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                         Vol.4, No.18 [*] March 19, 1999

            Believe nothing until it has been officially denied.
                             - Claud Cockburn

   GUWAHATI:   A  powerful anti-Assam lobby in the Indian Railways has
   sought to scuttle the proposed project for establishing  a  Railway
   division at Rangiya, according to the latest indications. The first
   such  indication  was  given  by  the Railway Minister Nitish Kumar
   himself when he misled the Parliament  recently  by  his  statement
   that  while the Railways are agreeable to start the work, the Assam
   Government was yet to hand over the land for the project.
   Obviously,  the officials concerned at the Rail Bhawan in New Delhi
   had misled the Minister who in turn  misled  the  House  about  the
   project.   But  there  was  no protest from any of the members from
   Assam in the Lok Sabha.  Sources said that the fact  is,  the  land
   had already been earmarked for the project as far as five years ago
   and the entire land already belongs to the Railways.
   It  is believed that with the setting up of the railway division at
   Rangiya, employment as well  as  business  opportunities  in  large
   scale  will  be available to the local people of Assam, which is at
   present not available because the activities are carried out in the
   Alipurduar division in West Bengal bordering Assam.

   GUWAHATI:   Abhayapuri police, led by the Bongaigaon Superintendent
   of Police, arrested two senior officials  of  the  Sanghi  Textiles
   management  from  the plant site at Jogighopa on the night of March
   17 in connection with defaulting more than Rs.3 million,  including
   Rs.1.4 million  of the employees' share of the provident fund.  The
   arrested include  factory  manager  T.Vasudevan  Rao  and  accounts
   officer Srinivasan Rao.
   A non-bailable warrant had been issued  against  Mr  Anand  Prakash
   Sanghi, the proprietor of the Sanghi Textiles Limited for violating
   the provisions  of  the  Provident Fund Act.  The violation came to
   light following a recent visit to the plant site by the enforcement
   wing officials of the  Provident  Fund  office.    The  matter  was
   brought  to  the  notice  of Bongaigaon Deputy Commissioner and the
   Superintendent of Police.
   The Provident Fund Commissioner had  also  summoned  Mr  Sanghi  to
   appear before  him  for  inquiry into the matter.  However, when he
   failed to respond to the summon,  the  two  Sanghi  officials  were
   arrested.   It  may be mentioned that Mr Sanghi was handed over the
   Ashok Paper Mills Limited, Jogighopa on lease for a minimum  of  20
   years by the Government of Assam.
   DIBRUGARH:  The prime accused of nearly Rs.6.5 million  bank  fraud
   case which was foiled by alert officials of the State Bank of India
   (SBI), Dibrugarh branch, Gabriel Deposy has been arrested while the
   other accused, Frank Jerry is still absconding.
   Another person, R.M.Saha, who claimed to be the accountant of Upper
   Assam  Tea  Industries,  Lahowal and vouched for the two accused as
   genuine officials of Arunachal Pradesh Construction Company Limited
   (APCCL), was arrested earlier.

   Gabriel  Deposy  and  Frank  Jerry  had  opened  an  account at the
   Dibrugarh branch of SBI on February 21 in the  name  of  APCCL  and
   deposited  a  cheque  of  Rs.6.471 million issued by the Indian Oil
   Corporation, and payable at Bhatinda branch of SBI, Punjab.   Three
   days  later  on  March  11,  the  two  men  came  back with the SBI
   Bhatinda's  advice  note  and  supporting   papers   and   demanded
   encashment of the cheque.
   The SBI Dibrugarh officials became suspicious about the genuineness
   of  the documents since these were produced at a very short time of
   only three days.  They asked the men to come on the following  day,
   and  in  the  meantime  contacted the Bhatinda branch officials who
   confirmed that no such advice orders were issued.

   GUWAHATI:   Mangaldoi  police  picked  up a motor vehicle inspector
   (MVI), one Homen Das from his Rukminigaon house in Guwahati on  the
   night  of  March  17,  following confessional statement made by the
   apprehended self-styled deputy commander-in-chief of the proscribed
   National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) Anil Wari alias Anando
   Basumatary, and information gathered from documents recovered  from
   the arrested militant's possession.

