EastMojo Podcast
Credit: Illustration by Deepjyoti

Hello and welcome to the Fourth episode of Northeast in a Nutshell. From Assam Meghalaya border issue landing in a controversy over places of worship to Nagaland being declared moderately-hit drought state, here are the region’s top stories: 

To begin with, even in the 21st century, there are still states in this part of the country with police stations that do not have telephones. 371 police stations don’t have telephones and 43 of them don’t even have mobiles or wireless devices or connectivity in the Northeast. The statistics were revealed in the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee report on Home Affairs on ‘Police-Training, Modernisation and Reforms’, tabled in the Parliament on Thursday.

Now Assam:

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has assured the Tata group of companies that the state government would provide all necessary help to transform technical institutes of Assam to technology hubs under their innovative project ‘Transforming Engineering Academia to Industry 4.0’.

In a meeting with senior executives of the Tata group on up-gradation of state’s ITIs and polytechnics to Centres of Excellence, the chief minister assured that the state government will provide required space and all other support to introduce state of the art curriculum in all 75 technical institutes of the state, where more than 9,000 students will get trained simultaneously on latest engineering skills.

The Gauhati High Court on Thursday granted the counsel appearing for the Assam government one week’s time to file a rejoinder against the affidavit submitted in the court last Tuesday against alleged fake encounters by Assam Police since May last year.

Advocate General Devajit Saikia, appearing for the state government, sought one week’s time to file the rejoinder against the affidavit filed on Tuesday, which was granted by the Court. The court has fixed February 21 as the next date of hearing. New Delhi-based advocate Arif Jwadder, who had filed the PIL, mentioned that 80 such encounters have taken place in the state since May 2021, resulting in 28 deaths and leaving 48 injured.

A delegation of five student organisations of the state, which visited the Assam-Meghalaya border on February 6 and 8, has urged both Assam and Meghalaya not to ‘forcefully’ send 70 per cent of villagers in the disputed Boklapara sector to Meghalaya as part of an agreement between two state governments over dividing land along the inter-state boundary.

A high-level delegation of All Assam Students Union (AASU), Garo Students Union- Assam State Zone (GSU-ASZ), All Bodo Students Union (ABSU), All Rabha Students Union (ARSU), All Assam Gorkha Students Union (AAGSU) took stock of the situation at Boklapara, one of the disputed areas under West Guwahati constituency in Kamrup district on February 8.

Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said that 762 Personal Security Officers (PSOs) who were attached to politicians and important personalities in the state have been withdrawn in the recent past.

On the advice of the Security Advisory Committee, set up to review threat perceptions, people belonging to different political parties and others have given up their PSOs without objection, the chief minister said while addressing mediapersons here.

And now, onto Meghalaya:

Irked with the NPP-led MDA government accepting the support of 5 Congress MLAs, its alliance partner BJP has expressed disappointment and has decided to write to the chief minister seeking his clarification.

State BJP leaders on Friday sent their feedback to the Central leaders concerning this issue. Meghalaya BJP state president Ernest Mawrie said the meeting has been called regarding the recent political development. Earlier this week, Meghalaya kicked a political hailstorm after Congress MLAs joined the BJP-backed Meghalaya Democratic Alliance. 

The Meghalaya government has welcomed banned militant outfit HNLC’s offer for peace talks.

Following a meeting with senior officials, deputy chief minister and home minister, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said his government welcomes the offer. The government has also received an official letter from the HNLC confirming the same, and said they would need interlocutors with experience to address the issue. 

IIM Shillong completed its final placements for the 2020-22 batch, which saw participation from 70+ recruiters, and achieved a 100% placement record for the largest batch since its inception.

The average CTC of the batch stood at 23.10 lakh per annum, while the median CTC for the batch increased by 27.35% to INR 22.28 lakh per annum. 

And now, Manipur: 

The Election Commission of India on Thursday issued revised dates for the upcoming Manipur elections to be held in two phases.

The first phase of polls will now be held on February 28 and the second phase is scheduled for March 5. The earlier dates were February 27 and March 3, which were later changed after several organisations and individuals, including All Manipur Christian Organisation (AMCO) and All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM), expressed disappointment with the first phase of the polls falling on a Sunday and had urged the authorities to revise the date.

