05/31/2008: "OFFICE OF THE NAGA HOHO AFFIRMATION OF 9th NAGA HOHO GENERAL SESSION"
OFFICE OF THE NAGA HOHO AFFIRMATION OF 9th NAGA HOHO GENERAL SESSION
Camp- Peren, May 30, 2008
The 9th General Session of the Naga Hoho was held at Peren from 29th to 31st May 2008 hosted by the Zeliangrong Baudi under the theme “Fostering Peace and Harmony”. The August General Session deliberated on the emerging sensitive situation threatening to increase the volume of violence and fratricidal killing amongst Nagas and expressed the urgent need for building peace, reconciliation and unity of purpose amongst all section of Naga society particularly the different Naga national groups.
Recognizing the existing bitterness within the Naga nation and the crucial need to acknowledge our individual and collective mistakes to seriously address the issue of reconciliation through the spirit of truth telling, repentance, forgiveness and healing.
The meet expressed the common desire for unity of all Naga people and land wherein the mutual respect for each other’s community territorial space and boundaries are upheld and the acknowledgement of traditional ownership are firmly established and respected while acknowledging the right to settlement of any Naga throughout the Naga homeland.
Cessation of all sort of violence particularly the factional killings and to put to a halt to targeting any unarmed persons.
The meet appreciated the United Nations for adopting the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples and appreciates the contribution of many towards putting into place an international legal standard acknowledging and upholding the rights and dignity of the world’s indigenous peoples.
The meet reiterated its support to the initiative undertaken by the DBs and GBs Joint Forum towards cementing the ceasefire and end of hostilities amongst the Naga groups and further acknowledged the noble pursuit for which the Forum for Naga reconciliation was launched.
Publicity Secretary, Naga Hoho Peren, 30/5/08
Naga Hoho points to mutual respect morungexpress
Dimapur, May 31 (MExN): While acknowledging the right of any Naga to live anywhere in the Naga homeland, provided, the Naga Hoho today reiterated the need to have respect for “each other’s community territorial space” and acknowledge traditional ownership. Relatively, in the context of unity, the Naga Hoho also reminded that individual and collective “mistakes” need to be acknowledged to meet the aspiration of ‘reconciliation.’
These affirmations were made by the 9th Naga Hoho general session held may 30 in Peren. “The meet expressed the common desire for unity of all Naga people and land wherein the mutual respect for each other’s community territorial space and boundaries are upheld and the acknowledgement of traditional ownership are firmly established and respected while acknowledging the right to settlement of any Naga throughout the Naga homeland” the Naga Hoho stated in a minute issued by its publicity secretary.
The Naga apex pointed to recognizing the existing bitterness within the Naga nation and reiterated the crucial need to acknowledge individual and collective mistakes to seriously address the issue of reconciliation through the spirit of truth telling, repentance, forgiveness and healing. The hoho also called for cessation of all sort of violence particularly the factional killings and to put to a halt the targeting of any unarmed persons.
The civil society event also appreciated the United Nations for adopting the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples and appreciated the contribution of many toward putting into place an international legal standard acknowledging and upholding the rights and dignity of the world’s indigenous peoples.
The meeting also reiterated its support to the initiative undertaken by the DBs and GBs joint forum towards “cementing the ceasefire” and to end hostilities amongst the Naga underground groups. The hoho also acknowledged the noble pursuit for which the Forum for Naga Reconciliation was launched.
The 9th general session of the Naga Hoho was held at Peren from May 29 to the 31st and hosted by the Zeliangrong Baudi under the theme “Fostering Peace and Harmony”. The August General Session deliberated on the emerging sensitive situation threatening to increase the volume of violence and fratricidal killing amongst Nagas. Civil society present in the event expressed the urgent need for building peace, reconciliation and unity of purpose amongst all section of Naga society particularly the various Naga underground groups.
SS Khaplang on Naga Unification Our Staff Reporters Newmai Network
Imphal, May 26: The formation of another NSCN faction and the issue of the so called 'unification' of Nagas that took centre stage in not too distant past in Nagaland have been a divisive ploy played by India, according to NSCN (K) chief S.S.Khaplang.
In an exclusive interview taken by Bijoy Kakchingtabam, the associate editor of an Imphal based Manipuri vernacular daily newspaper Poknapham, somewhere in the Indo-Myanmar border region, SS Khaplang held India's intelligence wing Research and Analysis wing (RAW) responsible for the prevailing situation in Nagaland
The edited version of the interview published on the May 26, 2008 issue of the paper, the 68 years old SS Khaplang feels that the formation of the "NSCN (U)" faction which led to the death and maiming of people in parts of Nagaland has been hatched by the Indian secret agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), who uses the alluring word 'unification' as a bait to sow enmity among the people. While terming the spate of violence in the name of unification as the handiwork of 'reactionary,' Khaplang said that reactionary revolutionaries will not be able to bring any unification.