   Mr  Homen  Das  was  taken  to Mangaldoi for further interrogation.
   Police said that the MVI had certified all documents  of  the  NDFB
   deputy  commander-in-chief  while issuing his driving license where
   his name was stated as Bijoy Changma of Lachitnagar, Guwahati.
   It may be mentioned that Anil Wari was recently held by the Army at
   Santipur village near Udalguri in  Darrang  district  on  March  14
   while he was travelling along with executive member of the Bodoland
   Autonomous Council, Gojen Hazory in the latter's official car.
   BANDERDEWA:  Acting on a tip-off, a team of Army personnel arrested
   an office bearer of the central committee of ULFA, Hem Baruah alias
   Dipankar Gogoi alias Master (40), from the residence of  one  Tilok
   Neog of Kamalpur village near Banderdewa at 3 pm on March 17.
   Hem  Baruah  who was earlier arrested in 1995 and later released on
   bail, held various high-level posts in the organization wing of the
   ULFA in  Lakhimpur.    Tilok  Neog  was  arrested  on  charges   of
   sheltering the ULFA leader.
   DIBRUGARH:  The villagers of Chiringhola  and  Teporchali  villages
   submitted  a petition to the Dibrugarh Deputy Commissioner on March
   18 urging him to provide free medical treatment to Jogen Buragohain
   (28), Ajit Minj (28) and  Jayaram  Nayak  (26),  who  had  received
   bullet  injuries  on  their  legs  when masked gunmen speeding in a
   Maruti Gypsy fired at them at Teporchali village  near  Lahowal  on
   March 15 mistaking them as ULFA militants.

   All the injured are currently undergoing treatment at Assam Medical
   College, Dibrugarh. The villagers in their  petition,  contradicted
   the  reports  published  in a section of the press on March 16 that
   the injured youths were ULFA militants. The  villagers  also  urged
   the  Deputy  Commissioner  to release all the youths immediately as
   they were in no way connected to the banned outfit.

   NAGAON:  A  group  of  nine  persons  including  a  hard-core  ULFA
   militant,  Trilok  Chakma,  the  editor  of  Padatik,  a vernacular
   journal, Hemanta Kumar Saikia, a women and a teenaged girl, who had
   been arrested by Nagaon police on March 10 on charges of  sabotage,
   were produced  before  the  court at Nagaon on March 11.  They were
   arrested from Nanoi and Panigaon Lachitpur areas  of  Nagaon  under
   section  129/121 of Indian Penal Code and section 10/13 of National
   Security Act.
   The  court  after  rejecting  the police's plea of seven-day police
   custody for interrogation of  the  arrested  group,  sent  them  to
   special jail custody.  The court also held the officer-in-charge of
   the  Nagaon  police  headquarters, Mr Nepal Das responsible for the
   inhuman torture to the arrested activists  and  the  scribe  during
   police custody.  (See also AOL issue dated March 12, 1999.  - Mozz)
   TEZPUR:   Security forces opened fire six rounds of tear gas shells
   to disperse over  200  agitated  women  encroachers  who  tried  to
   obstruct  an  eviction  drive launched jointly by Sonitpur district
   administration, police, paramilitary force  and  forest  protection
   force  in  Joysiddi area of Diplonga range under Naduar forest area
   on March 17.  The encroachers constitute  people  from  the  tribal
   Bodo  community  from  Kokrajhar,  Nalbari,  Barpeta,  Darrang  and
   bordering areas of Assam and Nagaland.
   The  eviction  party demolished 437 dwelling houses and cleared 300
   hectares of forest land.  The  elephants  were  also  pressed  into
   action in   the   eviction  operation.    Two  leaders  of  illegal
   encroachers were arrested.  In the operation launched for the  past
   several  days  in  the  reserved  forest area, 741 encroachers were
   evicted and 700 hectares of forest land  near  the  Assam-Arunachal
   Pradesh border was cleared.  Authorities claim that the encroachers
   provided safe haven to NDFB and BLT militants.

9  GUWAHATI CITY PRIME LAND FOR CRPF ?                   [S:17-MAR-99]
   GUWAHATI:  Mystery shrouds the handing of a vast stretch of railway
   land  in  Uzanbazar  area  from  Barowari to Ambari, which had been
   occupied by encroachers  and  used  by  antisocial  elements  until
   recently.   The encroachers were evicted by the Railway authorities
   and later a big  hue  and  cry  was  raised  by  the  local  people
   following the claim made by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)
   that  the  Railways  had  decided  to hand over the land to them to
   construct a CRPF base.

   The  entire  issue  still  hangs   fire   following   controversial
   statements  made  by  the  district  administration and the Railway
   authorities.  The district authorities  claim  that  the  paperwork
   regarding  the handing over of the land to the CRPF by the Railways
   has already been completed, while the Railways categorically denied
   any step taken in this regard.
   It  may  be  mentioned  that  after  the  eviction  of  the illegal
   encroachers from the railway land, Assam  Government  sent  several
   proposals  to  the Railway authorities urging them to hand over the
   land to the government so that it could be  utilized  to  construct
   and  additional  route,  parallel  to  the  M.C.Road,  to  ease the
   increasing traffic during peak hours.

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