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                          Vol.3, No.44  [*]  July 3, 1998

          Don't wait for the declaration of a national friends day.
               Let those you hold dear know how lucky you feel 
                        to have them in your life.
                             - Dianne Hales
      Assam Online wishes St.Louis-98 get-together a grand success.

   Flood scene in Assam continues to be critical as the rivers in nearly
   all the flood-hit districts showed no sign of receding.  According to
   reports,  14  of  the 23 districts have been affected namely Dhemaji,
   North Lakhimpur,  Tinsukia,  Dibrugarh,  Jorhat,  Sibsagar,  Darrang,
   Nalbari,  Barpeta,  Kamrup, North Cachar Hills, Cachar, Karimganj and
   Bongaigaon.  A total of 1,530 villages are reeling under flood.   The
   crop  affected  stand  at  78,973  hectares and a total population of
   953,655 have be affected.  The Assam Government has opened 56  relief
   camps to help the flood-hit people.  So far 66 lives have been lost.
   Hundreds of thousands of people in  Dhemaji  have  been  affected  by
   famine  and epidemics. Two-thirds of the district is under water as a
   result of three waves  of  floods  within  a  month.  Rail  and  Road
   communications  have remained disrupted from the rest of the country.
   The district administration has not been able to make  much  progress
   in rescuing the people struck amidst flood water. 
   Five outlawed NDFB militants were killed in an encounter with  Border
   Security  Force  (BSF) at Majorgaon near the border of Manas National
   Park, under Barpeta  Road  police  station  in  Barpeta  district  on
   Wednesday at  around  4  am (IST).  Sources revealed that a convoy of
   the BSF acting on a tip-off, chased a  group  of  10  NDFB  militants
   hiding in  the  area.    This led to encounter in a paddy field which
   lasted for more than half-an-hour.  Five NDFB militants died  on  the
   spot and  the  others  fled  away.   No casualty in the BSF side were
   reported.  One AK-56 assault rifle, two Chinese-made  hand  grenades,
   one  highly  sophisticated walkie-talkie set and a huge stock of live
   ammunition were recovered from the spot.
   Wife of AVARD-NE secretary, Sanjoy Ghose, Ms Sumita Ghose, along with
   her friends and associates led a procession from Kamalabari to Garmur
   on Wednesday and submitted a memorandum to the subdivisional officer.
   The   memorandum  inquired  about  the  latest  developments  in  the
   investigations regarding the Sanjoy Ghose  incident.    It  was  also
   demanded  that  the  administration  should  reveal  the real picture
   behind the Sanjoy episode as to whether he was killed or not  by  the
   ULFA.   She also submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner of
   Jorhat district on Thursday seeking security for the people of Majuli
   who, according to her, are willing to complete the task left by  late
   Mr Ghose.  The team sang a patriotic chorus in the premises of the DC
   office.  Earlier the team held a public meeting at Baruah Chariali.
   Even  after  a  fortnight  have  passed since the killing of advocate
   Surajit Mitra  in  the  heart  of  Guwahati  city  by  outlawed  NDFB
   militants,  the  State police have failed to achieve any breakthrough
   in the case.  Intelligence sources in Guwahati revealed that the case
   of Surajit's murder was almost closed as the NDFB has  already  taken
   responsibility of   the   murder.    It  was  further  revealed  that
   investigation into the case is not possible as the department  cannot
   continue its investigation against a banned organization.
   Strong  resentment  prevails  in  Dhemaji  over  Army  deployment and
   subsequent atrocities committed by them.    Sources  said,  the  Army
   assaulted  a  school  teacher  Bilas Sargiary, two farmers - Prafulla
   Basumatary and Buddhi Basumatary and a businessman Ramnath  Sahu  and
   handed over  them to the police outpost at Goramukh.  Mr Dilip Saikia
   Sonowal, the local MLA has sent a memorandum to  the  Chief  Minister
   seeking Army's  withdrawal  immediately.   Meanwhile, Police arrested
   two Boro Liberation Tiger (BLT) leaders,  Sanjeev  Narzary  and  Arun
   Basumatary on Tuesday.
   The  State's  crime  graph  is  steeply  rising in the past few years
   despite deployment of police and paramilitary forces in full strength
   and the substantial Army presence.  According to data released by the
   CID, a total of 692 incidents of rape were registered  in  1997  with
   Lakhimpur topping  the  list  with  48  cases.   Guwahati recorded 28
   cases.  Sources said, the total figure would be higher in the current
   year which is still being compiled.  Last year,  1,367  persons  lost
   their lives in extremists-related violence.  Nagaon district recorded
   the  highest with 147 people dead while North Cachar Hills the lowest
   of 12.  In Guwahati,  123  people  lost  their  lives  in  extremists
   Guwahati  city remains way ahead of other districts and places in the
   State in the crime rate  in  the  current  year  and  the  number  of
   criminal  cases  are  rising. During the current year till May, 1,538
   murder cases have been registered in the State with Dibrugarh topping
   the list with 133 cases. Dhemaji district recorded the lowest with 16
   murders. Guwahati recorded 59 cases.
   Nagaon topped the list of robbery cases with  86  incidents  recorded
   out of  the  total  of  847  in the State.  In Darrang, 71 cases were
   recorded, while in Guwahati, the figure is 62.  Sources  at  the  CID
   further  revealed that the number of criminal cases in the State this
   year from January 1 to March 31 are much  higher  than  corresponding
   period  last  year. The number of murders recorded are 316, incidents
   of rape 155, kidnapping 312, dacoity 227, robbery 319 and  burglaries
   821  during  the period. [No figures of deaths at the hands of police
   or the army were reported in the news item. - Mozz]