The NSCN-K leader said that those who want to protect the identity of the Nagas and those who believe in the sovereignty of the Nagas could go along with him while also adding that there is no way to bring the Naga unity other than "unity through sovereignty".
He said that the ideology of Issac Chisi Swu and Th.Muivah is to create an autonomous state for the Nagas by uniting the Naga inhabited areas of three states including Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh with Nagaland state and drop the idea of Eastern Nagaland. He said thereby, Isaac-Muivah group has totally undermined the sacrifices made by thousands of Nagas, who lost their lives during the course of its struggle for independence. He also ruled out the possibility of unifying with those who discarded the idea of sovereignty.
He said that while trudging the path of protecting the identity of the Nagas, there is no need of "NSCN" submitting to either India or Burma.
Nagas are one, there is no difference between the Nagas of India and the Nagas of Burma, Khaplang maintained. There has been no ever single compromise between the authority of India and Burma with the Nagas on any matter. He informed that the authorities of India and Burma are trying to divide the unity of the Nagas.
Those who believe in Th.Muivah support him while every Nagas who want sovereignty of the Nagas support him (Khaplang). In Manipur context, 70 percent of the people of Senapati and Ukhrul districts have supported Muivah while 70 percent of the people of Tamenglong and Chandel have supported him, the Poknapham newspaper quoted him as saying.
He said that there are many insurgent groups operating in Manipur - some supporting Muivah others supporting SS Khaplang. He said Naga insurgent groups of Manipur and Nagaland may go together if they want to fight for the sovereignty of the Nagas. In the face of many insurgent groups he said that those who want autonomous state within the Indian Territory may unite while adding that those who want sovereignty of the Nagas will work together. Answering a question, Khaplang said that the political boundary of Nagas will be decided by the people after the "independence" is attained. And as of now, there has been no territory which can be definitely called Nagas' Territory. He said that for the people living in the Indo-Burma region, the topmost agenda now should be peaceful coexistence of different communities who are struggling for sovereignty. At the same time, Khaplang has also said that those Nagas who are thinking of creating an autonomous state within India must be branded by every Nagas as 'reactionaries.' He said that the people must ask themselves whether to protect the identity of the Nagas or not. He added that if the Nagas feel that their identity must be preserved then the people must unite and struggle together as one.
Sumi region NNC expresses gratitude morungexpress
Dimapur, May 31 (MExN): The Sumi region Naga National Council (non-accordist) has expressed appreciation to the nomination committee of the central executive council and members on the NNC for electing Dr. Senka Yaden as the President (Kedughe) of the NNC organization and for officially declaring recognition of the Sumi region with Khevishe Achumi as president to lead the region. A press note issued by the Region Secretary, Y Hkuheto Chishi stated that this is stated based on the resolution passed by the house on April 29 and May 26 at the council headquarters.
The note has also expressed deep concern over the lives of all the slain victims of the recent killings and further appeals and requests every Naga faction to shun violence and forgive one another and also help create a peaceful atmosphere for better coexistence as to bring Nagas together for the attainment of freedom. The note has expressed gratitude to all NGOs, Tribal Hohos, NMA, NSF and other civil bodies and also to ally to the efforts and sacrificed initiated by the GBs and DBs joint forum especially for trying their best to bring better solution to the Naga political issue. The Sumi region NNC further wish well all organizations in their selfless endeavor.
‘Ceasefire monitoring poor in Nagaland’ Newmai News Network
SHILLONG, May 30 – The outgoing Director General of Assam Rifles Lt General Paramjit Singh wants the government to take a careful watch on the fratricidal clashes in Nagaland to prevent further danger. Speaking to reporters here yesterday, Singh hinted to newsmen that the ceasefire monitoring agency needs to pull up its socks to check the fratricidal clashes among the various Naga groups.
The outgoing DGAR said, “This has to be carefully watched because lack of effective monitoring by the ceasefire monitoring agency will spell doom in future.”
“Improper monitoring is the basis for factional clashes in Nagaland,” stated Singh, even as he foresaw future danger if care is not given.
Talking about the Indo-China border row in Arunachal, Singh advocated a political and diplomatic solution that should not be at the expense of India’s security. “Diplomacy is still the best way out to solve contentious issues and in the quest for resolving the problems, the solution should security and the nuance of the situation should well be well understood in the light of strategic and economic situation of the area,” stated Paramjit Singh while adding, “We should not be soft in our approach as we look for a solution to the Indo- China border tussle in Arunachal.”
Queried on the reported Myanmar role in flushing out the North East rebels from its soil, Lt General Singh reiterated that Myanmar action against the rebels was reported. “They have acted by flushing out Indian rebels, but the time of action was never communicated to us to enable us to carry out follow up action”, stated the DGAR.
Mentioning about the list of militant camps being handed to the Myanmarese junta and the lackadaisical response to the plea for action, Singh, however, hoped that sooner or later the Myanmar Government will have to take action.
Singh also advocated long term building of diplomatic and military ties between the two countries for the larger strategic interest of the country in the North East region.
