Sunday, December 12, 2010

Updates (December 12, 2010)

1) NDFB key catch: Linky

Security forces have apprehended the self-styled deputy commander-in-chief of the anti-talks faction of National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) George Boro alias John alias B. Jwangkhang, a key accused in the October 30, 2008 serial blasts, from Mizoram. The most wanted NDFB leader, who hails from Guduligaon in Baksa district, has been named in the chargesheet filed by the CBI in connection with the serial blasts. A cash reward had been announced for information leading to his arrest.
Though an official source in Mizoram said he was nabbed by AR from Indo-Bangladesh border on Wednesday night, another source close to NDFB claimed that Boro was picked up from a hotel in Aizawl by AR troops at around 7.30 pm yesterday. Following the arrest of Ranjan Daimary in May this year, George Boro along with two other leaders of the outfit — Rajen Goyari alias Rifikhang and Arun Borgoyary alias Dinthilang — were trying to regroup the anti-talks faction of the NDFB.
The “arrest” is being seen as part of the initiative to get things moving on the talks front. “In such a situation the arrest was necessary as that would bring him to jail where he can discuss the nittygritty with his leader Ranjan Daimary as had happened with the Ulfa leadership who have held discussions among themselves and also with government officials within the jail on how to take talks move forward,” the source said. George’s arrest is the latest in line of senior militant leaders getting nabbed from along the Indo-Bangla border starting with Ulfa chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa last year and Daimary this year.

2) Breakway faction of GNLA: Linky

Four militants of the breakaway faction of the Garo National Liberation Army, including its leader, were killed during an encounter with police in East Garo Hills district today. Five militants were arrested while at least one managed to escape with a bullet injury.
However, while Jokin Momin, the leader of the group, was being arrested along with five others, another group of at least four suspected militants of the breakaway faction arrived at the spot in an auto-rickshaw and started firing indiscriminately. Momin, who was with the GNLA during its formation, had also conducted operations against the police in the past. A few weeks ago, he and a few other cadres deserted the GNLA after they were unhappy with the style of functioning of the outfit’s chairman, Champion Sangma, and the commander-in-chief, Sohan D. Shira. Police sources said the breakaway group of the outfit was in the process of giving a name to the group after procuring arms from an Assam-based militant group.

3) DHD pro-talks faction: Linky

The pro-talks faction of the DHD met the Centre’s interlocutor for peace talks, P.C. Haldar, in New Delhi today on the demand to upgrade their district into “a mini state within a state”. Nunisa today said over the phone that his team would reiterate its demand for the amalgamation of the Dimasa-inhabited areas in the Assam districts of Cachar, Nagaon and Karbi Anglong and also in some portions of Dimapur
The army and the police, engaged in a combing drive in the district to trace the nine persons who were abducted from three places since Saturday, are yet to make any breakthrough. Significantly those kidnapped were the relatives of the Dima National Democratic Front (DNDF) chief Bihari Dimasa and its army commander Lailung Dimasa. Sources in Dima Hasao said such the abductions were masterminded by the outfits opposed to DNDF in a retaliatory move. DNDF chief Bihari Dimasa left the DHD (Jewel) group in a huff, protesting against the ceasefire agreement between the Jewel Gorlosa group and the state government.

4) ULFA talks: Linky

Leaders of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), who are in favour of talks with the government, are trying to get in touch with the members of the outfit camping in Myanmar to persuade them to join the proposed peace process. A few pro-talk members of the ULFA also reportedly went to Myanmar with the knowledge of the government, highly placed security sources said. Sources told The Assam Tribune that the phase wise release of the senior leaders of the ULFA on bail created a major impact among the rank and file of the outfit and if the peace process starts as expected, a majority of the members of the outfit are expected to join the process. Sources said that apart from Jiban Moran and Bijoy Chinese, the other senior leaders of the ULFA, who are yet to express desire to join the peace process, include Antu Chowdang, Drishti Rajkhowa and Nayan Medhi. Antu was in Bangladesh till recently but his whereabout is not known now.
However, as per intelligence inputs, the cadres of the ULFA in Myanmar are in a confused state of mind as they are still not sure whether to follow the pro talk members or the commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah, who is still maintaining a hard line on the issue of talks with the Government. The leaders having the responsibility of looking after the camps are also not keen on sending cadres to Assam as several of them surrendered after they were sent back to the state with specific tasks.

5) BD closer to Tripura: Linky

The Bangladesh visa office, started here in 1973 within two years of the country’s emergence as a sovereign nation, is all set to be upgraded to a deputy high commission. The issue had cropped up during the two-day visit of Bangladesh external affairs minister Dipu Moni on November 10-11 and she had promised to look into the matter but a decision in principle has already been taken.

Sentinel adds: Linky

Mondal said Bangladesh also expected to increase its volume of export to Tripura to Rs 300 crore during the current financial year. He said that in 2007-08, Bangladesh had exported goods worth Rs 84.15 crore to Tripura and imported commodities worth Rs 1.51 crore from the State. Northeastern states like Tripura, Meghalaya and Assam export commodities like limestone, tea, machine parts, fruit and coal to Bangladesh and import cement, stone chips, bricks, Hilsa fish, dry fish, edible oils, readymade garments and furniture from the country.

