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Mizoram gears up for assembly election

Correspondent, Aizwal, September 16, 2013: Northeastern Mizoram state is gearing up for the forthcoming assembly elections for 40 seats. Mizoram Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ashwini Kumar said that every preparation according to the guidance of the Election Commission of India is being done so that a successful election can be conducted in November.

“We have trying our best to make it a success. So far training of state- and district-level officials, checking of electronic voting machines among other works are being done. We have also appraised the political parties regarding the Election Commission guidelines,” said Ashwini Kumar.

He also said that some new methods like restriction on the election campaign and strategic deployment of security would be taken up to ensure free and fair polls in the state.

Another major action to be taken ahead of the elections is to seal the international border with Myanmar and Bangladesh. The poll panel has fixed Rs.8 lakh as the maximum limit for election expenses to be incurred by individual candidates during polls.

Naga council starts from Oct 12

Correspondent, Kohima, September 16, 2013: The newly formed Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) with 14 aboriginal tribes of the state of the state will come into existence from October 12 this year which was decided after a consultative meeting of representatives from the member tribes in Dimapur town recently.

The NTC constitution which was adopted on June 22, 2013 says, “The member tribes shall consist of the aboriginal Naga tribes of the state of Nagaland... Any other Tribes born out of re-organisation of the Aboriginal Naga Tribes of Nagaland and as approved by the Nagaland Tribes Council and so notified by the State Government of Nagaland.”

It is a forum which will represent the Nagas of Nagaland and raise their genuine problems to find out an appropriate solution.

Meghalaya CM against new states

Correspondent, Shillong, Sept 13: Even as the agitators demanding for bifurcation of Meghalaya, its chief minister has strongly denied any chances of it. There have been a demand for two separate states - Khasi and Garo and even the protestors have called for a shut down on Thursday for the issue.

“Further division of the state of Meghalaya is impossible as far as I'm concerned. There is only a bunch of people who are asking for this (statehood),” Sangma said talking to reporters in Shillong.

He also condemned the act of violence of agitators who had destroyed public property in the name of democratic agitation. “Your agitation in democratic way is accepted for every reason but when you destroy public property, it is no more a democratic agitation. You do not have the right to do so,” he said.

At least 13 protestors were arrested by police including the general secretary of the Garo Hills State Movement Committee Augustine R Marak when a group of statehood demand activists stormed the office of the deputy commissioner in Tura. Normal life was partially affected in the entire five Garo Hills districts in view of the indefinite shutdown called by the pro-statehood activists.

Mizoram in top 5 in IDU affected HIV

Correspondent, Aizwal, September 13: Even as the northeast region has shown a decline in HIV infection due to Intravenous Drug Users (IDU), Mizoram is otherwise according to the HIV Sentinel Surveillance, 2010-11 conducted by the Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare.

Mizoram has been regarded as one of the top five states in the country which have the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS among IDU. This was came to light during a conference on Engaging the Faith Based Organisations in Drug Use and HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment & Care, organised jointly by the UNODC and the World Vision in Aizwal.

Meanwhile, the highest HIV infection in the state was due to sexual contact.

Media workshop on conflict reporting

Correspondent, Guwahati, September 13, 2013: Several important issues of Armed Conflict Reporting and International Humanitarian Law were discussed during a day-long media workshop on the subject of armed conflict reporting and humanitarian law organized at the National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam (NLUJA). 

The day-long workshop was organized jointly in collaboration with International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), NLUJA and Journalists' Forum Assam (JFA). The programme was aimed at providing vital 
information to the working journalists of the region. Over 50 working journalist from different parts of Assam and Manipur participated in the workshop. 

ICRC Communication Coordinator Marek Resich explained the ICRC mandate and mission before the participants and narrated the role played by International body during conflict situation around the world. 
Communication and Political advisor ICRC Surinder Singh Oberoi said that safety should be priority for the journalists while covering conflict situations.

Gurjeet Singh, Vice Chancellor of NLUJA highlighted the importance of International Humanitarian Law and role of media in changing the fate of society. Besides, Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, Additional Director 
General of Police of Assam, Benjamin Warhren, Deputy Head of ICRC, Regional Delegation for South Asia, Renuka Devi Barkataki, Chairperson, of Indian Red Cross (Assam branch), senior journalist DN Chakraborty were also present on the occasion among others. 

Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, who attended the workshop as Chief Guest, criticized the sensational ways adopted by local television channels to create confusion among the viewers.

Press Council team meets Assam CM on safety

Correspondent, Guwahati, September 12, 2013: A subcommittee of Press Council of India (PCI) on safety of journalists met Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi and urged upon him to do all the necessary steps to ensure safety and security to the working journalists in the state.

