This Week The North East: 12 years of fasting
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12 years of fasting
Irom sharmila chanu, long recognised as the "Iron Lady of Manipur", has completed 12 years of her hunger-strike demanding repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. The civil rights activist began her fast on November 5, 2000, three days after 10 persons had been killed in an alleged encounter with jawans of the Assam Rifles at Malom in the Imphal Valley. Her hunger-strike, which has attracted worldwide attention, had prompted the government to constitute a panel to review the Act. But while the panel did recommend repeal of the Act, the armed forces continue to be deployed in several states of the Northeast, as also in Jammu and Kashmir, and rights groups continue to campaign against it.
Left warms up early for tripura polls
Assembly elections are due in three states of the Northeast only in January-February, but the ruling Left Front in Tripura has already launched its campaign with chief minister Manik Sarkar saying the CPM-led Front would easily retain power. In fact, he went as far as to say that the Left Front government in Tripura would also spearhead the change of politics in the national arena, which would be visible in the next Lok Sabha polls. Known for the way he plays with figures, Sarkar, who heads the lone Left Front government in the country, also hit out at the Congress, saying while the Congress ruled the country for 55 of the past 66 years, exactly 77 per cent of the people can't afford to spend Rs 20 a day.
saving a bungalow
In Shillong, an NGO has got the Gauhati High Court to make a positive intervention to save a bungalow in the heart of the hill station and which has a history of 138 years. Tarangar, the bungalow that was built by Major FT Pollock, a British engineer also credited with construction of the picturesque Ward's Lake in the heart of the Meghalaya capital, was on the verge of being demolished to make way for a new Assembly building to be constructed. After a PIL was filed by a Shillong-based NGO called Informed Conscious and Responsible Existence, the Shillong bench of the court has stayed the demolition. ICARE has pleaded for declaring Taraghar a heritage bungalow.
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