AMBA did send representation to nullify CM recommendation in judge appointment case

By Paojel Chaoba IMPHAL, April 18: Incumbent President of All Manipur Bar Association (AMBA), Khaidem Mani, has tried to mislead the public without cross checking proper facts and references of

By Paojel Chaoba

IMPHAL, April 18: Incumbent President of All Manipur Bar Association (AMBA), Khaidem Mani, has tried to mislead the public without cross checking proper facts and references of his own association, members of the AMBA executive said today.

Mani had derided a report made by this newspaper on April 14 last under the caption, `Bar Association cries foul at CM`™s alleged recommendation of a junior officer for judgeship.`™

The gist of that report was, AMBA had sent a representation to concerned authorities of the judiciary that the recommendation of the Chief Minister for elevating S Serto for judgeship of the High Court of Manipur was not conventional nor ethical, as there are six senior judicial officers more senior than him, who all have the requisite qualification to be appointed judgeship of the Manipur High Court.

However, refuting the report as `handiwork of a few interested persons`™, and as `unfortunate and regretful`™, Khaidem Mani sent a self styled press release on April 16 conveyed by e-mail, besides speaking to the paper on the phone.

This paper also on maintaining neutrality, ethics and freedom of expression carried the `clarification`™ under the top headline, `AMBA suspects impersonation and forgery in alleged memo on HC judge appointment: AMBA president.`™ His statement mentioned that `there was no resolution taken by AMBA to submit such a letter/memorandum on the subject concerned to any authority.`™

He even hinted that it may be the handiwork of vested interests and that legal action would be taken up against them after thorough inquiry.

IFP however has found out that the General Secretary of AMBA did make the representation as per Resolution number 4 of the executive meeting held on February 18. There is no question of impersonation and forgery in this regard for all the stationary as well as the signatures are confirmed as authentic. The relevant signed documents are with IFP.

Mani had further pointed out that the alleged memo is unwarranted and misleading pointing out that the High Court of Manipur `was inaugurated not in the month of December,2011 as alleged but actually it was inaugurated on 23rd March, 2013`™.

Here, it may be pointed out that this paper was referring to the DO letter number 16/2/2012-Law (GHC) dated August 27,2012 made by the Chief Minister to Salman Khurshid where it clearly stated that, ` You may like to recall the new High Court of Manipur which is one of the most beautiful architectural High Court building complex in the country was inaugurated on December 3, 2011 by Dr. Manmohan Singhji, Hon`™ble Prime Minister of India and Smt. Sonia Gandhiji, Hon`™ble Chairperson UPA in your presence among others.`

The report was based on the this D.O.letter and if Khaidem Mani is correct, then the Chief Minister must have erred in the letter to the former Union Law minister.

Mani also mentioned that, `Judgeship does not follow any time scale promotion scheme and appointments are made strictly on merit, though seniority is given some consideration.`™

Here, it may be taken note that the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill,2014 which was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 11, 2014 by the Minister of Law and Justice, Mr Ravi Shankar Prashad gives procedures for selection of High Court judges, Chief Justice of India and Supreme Court judges deeply emphasizes on seniority as a top criteria.

The AMBA recommendation had also mentioned that `recommendation of Songkhupchung Serto for elevation as Judge is not based on seniority and it is against the directive of the Hon`™ble Chief Justice of India, that elevation shall be on seniority basis unless there is adverse remark. Those six senior judicial officers have no adverse remark till date.`™

The AMBA President did not even seem aware not only of these information but of developments in the organisation he is president of. But this is AMBA`™s internal matter. The IFP however stands by its initial report as it was based on statements mentioned in the AMBA documents.

Further, the extract copy of the proceedings of the Executive Committee AMBA held at its office today further substantiates the IFP story that a representation had been sent to concerned judicial areas for nullifying the recommendation of S Serto by AMBA.

