Tago advised the AWAZ to take responsibility to eradicate social evils. “Good social systems will always be embraced but social evils have to be eradicated,” Tago said and assured to extend support of Popi Sarmin to the AWAZ in its noble works.

Describing the women as creators of mankind, Ziro MLA Tage Taki said women should be regarded as the greatest asset of mankind. “Men and women should join hands and work together towards the betterment of the society, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Lower Subansiri Superintendent of Police (SP) Tumne Amo encouraged the women folk saying that at present more women are joining police department to serve the state. He also wished success to AWAZ in its endeavours.

In her address, AWAZ president, Hage Shalla Yassung emphasised on working together for the betterment of women, child in particular and the society as a whole.

While appreciating the initiatives of the AWAZ, Lower Subansiri Gaon Burah Association, vice president, Hage Siira said, “Women have gained respectable position in our society which cannot be questioned by the men.”

First lady doctor of Apatani community, Dr. Subu Tasso Kampu, while reading out the bye-laws of AWAZ, said that girl child should be provided equal opportunity in all fields including sports and education. Stressing the need for making women and girl child stronger physically, mentally and financially, she also advocated for awareness workshop on sex education and skill development prog for women. Pointing out the violence and atrocities against women, she said AWAZ aims to empower women towards their rights and duty in the society.

While delivering keynote speeches, Dr. Millo Kunya Nengker, AWAZ secretary and Padi Yanku Hage, Literary and IPR secretary, AWAZ, highlighted the facts that led to the birth of AWAZ.

Among others, Tadu Tayung Riniya, (Member, Advisory Board, AWAZ), Tailyang Sambyo, Secretary, Supung Bulyang (NGO) and former minister Tapi Batt also spoke on the occasion.

AWAZ -an apex body for the entire sister NGOs aims at bringing about a change in the community welfare of women, child and the general public while preserving the rich cultural heritage of the community, stated a release.

 

 

Chalk out strategy for agri schemes: Taram

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: Parliamentary Secretary, Agriculture, Pani Taram has appealed to the district level officers of agriculture department to find out the lacunae and chalk out  proper strategy for implementation of all state and central Govt sponsored schemes effectively with visible results. He was addressing the two-day annual review meeting of the Agriculture department which concluded on Sept 23 at the conference hall of directorate of Agriculture, Naharlagun.

He also called upon the officers to improve documentation process of scheme implementation along with display of sign boards. He further advised the department to identify specific demand of the farmers and suitability of various schemes for a particular locality. Earlier, Agriculture Commissioner Hage Khoda in his introductory speech stressed the need of regular field visit of DAOs, SDAOs and ADOs and strict monitoring of implementation of all schemes. He further directed all senior officers of the state headquarter including Director, Agriculture to carry out field visits and inspection in districts to monitor schemes implementation.

He categorically emphasised on the need for soil health management and soil health card with utmost care. The district level officers were directed to submit scheme-wise monthly progress reports regularly and ensure submission of utilisation certificate in time. The Commissioner also emphasised on the close co-ordination of the district officers with the concerned Nodal Officer of the directorate.

The opening session was followed by technical session and all the district level head of offices submitted reports of 2014-15 and proposals for 2015-16, according to an official release.

 

 

Town gets CC pavement roads

AALO, Sept 29: The West Siang district administration is currently taking up construction work of the concrete cement pavement road from Paktu Tinali to Pakam village to improve the deteriorating road condition of Aalo township.

The project is being executed by TK Engineering Company and is likely to be completed this year. The company is also taking up maintenance works from Aalo bridge point to Bam. Meanwhile, the road construction work at Sipu Colony, police station to Bogdo area and Pakam to Yeggo have been completed while, work at upper colony is also nearing completion. PWD EE Dukjum Lona has been constantly monitoring the construction work. (DIPRO)

 

 

World Heart Day creates awareness on CVDs

PASIGHAT, Sept 29: The World Heart Day was observed in a befitting manner with the theme “creating heart-healthy environments” at the Pasighat General Hospital here today.

Attending the programme, East Siang Deputy Commissioner Isha Khosla said that the main objective of the celebration was to spread the awareness of the importance of heart. “People don’t go for time bound heart check up. Even doctors do not check their blood pressure regularly. We must adopt healthy foods and take part in physical activities. There should be grassroot level awareness programme on heart care, the DC said and  instructed the Non Communicable Disease (NCD) programme officer Dr. Tarik Talom to organise such programmes on cardiovascular disease (CVD) at school level.  

Dr. Tarik Talom, District Programme officer (NCD) informed that the CVDs are the number one killer disease in the world. He highlighted the importance and introduction of NPCDCS programme in the district. Talom also urged the people to get diagnosis and treatment of diseases like diabetes, CVDs, hypertension and cancer etc in the General Hospital, Pasighat and in Boleng, Ruksin and Nari CHCs.

Kaling Dai, ZPC Pasighat, Deputy Director, District Health Society, Rina Das Tabyo and DMO M Perme also spoke on the occasion.  DIPRO

Meanwhile a programme was organised at the district hospital, Seppa to observe the World Heart Day which was attended by the medical officers, ASHAs facilitators from various villages of the district today.

Speaking on the occasion, ADC Pooja Jain advised all to maintain a healthy diet and not to consume tobacco and alcohol etc. She also said that inactiveness and lack of exercise leads to obesity which causes various health problems. She further asked AHSAs to pass on the knowledge which they have gained from the programme to their respective villages.

Dr. K Gyadi with the help of a power point presentation gave tips on maintaining healthy diet with physical exercise. DRCHO Dr.K Lapung, medicine specialist, Dr. Lipe Ete, MO Dr. Kapu Soping and Dr. S K Sumon also spoke on the occasion.

The Day was also observed by the Vivekananda Centre of Excellence, Naharlagun at the centre today wherein hundreds of people took part. The celebration was aimed at creating awareness on good health through yoga.

