Assam remembers Mahatma Gandhi on his 145-th birth anniversary along with other parts of the country on Thursday. Chief minister Tarun Gogoi led the state and its people in paying tribute to the father of the nation. Gogoi laid floral wreath at his statue atop Gandhi Mandop in Guwahati in the morning. He further addressed a brief function on the occasion.
Police considers that The Karbi Longri North Cachar Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF) anti-talks faction who renamed itself as Karbi People's Liberation Tiger (KPLT) as recently as 8th January 2012 in an unexpected turn of events held Abhijit Rabha, Chief Conservator of Forests, Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council and Forest Ranger Ranjan Baruah of Karbi Anglong East Division to ransom. It is to be noted that in a statement to the mediaon 8th January, KPLT General Secretary Nilip Engti informed that it is a 186 member strong smartly equipped splinter group of the KLNLF defying ceasefire in demand for complete autonomy (hemprek kangthim as they term it) in the Karbi Anglong District of Assam. Of late KPLT is under pressure from scripted counter insurgency combing operations in the district.
On the 27th of February Abhijit Rabha heading a group of about 40 people comprising researchers, geologists, botanists, forest personnels, porters and local guides trekked to Singhason Peak - the highest peak of Karbi Anglong situated at an altitude of about 1600 meters above the sea level. He returned on the 3rd having conducted for the first time a scientific departmental survey to accumulate information of the area's rich unexplored biodiversity, an attempt which was under incubation for a long time. Singhason Peak despite its scenic beauty and agricultural produces is reputed to be a notorious hidding ground of most insurgents groups talked about in Assam including few from the neighboring states where even the armed forces dread to patrol.
Interestingly 16 members of the KPLT anti-talks faction surrendered before police on Thursday the 26th of January 2012 at Diphu during the Republic Day Celebrations. It is hard to figure as to why such an incident took place when sir had such a good network and local support in place said Nayan Das, Geographic Information System Laboratory Incharge of the Environment & Forest Department, Karbi Anglong, Diphu.
Nayan Das was one of the team members apart from the previous 30 that comprised two visiting Japanese Researchers from the Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund (JTEF) and three Wild Life Trust of India members from New Delhi who returned unscathed on the 29th of January. Following a series of meetings with locals chiefs and villagers Abhijit Rabha and the remaining team members stopped by at two successive places on their way back before facing abduction.
According to eyewitness Nayan Das, Abhijit Rabha's official vehicle was leading four conveyances when while approaching Batlog near Thekerajan under Manja Police Station a direct gun fire confrontation forced the chauffeur to pull up. According to Dinesh Patgiri accompanying Beat Officer of the Biodiversity Range he heard 10 rounds of ammunition being fired from assault rifles. Seven armed men from the larger group approached and circumvented them in the broad daylight of 1330 hours IST. The militants who appeared between 20 and 25 years of age paraded and frisked everyone and made good with all the available mobile phones and Global Positioning System sets used during the expedition. Eventually they forced out Abhijit Rabha and Ranjan Baruah from their office vehicles and marched them away at gun point. Pawan Hansu, Abhijit Rabha's official chauffeur and prime witness to the entire event said that he missed the bullets fired upon only by inches. He is of the opinion that he was actually targeted upon to be the first kill when luck favored him from possible fatal injury but the Scorpio he was driving suffered bullet dents. “They set us scot free but took away Rabha and Baruah sir alongwith them back to their hideout and could not do anything about it. A village headman who accompanied us requested the militants to let off sir but they did not heed and were motivated to do things their way. March 4th is Abhijit sir's birthday and it is very unfortunate not have him and Baruah sir with us,” said Nayan Das while talking to this correspondent.
Poilce on the other hand were oblivious about Rabha's intended trip to Singhason Peak. Abhijit Rabha to avoid a face-off confidently banked on popular local support but the idea turtled on completion of the trek just about one and a half hour before reaching Diphu. With a messaged demand of Rupees one crore placed against their release it has become important for Bhuban Chandra Terang, Executive Member in charge of the Forest Department, Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council and others at Dispur to think up measures that will access the duos immediate and safe bail from the militant's custody.