   The former cultural secretary of ULFA, Pranati Deka, along  with  her
   son  Abhimanyu,  has been missing from her father's house at Santipur
   area in Guwahati since Wednesday. According to an FIR  lodged  by  Ms
   Deka's  father about the matter. Two unknown youths came yesterday to
   his residence in his absence and took Pranati and her son.
   Meanwhile,  the  Guwahati  police  apprehended  one ULFA militant Tan
   Gogoi on Thursday from a hotel at Paltan  Bazar  area  of  the  city.
   Police  sources  revealed that the nabbed ultra was associated in the
   bomb blast on the Chief Minister's convoy near Maligaon in July  last
   year.  In  a  separate operation in North Lakhimpur, a hard-core ULFA
   activists involved in several cases of extortions was arrested by the
   Army on Wednesday. Two country-made pistols and a gun  was  recovered
   from his possession.
   A  severe  thunder  storm  that  lashed  Guwahati in the afternoon on
   Wednesday threw normal life out of gear.   The  storm  waters  washed
   away  household  items in many localities, while many city roads were
   submerged in waist-deep water.   In  areas  like  Jyotinagar  gushing
   water created panic among the residents and people were scared to use
   the  roads for several hours, lest they be washed away in the gushing
   waters.  Long queues of stranded vehicles  were  seen  in  waist-deep
   water in the G.N.B.Road.
   Meanwhile,  the  Brahmaputra Board has identified 33 drainage blocked
   areas in the master plan of Brahmaputra  and  Barak  basin,  official
   sources  said  in  Guwahati on Tuesday. Out of these, 22 areas are in
   Brahmaputra basin. The Board has completed survey, investigation  and
   preparation  of  detailed  project  reports of 14 drainage schemes at
   Harang, Barbhag, Demow,  Deuri,  Sonai,  Rangsai,  Pola,  Rudrasagar,
   Sessa, Amjur, Ghagra, Konwarpur, Kailashahar and east of Barpeta.
   Brisk  preparations by St.Louis Assamese families are nearly complete
   who are hosting a  Get-Together  for  people  from  Assam  and  their
   well-wishers  during  the  US Independence Day (4th of July) weekend.
   Participants include guests  from  as  far  as  the  United  Kingdom,
   Alaska, Hawaii and the continental USA.  It is a collective effort by
   many  far  flung  Assamese  families,  regardless  of  organizational
   affiliations, all taking on major responsibilities.

   The  event's  main attractions are cultural functions on the evenings
   of July 3rd and 4th.  The chief guest  artists  are  the  well  known
   musical brothers of Guwahati Ramen and D'pen Barua and visiting radio
   artist Debojit Sarma.  In addition many highly talented local artists
   will perform.    Special  guest  performances will be provided by the
   noted St.Louis Classical Indian Dance group, Asha Prem Dance Company.

   Other attractions include a  picnic  on  Friday  featuring  authentic
   Assamese food.    The  main  Dinner  on Saturday will include `Maasor
   Tenga Anza' to be catered by a local  Punjabi  owned  restaurant  who
   have   been   specially   instructed   on   the   creation   of  this
   quintessentially Assamese culinary symbol and will be served  on  the
   12th Floor Banquet Hall of one of St.Louis' nicer Hotels.

   Mr Chandan Mahanta, one of the organizers of the  event,  says,  ``We
   are  looking  forward  to  celebrating  our  Assamese heritage in the
   `heartland' of America, at the  confluence  of  the  Mississippi  and
   Missouri rivers, evoking our Luitporia connections.''
   One  elephant  of  Kaziranga National Park was killed when a speeding
   heavy vehicle hit him on the head near Bheleuguri  camp  on  national
   highway 37 in the wee hours of June 26.  The `makhana' elephant (male
   elephant  without tusk) was taking shelter in the highway after flood
   waters inundated the national park area.  Two  babies  of  rhino  and
   elephant,  two  hug  deer,  one  saem  deer have drowned in the flood
   waters so far while two deer and an elephant have been  knocked  down
   by vehicles.   In another incident, two female elephants, one each in
   Rangagara and Dafalgarh tea gardens in Sonitpur died after  consuming
   pesticides recently.    Pesticides  are widely used by tea gardens to
   protect tea leaves in the gardens.
   On  invitation  from  Samurdhi Authority of Sri Lanka, Mr Dip Chandra
   Saikia from Regional Research Laboratory, Jorhat has left for Columbo
   recently to advise on industry based on banana fibre. During his four
   month stay under the UNDP project he will  develop  technologies  and
   impart  training  to  around 25 youths. Mr Saikia is the first person
   from Northeast selected for the UNDP assignment on  all-India  basis.
   He  hails from Kenduguri, Jorhat and second son of Mr Liladhar and Ms
   Lilawati Saikia.
Compiled from newspaper and agency reports for private circulation only.
      [S=Sentinel, AT=Assam Tribune, Agencies = UNI, PTI, PIB]