Highlighting the contribution of yoga in the day to day life, the centre’s yoga therapist explained that mental relaxation through meditation and Yoga contributes immensely in preventing arteriosclerosis.  (DIPRO/ correspondents)

 

 

Drive against Opium in LDV

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: A meeting was held today in the Lower Dibang Valley Deputy Commissioner’s chamber to chalk out action plan to combat Opium menace in the district. Ravi Dhawan, Deputy Commissioner, LDV while informing that government has adopted zero tolerance approach to the Opium menace asked participants to identify the area where Opium/Poppy plant is being cultivated in the district.

He directed the SDO (SADAR) Roing to form multiple teams comprising of magistrate, HoDs, Tax & Excise department, police personnel and members from NGOs. Since the sowing period of poppy plant begins from the month of October, a comprehensive awareness campaign would be chalked out beginning from the first week of October. “Thereafter, if any Poppy cultivation is found in the district, it will be destroyed and burnt”, the DC warned.

It was also decided to put up police beat post at Koronu Circle headquarter from the month of November in order to check any trafficking of drugs from Lohit and Namsai into the district. DC also directed the department of Tax & Excise to take strict punitive action against those wine shops that are found selling liquor after 7 PM in the evening. He also asked the NGOs to take help of GBs whenever they go for anti-drugs campaign and for checking of illegal selling of liquor in villages.

Administrative Officers, DSP Roing, Officers from Tax & Excise Department, Health Department & SIB, Members of Adi Baane Kebang Women Wing and Enjalo Menda Women Empowerment Forum, Roing were present in the meeting. (DIPRO)

 

 

Regional media workshop for IPV & Pentavalent

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: A one-day regional media workshop for IPV & Pentavalent introduction in the Northeastern states organised by RRC-NE (Branch of NHSRC) in collaboration with UNICEF was held on Tuesday at Indian Institute of Bank Management, Guwahati.

A five member delegation from Arunachal Pradesh headed by F&W Deputy Director P Dutta, and NHM Nodal Officer D Padung attended the workshop.

Speaking on the occasion, UNICEF Health Specialist Dr Sameer Pawar emphasising on the awareness on the vaccines said, “We want to create new opportunity for children with two new vaccines which will decrease the pain of vaccination but will increase the protection.”

RRC NE Dr Hitesh Deka while highlighting the benefits of new vaccines said that the main challenges for such initiatives are coverage and proper awareness on it.

Presenting the statistical data for partial or no immunization, Deka informed that 19.1 percent population in Arunachal Pradesh does not know about the vaccine while five percent fear about the side effects, and the rest 1.7 percent cannot afford the cost.

Deka while clearing the doubts of the participants regarding its side effects said that the vaccines are not only developed in India but is also a major exporter of the same worldwide so the question of side effects does not arise.

He also informed that it is being administered free of cost by the Government of India.

It is to be mentioned here that the total percentage of children between 12-23 months fully immunized in the state stands at 49.2 percent as 38.60 percent are partially immunized while 12.27 percent of children between 12 to 13 months are not immunized at all, as per the Immunization Coverage (DLHS 2012-13) data.

Sessions on Pentavalent/IPV operational aspects like revised National Immunization Schedule, operational guidelines, Polio Endgame Strategy, communicating and media planning were also conducted.

The Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine (IPV) is an injectable vaccine to be administered with the third dose of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) to further strengthen the immune system of children for fighting against the polio virus.

Though no cases of polio in India has been recorded since January 2011 and has been certified as polio free nation, IPV is being introduced into the routine immunization programme as part of the Polio Endgame Strategy.

A Pentavalent Vaccine is five individual vaccines conjugated in one which provides protection to a child against five life threatening diseases- Diphtheria, Pertussia, Tetanus, Hepatitis B and Haemophilus Influenza type b (Hib).

Pentavalent vaccine was launched in India in 2011 while both Pentavalent and IPV is scheduled to be launched in Arunachal Pradesh during the last week of October.

The pentavalent vaccine will replace the current Hepatitis B and DPT primary vaccination schedule and immunization programme.

Additionally Hepatitis B birth dose will continue as before, in institutional birth within 24 hours of birth. DPT booster at 16-24 months and 5-6 years will also continue as before.

 

 

NFSA implementation review meet held

ITANAGAR, Sept 29: The review of National Food Security Act, 2013 - preparedness for implementation was held today in the Directorate of Food & Civil Supplies. It was attended by all the District Food Civil Supplies Officers including officers of the Directorate and was chaired by Secretary Food & Civil Supplies, Gamli Padu. The Secretary acknowledged the exercise on preparatory steps for implementation of the Act carried out on war footing by the field functionaries of the department over the last two years. He appreciated DF&CSOs for completing the cumbersome task of selection of Priority Households and AAY beneficiaries as envisaged under NFSA 2013.

The DFCSOs expressed concern over the delay in supply of computers and new software for the effective implementation of digitisation, online allocation etc. under NFSA in the state. The Secretary informed that the EOI in this regard has already been completed and RFP file is under submission awaiting early clearance. The DFCSOs appreciated the technical support given to them by the ICT Cell of the Department. Uploading and cleansing of this data was not an easy task without basic internet connectivity and limited computing resources. They expressed that this would help the DFCSOs to target and quantify the beneficiaries under NFSA.

The ICT Cell reiterated that despite lack of data connectivity in the state the department was able to achieve digitisation of the beneficiaries against all odds. The Secretary also asked the officers not to get deterred by the same. NFSA is an Act which provides for the poor and needy and the department should ensure that it implements the same.

The Secretary further exhorted all DF&CSOs to continue the activity of Aadhaar and Bank Account seeding and also to intensify the activity during issuance of NFSA ration cards. He informed that bank account seeding shall be required for cash transfer for food security allowance under the Act and also to prepare the state for Direct Benefit of Transfer (DBT) of cash subsidy under NFSA in future. He also informed that Aadhaar seeding is of paramount importance for de-duplication of ration card database to eliminate bogus ration cards and beneficiaries under NFSA.