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Imphal- Moreh road bandh suspended

IMPHAL, April 18: The indefinite bandh along Imphal-Moreh imposed by the JAC Against the Killing of Rifleman Laita Wanoireng Aimol has been called off from today`s midnight following an agreement

IMPHAL, April 18: The indefinite bandh along Imphal-Moreh imposed by the JAC Against the

Killing of Rifleman Laita Wanoireng Aimol has been called off from today`s midnight following an agreement reached between the representative of the JAC and government.

Martin Tholung Lamkang, secretary of the JAC informed that the understanding was reached during a meeting held between the JAC representatives and government at Congress Bhavan today.

The government side was represented by Chief Minister O Ibobi and the MLA

of 42 Tengnoupal Assembly Constituency D Korungthang.

The CM assured the JAC representatives that a magistrate enquiry into the incident will be constituted which will be headed by IGP Kailun.

He announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 5 lakhs for the family besides a suitable job for the deceased rifleman`s wife.

It is worth mentioning that Laita Wanoireng Aimol, a riflemen of Manipur Rifles was assigned a duty to guard the former DGP and his dead body was found on Thursday in one of the rooms of the house of the former DGP.

Earlier, the JAC had categorically stated that the proclaiming the death of the rifleman as suicide is false and demanded that the bereaved family should be granted all existing government employee`™s aids by the government.

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As long as corrupt governments rule in NE states, no development or change will come about: Amit Shah

IMPHAL, April 18: There cannot be development in the Northeast region so long as Congress governments are in power in Northeast states said Amit Shah President BJP who is on

IMPHAL, April 18: There cannot be development in the Northeast region so long as Congress governments are in power in Northeast states said Amit Shah President BJP who is on a 3-day visit to the state.

Shah said this during a one day political conference for a new Manipur held at the Hao Ground Pushum Chunga ground.

He further said that the BJP`™s primary focus is on bringing development to the whole of India. As the Western side has already achieved a relatively a high level of development, thanks to changes brought about by BJP governments there, he said. However, the Eastern sector is still lagging behind in development, including in education, health, development, etc, he added.

During last 10 years of Congress rule in the country, the ambitious project of Look East Policy has remained only matter of looking east and nothing else, but after the NDA government came to power, it transformed this project to Act East Policy, with special focus on NE development. This is the pledge of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi Prime, and the BJP is determined to keep it, he said.

He further said that Manipur and NE people have the same rights as people of other states to access the wealth of India. After Narendra Modi became Prime Minister of India, one of his primary focuses is to bring development in NE states and to lift up the region to be at par with any other region of India.

It is for this reason that the Prime Minister introduced the norm of having at least three union cabinet Ministers visit the Northeast region every 15 days.

The union ministers`™ tours are meant to monitor all the developmental work taken up in the NE regions through various scheme of the Central government, he said. The DoNER ministry, dedicated to developing the Northeast was constituted by the BJP during the tenure of Atul Bihari Vajpayee, he said.

It is very unfortunate that during the last 10 years under the Congress led UPA government in the Centre, all development packages have been misused and siphoned off. He said the BJP led NDA government in the Centre during the last year has overhauled the system, and has totally transformed the DoNER Ministry. It once functioned from Delhi, now it has been transferred to NE region, he added.

Officers from the states had to rush to Delhi for DoNER related schemes, now the Secretary DoNER has round to make a visit to each North East State to look into various project and extend schemes of DoNER to the states.

Similarly, the North East Council has also started holding meetings at the NE region at Shillong after 10 years of Congress government. Under Narendra Modi`™s guidance BJP government has initiated for the installation of North Eastern Students Boys and Girl Hostels at all major mainland Indian cities.

To accelerate economic development of the NE, and for easier livelihoods of the people, the BJP government is looking to open up economic corridors with neighbouring countries of Bangladesh and Bhutan, he said.

The NE states, and in particular Manipur has beautiful unique cultural heritage. Towards giving these heritages exposures the BJP organised a festival of songs and dances of NE at New Delhi in April in which the every state performed. Another NE Utsav in Delhi is also being planned soon, he said.