The six member team lead by K Amarnath also requested the CM to clear all the cases of crimes committed against the journalists and said that out of 24 cases of journalist killings in the state since 1991, in 22 cases, the police investigations did not make any headway.

CM in replay said that he is trying to do everything to ensure safety and also said of creating corpus funds.

CM also requested the PCI subcommittee to have a look at some of the sensational news telecast by electronic media which can have an ill effect in the society.

13 lakh land titles given to tribals

PIB, New Delhi, September 12, 2013  A total of 13,09,424 individual and community titles were distributed to the eligible claimants under The Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers ( Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 by the end of July 2013. 16,207 more titles are ready for distribution. This is 86.70% of the total claims received by the government.  

Highest number of 3,20,910 titles have been distributed in Odisha followed by Chhatisgarh (2,15,443 titles) and Madhya Pradesh (1,75,941 titles).

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has brought about appropriate changes in the Rules and issued guidelines to ease out the problems and hindrances encountered in the implementation of the Act and to provide unencumbered access to rights already conferred by the Act.

Progress of implementation of the Act is being reviewed in the meetings held with the concerned State Governments and Union Territory Administrations periodically. During these meetings, the State Governments are being directed to implement the Act as per an action plan in a time bound manner and to make special efforts to create awareness about community rights so that more claims are filed and recognized.  

During this year, a two-day regional consultation was held at Ranchi on July 30 to review the status of implementation of the Act in the Left Wing Extremism affected States.

Assam CM for refugee status to victims of persecution

Correspondent, Guwahati, September 11, 2013: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi advocated for providing refugee status to all the people who were forced to leave Bangladesh due to religious persecution. Talking to reporters at the secretariat on Tuesday, he said that the state government would take the issue with the centre for an early solution.

 “I think the people who have entered Assam illegally from Bangladesh due to religious compulsion and those who were compelled to leave the country should be given refugee status,” said Gogoi. He, however, added that it will not include all those who entered the state illegally for other reasons.

He said that after having talks with the centre a timeframe for the same can be sorted out. “Let the centre agree to the proposal on principal. We could work out the details including the timeframe and modalities later on,” he said adding that the issue was raised earlier with the centre and it also features in the party election manifesto.

“Those persons who were subsequently compelled to leave their homes due to persecution, atrocities and insecurity of life and property deserve humanitarian consideration,” he said.

It may be mentioned here that the BJP had also been demanding refugee status for the Hindu migrants who entered Assam and other parts of the country during and immediately after the Bangladesh liberation war in 1971.

However, the All Assam Students' Union (Aasu), who had led the six-year long historical Assam movement, demands that illegal migrants came to Assam after the cut-off date of March 24, 1971 should be deported.

Free cleft lip and palate surgery in Nagaland

Correspondent, Kohima, September 10, 2013: Elite group of surgeons from Shija Hospital of Imphal will perform corrective surgery for cleft lip and palate from September 12 and 15 at Oking Hospital and Research Centre in Kohima.

The main objective of Mission Nagaland Smile Train Camp is to reach out to the children all over the State who are suffering due to lack of proper information and awareness, transportation, accommodations and other financial constraints.

According to a rough estimate there are more than 2500 cases in Nagaland who remain hidden due to social issues and misconceptions as sources informed. It also said that children suffering with unrepaired
clefts cannot eat or speak properly and are denied the right to attend schools or hold a job.

The mission will provide and sponsor free treatment and other medical requirements to the patients along with free diagnostic facilities, speech therapy, free counselling and rehabilitation services as according to the information.

The mission in Nagaland comprised of the Smile Train incorporated USA, Shija Hospitals and Research Institute Imphal, Oking Hospital Kohima Nagaland, Explore Nagaland (NGO) from Kohima Nagaland and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) Nagaland.

Triprua state tops in literacy chart in India

Correspondent, Agartala, September 9, 2013: Tripura left behind Kerala in all literacy campaign in India. With 94.65 percent literates the state now tops in the country.

Manik Sarkar, Chief Minister of this northeastern state, announced the achievement at the programme to commemorate International Literacy Day in state capital Agartala.

He declared all out measures have been taken to make Tripura fully literate. Chief Minister congratulated state literacy mission and concerned officials for the success in sate with 3.7million people.  

The elevation of the state assumes significance after it suffered from tribal insurgency and ethnic tension for two decades.

Kerala has 93.91 percent and another northeastern state Mizoram has 88.80 percent in literacy chart.