DFCSO Capital Complex Amit Bengia suggested that until Aadhaar seeding is completed to de-duplicate central repository of NFSA beneficiary database, de-duplication may be done at the best level by sharing digitised beneficiary lists between DF&CSOs as per the general migratory pattern. He asked for the digitised beneficiary database of all districts to de-duplicate NFSA beneficiary database in Capital Complex as there is a pattern of huge migration of population from all districts to Capital Complex which results in very likelihood of duplication of a beneficiary in a district and Capital Complex.

Earlier, Director (incharge) Tojir Kadu while highlighting the challenges in the implementation of the act informed that there were still major administrative obstacles, specific to the state, in implementation of the Act for which the Govt at both the state and centre have been apprised of already. He informed that the centre has fixed a flat transportation charge @ rate of Rs.100 per Qtls for food grains under NFSA for which the department has already intimated the insufficiency of the rate in its reply to both the centre and the state considering the tough mountainous terrain in the state.

 

 

Tawang hosts anti drugs and gender sensitisation programme

Tawang Vigilance

Tawang, Sept 29: A two days state level anti-drugs awareness campaign and gender sensitisation programme was launched in Tawang on Saturday.

State Project Coordinator N.Siram while addressing the participants said that, “The younger generation is more vulnerable and prone to drugs and it remains the supreme responsibility of the stakeholders to safeguard our state and the youth”.

“The girl child is being neglected and their fundamental and educational rights are overlooked. Just because of biological dissimilarity, they are subjected to domestic violence and abuses”, he said.

Tawang DDSE Apel Tayeng called on everyone to rise and join hands in the fight against drugs menace and gender inequality. “The ST/SC community is lagging far behind in comparison to other communities of the nation and their kids are being abused on a large scale.  The Govt. is very keen to shield the weaker communities and such schemes come as blessings for the state”, he stated, lauding the initiative.  

Later, in the technical session, resource persons, Sub Inspector, Oyin Tari and ICTC Counsellor, Dondup Dolma lucidly elaborated on POCSO, domestic violence, drug abuse, and AIDS. Yeshi Tsomu, Gender-Coordinator, SSA also spoke on the vitality of women empowerment, gender sensitisation and girls education.

Organised by SSA Rajya Mission, Itanagar, under the intervention from SC/ST innovation unit, Arunachal Pradesh, the training was attended by District Project Coordinator, Sangey Wangchu, SMCs, BRCCs, CRCCs, NGOs and school teachers.

 

 

Most places in India are prone to disasters: Rijiju

New Delhi, Sept 29: Most of the places in India are prone to disasters and government is taking scientific approach to deal with any calamity, Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju said today.

"India is prone to all types of disasters and most of the places are prone to disasters," Rijiju said and requested all state governments and stakeholders to be ready to face the disasters.

Addressing the 11th formation day of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), he said the Central government is positive in putting efforts in disaster management in the country.

Now the Centre is putting 100 per cent efforts for disaster mitigation and has left no stone unturned to address all disaster related issues, he said.

Rijiju said disaster mitigation should be looked from the scientific point of view and the approach should also be scientific to deal with it.

The Minister said there are natural disasters and man-made disasters and everyone has to be prepared to tackle them.

Rijiju also said each state government must have its own disaster response force of their own.

He said India is going to organise first Asian Ministerial meet on disaster management and Indian disaster response forces have gone beyond the boundaries to tackle disasters as they have no boundaries.

"We have gone a long way in disaster management but still to cover a lot," he said.

A training manual on how to conduct emergency management exercise (EMEx) was released by the Minister on the occasion.

The EMExes are large scale urban exercises focusing on capacity building of various stakeholders engaged in the areas of disaster management and creation of a pool of master trainers in each emergency support function of the respective city and urban area. PTI

 

 

Constitutional and legal complexities in Chakma-Hajong citizenship issue-an analysis

[ Dr. Topi Basar ]

Citizenship is not merely a natural birth right, it is qualified and regulated by legal provisions. Under the Constitution of India Articles 5 to 11 deals with it. Person born in India, either of the parents born in India or who had been ordinarily residing in India for not less than five years immediately before the commencement of the constitution could get registration as per Article 5. It was in view of the partition of India. However, Article 5 is silent on citizenship status of person born after 1950. We need to refer to section 3 of the Citizenship Act 1955, through series of amendments the following cut off dates were fixed for conferring citizenship to persons born in India: between 26 Jan 1950 to 1 July 1987; between 1 July 1987 to 2003 but with a condition that either of the parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth whereas this is not a requirement in the first cut-off date mentioned here. For a person born after 2003 if both his parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen and the other parent is not an illegal migrant at the time of birth (at least one condition to be met).

Section 5 of the Act deals with rules and procedures for obtaining citizenship by registration. Under this the Central government may register as a citizen of India on an application made by any person who is not an illegal migrant such as a person of Indian origin who are ordinarily resident in India for seven years before making an application for registration (sec.5 (1) (a)). But it is subject to such conditions and restrictions as may be prescribed by the central government. The honourable Supreme Court has applied this section in case of Chakma and Hajong. For this section, person shall be deemed to be of Indian origin if he, or either of his parents, was born in undivided India (Pakistan, Bangladesh).

There are no specific provisions under the Constitution or in the other laws or Rules enacted by the Central government dealing with granting of citizenship to refugees in India. Refugees are asylum seekers who flee their natural country due to some adverse situations which are detrimental to their life and security and general wellbeing. Many of them may opt to go back when the situation improves or may decide to stay back forever in the country granting them asylum. The rights of refugees are essentially based on the universal principle of human rights and humanitarian principle of law. This principle is well accepted by all the sovereign nations of the world although there may be no adequate domestic law on the refugee rights. Granting of citizenship is not merely a constitutional or legal matter but entails whole socio-cultural-economic complexities. All these issues need proper redressal before a final decision is taken. It is the onus of the Centre, State as well as the judiciary to take a balanced view. Only basing the decision on the humanitarian aspects not saying that it should not be there and ignoring the other equally important socio-cultural and economic dimensions would be equitably unjust.