The NDA government has sanctioned Rs. 200 crores for development of road connectivity in Northeast region. Another Rs. 100 crores for establishment of National Sport University in Manipur during last one years of NDA government, said Amit Shah.

The sport university is for Northeast youths, who have tremendous talent and spirit for sports in every discipline, he said. The NE sportspersons can bring gold medals in the Olympics, just as Mary Kom has shown the way. Now her students can focus on bringing back more gold medal from the Olympics, he said.

A Thermal Power plan is going to be set up in the Northeast to remove the problem of power in the states. There is a fund of Rs. 11,000 crores under NLCPR, and another Rs. 825 crores in NCR for NE development but all these funds have not brought development in the NE region because the Congress ruled in the NE states, he claimed.

The NE people have to also shoulder their responsibility for bringing development and corruption free government in their states, he said.

`You have to root out the Congress government and join the BJP` he appealed.

Among nine Congress governments today, five are in the NE he said. If the funds for the Northeast development in the last 10 years had been used as they were supposed to be, the problem of poverty in the Northeast might have been removed already, he said.

He also charged that in Manipur, the present government does not like the Hills peoples and areas to develop. Various schemes meant for the hill districts have not reached the target areas, he charged.

The ADC election is just one month left and if the BJP can secure all the 144 ADCs, he said as the national president of the BJP, he will take it upon himself to bring corruption free governance and therefore development to the region.

He also said if the BJP comes to power in the state after the 2017 election, the state will turn into a favoured tourist destination in India.

National General Secretary Organisation Ramlal, Tapir Gao BJP Natioanl executive, Th Chaoba President BJP Manipur Pradesh, General Secretary Asnikumar, Basanta, Premananda and other BJP leaders also took part in the political conference.

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Family demands Tekcham Sanahal`s unconditional release

IMPHAL, 18 April: Tekcham Sanahal is innocent cried his mother Tekcham Tamu during the press meet and said that the state police to investigatethe case minutely to see the truth.

IMPHAL, 18 April: Tekcham Sanahal is innocent cried his mother Tekcham Tamu during the press meet and said that the state police to investigatethe case minutely to see the truth. She further urged for the release of his son and the dropping all the charges against him.

It may be mentioned that Tekcham Sanahal married a girl identified as Konthoujam Ongbi Naobi Devi, 18. She one day disappeared and was claimed as dead and cremated in September 2011. Her husband and his family were brutalised for their alleged crime and put behind bars for six months.

After four years, local found Naobi to be alive and living with Tekcham Sanahal at Nongdam Tangkhul Village.

During the press meet grandfather of Tekcham Sanahal Tekcham Tolen Singh said that Sanahal and his parents were ignorant about Naobi`™s background as according to Naobi, her father had died and her mother had married another man.

Naobi`™s only guardian known to them was her uncle, said Tolen and added that even her uncle did not disclose about her background and instead demanded Rs 50,000 for instant marriage (Keinya Katpa) of his ward.

Sanahal`™s mother said that her son was a hard working labourer and is being framed into the unfortunate crime. She continued that she only came to know about the bizarre background of Naobi from the newspapers. She urged the concern authority to bring justice to her innocent son.

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Despite so much affinity, strong anti-India undercurrent prevalent in Nepal

By Pradip Phanjoubam This article was written a decade ago, after a visit to Kathmandu when the country was still a monarchy, but civil unrest under the banner of the

By Pradip Phanjoubam

This article was written a decade ago, after a visit to Kathmandu when the country was still a monarchy, but civil unrest under the banner of the Maoists was building up. What came across as remarkable at the time was a strong undercurrent anti-India feeling on the streets of Kathmandu. The article is reproduced as some of the core issues of identity and conflict remains the same though a lot has happened ever since. The issues are also in many ways a reflection of similar issues in the Northeast and Manipur.

For somebody from India visiting the Nepali capital of Kathmandu, there is hardly likely to be any cultural shock waiting. In fact, in many respects, there is nothing radically visible to distinguish a typical Indian city from Kathmandu, or the Nepali culture from the Indian.