A grenade was hurled at an NPP polling booth at Khabeisoi in the Imphal East district of Manipur. The incident occurred around 8:30 pm on Friday, injuring a few people. No casualties were reported. 

​​The National People’s Party (NPP) has alleged that several militant organisations are openly campaigning for ruling BJP in Manipur and has demanded adequate security cover for its candidates in the coming Assembly poll in that state, party spokesperson said. The NPP, itself an ally of the ruling BJP for the last five years in Manipur, has also urged the authorities to push back all militants in the state to their camps and seize all arms from them for a free and fair election.

On to Mizoram now

State Home Minister Lalchamliana said the Mizoram government  is currently undertaking a census of Myanmar nationals who took refuge in the state after fleeing their homes following the military coup in February last year. He added that the government will issue identity cards to all the Myanmar nationals who took refuge in Mizoram due to the current political crisis in their country.

Days after the CMO and the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) denied allegations linking Mizoram chief minister to a trader from Assam accused of smuggling areca nuts from Myanmar, the BJP on Wednesday claimed that the man was part of the state’s team at the dinner meeting of chief ministers Zoramthanga and Himata Biswa Sarma in Delhi in November.

Newly appointed Director General of Police (DGP) Devesh Chandra Srivastava took charge as Mizoram police head on Wednesday. He replaced the incumbent 1988 batch IPS officer, SBK Singh, who was transferred to Delhi. The 1995 batch IPS officer of AGMUT cadre was appointed as DGP and transferred to Mizoram by the Union Home Ministry on January 10.He had been posted as Special CP, Economic Offence Wing in Delhi Police before he was transferred to Mizoram.

The Mizoram Merchants’ Association (MIMA), an umbrella body of 23 trader associations in the state, asked the state government to revise the existing Covid-19 guidelines to allow shops to open on a daily basis under strict adherence to Covid-19 Appropriate Behaviour in all parts of the state irrespective of those areas declared as ‘red-zone’. The Association also demanded a relief package to compensate for their loss if the government fails to allow them to open their shops daily.

And now Nagaland

After clinching a silver medal in the men’s athletic physique category at the 13th Mr India championship in January, 26-year-old bodybuilder Keneilelie Sorünuo from Nagaland will be representing the state at the 11th Federation Cup National Championship 2022 to be held at Gangtok in Sikkim next month.

In view of the killings that took place in Nagaland’s Mon district on December 4-5 last year, a round table tripartite talk was held between the Konyak civil society organizations (CSOs), Assam Rifles (AR) and the Mon district administration on Monday at the DC Conference Hall in Mon. The Konyak civil societies included the Konyak Union (KU), Konyak Nyupuh Sheko Khong (KNSK) and the Konyak Students’ Union (KSU).

Twenty-three-year-old Kezhaseluo Pienyü from Kohima Village on Monday emerged as the wrestling champion of the Northern Angami Sports Association (NASA) sports meet in the senior category held at the Kohima local ground. 

Naga People’s Front (NPF) Legislature party leader TR Zeliang was on Tuesday appointed chairman of Nagaland’s opposition-less government – United Democratic Alliance (UDA). Since the demise of CM Chang, who was then serving as the minister of environment, forest and climate change, justice and law, in October 2020, the seat has remained vacant. Nagaland became an opposition-less government last year on the pretext of the Naga political issue. 

Ahead of the 2023 Assembly polls in Nagaland, the state’s opposition-less government is set to make it’s “last push” to the Naga peace talks. Chairman of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) TR Zeliang on Wednesday reiterated the purpose behind the formation of an all-party alliance.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio is all set to campaign for candidates of Naga People’s Front (NPF) party for the upcoming Manipur Assembly polls. 

Government spokesperson and Minister Neiba Kronu informed that the chief minister will be heading to Manipur for the campaign. 

Abu Metha, advisor to the chief minister of Nagaland, announced that a new center of excellence for music and arts will be inaugurated in Kohima this year. Metha made the announcement during the inaugural ceremony of the Masterclass of Microphone technology, sound and wireless system organised by the Task Force for Music and Arts (TaFMA) on Friday at the Regional Centre of Excellence for Music and Arts (RCEMPA) at Jotsoma under Kohima district.