This is apparently the case with the Chakma-Hajong citizenship issue. The moot question is not that whether the Chakma-Hajong should be granted Indian citizenship or not. The most serious matter is how the government both the Centre and State have dealt with it respectively. Firstly, decision to settle Chakmas and Hajongs in Arunachal Pradesh was the result of an agreement between the Centre and Assam in 1970s. Why not Assam but Arunachal Pradesh was chosen when Assam had far more resources to take care of them? They had entered Assam first and then sent to Arunachal Pradesh deliberately by both the key actors without any approval of the State government as it was under NEFA administration at that time. And what about the will of the people of Arunachal Pradesh? Therefore the decision to settle the Chakma-Hajong to Arunachal Pradesh was erroneous from the beginning as it was not made in consultation with a legitimate government of the State duly elected by the people but made by a third State on behalf of Arunachal. How that decision can be validly imposed against the unwilling democratically elected state government and its people. And why did not Centre compel the state of Assam also to share the burden having better resources and multi-cultural society? It is nothing but a decision forcibly entrusted upon the State in the most arbitrary manner totally unbecoming of a federal country.

The Chakma and Hajong tribes from erstwhile East Bangladesh are said to migrate to India in 1964-1969 much after the commencement of the Constitution. Hence Article 5 of the Constitution is not applicable in this case as they came much after 1950.Their legal fight for citizenship began in 1995 when the NHRC filed a writ petition seeking direction from the Supreme Court to ensure the Chakmas and Hajongs are not forcibly ousted from the State of Arunachal Pradesh. The Central government stated before the court that Chakmas were residing in the State of Arunachal Pradesh for more than three decades and had close social, religious and economic ties (not supported with any material evidence). As per joint statement issued by the Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh in February, 1972, the Union government took a decision to confer citizenship on the Chakmas under section 5 (1) (a) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.The stand of the AP was that it had provided basic amenities to the Chakmas but the State had a right to ask the Chakmas to quit the State. The State could not permit outsiders to settle within its territory as it had limited resources and the Union of India had refused to share its responsibility. It will also disturb its ethnic balance and destroy its culture and identity (apparently the court was not convinced on this point).The court held by virtue of their long and prolonged stay in the State, the Chakmas who migrated to, and those born in the State could seek citizenship under the Constitution and under section 5 of the Act and as per the procedures stated in Rule 8 and Rule 9 of the Citizenship Rules 1956.

Accordingly, direction was issued to the State of AP to ensure that life and liberty of Chakmas residing in the State was protected against any attempt to evict them by the AAPSU and their applications could be forwarded to the Central government as it was alleged that the State of AP was not forwarding the application to the former as required under Rule 9. It was in 1972 the Union Government took a decision to confer citizenship to Chakmas and in 2015 the matter is still far from over.

The Chakmas also presented a petition to the 10th Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Committee on 14th August 1997. The Committee recommended that the Chakmas who came prior to 25.3.1971 be granted Indian citizenship. Regarding the fate of those Chakmas who came to the State after 25.3.1971 be decided by the central government and State government jointly. The committee also recommended that Chakmas be also considered for granting them status of Scheduled Tribes at the time of granting the citizenship. But the said recommendation is not acted upon. The specification of dates to determine the eligibility criteria for citizenship based on material documentary evidence is crucial in order to grant citizenship to the genuinely deserving Chakmas. It is been widely reported that the influx of refugees have continued unabated post 1970 until quite recently, a fact which the State of AP has to substantiate with evidence. The Central government is absolutely silent on this fact and the judiciary also has not taken note of it probably the State has not urged it before the court. The government must be in a position to clearly distinguish between who are the eligible Chakmas for citizenship and who are not by a clear rule. If the government is genuinely concerned about the fate of Chakma-Hajongs the identification of genuine and deserving claimant and a justly arrived cut off date for consideration of citizenship is the immediate step needed. On this point, the above recommendation by the 10thLok Sabha seems reasonable.

On 23rd March 2005, the Election Commission of India issued a guideline for revision of electoral rolls in respect of areas where there is substantial presence of Chakmas and Hajongs. Further on 3rd October, 2007 another guideline for revision of electoral rolls with reference to 1st January, 2007 as the qualifying date for the inclusion of Chakmas and Hajongs in the electoral roll.

The AAPSU filed a PIL in 2010 before the Gauhati High Court which was dismissed. Thus, the right to vote got conferred on them legally even when the complete procedure for conferment of citizenship has not been accomplished yet. Probably this is the first case in India where group of people were included in to the electoral rolls even while the formal conferment of citizenship had not been completed. The application for registration as citizen under section 5 of the Act has to be duly recommended by the state of AP. It has been alleged that the applications forwarded had also contained more negative remarks than positive. Under Rule 9 of citizenship rules 1956, the application for registration as citizen has to be made in the prescribed form to the deputy commissioner of the given area, he/she has to forward the application after due inquiry. However, the final authority to register a person as citizen is vested in the officer named under Rule 8 (central power).The central government has always maintained before the court that the DC does not forward the applications therefore it is not in a position to take a decision whether or not to register Chakmas and Hajongs as a citizen of India. Many applications directly submitted to the Ministry of Home have also been returned to the state for due procedure to be completed which is not acted upon so the matter remains pending as ever (4637 applications returned, figure quoted in NHRC case). Rule 8 and Rule 9 is a mandatory procedure to be complied with before registration of a person as citizen under section 5 of the Act, 1956. The court’s order of citizenship will have to be enforced by following the procedure established by the law as cited above.

Coming to the recent judgment of the honourable Supreme Court on dated 17 Sept. 2015, this was the outcome of the writ petition filed in 2007 by the Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh seeking for direction against the Union of India through Ministry of Home Affairs to grant citizenship to the Chakma and Hajongs of AP. The Court has held that Chakma and Hajongs need to be protected and their claims of citizenship need to be considered as per applicable procedure. They could not be discriminated in any manner pending formal conferment of rights of citizenship. Their status also stands duly acknowledged in the guidelines of the EC of India. Accordingly the court has directed the Government of India and the state of AP to finalise the conferment of citizenship rights on eligible Chakmas and Hajongs and to comply with earlier judicial decisions on the matter within three months from the date of the judgement. The court has not indicated any specific cut off date for eligible Chakmas. I am of the view that in the absence of this it would mean any Chakmas and Hajongs residing in AP immaterial of the fact when they arrived here is eligible to apply for registration. That would be total violation of the Constitution and unfair to the people of Arunachal Pradesh.