But do not judge a book by its cover. In the Kathmandu valley, which in many ways is what people generally know Nepal to be, below the superficial affinity to India, there is a strong undercurrent of anti-India sentiment, and this is what would come as shocking to most Indians.

No, when I talk of this cold undercurrent, I am not talking about the violent Maoist insurrection in the country, but a sentiment shared amongst both the Maoist sympathizers as well as opponents in the Kathmandu valley, and I suppose the observation can be generalized beyond the population of Kathmandu too, although we were not allowed to venture outside of Kathmandu on account of the ceasefire between the Maoists and the government of Nepal having broken down two days before our arrival.

I arrived in Kathmandu two days ahead of my scheduled two-day workshop, thanks to the fact that there are only three flights to the city from Kolkata in a week. I had hence the time to explore the city for a whole day, and this is when I could have a feel of this undercurrent.

A long time journalist friend from India working for a New Delhi newspaper was the first to tell me not to judge by what is apparent, and to prove his point took me to a seminar in an elite school in the Kathmandu outskirts. He did not tell me immediately what the seminar was to be about, but on entering the school portico, the explanation was there on a bold banner that read, `Today`™s Youth and the Nepali National Identity.` So the identity crisis story is not just about the northeast.

The seminar, as well as observations and interactions with Nepalese in the following days revealed some of the core issues of this perceived threat to the Nepali identity, and it has little to do with the Maoists. Till then, I had believed that the Hritek Roshan incident in Kathmandu was an aberration, but not anymore.

The border between India and Nepal is open, and it is generally believed in India that this arrangement benefits the Nepalese more than it does the Indians. This belief is however not shared by the Nepalese, at least in Kathmandu. The newspapers and the Kathmandu intelligentsia in general relentless talk of regulating, if not sealing this border.

Many Nepalese, especially the intelligentsia again, are also not happy with India`™s Gorkha Rifles, saying it is an insult to them that Nepali nationals should be fighting for another country.

Many more are unhappy about what they call India`™s hegemonistic attitude towards them, and the latter`™s suspicion that their country may become, or have become, the haven for intelligence agencies of other countries, especially hostile neighbours. `It is we who should be worried about infiltration from dacoit infested Uttar Pradesh and Bihar` they retorted.

They are also resentful of the fact that most of their business is controlled by Indian business communities.

Surprisingly, there were even extreme opinions, such as those that feel the Sari should be abolished and Nepalese should revert to their original ethnic attires. The Sari they say was introduced in Nepal by the Ranas, when they arrived from Rajasthan.

The extent to which this hysteria can go, my journalist friend explained, was demonstrated by a newspaper headline in Kathmandu a few months hence which screamed, `Indian elephants destroy Nepali crops` when some wild elephants from north Bengal crossed into Nepal territory. Many other current headlines and commentaries contain elements of the same hysteria.

Nepal is a Hindu kingdom, and the RSS has declared the Nepali Monarch as Hindu Samrat, but this has not allayed Nepali insecurities. Instead, many see even this gesture as a silent aggression.

Hill-valley divide

It is difficult to understand a country on a few day`™s visit, but one safe assumption about Nepal would be that its capital Kathmandu is an island inside Nepal. Its realities do not necessarily reflect the reality of rural Nepal, so says everybody.

Nepal is a one city state, so says my journalist friend. A charming city located in a charming valley, both known by the common name of Kathmandu, are almost totally cut off from the rest of Nepal, physically and psychologically he said.

Everything is concentrated in Kathmandu, commerce, wealth, employment opportunities, education, power…. and the rest of Nepal have little or practically nothing.

The hill-valley divide, a phenomenon that happens everywhere in the world, will find few matches to its manifestation in Nepal. Not even Manipur will come close, for at least here, a certain degree of empowerment has happened amongst the underprivileged hillmen on account of reservation in the political, employment and education arenas.