All the while, there is the Tin Bigha footbridge issue: Linky

Political parties cutting across their affiliations have opposed the construction of an elevated footbridge over the Tin Bigha corridor for which the Centre has given the go-ahead. The corridor connects the Bangladeshi enclave of Angrapota-Dahagram with the mainland.
He said the people of the area would not tolerate the Bangladeshis using the Tin Bigha corridor, while the Indians used the footbridge. “We are also going to oppose the proposal of keeping the corridor open for 24 hours,” he said. At present, the corridor remains open from 6am to 6pm.

Meanwhile, BKZ builds her own bridges: Linky

Opposition leader Khaleda Zia is going on a six-day tour to China from December 18. "BNP chairperson will be visiting at Chinese Communist party central committee's invitation," Khaleda's press secretary Maruf Kamal Khan told on Friday. "She will be staying there as a state guest." She will be meeting Communist Party central committee members on December 19, 20 and 21. "They will discuss issues of common bilateral and regional interests," Maruf Khan said. Khaleda is scheduled to return December 23. Her last tour to China was in 2006 as the prime minister.

6) The travails of the NRC update: Linky

Dispur has made more than a “few changes” in the application form one has to fill up and submit to get enlisted in the National Register of Citizens in a bid to make the process “simple and convenient”. Along with the changes in the form (see chart), the Bhumidhar Barman-headed cabinet sub-committee, which was set up to make the process simple, has included ration card as a document of proof but with a rider that it has to be for the period upto March 24, 1971.
Sources today said the “simplified” forms had been circulated to AAMSU and All Assam Students Union (AASU) a couple of days ago for their response by December 13. Though the cabinet sub-committee is understood to have met the concerns of all sections, especially AASU and AAMSU, the AASU might take some time to respond given its stand that “change in the form will only help illegal Bangladeshis to get enlisted in the NRC”. “Dropping the place of birth could be a ticklish issue because the objective of updating the NRC was to ensure that only Indians got included. Certain quarters may see the simplification of the process as dilution of the process,” a source said.

More on the travails: Linky

Dispur appears to have got into a damage-control mode after the furore over dropping of the column on place of birth in the simplified National Register of Citizens (NRC) application form with chief minister Tarun Gogoi today saying that no final decision had been taken. The AASU and the BJP have flayed the government for tinkering with the form on the ground that it would only help illegal Bangladeshis get enlisted in the NRC which is being updated. Even the Mujammil Haq group of AAMSU has criticised the government saying it should retain the place of birth clause.

7) It is not only Nepal that acquiesced: Linky

"As of now, our position is not to attend the ceremony," Sri Lankan Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters. "We are not the only country that took up that position, there are lots of countries that are not attending the event," he said.

WSJ adds: Linky

One diplomat from Sri Lanka initially told The Wall Street Journal that its embassy in Oslo was sure to send someone "if nobody had a cold," but later said that no one would attend, saying: "We are a small country and China is now our friend."

8) AFSPA in Manipur: Linky

He said his government would recommend withdrawal of the act to the Centre once the state forces could deal with the situation. “The state government does not want to keep this act even for a second. It is because of this it defied strong instructions from the Centre and withdrew the act from the Imphal Municipal limit in 2004. But the situation in the rest of the state is not conducive to withdrawal of the act entirely,” Ibobi Singh said while addressing a Congress conference at Thangmeiband Assembly constituency here.

9) Meanwhile in Nepal: Linky

Continuing their policy of obstructing Indian investors, Nepal’s former Maoist guerrillas on Saturday trained their guns on yet another Indo-Nepal joint venture, threatening to bring it to a halt. The Government of Nepal had awarded the licence to Green Ventures Pvt Ltd, founded by IIT alumnus KR Krishnan, along with his Nepali partner, to survey the 120-MW Likhu 4 hydropower project that is sprawled over two districts in eastern Nepal, Okhaldhunga and Ramechhap.

The government is expected to ink a fresh agreement with Green Ventures, giving it the go-ahead to develop the project. However, on the eve of the new contract, the Ramechhap wing of the Maoists, who are now the largest party in parliament, issued six demands on Saturday, warning they would stop the project if these were not fulfilled. A statement signed by “Kushal”, who called himself the secretary of the Maoists’ district committee, said the project went against the right of locals to their own natural resources. The former rebels are demanding that residents be given five per cent of the shares free and another 20 per cent be reserved for local participation. The districts should also be paid royalty and the power generated would first have to be given to the two districts at the cheapest tariff. Only the surplus power can be sold outside. The rebels are also demanding jobs for locals as well as infrastructure development in the areas of health, education, transport, drinking water supply and irrigation. The fresh threat comes after the Maoists last month produced a hit list of hydropower companies, of which over a dozen were Indian companies and JVs.

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