NSCN (IM) cadres assault woman, school teachers Nagaland Page
Dimapur, The Aqahuto Sumi Totimi Hoho (ASTH) today alleged that one Vikali was assaulted by a group of NSCN(IM) cadres under the command of Howoto, while the victim was on her way to buy medicines for her daughter.
The ASTH said as it was dark Vikali was carrying a torch, which accidentally shone upon the NSCN (IM) cadres, upon which the cadres assaulted her by kicker her to the roadside.
It claimed that the cadres then went to Yehovi Memorial School, Pimla and assaulted 2 teaching staff and the Headmaster of the school, who live in the residential quarters in the vicinity of the school.
According to a release issued by V Sumiholi Swu, President, ASTH and Z Khetoli Zhimomi, Gen. Secretary, the ASTH has demanded that the Commander responsible should tender apology to the Totimi Hoho and Pimla STH on or before June 5, failing which the ASTH will march to Hebron Camp for justification.
Stating that the action of the NSCN(IM) cadres was an insult to whole ASTH, if the first demand is not met, the Commander concerned should be handed over to the ASTH. (Page News Service)
For a Common Voice among the Nagas Rev. Dr. Wati Aier
Today, more than ever, Nagas are standing at the crossroads, faced with many opportunities, some precarious, others not. I pray that the hearers and readers of this message be critical and analytical and begin a campaign of a common voice and movement towards peace and harmony among the Nagas so badly wounded. It is easy to criticize others but finding fault with one’s own self is difficult. To begin with, self-examination is a difficult task. We are ready to give full justification for our actions but point fingers to others as the sources of our problems we are faced with. Many well meaning individuals, Public and Church leaders and National Workers resist self examination and this accelerates conflicts. This is a very serious challenge to Naga Christianity. Unfortunately, many believers turn their backs on crisis, ignore what is happening and are suspicious of those who pursue peace. Therefore, I must admit, while giving this speech, that I am a sinner saved by the Grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am also mindful that such a pious confession can also be an excuse for refusing to speak out the right from the wrong.
In today’s Naga context, while individual sins are confessed and repented, in our today’s Naga context, the evil of collective sin must not only be addressed but dealt with utmost seriousness. The Bible teaches us that evil is ingrained deep not only in the individual but also in the “principalities and powers,” meaning, in the design and make up of tribes, social organizations, political parties and national ideologies. Often, we become involved in destructive social and political arrangements without being aware of it. We are not aware of the anger, pain and harm we inflict on others when it is done through the organizations or institutions or parties we are part of. The agendas and ideologies set up to justify and defend ones organization has a strong grip on its constituent members thereby, clinging tenaciously to the agendas and ideologies of an organization by making it seem right and justified, while easily overlook the evil and sin built into the system.
History of human civilization is replete with accounts of slavery and domination to horror of isms and bitter hatred. All these show without a doubt that such blindness lead to hardness of heart. To be sure, while personal sin must be confessed, Naga Christianity cannot afford to negate the evil of collective sin. We must honestly seek the fullness and the liberating power of the Gospel which transcends beyond subjective-privatized faith stripped of the Gospel of its public meaning in our historical context. In essence, what I am trying to say is: Naga Christianity has, by a twist of fate, managed to domesticate and mold his or her own God and the Holy Spirit, to suit each ‘organization and party’s’ ideological positions. In all urgency, will the theologically trained and conscientious ones in the Church and society make a plea to correct the fallacy of our theological construction?
Naga theologians and Churches are called to re-cover the social and collective meaning of sin. To point to the collective evil in which we participate is clearly a part of our preaching, teaching and mission. Holistic gospel speaks of repentance not only for our personal matters but also for our collective histories. We need to repent for our wayward path of personal pilgrimage and the dangerously wrong stance of our collective humanity. To take Jesus Christ at face value is to rise above ones ego and at the same time above collective blindness.
BITTERNESS IN CONTEXT: “Most of our problems are of our creation.” This simple statement hits the nail squarely on the head. We are the cause of most of today’s Naga problems. Among others, one of the deep problems among the Nagas is BITTERNESS. Bitterness refers to a spirit that refuses to be reconciled. It means, one is holding a grudge. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul zeroes in on the thorny problem of bitterness. As we examine Paul concerning bitterness, we see that anger has a place in the life of a Christian. “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Eph 4:26). We may paraphrase it this way: “Be angry, do not hold grudges.” God permits the believer to get angry but not to go overboard. Anger is permitted, not commended. We are cautioned to “SIN NOT.” If we allow our anger to be personalized, it is a sin. Though anger is permitted in the life of a Christian such anger must be temporary –“do not let the sun go down in your anger.”
We have become bitter with one another because of arrogance and pride exhibited by the other that dismisses the other with a flip of a finger saying “who are they? What can they do?” We have become bitter with one another because of the attitudes we have projected to others that “others are all wrong but me.” We have become bitter with one another because of the attitude of exclusivism that “birds of the same feather must defend and support each other even if we are wrong and never, admit that we are wrong.” We have become bitter with each other because of wrong perception and myth making by a third force, often an outside agent, we are not aware of and subtly plays into their game plan while demonizing fellow Naga brothers and sisters.