The State has also not presented authentic statistics on number of Chakmas-Hajongs, population of adults, children, workforce, employed, unemployed, inter­marriages and status of current influx or illegal migrants to substantiate its stand before the court. The court has not expressed any opinion on the issue of ST status to the Chakmas. Even in the earlier decisions of the courts ST status has not been dealt with. This is again a different matter altogether. The issue of citizenship and ST are too different thing. The ST status can only be conferred as per Article 342 of the Constitution and not under other laws. It also does not mean that a person even if he or she is a recognised tribal from another country, if given citizenship then automatically entitled to be ST of the State where they are residing. For conferment of ST status separate constitutional provision contained in article 342 is applicable mandatorily.

The legal position on refugee in matters of citizenship is complex due to absence of clear legal provisions on it. It is only due to the humanitarian approach of the judiciary and the government concerned that the existing laws are being positively construed to give benefit of citizenship to refugees residing for long in India. The matter is more complex in case of mass migration involving an indefinite class of population and when the local population and the host state are not in favour of granting citizenship. For example, Tibetans in India have been given special status by the government of India in some respects like seats are reserved for their children in some educational institutions under a valid law but they have not been conferred citizenship in India same is the case with Afghan refugees. As in these cases the rule is uniformly applicable on all the parts of India. But, the Chakma case is different as it will have implications only upon the State of AP. Though judiciary has always been supportive of Chakma demand for citizenship as evident from several orders passed in this regard. But neither the court nor the respective governments are looking in to the core issues involved. Who are the eligible ones? How to determine eligibility? What should be the cut off year for it? Status of infiltration or influx? Social and cultural impacts and impact on resources of the state are completely left out of the purview of the matter. Unless these issues are tackled by the Central government and the State in a committed and concerted way, hurdles will always be created before lawful conferment of citizenship of Chakmas. Thus it is not yet end of the battle for the Chakmas and Hajongs in reality.

(The contributor is Associate Professor, National Law University Assam and may be contacted at [email protected])

 

 

 

Refugee Imbroglio- “The Battle, the number

game and Possible Solutions”

[ Bikash Bage ]

Presently it is not an easy task to determine the exact population of Chakmas in Arunachal Pradesh. For one thing, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) the apex body spearheading the movement for the detachment and expulsion of the Chakmas and Hajongs and the Committee for the Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh (CCRCAP), the organisation dreaming of Chakmas right of citizenship in the country seldom have similarity on the population number.

It is a fact that a large numbers of Chakmas have allegedly been kept outside the purview of Census operations. The supposedly reason being the fear that their enumeration would pave the way to their claim to Indian citizenship. It is also believed by some local Arunachalees that Chakma immigration from across both internal within the states and international borders continues unabated even today which is a continuous process.

The Census figure for Chakma and Hajong resettlement in Arunachal Pradesh indicated that according to 1981 there were 24,083 Chakmas and 1433 Hajongs and later in 1991 census, it was recorded that there were 30062 Chakmas and 2134 in the state. Government of Arunachal Pradesh in Feb’1995 estimated that the Chakma refugee population was 34,493. But there is biasness in this regard as it has been indicated that the number could be more as much as 46,000 to 50,000.  In September 1995 in a memorandum placed to the central government by the People’s Referendum Rally for deportation of Chakma/Hajong refugees from the state, it was indicated that the number had swelled to over 60,000. But it is for sure that the decadal growth rate of the Chakmas, according to Census figures shows at least 25 percent increase, as compared to the state average of 36.83 percent.

But there is other side of the coin as Government survey shows Chakma and Hajong population is not increasing. The recent survey conducted by the state government of Arunachal Pradesh to ascertain the total population of Chakma and Hajong communities has put to rest the debate on the alleged rise in their population.  

The Chakmas are settled in Changlang, Papum Pare and Lohit districts. According to the 2001 census, the total population of the Chakmas and Hajongs was 42,333 in the state. In Feb’ 2011, according to the Special Survey Report of Chakma and Hajong communities in the state, total population was 46,691 in Changlang district as in (Arunachal Times, March 29, 2011). Whereas the data of 2001 census tells their total population as 35,390 persons in the district. Thus, recording a decadal growth of 31.93 percent. In 1991-2001 the decadal growth of Chakmas and Hajongs was 31.48 per cent. This indicates that the growth is less than 1 per cent (0.45 percent).

While the overall total population of the Chakmas and Hajongs in the state is reported to be around 53,800 persons presently. This means that the decadal growth rate of the Chakmas and Hajongs has come down to about 27 percent from 31.48 per cent during the 1991-2001 census periods.

This is a positive sign considering that some districts in the state where there is no Chakma-Hajong population recorded increase in growth rate. According to the provisional census 2011 data, the decadal growth for the Upper Subansiri district increased to 50.34 percent (2001-2011) from a low of 10.50 percent in 1991-2001. While the decadal growth of East Kameng district increased to 37.14 percent from 13.46 percent and Lower Subansiri increased to 48.65 percent from 29.15 percent. Surprisingly, the newly created district of Kurung Kumey which is declared by the state government as one of the backward districts recorded more than 100 percent increase with 111.01 percent in 2001-2011 from meager 6.24 percent in the 1991-2001 census.

The popular debate and fear over the rapid increase in population of the Chakmas and Hajongs is far from the truth and hypothetical. The growth is normal and natural.

