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News articles in Assam Sept. 22-28

INDIA | Monday, 30 September 2013 | Views [470]

Highlights from Assam Newspaper articles over the past few days (Sept 22-28,2013):

I thought I’d share some of the main stories from the newspapers and broadcasts over the past few days to give you a sense of what the region and country is facing.

Politics- Kashmir

The Former General of the Indian Army in Jammu & Kashmir said that J&K political ministers are regularly paid to ensure “the stability of the region.’ He wouldn’t admit to this being a corrupt practice, but said instead that this is just the way things work in this region.  (remember what I said about the McMansions!)

 

Three Pakistani militants managed to cross over the border into Indian Kashmir and first enter a police station where they killed six policemen and two nearby civilians before entering an army base nearby dressed in army fatigues where they then shot an officer and three soldiers in the mess hall.  All three Pakistanis were subsequently shot.  There is now a furor in the country about the porous nature of the border and questions on how militants could enter both a police station and an army base in a state where there is so much military control. The attack was purposely scheduled days before the announced meeting of the Indian and newly elected Pakistan Presidents at the U.N. headquarters in NYC.

 Politics - Assam

Throughout Assam students and others are protesting for separate states and in some cases independent countries.

 

There are continual problems with immigrants coming in from Bangladesh. While those who settle are “good workers” there are others who just live in resettlement camps and are creating ghettos with the associated health and social problems.

 

Guns and ammunition are being smuggled into Assam and Nagaland from China. Sometimes they are intended for further distribution Bangladesh, but they also often end up permanently in the region. Weapons smuggling is a huge issue here.

 Health Care

A young late 20s couple jumped off a bridge with their 10 month old child held between them.  The parents couldn’t afford the heart surgery the baby needed. They had asked the hospital, family and friends for assistance, but as they believed the resources were simply not there, they jumped.  There have been upwards of a 100 suicides in the past year due to poverty related issues.

 A bill was introduced that proposed to allow legislators and government ministers to be kept in office and able to be re-elected even after they have been convicted of criminal offences. The President was supposed to sign the bill, but hesitated and the various parties are in an uproar both for and against the idea.  Rahul Gandhi, of the Congress Party, called the bill “sheer nonsense.”  

The stories speak of the way people in this region, and for that matter in Kashmir, are living on the edge of survival.  Political elections are going to be held in the Spring where there will be 7 states voting on their local leaders and the country on a new Prime Minister.  PM Singh has lost favor as the economic and national security situations give cause for concern. Unfortunately (from my perspective) the leading opposition candidate is a right-wing Hindi hardliner, who will back corporations, but not social systems and has said that the minorities (including the 10% Muslim minority) need to “be brought in line”.  If elected, he will more than likely cause even more tensions between and among the various peoples that comprise this very diverse country.

 

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