And on to Arunachal Pradesh now

Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh, is all set to become the 32nd city of the country to boast a sub-office of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which is expected to start functioning later this year, would be leveraging its operations, especially in financial inclusion, besides carrying out literacy and awareness programmes.

A middle-aged man was arrested by the police for alleged sexual assault of a minor girl in the absence of her parents in Arunachal’s Lower Dibang Valley district. The Roing Childline received an emergency call informing them that a child had been sexually abused. Soon after, the Childline team and local police rushed to conduct a rescue operation. The accused has confessed to his crime and has been arrested under sections 6 and 10 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).

A POCSO court in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh sentenced a 35-year-old man from Assam to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment for repeatedly raping his 14-year-old stepdaughter. He had raped the girl thrice between March 2020 and April 2021 in three different locations in Kelengteng village in Lungla police station area and near Sangetsar Lake in Tawang district when the survivor, a student of Taksang residential school, returned home.

Arunachal Pradesh Governor B D Mishra and Chief Minister Pema Khandu have condoled the death of the seven soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty in Tawang sector.

Itanagar Municipal Corporation (IMC) Mayor Tame Phassang on Thursday asked the executing agencies concerned to expedite construction work on Packages B and C (Papu Nallah to Banderdewa) of the 4-lane national highway (NH-415) without further delay. Expressing resentment over the delay, Mayor Phassang also appealed to the state government to blacklist firms that are unable to carry out the works despite winning the bids for the same.

Dreams of Chum Darang to act in Hindi movies finally turned into reality, as the 29-year-old actress from Arunachal Pradesh made her Bollywood debut with Junglee Production’s ‘Badhaai Do’, which was released on Friday. The actress from Pasighat in East Siang district will be seen sharing screen space with Rajkummar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar.

The mortal remains of seven Indian Army soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang sector were sent to their native places following a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tezpur Air Force Station in Assam on Saturday. The soldiers were hit by an avalanche on February 06 while they were on a regular patrol at the Chume Gyater area near Yangtse in the Tawang sector. Their bodies were recovered two days after the incident following a search and rescue operation launched by the Indian Army and local police on February 08.

And now Sikkim

Temperatures in Sikkim dipped below usual which led to the freezing of the Tamje lake, the source of water supply 17 kilometers northeast of Gangtok.

Sikkim’s Department of Public Health Engineering on Wednesday said Gangtok residents would receive water supply only once a day for a duration of 1 to 1½ hours.

Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang’s father Kalu Singh Tamang died in West Bengal’s Siliguri on Wednesday at the age of 93. Sikkim CM and his family requested everyone to stay safe and condole his demise from their homes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sikkim’s Home Department decided to do away with most of the COVID 19 protocols from February 11, including the mandatory negative RT PCR report for people entering the state. The fresh notification from the government mentioned that “requirement of RT PCR negative reports at check posts stands withdrawn”.

And finally Tripura

Sudip Roy Barman and Asish Saha, who resigned as MLAs from the Tripura Assembly and quit the BJP, joined the Congress on Tuesday in the presence of former party chief Rahul Gandhi, party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and AICC incharge of state Ajoy Kumar.

A Division Bench of the High Court of Tripura upheld a single-bench order that a married daughter, who depends on her father’s income, is eligible to get a government job in die-in harness case. 

For the last three years, the Tripura Horticultural Fruit Research Center at Nagichara area in Agartala has been experimenting with strawberry cultivation. The Tripura government is putting its weight behind cultivation of new types of agricultural products besides traditional fruits and vegetables. Cultivation of strawberries is one of the initiatives aimed at doubling the income of farmers.

A group of villagers beat up a man and a woman in their early 40s after tying them to a tree in Tripura’s Sepahijala district, suspecting that they were engaged in an illicit relationship. On being informed, a police team reached Paulpara village in Golaghati area and rescued the two. A video of the incident, which went viral, showed the man repeatedly claiming that he is a distant relative of the woman. 

After a 40-year-old local leader of the CPI(M) died under mysterious circumstances in a village in South Tripura district, the party alleged that he was murdered by goons backed by the ruling BJP, a charge rejected by the saffron party. Police said they have registered an unnatural death case.


Voiceover: Austami Bhuyan

Script: Amit Kumar

Editor: Abhilash Singh

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