They are mainly found in areas of Diyun and Bordumsa in Changlang, Chowkham in Lohit and Kokila areas of Papum Pare districts. In his appeal to the Members of Parliament made on 8 August 1995, the then President of the Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh (CCRCAP) estimated the Chakma population at 66,000 approximately. Miao subdivision has the largest concentration of the Chakmas in Arunachal Pradesh. In 1981, tribals constituted a majority in all the districts of Arunachal Pradesh excepting Lohit and Dibang valley and the number of refugees of all varieties stood at 81,000 although according to AAPSU that was agitating for the repatriation of the refugees to Bangladesh, their number stands at 100,000. By 1991, the tribals lost their majority status also in Changlang formerly known as Tirap where their fall has been rather sharp and spectacular (from 62.15 % in 1981 to 34.83 % in 1991). This is a proof that there has been a slight but steady decline of tribal population in all the districts. If we look at the 1991 census the growth of the refugees is actually phenomenal compared to the total population that stood at 8,58,392.

Now it is a mountainous task for the state government or any of the pressure groups of the state to actually endorse the actual numbers of Chakmas and Hajongs in the state.

The Battle

The question of the deportation of the Chakmas and Hajongs, the Buddhist and Hindu refugees from the erstwhile East Pakistan, from the State has continued to occupy the centre-stage of Arunachal Pradesh politics for quite some time now.

The “Refugee Go-Back” movement originally launched by the All-Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU), which has consistently held the view that the refugees are ‘foreigners’ and Arunachal cannot be made the ‘dumping ground’, gained momentum in the wake of the ‘People’s Referendum Rally’ held on September 20, 1995 at Naharlagun, Itanagar. It was at this rally that AAPSU and the leaders of all existing political parties in the State including the ruling Congress (I) under Gegong Apang, the Chief Minister of the State since 1979 had set 31st Dec’95 as the deadline for the centre to evict the refugees from the State. The leaders of all political parties present at the rally had vowed to resign from the primary membership of their respective parties and form a ‘Common Organisation of Indigenous People’ if their demand was not met by the Central Government before the expiry of the deadline.

What has, however, happened in the post-deadline phase of the movement was only expected. The central Government did intervene at the eleventh hour by announcing the formation of a ‘high-level committee’ to look into the matter. Acting on a petition filed by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Supreme Court in its recent verdict of January 9, 1996 has ruled out any forcible eviction of the refugees by directing the State Government to seek all possible help from the Central Government to protect the lives of the refugees residing in the State. In opposition to the pronouncement of this verdict by the Supreme Court, a 15-member core committee comprising largely of members from the Apang Ministry and some other important leaders from the opposition parties had been set up to look into the question of deportation of the refugees from the State. Expressing its resentment over the verdict, AAPSU has further hardened its stance on the refugees issue by declaring that they are not bound by the verdict. Protesting against the verdict, AAPSU gave a 10-hour bandh call on Republic Day making its celebration only symbolic in nature.

The existing situation in the State over the refugee issue throws open a series of questions to any casual observer. Does the continuing presence of the refugees in the state really pose that big a threat that it deserves the adoption of such extreme positions as taken by all important political and non-political forces alike at the rally held in September? Who is to be blamed for their continuing presence in the State, anyway? Would it be fair to blame it on to the refugees for where there are today, for it was certainly not they themselves who opted to stay in Arunachal Pradesh? Or, can they simply be blamed for not having a home and seeking refuge in India? After all, what was it that made them seek shelter in India? Moreover, what was it that brought them, of all the places in the country, to the state of Arunachal Pradesh?

The Buddhist Chakmas and Hindu Hajongs, the innocent victims of partition, originally belonged to the Chittagong Hill Tracts and Maimensingh districts respectively, a part of erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Pakistan’s policy of persistent religious persecution of these Buddhist tribes and the displacement caused by the Kaptai Hydel Power Project forced them to migrate and take refuge in India in 1964.

But what was it that made these refugees finally settle down in Arunachal Pradesh which has been enjoying a ‘Special Protected Area’ status since the pre-independence period under the provisions of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873? According to this regulation even Indian citizens of other states cannot stay in Arunachal Pradesh permanently. In other words, any Indian citizen from states other than Arunachal Pradesh, as per the rules of the regulation, cannot own any piece of land or develop any permanent stake in the State. Interestingly, following an order issued by the Governor-General in 1876 even the British subjects were prohibited from going beyond the inner-line without a pass under the hand and seal of an authorised political officer. This protectionist policy has been continuing uninterruptedly since then with the objective of safeguarding the indigenous culture and identity of the Arunachalees from the onslaught of external influences. It is, therefore, only natural for the Arunachalees to demand an explanation for the arrival and continuing presence of the refugees in the state despite all these protectionist measures adopted by the Government of India.

Initially, only about 57 families of Chakmas and Hajongs were given shelter in government camps at Ledo in Dibrugarh, Assam in 1964. Thereafter, they were settled in Abhaypur Block of Diyun circle of the erstwhile Tirap District of Arunachal Pradesh purely on temporary and humanitarian grounds by the then North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) administration which was directly under the control of the Central Government. This idea of temporary settlement of the refugees in this region was basically a result of an understanding in 1964 between the then Governor of Assam, Vishnu Sahay and the then Chief Minister of Assam, B.P. Chaliha. Vishnu Sahay felt that the continuing presence of the Chakmas in the Mizo district might lead to Mizo-Chakma conflict and so he suggested to the then Chief Minister that they be settled temporarily in Tirap division of NEFA which was thinly populated at that time. It is this element of temporariness of their settlement in the state which has now become a bone of contention between the people who are leading the movement and the Central Government. At present the Chakmas and Hajongs are settled in Chowkham in Lohit district; Miao, Bordumsa and Diyun in Changlang district, and Balijan and Kokila in Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh.

