Hello and Welcome to Northeast in a Nutshell, EastMojo.com’s weekly wrap up all things Northeast. From the death of migratory birds in Tripura to the Assam meghalaya border issue reaching a conclusion, we will recap all stories that made the headlines from the region this week. Every story we mention will be hyperlinked in the show notes and can be read on our website. And with that, onto the states now. 

We start with Arunachal Pradesh:  

Tension flared up over road construction on a disputed stretch of Assam-Arunachal border at Gogamukh in Dhemaji district, after locals objected to a rural road being built by a contractor of the Arunachal Pradesh government, leading to violence, officials here said on Thursday.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, at a press conference in Guwahati said the deputy commissioners of Dhemaji and Lakhimpur have been directed to sort out the problem through discussions with their counterparts in Arunachal Pradesh.

The incident took place at Hime Basti area under Assam’s Gogamukh police station on Wednesday evening, a senior official said.

Asserting that Arunachalee youth Miram Taron had “illegally entered Chinese territory”, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has asked its Indian counterpart to “enhance its personnel management and control in the border region”.

The reaction from the PLA comes a few hours after it handed over Taron to the Indian Army on Thursday.

“We urge the Indian side to strictly abide by the bilateral protocols and agreements, enhance personnel management and control, and practically safeguard the normal order in the border region,” Senior Colonel Long Shaohua, a spokesperson at the Chinese PLA Western Theater Command was quoted as saying by the Global Times, a state-affiliated media outlet of China.

Medog County is located southeast of Xizang (Tibet Autonomous Region) and at the lower branch of Yarlung Tsangpo River (Siang in Arunachal and Brahmaputra in Assam). China, being China, of course claims Arunachal to be a part of South Tibet and therefore a part of China.

Honouring India’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Late General Bipin Rawat, the Arunachal Government has decided to rename the Walong-Kibithu stretch after him.

Arunachal CM Pema Khandu tweeted earlier on Wednesday making the announcement on Twitter. “General Bipin Rawat Ji will always be remembered for his extraordinary contribution in bolstering India’s defence. In his honour, the Walong-Kibithu road in Arunachal will be named after him, where he rendered his valuable service as Commanding Officer of 5/11 Gorkha Rifles,” Khandu wrote in a tweet. 

And now, Assam:  

Assam reported 2,861 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, 3,677 less than the previous day, and 21 more deaths, pushing the tally to 7,11,391, according to the bulletin issued by the National Health Mission.

The positivity rate in the state also declined to 6.96 per cent as against the previous day’s 8.28 per cent with the 41,134 samples tested during the day as against 44,389 samples on Thursday.

A total of 246 militants of United Gorkha People’s Organisation (UGPO) and Tiwa Liberation Army (TLA) formally surrendered before Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma here on Thursday.

Welcoming the 169 UGPO and 77 TLA insurgents into the mainstream, Sarma said that two more Bru-Reang militant outfits in Barak Valley will lay down arms in February.

Alarmed over the death of a 35-year-old man in a paragliding accident at the Skyland resort situated inside the eco-sensitive zone of Dibru Saikhowa National Park, the deputy commissioner of Tinsukia on Thursday ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.

Meanwhile, in order to ensure safety and security of all visitors, DC Tinsukia Narsing Pawar has also suspended all activities at Skyland resort until further orders.

Assam and Meghalaya have, so far, managed to make excellent progress on the border issue, but one issue may throw a spanner in the works. As many as 11 vaishnavite places of worship located along the Assam-Meghalaya inter-state boundary are likely to be handed over to Meghalaya which has raised serious concerns of the vaishnavite people of the state.

Under the “give-and-take” policy, the Assam government is planning to hand over 18.29 sq km of land to Meghalaya out of 36 sq km of disputed land along the boundaries of both the neighbouring states.

The body of a PhD research scholar was found under mysterious circumstances at IIT Guwahati.

Odisha-based Prakash Kumar Arukha’s body was found in his room at the Kapili Hostel.

Onto Manipur, which will witness elections later this year: 

Khumukhcham Joykisan Singh, the MLA from Thangmeiband constituency, joined the Janata Dal (United) following his suspension from the Congress party on Wednesday.   