A massive blueprint is underway to firmly deal with NDFB-S after the insurgent outfit unleashed a reign of terror by killing at least 70 people in Kokrajhar and Sonitpur districts on Tuesday.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh is averse to hold talks with the senseless outfit saying that conscience does not allow anybody to hold talks. The militant outfits, often, resort to talks tactic to get rid of an intensive pressure in the form of combing operation. But this time it’s a straight NO.
The Centre is believed to have received the much-needed consent from Bhutan to go for an operation all clear like offensive on the soil of the Himalayan kingdom. The consent was quick after the Union home minister talked to minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj. Towards the fag-end of 2005, the Atal Bihar Vajpayee government launched the operation all clear in Bhutan where a circle of top ULFA, NDFB and KLO leaders were captured.
Army, police and para military forces start intensifying crackdown against the NDFB-S militants even inside the dense jungles even deploying helicopters in some selected pockets.
Moreover, the authorities have sealed the Indo-Bhutan border which has been their safe escape route for the last couple of years. Security forces start concentrating on the inaccessible areas along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh so that the militants can’t make it yet another reliable escape route to the neighboring state.
These are apart from the widespread anger and resentment of the common people who are no longer prepared to tolerate so much torture and harassment by the militant outfit.
Same anger and resentment is likely to be capitalized on other militant outfits who have been striking at regular intervals only to make their presence felt. Doesn’t these suggest an end of the road for NDFB-S?
Society for Srimanta Sankaradeva (SSS) has extracted a categorical promise from Richard Blurton, the Curator of British Museum that the Vrindavani Bastra will be allowed to be brought to Assam for public display. The President of SSS Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti called on Richard Blurton, the Curator of British Museum, London on November 21 in Guwahati. They had an elaborate discussion for 75 minutes on the intricacies of Vrindavani Bastra and exchanged information on this great textile art. During the discussion Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti highlighted the fact the Vrindavani Bastra is a glorious heritage of Assam. He asserted the claim of people of Assam on the Vrindavani Bastra. It should be returned to Assam, he said, especially since Britain had procured it inadvertently from third party. Now that the rightful owners have been identified, Britain should return the same to Assam. Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti gave a representation to Blurton. The curator promised that the cloth will be sent to Assam for public display for a few days. The only thing was that a pre-determined temperature, humidity and light intensity will have to be maintained for the cloth, Blurton said. Dr Borkakoti assured that there were enough expertise in Assam to take care of that. The full text of the representation is given below. The curator was also presented several books on Srimanta Sankaradeva beside Gamocha and Chelleng.
November 21, 2013
Richard Blurton, Curator, South Asia and South East Asian Collections, British Museum, London
Subject : Vrindavani Bastra woven by Srimanta Sankaradeva
It is a great pleasure to find your all-round interest in the life and culture of Assam as evinced by your tour in the nooks and corners of the state. That you carried the videos of the great textile art Vrindavani Bastra woven by Srimanta Sankaradeva wherever you went proves your genuine interest in the Sankari culture permeating the Assamese lives. You have fully realised the importance of the heritages created by the great medieval reformer for the people of Assam.
Vrindavani Bastra woven by Srimanta Sankaradeva in 1554 is a symbol of Assamese culture as the medieval reformer left a legacy of cohesive pluralistic culture created from out of ethnic cultures of the region. This piece of cloth is one of the most valuable relics of that era when Srimanta Sankaradeva was creating history.
We fully understand that your museum collected this piece of cloth from third source without meaning to deprive us of our cultural heritage. We are also grateful for your deft preservation of this invaluable object. Now it would be in the fitness of the things for your institution to recognize the historical value of the Vrindavani Bastra and return the same to its lawful owner, the people of Assam. We will offer whatever assistance that may be necessary on our part for the expected transfer.
We are certain that your institution will take appropriate step in this context.
Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti President, Society for Srimanta Sankaradeva