Bitterness is a divisive tool used by Satan and its agents to drive a wedge between friends, tribes, parties, organizations and nations. It destroys camaraderie and solidarity.
A bitter person cannot keep his or her bitterness to themselves. “Misery love company.” A bitter person finds sadistic comfort in telling everyone who will listen to his or her side of the story. If bitterness is allowed to persist in Naga society, it will spread through the majority-dominated Christian society of the Nagas like a malignant tumor. I may I even suggest that it has already began. Then what are we to do?
First, we must recognize it (bitterness) for what it is –a sin. Being a Christian means, “getting rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Eph 4:31).
Bitterness is a form of malignant disposition –a long standing resentment or a spirit that refuses to be reconciled. The vehicle for expressing most bitterness is the tongue. A bitter person is someone who is frequently involved in what Paul calls “brawling” which means, arguments, quarrels, disputes, uproar, scuffle and so on. The enemy is no longer a human being created by God rather he or she is seen as an obstacle that must be liquidated. I believe this problem, again, is rooted in the enormous and overpowering anxiety which is an inevitable by-product of arrogance and hate, superiority mentality, and exclusivity.
Another way to express bitterness with the tongue is through what Paul calls “slander” or “evil speaking and lying.” It also means failing to tell the whole truth.
Nagas must hearken to what the Bible commends us –to get rid of that huge problem that come from malignant disposition. We are to make a clean sweep of the bitterness that has caused our dispositions to go very sour. We must begin by recognizing bitterness for what it is –SIN. And then deal with it as we would with any other sin –“confess it to God.”
Secondly, let us all proclaim to practice human forgiveness. This is what Paul means when he says, “Forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Eph 4:32). But there is a human objection, “what if the person does not accept my forgiveness?” Whether or not the person accepts our forgiveness is not our problem. We are to forgive and then leave it up to the person to respond. God’s forgiveness is offered whether we accept it or not. When others offend us we are to practice forgiveness freely, because without a forgiving spirit, we will never be able to break free from the grip of bitterness.
RECONCILIATION IN CONTEXT: Bitterness leading to conflict, enmity and fragmentation are what Nagas have today. In contrast, reconciliation is the message of the Gospel. In the Bible reconciliation means, setting right broken relationships and restoration. Reconciliation is solely the work of God in the cross of Jesus Christ. No party has a monopoly on reconciliation. Nagas must resist a politicized version of reconciliation. Christian reconciliation is not about a power play nor is Christian reconciliation about being sapped into something else. Reconciliation is not a sign of weakness rather, it is all about courage and character leading to wholeness and restoration.
In the first place, reconciliation in context must involve, the parties concerned to accept God’s reconciliation. To be sure, no party has a monopoly on reconciliation. For this, space must be provided for the parties concerned, who are at conflict with one another, to review their own finitude and redefine their path into the future. It is here that the biblical truth of reconciliation must be accepted: Because God sought us first and in response we are reconciled to Him, we in turn, without any pre-condition forgives our fellow brothers and sisters.
However, reconciliation should not be a cheap reconciliation which is not based on truth and painful process of repentance. Reconciliation is not to be used as a cover, a way to avoid truth about ourselves and about our Naga nation and about what we have done. Healing which will last will never happen unless those attitudes, values, and institutionalized justification that produced painful and sad and angry fallouts are acknowledged. Our affirmation must have an adequate basis for values, vision, and goals which can provide the motivation, direction and self criticism necessary in bringing about healing. It must include a vision that can keep us from the bitterness, hatred, and desperation that causes to fall out from one another.
Reconciliation means here, in fact, that one is forgiven. Nagas, in general, perhaps a cultural pride, does not easily recognize and confess their own short comings and guilt because they would lose all self respect and tribal respect. Short comings and guilt, therefore, are mostly pushed aside. But that guilt and short comings which is pushed aside works further and poisons the life of a person and an entire community with hate and anger for others and anxiety for oneself. However, in the cross of Christ, the guilty are not called to account and penalized. They are drawn to love and are liberated. Short comings and guilt must not be pushed aside but can be accepted as forgiven.
God in Christ is the basis and the power for reconciliation between people who are enemies. God is “for us”; therefore, we can and should be “with one another” and not against one another. Surely, reconciliation is never a sign of weakness rather, it is all about truth seeking, courage and humility leading to wholeness and restoration.