Although an official announcement is yet to be made, Singh announced that he had joined JDU at his residence at Thangmeiband in the presence of Lok Sabha MP-cum-JDU Manipur election in-charge Ramprit Mandal.

Decorated Indian woman boxer and Olympian Sarjubala Devi has decided to enter the professional arena and has signed a deal with leading Indian boxing promoter Mujtaba Kamal and Grassroot Boxing Promotions and Management in Imphal.

The 28-year-old Manipuri, a silver medallist in the 2014 AIBA World Boxing Championship in Korea and a former Youth World Boxing gold medallist, will be making her professional boxing debut on February 26 in Dubai.

And now, over to Meghalaya: 

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Friday said the Cabinet has discussed the amendment of the Sixth Schedule and has decided on the proposal of the number of seats in the Autonomous District Councils and the formation of village councils. Sangma informed that after thorough consultation and discussion with all different stakeholders, including the District Councils, the state government has made the proposal accordingly.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday said his government has laid the foundation for the state to become one of the top 10 states in the country in the next 10 years.Unfurling the Tricolour on the occasion of the 73rd Republic Day at the Polo ground here, he said the state with 3.8 million people need to grow together with the rest of the NE states and present to the world one North East market like the European Union.

And now, Mizoram

Hmangaihzuali, the daughter of a smallholder farmer in Mizoram, is among five successful recipients of a scholarship for admission to the prestigious Asian University for Women (AUW) in Bangladesh. Global agriculture firm Syngenta said in a statement that the $375,000 (Rs 2.8 cr) scholarship will cover tuition, room and board, health coverage, textbooks, and supplies along with the possibility of internship opportunities from Syngenta. 

Mizoram reported 2,064 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the second highest single-day spike ever, taking the state’s tally to 1,67,725, a health department official said. On Tuesday, the state reported the highest single-day spike ever as 2,222 people had tested positive for the infection, he said. The death toll remains at 591 as no fatality was reported for the second consecutive day since Thursday. 

On to Tripura now: 

More than 100 migratory birds from California in the United States have been found dead in Sukhsagar, a sprawling lake in Tripura’s Gomati district, forest officers said on Friday. The carcasses were found floating on the lake, they said. Another forest officer, on condition of anonymity, said that poachers might have poisoned the water body with pesticides, and the migratory birds, which have been coming from California for the last one decade, might have died after consuming the water.

Leader of Opposition and senior CPI-M leader Manik Sarkar on Monday criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for their speech on the 50th statehood day of Tripura in which they praised the rule of the erstwhile kings. Sarkar said the prime minister had in his speech not only highlighted the regime of the Manikya rulers in the state but also undermined the role of democratic movements in Tripura. The prime minister insulted the democratic movement of the people by being silent on the subject of democratic movements in Tripura, Sarkar said. 

And finally, Sikkim: 

Sikkim’s Thangka artist Khandu Wangchuk Bhutia was awarded with the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, for his contribution to the art form. Hailing from Sakyong in West Sikkim, the 65-year-old had his formal education from Government Senior Secondary School in Pelling and at Namchi Senior Secondary School till the 7th grade. After his formal education, he was ordained into monastic life at the Pemayangtse monastery. Once in the monastery, he took up Thangka painting as a profession. Khandu Wangchuk has a won a series of awards for his art, beginning with the 1981 National Award (Handicrafts) in Thangka painting, the Bharat Excellence as part of the Friendship Forum of India in 2001 and Kala Nidhi at the Surajkund fair in Haryana in 2006.

In a big blow to the Sikkim Democratic Front party, as 42 of their party cadres resigned, including former deputy speaker Sonam G. Lepcha, former minister Dawcho Lepcha, SDF spokesperson Prashant Babu Chettri and south district vice president Ganesh Rai.

The team, led by Ganesh Rai, who has been vocal against both the SDF party and SKM government since 2019 by-polls in Namchi, held a press conference today to declare that “they will be floating a political party in 2022 with an eye on 2024 elections.

And with that, we come to an end to the second episode of NorthEast In a Nutshell. Do not forget to tune in next Saturday. Until then, mask up!


Voiceover and script: Amit Kumar

Editor: Nitunjay Borah 

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