Hello and welcome to the third episode of NorthEast in a Nutshell. From snowfall in Sikkim, Manipur and Nagaland and unusually low temperatures in Assam to political battles in Manipur, we bring to you all that made headlines this week.

Please note that 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 Assam: 

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday announced that the state government would organise two international symposiums in New Delhi and Mumbai and produce a documentary on the life and works of Ahom General Lachit Barphukan to mark his 400th birth anniversary this year.

The government will also take steps for developing the ‘maidam’ (burial ground) of Lachit Borphukan at Jorhat, Sarma said, urging the All Tai Ahom Students’ Union (ATASU) to help in arranging 50 bighas of land for the purpose.

Villagers adjacent to the Kakoijana reserve forest in Assam’s Bongaigaon district have opposed the state government’s decision to earmark the area as a wildlife sanctuary as they believe it will take away their rights.

The forest is home to the golden langur (Trachypithecus geei), characterised by its striking golden orange pelage and found only in Assam and Bhutan, which is listed in the “world’s 25 most-endangered primates”.

“We consider some of the areas inside the forest as sacred and its sanctity should be maintained. The joint forest management committee in the surrounding villages are doing a good job in protecting the forest and have an intricate relation with the forest,” the villagers said in a memorandum.

An amount of Rs 99,999 fetched by a kilo of specialty tea last year in Assam, the highest auction price fetched by any tea in the country, was donated by the sellers to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund on Friday. The managing director of Manohari Tea Estate, Rajan Lohia, handed over a cheque of that value to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. 

‘Manohari Gold’, produced by Manohari Tea Estate, had sold for Rs 99,999 at Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GTAC) on December 14 last year.

The Gauhati High Court has, in a landmark judgment delivered on Friday, upheld the constitutionality of the law passed by the Assam Assembly in 2020 to convert state-funded or provincialised madrassas into general educational institutions.

The High Court upheld the constitutional validity of the Assam Repealing Act 2020 which repealed the Assam Madrassa Education (Provincialisation) Act, 1995 and the Assam Madrassa Education (Provincialisation of Services of Employees and Re-Organisation of Madrassa Educational Institutions) Act, 2018. “The madrassas in question, which are ‘wholly maintained out of state funds’, cannot impart religious instructions in terms of the mandate of Article 28 (1) of the Constitution of India,” the Court observed.

Onto Arunachal Pradesh now: 

Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein in the presence of NABARD chairman G R Chintala and MLAs Chau Zingnu Namchoom and Jummum Ete Deori launched a NABARD-sponsored integrated tribal development project under the tribal development fund here on Friday.

The project, which will directly benefit 200 tribal families by enhancing their livelihood supports through sustainable and participatory livelihood programmes, is being implemented by Namsai Organic Spice and Agricultural Products (NOSAAP) Producer Co. Ltd.

Biri Takar, a 21-year-old para-shuttler from Arunachal Pradesh has created history by becoming the first para-athlete from the northeastern state to represent India in an international badminton event.

A native of Rakso village in Kra Daadi district, Takar is among the 42 shuttlers selected by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) to compete at the Spanish Para Badminton International-II. The competition is scheduled to begin from February 27 at Zabalgana in Spain. 

Takar, who is currently pursuing his Master’s in Communication at Rajiv Gandhi University, was among the top 8 shuttlers (out of more than 580) from the country to be qualified for the Spanish Para Badminton International-II during the national championships held at Bhubaneswar, Odisha, in December last year.

The Indian teenager who was allegedly abducted by the Chinese army from Arunachal Pradesh was reunited with his family, an official said on Tuesday.

Indian Army reunited Miram Taron with his parents at a function in Tuting in Upper Siang district on Monday evening, district Deputy Commissioner Shaswat Saurabh said.

Miram’s father Opang Taron said his son was mentally exhausted as the whole incident scared him.

He was tied and blindfolded while in the custody of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) for more than a week, the father alleged.

“He is still in shock. He was kicked in the back and given a mild electric shock initially. He was kept blindfolded most of the time and his hands were tied during captivity. They untied him only when it was time to eat or relieve himself. But, they provided him with adequate food,” Opang Taron told reporters at the function.

Onto Manipur now, which is in the midst of electoral fever: 

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Saturday filed his nomination from the Heingang assembly constituency for the upcoming state assembly election. State BJP chief A Sarda Devi accompanied him along with other party workers at the Imphal East DC office.

Senior Naga People’s Front (NPF) leader W Morung Makunga of Tengnoupal constituency on Tuesday tendered his resignation from the primary membership of the party after his name did not feature in the list of 10 candidates selected for the upcoming Manipur assembly polls.

As per reliable sources, Makunga joined the Indian National Congress on Wednesday after he was invited by the party.