Not so in Nepal. According to many, the anti-India bias is strictly a middle-class, Kathmandu phenomenon, and a larger section of rural Nepal is free from it. For much of this section, India has been a land of their sustenance.

Seasonal and sometimes more permanent migrations to India have served as a safety valve for the impoverished population of rural Nepal.

They go to India, as manual labour and all other kinds of jobs requiring unskilled labour, or else to join the Indian Army, and send back their remittance to their homes in the mountains.

This outward migration of unemployed youth have kept tension that accompany unemployment and incomelessness at considerable bay all the while.

The migrations have also not happened so much towards Kathmandu on account of mainly two factors. One, there aren`™t so many opportunities here as there are in the vast Indian market. And two, the Nepali society is structured on extremely watertight caste and religious lines.

Lower castes and tribals are still openly discriminated against socially and economically. Untouchability is still very much a practice, and many who are placed down the caste hierarchy cannot even eat in public, leave aside entering temples and other public places.

It is hardly surprising then that the Moist movement, with its promise of an egalitarian society, has drawn its chief support from amongst the hill tribals and lower castes Nepalis of the Tarai region. Nepal`™s fighting classes, chiefly the Magar and Gurung tribes, who form the bulk of the Gorkha Army regiments in India and elsewhere, as well as in the Royal Nepali Army, belong to these groups, a fact that cannot at all be not worrying for the Nepali administration.

Despite the hill-valley divide, ethnic lines are still not sharply drawn as in India`™s northeast, but many fear that such an eventuality can come about if the current Maoist insurrection does not find an acceptable resolution.

Considering Nepal`™s ethnic and caste diversity, such development will be explosive and tragic.

But Nepal`™s lived experience as a nation, centuries longer than India, claims Nepali intellectuals, should be able to prevent such an outcome, and if it does come about, absorb it without endangering the nation`™s unity and integrity.

To counterweight this optimism however, is the weak, myopic, self-serving brand of politicians and leadership that the country is cursed with.

Not very different from the kind of leadership thrown up in the northeastern states, including Manipur we suppose, whose very weaknesses and corrupt ways have given legitimacy to the mushrooming of parallel administrations, putting their people into misery and a depressing state of overriding hopelessness.

`Maoism is democracy`

Kathmandu residents are today worried. Till recently, the Maoist insurrection was a thing that happened in the distant hills, away from the immediate concern of most in the valley. But after the peace talks between the Maoists and the Nepal government broke down and ceasefire between the two withdrawn late last month, something disconcerting has happened. The Maoists have infiltrated and spread their extortion net to Kathmandu.

This is only logical says the Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Shyam Swaroop, who invited the Indian journalists in the workshop I attended for a drink one evening.

Ambassador Swaroop, before his Nepal assignment was the Ambassador to Myanmar, and knows Manipur and the other northeastern states very well.

It came to me as no surprise that he too thinks that the Manipur situation is grim, much grimmer than the other northeastern states torn by insurgencies.

Kathmandu is where almost all the business of Nepal is concentrated, and it is only logical that the Maoists would want to include Kathmandu in their `parallel tax net` to be able to run and sustain their insurrection.

According to many observers of the rise of insurrection in Nepal, the ceasefire period gave the Maoists the tactical space to make this expansion.

All this while, the Royal Nepal Army has been engaging the Maoists in the hills, but today they are out visibly on the streets of Kathmandu round the clock, patrolling on foot as well as in armoured personnel carriers.

Indians do not need to carry a passport to enter Nepal, but these days they are advised to have it on their persons always while they are in the country to make sure their identity is not confused.

The Maoist movement in Nepal would strike anyone as surprising on at least one count. In an era when democracy has come to be equated with Capitalism and hence seen to be a system opposed to Communism, the Nepal Maoists equate their movement to a quest for deeper democracy.

The Maoists are not secessionists for they only seek the total transfer of the country`™s power from what they call, and rightly so, an undemocratic autocracy, to their hands so that they may ensure a `people`™s democracy.`

Unabashedly, they claim the `Sendero Luminoso` (Shining Path) Maoism of Peru, as their guiding light, and very knowledgeable commentators have indeed drawn striking parallels between not only the rise of Maosim in Peru and Nepal, but also the social and political conditions that put the wind in the sails of their respective rebellions.