Reconciliation without a change among Nagas and our relationships is a weak consolation. Naga Christians should understand that today. Change without reconciliation leads to unlawful acts of violence. Naga Revolutionaries should recognize this today. Without reconciliation the compulsion of the evil deed will continue. Without reconciliation, the devilish circle of revenge will never be destroyed. Without reconciliation the law of retaliation cannot be conquered. It must be brought to bear in mind, in Naga context, that Christian reconciliation in its initial phase is not about merging and emerging. To be sure, it will be safe to say that while reconciliation is occurring, each organization remain in its post without being disturbed. It must be noted that, reconciliation is a process and hence political models and nomenclature cannot be achieved through in a hurried manner. Once reconciliation begins, the rest of the political issues ought to be dealt by the various organizations, if necessary, by forming a third party from within the Naga society comprising of well informed individuals from the civil and ecclesial arenas.
THE TASK OF RECONCILIATION IN CONTEXT: Needless to say, the Church and in our context the apex Church body and other apex tribal Hohos are called to carry on the mission of reconciliation and healing. To do this, we must be prepared to place ourselves where the tensions and conflicts are most severe. It is in this situation that reconciling Christian presence is most needed. It is not an easy task to be achieved from a place of detachment, safety and security.
The basis of the reconciliation of Nagas is in the work of Christ in shattering walls of hatred, bitterness and perceptions and creating a “new creation” by listening to each other and forgiving one another. We must begin to understand the social character of justification and not only its personal meaning. Paul speaks of the “new creation” that has come in Christ and “breaks down the walls” between peoples and groups. The apostle boldly proclaims that there is no longer “Jew and Greek, slave and free, and male and female, but all have been made one in Christ” (Gal 3:28) Fellow Naga Christians, if you and I read Paul’s message in context, it will go this way: “There is neither Ao nor Angami, Sumi nor Pumai, Chakhesang nor Thangkul, Lotha nor Mao, etc. in the end we are all one in Christ”.
The problem with us is that we become very uncompromising against a well-selected set of sins while ignoring the rest for reasons that are not clear to many. We preach powerfully against drunkenness, fornication, adultery, but are completely silent about the sin of division and walls between us. We close our eyes to texts like “God show no partiality” (Acts 10:34).
We Nagas need to repent of this selective stance and biased morality. We must begin to preach against structural and institutionalized sins, that is destroying us.
If we profess to be followers of Christ and believes in His power, let Paul challenge us and if necessary, be willing to swallow some of our prejudices by the grace and love of God in Christ. Let us not say, as I have often heard, from fellow Nagas, that what Paul is saying is purely spiritual and it has nothing to do politically and ideologically. What a cope-out statement from Naga leaders! Our spiritual dimension without a historical result is an anathema and an up-side-down Christianity. Fellow Nagas the younger generation is angry at the older generation of Nagas. We are robbing their future by not willing to change. For the sake of Christ and our history, let us give peace a chance. That much you can do!
On May 1, 2008, Eastern Mirror carried a very touching piece of news for Naga Christians to emulate. After Ms. Pryanka Gandhi, visited her father’s assassin Ms. Nalini Sriharan at Vellore Jail, Tamil Nadu, Pryanka said, “I do not believe in anger, hatred, and violence, and I refuse to allow it (to) power over my life. Meeting Nalini was my way of coming to peace with violence and loss that I have experienced.” What a powerful testimony of reconciling with the past and mustering courage, despite pain, to move ahead in life.
I believe, after all, Nagas are people willing to change and muster our future through the path of reconciliation. In principle, all Nagas and the respective organizations, agree on the de facto of Naga right. Why not muster courage and give our de facto history a glorious honor?
I appeal to my fellow Nagas not to take this message with its flaws and ‘read in between the lines’. I sincerely apologize if it hurts some fellow Nagas. My intention is for us to consider the ways of God in Christ to whom we have given our allegiance. Long live Naga people! KUKNALIM
(This is the full text of the speech delivered by the writer under the theme “Fostering Peace and Harmony” delivered at the 9th Session, Naga Hoho, May 30, 2008)
Police vets film crew for ‘shooting’ Our Correspondent Morungexpres
Kohima | May 31: A camera crew from outside the state was caught walking the wrong foot, for shooting a documentary with a veteran Naga underground worker, in the heart of Kohima today evening. A documentary team was caught filming the former underground worker who was in full uniform and holding the Naga “national” flag. The camera team eventually wound up in the police station before being released unconditionally.
The incident took placed at around 5.45 pm on Saturday when the camera crew was shooting a scene of an elderly former NNC activist in his full green camouflage dress and weaving the so-claimed Naga “national” Flag at the Y-junction traffic point near Old MLA Hostel junction when the police Quick Reaction Team arrived and whisked away both the camera crew and the NNC veteran.
Members from the Camera crew tried to intervene when the QRT team was whisking away the NNC veteran saying that they were shooting a documentary film. But the police ignored the plea on grounds of security. The police rather queried the crew why no prior permission was taken from the authority in concern before such a ‘shooting’ commenced.
The QRT team then whisked away both the camera crew members along with the NNC veteran and took them to the North Police Station where they were later released unconditionally.
