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                        Vol.3, No.80 [*] November 6, 1998

                Every person is a fool in somebody's opinion.

                              - Spanish Proverb

   The  Assam  Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Mr Digen Bora thundered
   that the battle between `Fancy Bazaar and the  Assamese  nationality'
   has  just  started and that the Assamese people just cannot afford to
   lose this battle.
   Talking to newsmen in Guwahati on November 5,  Mr  Bora  said,  Fancy
   Bazaar has  for  long  been  ruling Assam.  He led a raiding party of
   officials of his department, sans police and  magistrates,  to  Fancy
   Bazaar, for the second time in the past few days, in a bid to contain
   spiralling rise of prices due to hoarding.
   Mr  Bora  said, it is only the rattle of the sabre -- the battle will
   begin soon, when newsmen drew attention to reports  that  his  action
   was  only to placate the hapless consumers that his department had at
   last taken steps to contain the spiraling prices.  
   Expressing  dismay  over absence of police to assist him, he said, `I
   will have to go to the High Court  seeking  police  force.'  Mr  Bora
   searched the godown and shop of trader Kundanwall Chowdhury but could
   not seal them in the absence of magistrates.
   Meanwhile,  three  godowns  of  Dhanuka  Enterprises,  four of Ramesh
   Sethia's and three of K.C.Sethia have been sealed while Ramesh Sethia
   and the manager of Dhanuka  Enterprises,  Damodar  Prasad  have  been
   arrested.   They  were arrested after discrepancies were found in the
   records and the actual  stocks  in  the  godowns,  additional  deputy
   commissioner, Kamrup  said. 
   However,  according  to  Dispur grapevine, the raids were part of the
   on-going cold war between the Chief Minister Prafulla  Kumar  Mahanta
   and Digen Bora.

   ULFA  militant,  Brajen Nath alias Kaka (42), who is the secretary of
   Rongmili unit of the banned outfit and  was  arrested  by  police  at
   Kaki,   Nagaon  on  November  3,  was  hospitalized  on  November  5,
   apparently because  of  torture  during  interrogation.    Brajen  is
   reported to have confessed that he was a Home Guard jawan attached to
   Nagaon  police  for  a  year  but left the job because he did not get
   salaries for a long time and joined the ULFA.
   In  another  incident,  three  ULFA  activists,  Rajani Bora (32) the
   financial director of the Kolong-Kapili unit, Bhatta  Bahadur  Chetry
   (22)  and  Laki Kurmi were killed in a encounter with a joint team of
   police and the Army at Kaliabor.  Police recovered  a  long  list  of
   ransom collected from Golaghat, Bokakhat, Kaliabor, and Karbi Anglong
   from the site of the encounter.
   While in  Bongaigaon,  unidentified  gunmen  shot  dead  former  ULFA
   activist, Biswajit Singh (32) of Barshan village when he was watching
   TV in  his  home  on the night of November 2.  The assassins fired at
   him from outside the house through a small gap in the door.
   Dibrugarh police arrested two activists of the Bodo Liberation  Tiger
   (BLT),  Golok  Narzary and Sande Goirai from one of the river-islands
   in the Brahmaputra in Dibrugarh district.  The arrest was significant
   because the area was free from BLT operations, police said.

3  PRAMILA RANI, 2,000 HELD FOR PROTEST                     [S:4-NOV-98]
   Ms  Pramila  Rani  Brahma,  MLA,  Kokrajhar  (East)  and  over  2,000
   activists of All Bodo Students' Union (ABSU) including some  leaders,
   were  arrested  on  November 3 when they had resorted to stage a mass
   protest against the Assam Government's move to  sale  the  Bongaigaon
   Thermal Power  Plant  to  Ogden Inc., a US company.  ABSU had to call
   the mass protest as a delegation of the US company  was  supposed  to
   complete the  process  of  handing  over  of the power plant.  Police
   arrested all the protestors.  The employees of the power  plant  also
   participated in the agitation.

   The Gauhati High Court has  temporarily  suspended  operation  of  an
   order  issued  by the District Magistrate of Cachar, calling upon the
   owner, printer and publisher, and the editor of Dainik Jugasankha,  a
   Bengali  daily published from Silchar, to appear before him with some
   documents relating to the publication of the daily,  and  the  summon
   issued to  them.    It  may  be recalled that the District Magistrate
   recently initiated a series of measures against the daily  apparently
   provoked by a front-page story involving an NGO headed by his wife.

   In the recent spate of assassinations of ULFA cadres, 11  members  of
   the  banned  outfit  lost  their  lives  at the hands of unidentified
   assassins in the Sibsagar district from August to October  26.    The
   village streets wear a deserted look just after dusk.  The people are
   haunted  by  the  fear  of  a  shoot-out  between  the ultras and the
   assassins anytime.  The youths in particular are  frightened  at  the
   sight or sound of a Maruti van, Sumo, Gypsy or a mini-truck.
   They  have  seen  lifting  of ULFA cadres from one place and dropping
   them dead elsewhere with speed and stealth, adding more fear  to  the
   gruesome situation.    The  ULFA on the other hand seem to maintain a
   low profile, not being  able  to  cope  with  the  assassins'  secret
   information system and the style of execution.  The assassinations of
   Yadu  Koiri,  Yagneswar  Gogoi,  Hemanta Gogoi, Umesh Hazarika, Bijit
   Dutta, Bhupen Mech, Abhijit Phukan, Dip Bora, Khorgeswar Duari,  Upen
   Konwar and others still haunts the villagers in the district.