The indigenous people of the state perceive a danger to their identity and culture being posed by an ever-increasing concentration of the Chakmas and Hajongs in the state. According to AAPSU, the population of the refugees has swollen to approximately 60,000 as against the 57 families originally settled in 1966 in Diyun. It may not be fair to blame it on the indigenous people for their increasing assertiveness on the issue of eviction of the refugees from the state for they fear that rapid demographic changes in the three districts since 1951 may soon see them being outnumbered with all its concomitant social, economic and political consequences. For example, according to the figures given in the 1991 census, the indigenous tribal population of the two districts of Lohit and Changlang where the Chakmas and Hajongs are residing, is only 74,000 out of the total population of 202,523 (which includes other Indian citizens also) in these two districts.

The issue of granting citizenship to the refugees has also figured prominently in all debates and is being considered seriously by the Central Government. AAPSU has strongly condemned centres insistence on granting citizenship to the refugees and believes that it is an attempt to woo the potential voters at the cost of annoying the indigenous people of the State. Could the grant of citizenship end the helplessness of the refugees? Maybe not as the real issue facing the leaders of the movement is not whether the refugees are granted citizenship or not but that they must be resettled outside the state. The State Government is quite determined that even if the settlers were to be granted citizenship they would have to leave the State.

Though the Chakmas and Hajongs have continued to stay on in the state they have suffered immensely though they themselves did not volunteer to come to Arunachal Pradesh but were instead brought here as a matter of policy decision by the Indian government. The withdrawal of basic amenities like employment opportunities, termination of trade license and confiscation of ration cards have made it quite difficult for the refugees to survive. Faced with frequent quit notices issued by AAPSU and the Centre’s insincerity in finding out a long term solution, the refugees find themselves in the midst of uncertainty. But it’s a fact that the presence of Chakma-Hajong communities in the State is perceived as a potential threat to their indigenous tribal culture and traditions by the host tribal communities. Their apprehension is that the Chakma-Hajong refugees could in future emerge as a dominant political force. Such an eventuality would seal any prospects of their deportation. The indigenous people of their state are increasingly worried about the alleged gradual transfer of their land to the refugees. Although the refugees are also accused of encroaching on the reserved forest land

Besides all these elaborations, my personal observation is that, there are however primarily three sets of issues in favour of the refugees claiming their right to protection, if not citizenship:

First, the legal argument that the refugees need to be recognized as citizens is in consonance with the memorandum of understanding signed in 1972 between Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Mrs. Indira Gandhi.

Second, the Refugees supposed to have contributed to the enrichment of the economy in agricultural economy (Settled cultivation) of Arunachal Pradesh- research required herein….

Third, the issue of “Being Human’. While the identity of the indigenous people could be an issue in so far as it faces threat, this per se cannot in any way be an argument for depriving the Chakmas of their most basic right to life and liberty, which they are entitled to as human beings.

Therefore proposed actions to address the problems are at least of three major issues which have to be taken into consideration before any recommendation is attempted.  

First, it calls for a certain renegotiation of the federal relations between the Centre and the states. While the Central Government urges on the State Government to carry out what it considers as its ‘national’ responsibility, the State Government accuses the Central Government of having taken a ‘callous and indifferent attitude’ towards the ‘unanimous demand’ of the people of the State in terms of presumptions of allowing the Supreme court’s recent judgment of granting citizenship.

Secondly, we have to understand that there are limitations on what law and courts can deliver. They can and have perhaps done their best insofar as the refugee issue is concerned; but their decisions are hindered by the implementing authorities of the state for all the reason as spelled above. Options along the legal purview seem to have been exhausted.

Thirdly, the Civil society and may be including media in Arunachal Pradesh is highly fractured indiscriminately, polarized between two opposite facts. While a part of it gravitates around the Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh in seeing the UDHR and ICPCR, the other part or most of the mainstream society in Arunachal Pradesh looks upon the All-Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) as the torch bearer in correctly addressing this unfortunately grave and pertinent issue in today’s human civilization.

The current question of the Chakma and Hajong refugees in Arunachal Pradesh is rooted in the conflicts which emerged between the reactionary ruling blocs of India and Pakistan and, subsequently, Bangladesh, which engendered the expulsion of the Chakma and Hajong peoples from their traditional homelands. The Indian government violated the legal provisions which prohibit people from outside Arunachal Pradesh from even entering the state. Moreover it rode roughshod over the wishes of the indigenous tribal peoples of the state who at no time were consulted in the matter of the settlement of the refugees. A democratic solution to the problem has to be sought which satisfies the people of Arunachal Pradesh and which takes into full consideration the humanitarian requirements of the Chakma and Hajong peoples.

The crux of the problem lies in the fact that the rights claimed by the refugees come into conflict with the absolute rights of the indigenous tribes with a ‘distinct way of life’. It is only apparent and natural that further steps in this regard has to consider wider social acceptance so that it is viewed as acceptable by the contending parties. It is also essential that as per my understanding, one has to accept and realize that rights-based provisions may not necessarily be acceptable solutions. The question here is how does one set the ball rolling? One possible step in this regard is to organize a series of dialogues till one becomes successful because we just cannot afford to be unsuccessful in this relation which truly is going to be a long process. It is important that we organize dialogues with lower or middle-level leaders and that per se may be regarded as an achievement in an otherwise stalemated situation. It is suggested that these dialogues may be organized in a third venue presumably outside Arunachal Pradesh. (The Author is Assistant Professor in Department of Sociology, Rajiv Gandhi University, Arunachal Pradesh)

 

 

 

 

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---- Editorial ----

 

Green highways on offing

The launching of green highway policy by the government of India is a landmark step taken in the right direction. The ministry of road, transport and highway has started green highway policy to promote greening of Highway corridors with participation of farmers, private sector and government institutions. As per the policy, one per cent of the total project cost of all highways projects will be kept aside for the highway plantation and its maintenance. MoRTH will keep Rs 1000 crore per year for plantation purpose.

The green highway will not only make highways look beautiful but will also be environment friendly. In many hill areas especially in the states like Arunachal Pradesh every year due to the construction of new highways massive forest cover is lost. Also no effort is made to re-plant the trees, so that lost forest cover is recovered. One of the main reasons cited for declining of forest cover in the state is construction of highways and dams. Therefore keeping this in mind the launching of green highway policy will immensely benefit Arunachal Pradesh. The state government should properly implement this policy in the ongoing Trans-Arunachal highway work. Also it will help to provide employment opportunities to local youths. Further it is heartening to know that MoRTH will emphasize on the transparency during the implementation of this policy. They have also decided to use advance technology to monitor the plantation process.