Karbi rebels surrender in Assam UNI
One KLNLF Militant seen surrendering along with two others before the PK Mishra, IG BSF A & M, M & C FTR at the surrendering ceremony organised by The Gallent 16 Bn BSF with arms and ammunitions at Patgaon , BSF Camp near Guwahati on May 31. (UB
Guwahati, May 31 (UNI): Three Karbi militants laid down their arms, an ULFA linkman was arrested and two powerful IEDs were recovered in three major counter-insurgency operations in Assam today. The three militants of the Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF) surrendered at the BSF DIG headquarters at Guwahati before IG (AM and N frontier) PK Mishra and BSF’s 16th battalion DIG RL Sharma.
The rebels were 'corporal and tax collector' Thomas Rongpi, 'junior private' Janaram Jirang and 'junior private' Rupsing Terang. They deposited one each of 9 mm pistol, AK 47 and 7.65 pistol. Meanwhile, two Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), weighing 10 kg, were recovered at Golokgunj in Dhubri district early this morning. One Karim Mandal has also been arrested in this connection. An ULFA linkman, Komala Rajkhowa, was also arrested from Sivsagar district today.
‘Prostitution is killing childhood in northeast’ Agencies
GUWAHATI, May 31 (Agencies): All is not well with children in India’s northeast. A study conducted by a Guwahati-based NGO along with the police has revealed that a shocking 20 percent involved in prostitution in the region are aged between 11 and 17 years. The survey conducted this year by the Global Organisation for Life Development (GOLD) also pointed out that there was a five percent rise in children taking to sex work over last year.
Titled “Rise in Child Prostitution in Northeast”, the study lists poverty and displacement of population because of violence as prime reasons behind the increase in the number of children as commercial sex workers in the region. “It is mostly the children of poor parents who are forced to take to prostitution to earn money for the family,” director of GOLD Rajeev Sarma said. The study, spanning three months and released last month, saw field workers interviewing 350 child sex workers throughout the region. In addition, the report also states that most of the children are victims of acute physical torture. “They are initially raped and flogged almost to death to take up the profession,” the report said. Almost half of the child prostitutes were from Assam, followed by Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, said Sarma. Some of the victims were are also sold to brothels in Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad.
“We have reports that sheikhs from the Middle East are also buying northeastern girls from these brothels. Also, trafficking gangs from Southeast Asian countries are taking a keen interest in the girls because of their Mongoloid features,” Sarma said. Experts working in the field believe that prostitution and trafficking are flourishing in the region, as these crimes are invisible in nature. The latest study has come up as a shock for the police force across the region.
“The demand for child sex workers is rising at an alarming rate in the region and we have to do something drastic,” said a senior police officer in Guwahati. “Police forces across six states except Sikkim are working in a coordinated manner to ameliorate the situation. We are also involving various NGOs to assist us.” Hasina Kharbhih, a team leader of the Meghalaya-based NGO, Impluse, who has been working in this area for many years, said that child prostitution is the immediate result of human trafficking.
“On an average, 50 cases of human trafficking are registered in the northeast daily and Assam has emerged as a hub for human trafficking and prostitution in the entire region,” she says. “We have helped more than 500 victims from the region who have been rescued from different parts of country in tracing their actual homes. This clearly shows that trafficking is flourishing in the region. The victims are mainly from poor families who are lured by traffickers in the garb of providing them jobs,” Kharbhih said. The region is vulnerable as it shares international borders with Bhutan, China, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Indian hands over list of rebel camps in Myanmar Khabrein.info
NEW DELHI, May 29 (KUNA) -- India Thursday stated that it had handed over to Myanmar a list of camps of insurgent groups from the countrys Northeastern region, operating from the latters territory. Indias key paramilitary force Assam Rifles today said that New Delhi has given a list of camps of Northeast-based insurgent groups, including the banned United Liberation Front of Asom, to neighbouring Myanmar, but it was yet to get any response.
"Our government has given the location of the rebel camps within Myanmar. But the military junta is yet to respond to the issue," Assam Rifles Director General Lt Gen Paramjit Singh told reporters today at Shillong, capital of Indias Northeastern state of Meghalaya. Myanmar was urged to coordinate its operation against the rebel camps so that the vigilance along the Indian borders could be stepped up to facilitate the flush-out of the insurgents, Gen Singh said, adding, "Officially, there is no report of any action by Myanmar against the rebel camps." India shares a border of more than 1,600 km with Myanmar. India's Northeastern states of Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh share borders with Myanmar. Number of insurgent groups from India's Northeast operate from hideouts in Eastern Myanmar. Gen Singh said, "Certain developments are taking place. There are diplomatic and political maneuvers. International pressure groups are also acting. India is seeing at the larger picture, and the long-term strategic importance of the development in South East Asia.
