Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mizoram's NLUP a 'Congress-party-only' scheme?

By Paritosh Chakma
IN JULY 2010, the Planning Commission approved Rs 2873.13 crores for Mizoram’s flagship scheme, New Land Use Policy (NLUP) whose main objective is to “develop and give all farmers in the state suitable, permanent and stable trades” and thereby, put an end to “wasteful shifting cultivation”. The NLUP aims to cover 120,000 families in the first five years.

But since day one, doubts have been raised about the implementation of the programme. The ruling Congress party has been particularly accused of handpicking its own party supporters although the tax payers’ money channeled by the Central government should have been utilized to select “Jhumia families” who met the eligibility requirements, without any bias based on party affiliations.

Now, it seems that the accusations are not without any worth. The Seven Sisters Post, published from Guwahati, today [16 October, 2012] carried a story titled “Mizoram’s flagship project ‘lacks’ market strategy”, which stated that a study conducted by Mizoram Presbyterian Church’s synod social front found that a whopping 88.6 per cent of the beneficiaries were members of the ruling Congress party. Only 0.03 per cent of the beneficiaries belonged to the largest opposition party Mizo National Front while 0 .06 per cent was from smaller party Mizoram People’s Conference. As many as 10.3 per cent of the beneficiaries were neutral voters.

The findings of the study somehow justify the opposition parties’ allegations that the NLUP was a ‘Congress-party-only’ policy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chakmas to be affected by land acquisition demand consultation

By Paritosh Chakma

IN YET another glaring instance as to how the people affected by so called developmental projects are shabbily treated in this country, the Papumpare Chakma Welfare Society has brought to the public notice that 237 Chakma families face imminent displacement due to acquisition of the lands for the proposed Itanagar Greenfield Airport at Hollongi in Papumpare district of Arunachal Pradesh.

The state government has failed to consult the affected people and there is no transparency in the proposed acquisition of the lands and the affected people are being kept in the dark.

On 13 and 14 September 2012, five Chakma inhabited villages (Chakma Blocks No. 2, 3, 5, 6 and 10) have been demarcated as proposed airport site by the magistrate/ extra assistant commissioner (EAC) Balijan Circle under the direction from the state government. But neither the government of Arunachal Pradesh nor the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has informed anything officially to the affected people regarding the acquisition of their lands. Chakmas do not know where the displaced people will be resettled, the PCWS stated in a press statement.

The proposed airport site at Hollongi is a 'Chakma settlement area' where Chakmas from the then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, had been settled by the government of India in consultation with the then local administration during 1964-69. “If the Chakmas lose their allotted lands, they stand to lose everything. In the absence of any other livelihood options as well as any government support, agriculture is the only means of survival for them,” stated Bodhisatta Chakma, President, PWCS.

The affected Chakmas have demanded that authorities make the land acquisition process transparent, and affected people be “adequately consulted” in all stages including preparation of the detailed project report.

Indian Chakmas protest attacks on Buddhists in Bangladesh

The Buddhist world erupted in protests against the attacks on Buddhist & Hindu temples by Muslim religious fanatics in Cox's Bazar and Chittagong Districts of Bangladesh on the evening of 29 September to the next morning.  According to New Delhi based Asian Centre for Human Rights, 24 temples, including 22 Buddhist temples and two Hindu temples were attacked and burnt down, while at least 100 minority houses were torched in the attacks by Muslims that lasted from the evening of 29 September upto the next morning. One of the Buddhist temples which were burnt down was 250 years old! See photos

The Chakmas of Mizoram joined the worldwide protests today as thousands marched peacefully in the heart of Kamala Nagar, Chakma Autonomous District Council of Mizoram, holding banners and placards with different slogans. The protest was organized by the Mizoram Bhikkhu Sangha and Mizoram Buddhist Association and supported by all NGOs in the Chakma heartland.

The Buddhist Chakmas also submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Ms Sheikh Haisna through its High Commissioner in New Delhi. The Memorandum stated, “the recent well organized atrocities on 29th September 2012 which caused destruction of several Buddhist and Hindu Temples and attacked on religious minorities in Ramu and in some other minority domain places under Cox’s Bazar District of Bangladesh is … a gross violation of humanity”. They sought protection of the religious minorities under the Constitution of Bangladesh, reconstruction of the damaged temples, compensation and proper rehabilitation of displaced families, and swift punishment of those involved in the gruesome attacks.

Yesterday, the Chakmas and Hindus of Tripura took out a massive protest rally in Agartala. Some photos below:

Also read, "Mizoram Chakmas protest attacks on Buddhists in Bangladesh",

Brief report on Chakma Bizu 2017 celebration with Gandhian institute in Delhi

For the first time the Chakma Buddhist Society (CBS) has organised Bizu Miloni programme in partnership with Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Sam...