Nepali politics, like Peru at the time of the rise of the Sendero Luminoso, revolves between three poles. A long authoritarian regime represented by the monarchy; a mere shadow of a representive governance in the elected government of Nepal, discredited by incompetence and corruption, and made subservient to the monarch by the country`™s constitution; and the looming presence of what Nepalis call `Indian hegemony.` In case of Peru, `US hegemony`.

All these factors are compounded by the discriminatory Brahminical social order, which has made sure all opportunities remained in the hands of the upper castes in Kathmandu.

As an example of this `hegemony` a Nepali intellectual cited the case of a dry port Nepal developed with foreign assistance to offset some of the disadvantages of being a land-locked country.

Goods meant for Nepal were to pass through Kolkata and other Indian sea ports unhindered to Nepal. However after the port was commissioned the Indian customs insisted on the right to check the contents of any consignment destined for this port, not just in Indian territory but also at Nepal`™s own dry port.

This is an infringement on our sovereignty, he insisted. But even as Nepali blood boiled on this and many other irritants in the relations with their bigger and much more powerful neighbour, Nepal`™s only dry port remains dry of business.

Surprisingly, China hardly comes into the picture. Maoism is dead in China, and so is China`™s interest in Nepali Maoism. China has openly backed the Monarchy in Nepal, and I suppose it is also because fraternal feuds are always more bitter. China is in the cold distance across the Himalayas, while the cultural and economic links between India and Nepal cannot be wished away.

Gorkha Rifles ex-servicemen in Nepal still insist on drawing their pensions from the Indian Embassy and not through the Nepali banks.

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CM inaugurates SDO/BDO Office, police outpost, bank building

IMPHAL, April 18: Chief Minister O Ibobi on Saturday inaugurated newly built SDO/BDO Office, police outpost and bank building constructed under `Inclusive Infrastructure Development in Hill Areas`™ scheme at Island

IMPHAL, April 18: Chief Minister O Ibobi on Saturday inaugurated newly built SDO/BDO Office, police outpost and bank building constructed under `Inclusive Infrastructure Development in Hill Areas`™ scheme at Island Sub-divisional Headquarters under Saikul Constituency in Senapati district.

Speaking at the inaugural function, Ibobi asserted that the government with its limited resource has been taking up various developmental projects in different parts of the state while adding that the SDO/BDO Office, police outpost and bank building were constructed to ensure basic amenities to the people of the area.

The CM maintained that equal development in the hills and valley is the top priority of the government and today`™s inauguration of the integrated infrastructure complex is a clear example of the government`™s commitment towards collective growth in the state.

The plight faced by people of Island Sub-division regarding travelling up to Saikul Sub-divisional Headquarters will be solved with the inauguration of the SDO/BDO Office. The newly inaugurated offices will be made to function soon, he said.

Informing that construction of 29 SDO/BDO integrated office complexes with provision of bank, security and residential quarters of officials is nearing its completion, Ibobi said that the complexes will be inaugurated one after another.

He appealed to the people to make best uses of the offices which inaugurated today and regard it as their own assets.

Responding to the memorandums submitted to him, Ibobi assured that earnest efforts will be put in to set up a primary health centre in the area as well.

The government will also extend all possible help in constructing proper school buildings in Island Sub-divisional Headquarters and availing adequate infrastructure for Moirang Purel High School, the CM added.

Deputy CM Gaikhangam who presided over the function said that the SDO/BDO Office, police outpost and bank building will facilitate administrative works in the area while adding that the government is committed to developing the hill districts.

Today`™s inauguration function was also attended by IFCD Minister Ngamthang Haokip; Parliamentary Secretary Victor Keishing; MLA Yamthong Haokip; MLA Shyamkumar; DC Senapati and several other government officials.

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