   Assamese people of the three villages of Nagajonka,  Jorhat  district
   and  their  Naga  counterparts  from  the  neighbouring Naga villages
   organized a mass meeting and a social  feast  to  renew  the  age-old
   traditional  relations of the Nagas and the Assamese people following
   the spate of terrorism in the area at present.
   The  bond  of amity dates back to Ahom king Gadapani's taking shelter
   with the  Naga  people,  scared  by  Lora  Raja.    This  traditional
   relationship  through the `Sood' as it is known, is the occasion when
   Naga people visit the three Nagajonka villages and bring as  presents
   various  products  of  the hills like arum, chillies, ginger, etc and
   return after the social meet.  The Assamese villagers presented rice,
   ducks and hens etc to them.  The recent meeting stressed on the  need
   for peace and harmony.

   Who says the Northeast is isolated, cut off  from  the  mainland  and
   linked with  it  through a chicken neck?  These are man-made barriers
   and ironically nature had  done  exactly  the  opposite.    In  fact,
   Northeast  is in the most geographically advantageous position having
   access to as many as four countries  specially  the  fast  developing
   Southeast Asian countries.
   For  the British it was the most strategic area to control the entire
   Asian front during the Second World War, from  the  cool  comfort  of
   Shillong.  The region was linked with a motorable road that stretched
   from    Guwahati-Jorhat-Dibrugarh-Margherita-Ledo-Nampong-Shimbwiyang
   Brahmo-Kunming-Beijing across the Patkai range through  some  of  the
   most mysterious parts of the world.
   The great Stilwell Road stretching from Ledo to Bhamo in Myanmar  and
   then  to Yunan province in China, a distance of 1043 miles to Kunming
   city of China from Ledo was motorable as recently as  a  decade  ago.
   Although it was originally named as Ledo Road, later it was dedicated
   to General Stilwell and named it as Stilwell Road.
   There was some traffic in the road till 1951 but  gradually  it  came
   down  as  New  Delhi did not bother to develop that route giving more
   stress to the sea routes rather than the surface communication.  This
   route could have transformed  the  very  shape  and  destiny  of  the
   Northeast by having a direct trade route with the Southeast Asia.
   Today the road throws excellent opportunity for adventure as it is  a
   different world, untouched by the modern civilization, no rule and no
   governance.   Leave  alone  travelling, even reaching the frontier is
   not possible for an ordinary man.  Interested people can only  travel
   to Nampong and even for that, one requires the inner line permit.

   The  National  Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) have designed a 14-seater
   multirole light passenger aircraft Saras for the northeastern  states
   of India.    The test flight of the aircraft is planned by the end of
   next year, said NAL director Dr.T.L.Prahlad to  a  team  of  visiting
   journalists from Assam.
   The aircraft  is  designed  specially  for  the  northeastern  region
   keeping  in  view  its  geographical  conditions  and  transportation
   problems.  It is  widely  felt  that  small  aircraft  can  help  the
   region's rapid  development,  he  said.   The twin turboprop aircraft
   will require only 600 metre of air strips for  takeoff  and  landing.
   Manufacturing cost will be around Rs.160 million for each aircraft.

   Jhanu  Barua's  epic  film  Khukal  might  have been premiered in the
   Rashtrapati Bhawan, but back in the native  village,  the  family  of
   Kukhal Konwar  is  struggling to make both ends meet.  The film was a
   portrayal of the life of Kukhal Konwar, the first martyr of the  1942
   Quit India  Movement.    Konwar  was  hanged  to death in 1943 by the
   British on the charge of derailing a military train  near  Sarupathar
   in Golaghat district.
   In Kukhal's native village at Noi Gandhakoroi near Sarupathar,  lives
   Khagen,  the  eldest  son, hunting for a job for the best part of his
   life, he is still in search of a government job, not for him, but for
   one of his five sons.  For the entire  family,  the  income  is  from
   government pension   of   a   paltry  Rs.1,000.    While  the  family
   languishes, the government fanfare is on every  year  to  commemorate
   Kukhal, with a bridge, a college, a hospital named after him.
   A  tearful Khagen Konwar recounts his last meeting with his father on
   the eve of the infamous hanging in the Jorhat district prison on June
   14, 1943. Kukhal's wife took two of their eldest sons to the jail for
   the last meeting. Kukhal Konwar sent them  back  with  the  assurance
   that  since  he was sacrificing his life for the country, the country
   would look after them.

10 ASSAM EVES FOR WORLD MEET IN GERMANY                     [S:6-NOV-98]
   Chandrika  Dey  and  Tutumoni  Gogoi  of  Assam have been selected to
   represent India in the World Bench Press Championship to be  held  at
   Hamburg,  Germany  from  December  11  to  13,  a  Assam Powerlifting
   Association release stated.
   In the recently concluded All India   Kendriya   Vidyalaya  Sangathan
   Sports Meet at Chandigarh, Bhaskarjyoti Sarma of Kendriya  Vidyalaya,
   Khanapara,  Guwahati  bagged two gold medals in table tennis. He also
   won the championship in the Northeast zone at IIT, Kharagpur.

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