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                     Vol.2, No.2  [*]  April 5, 1997

   The  Dibrugarh  police  got  a  morale  boost  when  they arrested an
   NSCN-trained hard-core  ULFA  activist  Pitheswar  Dohotia  during  a
   routine  check at Namrup on April 2. Police sources said, Dohotia was
   in an NSCN camp in Nagaland. He  came  to  Namrup  in  a  mission  to
   contact ULFA leaders to chalk out a plan for activities of the banned
   Dohotia  had  confessed  during  interrogation his involvement in the
   killing of SULFA leader-turned-politician  Binu  Chetia,  who  was  a
   Congress  candidate  for  Margherita constituency in the last general
   elections, and four of Chetia's supporters in Margherita just  before
   the polls.    Dohotia  had so far escaped capture from a Army dragnet
   during  'Operation  Golden  Bird'  along  the  Myanmar,  Mizoram  and
   Bangladesh  border  early  last year and from police action on July 2
   last year when an ULFA camp in Dihing reserve forest was busted.

   A 14-member fact-finding mission comprising lawyers, journalists  and
   various  women's  groups  has  come  out with a 56,000-word report on
   northeastern  States  which  'establishes'  that  the  Armed   Forces
   (Special  Powers) Act operating there has disrupted life, legitimized
   arbitrary killings by security forces and led  to  illegal  detention
   and custodial violence.
   According to the report, the Centre had 'failed'  to  find  political
   solutions  to  the  problems  that  beset northeastern States and had
   chosen instead to resort to extensive militarization  and  repressive
   legislation;  it  has  distanced  itself  from  the genuine needs and
   aspirations of the people of the region, and security  forces  treats
   everyone   whether   the  common  people,  students  groups,  women's
   organisations, human rights activists, or participants in  democratic
   movements -- as militants and secessionists to be suppressed.
   The  report  states,  ''in  fact,  many  officials  even  felt   that
   outsiders'  like  the fact-finding team who go to make inquiries into
   human  rights'  violations  by  security  forces  were  'stooges'  of
   militant groups.''

   Even as  there  was  a  flourishing  racket  of  issuing  fake  birth
   certificates   to  illegal  immigrants  in  the  border  district  of
   Karimganj, Bangladeshi nationals had found a new way to  get  through
   the loophole of acquiring Indian citizenship.
   This  aspect  was  highlighted  by  the  Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
   member from the Patharkandi seat, Mr Sukhendu Shekar  Dutta  when  he
   alleged  that pregnant women crossed the international border towards
   the end of their confinement to give birth to infants on Indian soil.
   The member who had raised a short-notice question on  the  racket  of
   birth-certificates  in  Karimganj  said  this automatically conferred
   citizenship on the infants.

   In the virgin forests and mountains of Nagaland, many medicinal herbs
   remain  unexploited  over  the  years  owing  to   lack   of   proper
   exploration.   The  magical  herbs  of  'sanjeevani' of Ramayana, the
   ginseng, which is believed to be used to prolong ones age  from  time
   immemorial,  can  be  found in abundance on the State's highest peak,
   Mount Saramati, as Panax somba.  Panax is the scientific name of  the
   Chinese variety of the herb.
   Dr Somba Chang, a local practitioner, from remote Tuensang  area  had
   claimed  to  have discovered the herb in August 1985 in the Changsang
   forest.  Two years later he had also earned a  certificate  from  the
   Department  of  Botany of the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) in
   Shillong to study the special herb.    In  1990,  Mr  Sapu  Changkija
   discovered  the  herb  in the wilderness of the Mount Japfu in Kohima
   The  fleshy roots of ginseng could be as precious as gold if utilized
   properly, particularly in view of its magical properties.  Hence,  if
   proper  care  is taken to protect and promote the herb, it could well
   secure the State a position in the pharmaceutical map of  the  world,
   said a local botanist.
   In  the  USA  many  drug  manufactures  were trying to grow the plant
   artificially with little success, he said,  adding  that  it  was  an
   irony  in  Nagaland,  where  the  plant  grows naturally, neither the
   Government nor any private firm takes interest to protect the herb.
   In  India,  at  present  most  of  the  manufacturers of rejuvenating
   medicines containing ginseng import the herb from South Korea.    The
   price  of  ginseng  which  is  beyond the reach of an average Indian,
   could have been drastically cut down if the  herb  available  in  the
   wilds in Nagaland was exploited.

   Former  minister and Congress leader, Mr Anjan Dutta was interrogated
   by the CID for five hours on April 4, in connection with the  suicide
   of his  maid  Bijoya Burman at his Sibsagar residence last year.  The
   police has already arrested his mother-in-law and house guard in this

   The State Home department has suspended the former Superintendent  of
   Police  (Guwahati City), R.M.Singh who was last serving as commandant
   of the 7 Assam Police Battalion in Kokrajhar district, on the grounds
   of remaining on long leave without proper intimation and for  failing
   to  appear  before  a State standing medical board as directed by the
   Government.  Mr.Singh was transferred from  his  post  of  SP  (City)
   following the gunning down of journalist Parag Das, in broad daylight
   on May 17, last year in Guwahati.

   Kamini  Kumar  Narzary,  68,  of  Bamunkura  village,  Gossaigaon  in
   Kokrajhar district, a Sangeet  Natak  Academy  award  winner  of  the
   State,  is  struggling  for  life  at  R.N.Basumatary Civil Hospital,
   Gossaigaon for neurological problems.
   Mr Narzary is  a  reputed  dancer,  a  chief  exponent  of  the  Bodo
   'Gharana' of  dances  which is very rich in themes and technique.  He
   began teaching way back in 1947.   The  Sangeet  Natak  Academy,  New
   Delhi requisitioned his services for imparting training in Bodo dance
   and music.  His contribution in this field was recognised by awarding
   him the Sangeet Natak Academy Award in 1980 and became the first Bodo
   to receive  this  award.   He also participated in the first National
   Youth Folk Festival in Hyderabad in 1986.
   Financial  constraints  has led him to languish at the civil hospital
   when he is in need of better medical treatment.   His  relatives  had
   been  running  from  pillar to post for financial assistance from the
   Government for his treatment with little success so far.

Compiled from newspaper and agency reports for private circulation only.
      [S=Sentinel, AT=Assam Tribune, Agencies = UNI, PTI, PIB]