Military solution cannot be the answer always. Such matters need to be addressed politically and diplomatically. Last March, India and Myanmar held their 14th round of annual Home Secretary level talks here to discuss various institutional mechanisms to strengthen security cooperation. At the meeting, various issues of mutual concern including cross-border terrorism, smuggling of arms and narcotic drugs, effective border management, border trade and cross-border projects were discussed. Last month, India and Myanmar signed an Agreement and two Protocols on the 'Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project' during the visit of Vice Senior General Maung Aye of Myanmar to Delhi. The project will greatly enhance connectivity between Myanmar and India, in particular with Indias North Eastern States. India's Myanmar policy is based on four factors -- balancing increasing engagement between China and Myanmar, combating Indian insurgent groups there, harnessing the hydrocarbons in Myanmar and using Myanmar as a gateway to Southeast Asia.
NDFB refutes Mohilary allegation OUR CORRESPONDENT The Telegraph
Kokrajhar, May 30: The “information and publicity secretary” of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB), S. Sanjarang, today refuted the statement of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) chief Hagrama Mohilary accusing the NDFB of being behind the killing of most ex-Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) members.
In a statement to mediapersons today, Sanjarang said the NDFB had not killed any ex-BLT members as alleged by Mohilary.
“On the contrary, some ex-BLT cadres, in nexus with Bodo People’s Front (Youth) activists, attacked and killed some NDFB members and civilians, specially in Kokrajhar and Baksa districts. Whom does Mohilary accuse as being responsible for the attack on the NDFB public liasing office in Medhaghat in Baksa and Ghoskata in Kokrajhar?” he asked.
“He (Mohilary) might not be unaware of the fact that some ex-BLT and BPF (Youth) activists were involved in the killing of Babul Swargiary, Hareswar Boro, Prahlad Swargiary and Pradip Swargiary in Baksa and Bodosa Narzary and Basanta Basumatary in Kokrajhar district,” he added.
Mohilary on Wednesday had said ex-BLT members in different parts of the state, including Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) region, Karbi Anglong, Golaghat, Nagaon, Morigaon, Goalpara, Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Sonitpur and Bongaigaon are facing threats from the NDFB. They are “compelled” to stay in different camps because of security reasons.
At least 20 former BLT members have been killed so far since the NDFB entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Centre. The chairman of the ex-BLT Welfare Society, Janamohan Mushahary, supported Mohilary’s statement on the ex-BLT members’ surrender to the NDFB.
Talking to mediapersons in Kokrajhar, Mushahary said, “We are ready to go by Mohilary’s word and are ready to surrender to the NDFB and merge with them for peace and harmony. We are ready for peace with everybody.”
Ex-BLT members’ surrender to NDFB is another farcical policy of Hagrama: NDFB
From a Correspondent
DHUBRI, May 30: The National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) today termed BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary’s proposal to surrender all ex-BLT members to the NDFB as not only ridiculous but totally uncalled for.
The NDFB reiterated that since the signing of the cease-fire agreement with the Government of India, they have always wanted the ex-BLT members to lead a peaceful civilian life.
In a fax message to The Sentinel, NDFB Information and Publicity Secretary S Sanjarang said, “Everybody is aware that the NDFB is an organization, which has been fighting for the historical rights of the Bodo people for the last twenty years.
We entered into a cease-fire agreement with the union Government expecting a political and peaceful solution to our age-old problem”.
He further said that the NDFB wants each and every ex-BLT member to settle down, lead a peaceful life and become responsible citizens of society, while adding that it is Hagrama Mohilary’s responsibility, as BTC Chief and former chairman of the BLT, to facilitate rehabilitation of all ex-BTC cadres.
Sanjarang said Mohilari, in order to cover-up his miserable failure, flouted the ex-BLT Welfare Society to wield his muscle power. The formation of the organization further fostered enmity between the ex-BLT members and the NDFB and now, Mohilary has blamed the NDFB for the ongoing tense situation. “Mohilary’s suggestion that the ex-BLT members should surrender to the NDFB is nothing but another of his farcical policies,” he said.
The publicity Secretary claimed that the NDFB had not killed any ex-BLT members and on the contrary, it was the ex-BLT and BPF Youth nexus that had attacked and killed a good number of NDFB members, as well as civilians, in Kokrajhar and Bagsa districts.
Sanjarang appealed to the people to stand behind the NDFB’s peace process and not to be mislead by baseless and false prop aganda.
Iron grip of junta despite cyclone By May Ng Mizzima
Cyclone Nargis lashed Burma almost four weeks ago and it is already too late for some survivors. Some have died from lack of emergency aid. With the monsoons approaching, the United Nations' relief experts are racing against time to save the rest of the cyclone victims in the hardest hit areas of Irrawaddy delta. But until a few days ago the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-ASEAN were unable to convince the military in Burma to open up the country for a full fledged humanitarian rescue mission.
On May 25 the United Nations and the ASEAN launched a flash appeal to raise funds for the cyclone victims in Burma. Fifty one countries pledged sixty percent of the $200 million dollar appeal. At the same time the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon and the secretary general of the ASEAN, Surin Pitsuwan, asked for and were promised unhindered access into the areas hit hard by Cyclone Nargis.