 

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---- Readers Forum ----

 

Nepal should ensure secular and federal spirit

Dear Editor,

No words of praise are enough for Nepal for the secular federal elements that have been enshrined in the Constitution. With each passing day, the society of the world, barring few civilized countries of Europe and Down Under like Switzerland, Norway or New Zealand is increasingly getting Talibanised. Even in countries which officially swear by secularism and federalism, it is getting sadly witnessed how the deadly fangs of communalism and racism are rearing its ugly heads and federalism is getting ruthlessly assaulted in the name of “unity” and “integrity”. In this very pathetic perspective, awarding of due respect to all regions, races, languages and religions are the need of the hour to prevent the society from disintegration and the enlightened Nepal has rightly shown the path of harmony and the spirit of respect to all through its Constitution.  However an individual or a nation gets recognized by its deeds, not mere words.

As I have written, many officially secular countries are also displaying its vulgar face of communalism. So Nepal should ensure that the secular and federal spirit gets practically implemented also and I am sure that my Nepali cousins will translate all written noble words into reality as well.

Yours,

Kajal Chatterjee,

Kolkata

 

 

Sumo drivers, their dare  devilries and silent authorities

Dear Editor,

The recent news item about a Tata sumo plunging into Sipu river with passengers onboard is not only shocking but came across as an eye opener. In a way, it is a direct and terrible indictment on the apathy and carelessness of the transport department and the district administration as a whole, due to which these untamed and untrained sumo drivers are having a free run in the township and creating havoc on daily basis. For long, the authorities have turned a blind eye to the numerous complaints about these errant drivers who in most of the occasions are found in an inebriated condition, at times, even in the wee hours of morning. But due to the lack of any supervision over them from any authorities whatsoever, they take the lives of innocent citizens for granted. They are not aware of basic traffic rules like maintaining one’s own lane, giving way to the upcoming vehicles in hilly roads and using dipper at night as they have their own pre-set rules. Driving in and around Aalo has become a nightmare with these goons ruling the roost. Especially night driving poses grave danger and is life threatening, as they never use dipper. In this matter even the so called ‘educated’ private vehicle owners are to be blamed, as to lower the beam seems like lowering their head, it’s against their inflated egos. It’s like an infra dig for them, resulting many a times in road rage, brawling, and of course avoidable accidents. When confronted face-off, they would take refuge and shelter under some Association or the other and play ‘victim’ and the genuine sufferer and complainant would be cornered and intimidated. Outcome- they won’t learn any lessons and continue with their irresponsible and devil driving style, posing serious threats to the other fellow road users and pedestrians. They would drive covering the entire stretch of the road as if the roads are owned by them and the other road users are ‘lesser human beings’.

With the public transport system being the vital sector of a modern day society what is the transport department doing to revive it? If it can’t provide buses in all the routes, because of which these private sumos are operating, what is being done to ensure safety to the passengers comprising of students, patients and people from different walks of life, having official works in the state capital who depend on this sumo service on regular basis? Perhaps this is the reason there is mushrooming of so many Sumo Counters engaging inexperienced and under aged drivers who just take on the wheels for the sheer thrill of it, unmindful of the consequences and thus compromising with the passenger’s safety, or for that matter, overall people’s safety on the road. In fact the safety aspect is never talked about; it’s never in their priority list. The only and the only priority is to make fast bucks, as much as possible in short span of time. So what if the comfort and safety of the passengers right from an infant or toddler to an aged citizen is compromised. Passengers are mere statistics for them. It’s not that people love to travel in Sumos. But in the absence of any viable public transport, they are compelled to use sumo services. In fact, they don’t travel, they are just ‘transported’ like a herd of cows or goats. Herded together like animals, the only solace these passengers get is- ‘chalo, at least jaldi to pahunchta hai’ -but for this ‘speedy service’ sometimes they have to pay a price, as happened this time. In between Aalo and Likabali, vehicles, be it privately owned or APST buses, the sight of them crawling with overloaded luggage and consignment is a common sight. It’s hard to make out whether it’s a passenger vehicle or goods vehicle! How can these be overlooked by the authorities in the check gates or is there some other reason for this ‘oversight’?

Why is the transport department turning a blind eye to the behaviour and attitudes of these unruly drivers and the indifferent attitudes of the sumo counter owners?  It is reported that drivers in most cases are overworked as a driver who has just returned to Aalo plying as a ‘night super’ from Itanagar is again asked to go back as ‘day super’. What is the logic behind sending a sleep deprived person back again, who has driven the whole night in such a long and tedious stretch?  It’s a serious breach of trust as far as the safety aspect of the passengers is concerned.

We are afraid, with the CC roads coming up in the township and near completion, more accidental deaths and road mishaps will be inevitable if corrective measures are not taken by the authorities concerned. Already bunches of unruly bikers are a headache for the law abiding citizens here, the way they zig zag through the Aalo roads.

Will the authorities do something to contain this, before it gets too late and more innocent lives are lost? Is any steps being taken up to supervise them and impart at least the basic rules of traffic, traffic signage and road manners to these newly engaged drivers? On what criteria are they getting the driving licences, have they been tested properly in their driving skills? With the instances of drunken and rash driving on the rise, is the authorities mooting with an idea to place proposals to acquire breath analyser to measure the amount of alcohol in a driver for effective tackling of this menace?  It is an open secret that these drivers gulp down alcohol throughout the journey till the final stoppage.

Coming to the point, what steps are being taken or contemplated so that such incidents do not recur or will the transport department just be a bystander and shrug off their responsibility ? Time to ponder! Is anyone from the helm of affairs listening ?  We sincerely hope so!

Yours,

Raja Jini

Geken Doji

Yoji -Jemen Colony, Aalo

 

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----Editor

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