Upset over preference to turncoats in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate lists, many BJP members erupted in protest across Manipur on Sunday. Angry workers in constituencies with many ticket seekers ransacked offices, pulled down party flags and banners and set them ablaze. However, no untoward incidents were reported at major offices of the party in the state capital and district headquarters, which were put under an unprecedented security cover. In a video that went viral, a cow with its head on a BJP flag was slaughtered by some villagers in a protest against the denial of BJP tickets for the ensuing Manipur Assembly Election.

And not to be left behind, protestors also burnt the Naga People’s Front (NPF) Party flag in Manipur’s Tengnoupal district, hours after the party announced it would contest ten seats in the upcoming Manipur Legislative Assembly elections next month. The list includes two former Congress leaders who recently joined the party.

And now, Meghalaya: 

Expressing concern over the killing of civilians in Nagaland last year, NPP MP Agatha Sangama demanded the Centre to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from the Northeastern states. The Meghalaya MP raised the issue of repeal of AFPSA while participating in the discussion on Motion of Thanks to President’s Address.

The Meghalaya government has enhanced the upper age limit for general candidates to 32 years and to 37 years for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes for entering the state government services, officials said here on Friday.

Governor Satya Pal Malik in a notification on Thursday gave nod to the decision made by the Meghalaya government relaxing the upper age limits in the two categories instead of 27 years earlier, the official said.

In a major development in the IED blast that took place on January 30 at Khyndailad in Shillong, the Meghalaya police said it has arrested all the four involved in the case.

Sangma informed that the people arrested are supporters and sympathisers of the banned militant outfit HNLC. 

And now, Mizoram: 

The Mizoram government has lifted a ban on import of pigs and pig products after 17 months. The order issued on Monday said that the import of pigs and pig products has been allowed to some extent as the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) is more or less contained. No new case of ASF has been reported since January this year, the official said. Imports of pigs and pig products had been banned since August 17, 2020.

Mizoram Rajya Sabha member K. Vanlalvena has urged the Centre to raise the number and improve the status of Hindi teachers in the Northeast region, an official statement said during zero hour of the on-going budget session on Friday. K.Vanlalvena raised the issue of shortage of Hindi teachers in the Northeast and the need to improve their status, the statement said. He informed the house that as many as 855 posts of Hindi teachers have been sanctioned and appointed under Samagra Shiksha scheme in Mizoram apart from the existing 384 Hindi teachers in high schools and 724 Hindi teachers in middle schools.

And now, onto Nagaland: 

The Nagaland police registered 27 cases over illicit liquor and arrested at least 29 persons from across the state in one week.

As part of the state-wide crackdown to combat the menace of widespread availability and usage of synthetic drugs and psychotropic substances and Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), the state police registered a total of 35 cases and arrested 37 persons from January 18-24 as part of its measures to crack down on anti-social elements and activities. It may be mentioned that  the liquor total prohibition Act has been in force since 1989 in Nagaland. 

Chairman of the NSCN-IM, Q Tuccu, claimed that the destiny of the Naga political issue lies in the hands of the group. Speaking on the occasion of the group’s 43rd Raising Day celebration at Camp Hebron, Tuccu said, “Let me make it very loud and clear that Naga’s political destiny is in the hands of NSCN.”  He told the cadres that they should not be “caught napping”, advising them to continue to defend their rights.

The Nagaland Board of School Education (NBSE) notified that the board examinations for Class X & XII will be held offline in March.

The HSLC examination will begin on March 9 and continue till March 22 while the HSSLC examination will begin on March 8 and continue till March 31. The HSLC and HSSLC Examination 2022 examination routines have also been uploaded on the board’s portal.

And now, Sikkim: 

Many parts of Sikkim and adjoining North Bengal received fresh snowfall following which temperature plummeted across the Himalayan and Dooars regions, the MeT Department said on Saturday. Snowfall and incessant rainfall were witnessed in the upper reaches of Gangtok and its surrounding areas, Ralang and Ravangla in South Sikkim, Okhray, Hilley and Barsey in West Sikkim and many areas of North Sikkim on Friday and early on Saturday.

A 23-year-old woman from Sikkim died by suicide in Kolkata. According to the police, the woman left a suicide note, alleging her live-in partner made her take the step. The deceased has been identified as Chimila Bhutia (23) of Upper Syari, Gangtok East Sikkim and was working for a cosmetic company in Kolkata.

And finally, Tripura: 

A BSF constable was injured when some suspected ganja smugglers pelted jawans with stones in South Tripura district on Friday, a senior officer of the paramilitary force said.

However, cannabis worth Rs 1.25 lakh was seized from the spot as the accused fled leaving behind the consignment. The incident took place when the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel were carrying out an operation in Rangamura near the India-Bangladesh border, he said.

Veteran CPI(M) leader and former Speaker of Tripura Legislative Assembly Ramendra Chandra Debnath died of kidney failure in Kolkata, a party leader said here on Wednesday. He was 66 and is survived by wife, son and daughters.


Voiceover: Rifa Deka

Script: Amit Kumar

Editor: Nitunjay Borah 

Also listen to: Northeast in a Nutshell: Episode 02

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