Since then, the Burmese military began granting visas to the United Nations emergency relief workers. But the visa applications are processed one at a time, and each worker must give two days notice before entering the delta area for a 24-hour stay. But other non-governmental organizations are finding that there has been no improvement in getting access into the delta areas as they still need permission from the government ministries and the military, and must be escorted by government personnel.
Activities of relief workers are hindered by the government's bureaucracy that requires official approval for all actions; and many other aid workers and foreign journalists are still barred from the Irrawaddy delta. So far, only 23 percent of the areas hardest hit by Cyclone Nargis has been accessed by aid workers according to the UN.
Interestingly, 10 days after the cyclone slammed into Burma, China was also hit by a devastating earthquake; and in both countries, disasters struck in areas where recent monks' unrest and government crackdowns have taken place. Even though both countries were facing criticism for attacking Buddhist monks and protesters, within days after the earthquake, China began accepting help from foreign countries. But the Burmese military refused to allow most foreign experts into the country during the first three weeks.
Burmese government's strict rule against foreign reporters has also resulted in limited press coverage of the cyclone and subsequently impoverished Burma has received much less aid pledges than China. The backlash against the Burmese governments' indifference to its people's suffering has also contributed to a much smaller than the expected international aid.
While the Burmese junta continues to rebuff the offer of essential aid from the Americans and French Navy---China has been cooperating with the United States and other countries for earthquake relief efforts. After China changed its mind and quickly began accepting foreign assistance, additional financial aid from governments and businesses firms have been flowing in and various diplomatic channels have been opened up for China.
China is also using the occasion to mend its relationship with important neighbours like Japan and Taiwan. Even China's relationship with the Tibetan leaders seems to have eased for the moment, with mutual commitment to help the earthquake victims. Like China, a tremendous window of opportunity was opened for the Burmese military to gracefully end the political quagmire in Burma through diplomatic and economic channels, after the cyclone. But the Burmese generals have not proven themselves to be equal to the task.
Even as China is trying to improve its global image in the run up to the Olympics; China National Petroleum Corporation and Korea's Daewoo International Corp are signing an agreement with the Burmese junta to explore oil and gas in Burma, in the wake of the cyclone disaster. It is estimated that Burma has at least 90 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves and 3.2 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil reserves in 19 onshore and three major offshore fields. Sean Turnell, a professor at Macquarie University in Australia and a specialist on Burma's economy has estimated that the annual income of up to 17 billion dollars from the oil and gas sale will be channeled into the pockets of the ruling junta.
But the Burmese military is still hoping for another round of UN flash appeal to raise funds for the cyclone victim on June 12, and a follow-up reconstruction aid under the aegis of nine members from the UN, ASEAN, and the Burmese junta. In the mean time official newspapers in Burma are making it clear that while financial aid packages through the government are welcome direct assistance to the cyclone victims are not. In a crueler scenario, soldiers are believed to be evicting cyclone victims from little shelters available to them.
There have been reports of roadblocks and seizing of vehicles and aid supplies heading into the delta; but in the latest reports the government may be taking action to diffuse the tension. Meanwhile the World Health Organization warns of potential outbreak of diseases among cyclone refugees still out of reach in the remote delta region.
Burma in the aftermath of cyclone is in dire straits. Since, Irrawaddy delta and seaside areas affected by the cyclone are major producers of rice, fish, and salt for the rest of Burma, the government's mishandling of the relief and recovery from the cyclone may create serious countrywide food shortages and further political unrest. The soaring global rice and oil prices are also cutting into the budget of humanitarian agencies already on the ground, such as the Thai Burma Border Consortium, a primary provider of food for the border refugees and displaced ethnic minorities. Unless alternative funding can be found to meet the price increase, the border refugees like the cyclone victims will be going hungry soon.
Only months after the violent assault on the country's spiritual leaders, Burma's iron bowl has been cracked by unseen forces. And the cyclone has also disrupted the junta's constitutional referendum, and legitimacy of the military government still remains in doubt, in the wake of the disaster.
While the UN is still struggling with the exact number of dead and injured people after the cyclone, the military junta proceeded to claim an overwhelming 92.48 percent votes for its new constitution. Further testing the credibility of Burmese regime, the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won the 1990 landslide election in Burma, expired on May 24. But the military has decided to extend her house arrest by violating its own law which only allows the government to detain Aung San Suu Kyi for a maximum of five years.
Until now, the Irrawaddy delta has been Burma's lifeblood and a major stabilizing factor for the army's hold on political power. Impact from the cyclone in Burma is staggering and the movement of aid workers inside the disaster zone will no doubt have a lasting political impact on the military's iron grip on power.
Many more people will die in the aftermath of the cyclone from the government's neglect. The damage from lack of humanitarian assistance has been enormous and the repercussion against the junta will be felt long into the future. As more people in Burma and all over the world are waking up to the reality that Burma is much better off without such a ruthless regime the final days of the ruling generals will be numbered.
May Ng is from the Southern Shan State of Burma and NY Regional Director of Justice for Human Rights in Burma.