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Items filtered by date: Monday, 28 December 2015 - Imphal Times - A Daily Eveninger

Ibobi Ministry likely to reshuffle; High command approves

In view of the silent protest among congress legislators and the simmering tensions over depriving ministerial rights to some of the congress MLAs who deserves the post, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh in consultation with State Congress President is likely to reshuffle his ministry in the coming 2/3 weeks from now. Source close to Imphal Times revealed that Chief Minister Okram Ibobi and Congress President Gaikhangam had consulted with the high command of AICC and both now had approval for reshuffle of the Ministry. The source however, did not disclose on which congress minister will be replaced by whom.
Congress party is now having absolute majority in the 60 members of 10 Manipur Legislative Assembly after the five MSCP MLAs had merged to the party in April last year and another congress MLA won the by-election at Hiyanglam Assembly constituency after the sitting Trinamool Congress MLA expired in August 2014. Now the total strength of Congress in the house is 48 excluding the Speaker who is supposed to belong to no political parties even though he was elected as congress candidate.

Some of the senior MLAs who earlier had enjoyed the ministerial berth has been excluded from the ministry and new faces has been inducted by the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh in his third term. Since then simmering tension created chaos in the Ibobi ministry, but the veteran politician who succeeded to hold the Chief Minister seat for three consecutive terms managed to put every potential descendants under his whims with additional powers from the 10th Schedule legislation.
But the recent defeat of both the congress candidates in the by-election of Thongju and Thangmeiband Assembly constituencies has been a serious matter of both state and central Congress leader. With the rumours about some incumbent Congress MLAs likely to join the BJP, the Ibobi administration finally left with no choice but to reshuffle the Ministry by replacing some of the Ministers by other congress MLAs.  

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Case registered

Twisting the case of a suspected accused being let free after settling the matter as according to customary laws for the murder of 5 year old minor girl who was found dead on December 25 at Maram Kavanam Village, a regular case under FIR No. 22(12)2015. U/S6.POCSO Act 376/302 IPC have been registered on Suo-Moto at Mao PS.
The said case have been registered on a written complaint lodged by SI Timothy of Mao PS with OC Mao PS against the sexual assault and murder of Late Helina (4) d/o Kaluba of Maram Village by one David (21) s/o Ngounirang @ Chrang of Maram Kavanam Village under Mao PS after reports about the incident has been highlighted through local media.

Mentioned may be made that Imphal Times and some of the daily evening paper had reported the matter in its yesterday issue on how a suspected accused has been let free after he was caught by villagers for allegedly killing the minor girl after being raped. The villagers reportedly set free with some form of punishment as according to the customary law of the villagers.
As of now no persons in the connection has been arrested or picked up for questioning.

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3 villagers sustained bullet injury at police firing

3 villagers were reportedly injured in indiscriminate police firing in Ukhrul district.
According to source, an altercation occurred between the villagers of Somrei Village and some police personals of 4th IRB of Somrei Post attached with the ABCI Company at Somrei Village, Ukhrul District at around 6pm of December 27.
Earlier, police personnel of 4th IRB picked up one Anando, aged 50, s/o Lungsung of Somrei Village about 8/9 kms from Nongpok Sekmai Police Station. On hearing the news of Anando being picked up by the 4th IRB personals, villagers of Somrei stormed the 4th IRB Somrei Post. Consequently, 4th IRB personals posted at the post opened fire to control the mob in which 3 persons sustained bullet injuries, source said. The injured persons have been identified as (1) Simreiwon, aged 33, w/o (L) Wungsumi of Somrei Village, (2) Ngalingam Tangkhul, aged 18, s/o (L) Aching Tangkhul of Somrei Village and (3) Ngasanghor, aged (30), s/o Samsong of Somrei Village.
Simreiwon sustained bullet injury at her abdomen and currently she is being at the ICU of Shija Hospital, Langol. Meanwhile both Ngalingam Tangkhul and Ngasanghor are being admitted at the casualty ward of RIMS. Ngalingam Tangkhul sustained bullet injury on the right side arm where Ngasanghor sustained bullet injury on the right side hand.
Further report is being awaited.

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KCP MC calls General strike on January 8

Armed group KCP-MC (Liberation) has called 12 hours general strike on January 8 next year blaming RIMS authority of misusing and utilising a gang to cover the scams of question leaked in the recently held recruitment exam for staff nurse. The outfit in a press statement categorically stated their stand to the scam and stated that if justice is not done then there is no going back. Pointing fingers to the group which is urging the RIMS authority to announce the recruitment result, the outfit said that the gang is misusing the name of the KCP-MC. The press statement also appealed to relook the history of KCP-MC if one really like to know the truth about the party that RIMS is utilising.

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Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee observes 13st Foundation day

Manipur Pradesh Congress Party observed the 131st Foundation of the Indian National Congress here at Congress Bhavan BT Road. The observance function was attended by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, Congress president Gaikhangam and other Ministers, MLAs, Congress works and Frontal organization.
The Indian National Congress was established on December 28, 1885. Speaker on the occasion highlighted on how the INC played its role in restoring independence of the country from the British Colonial regime.  As usual MPCC president hoisted the tri colour flag of the party at its office complex.
Tributes were also paid to the leader of the INC as a mark of tribute to them. Speakers on the occasion highlighted on how the congress leaders had struggled hard to restored the freedom of the country and establishing democracy in the country.
At New Delhi, the 131st Foundation Day was observed with its president Sonia Gandhi hoisting the party flag at the AICC headquarters.
All the top leaders of the party including Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, senior leaders Salman Khurshid, Anand Sharma, Sheila Dikshit, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Manish Tewari were present on the occasion.

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Softball Tournament

2 days Manipur University Softball Tournament 2015-2016 for both Men and Women organized by DM College of Science, Imphal has kicked off today at the Dhanamanjuri Sports Complex, DM College of Science, Imphal.
Ng Brajakumar Singh, Principal of DM College of Commerce, Imphal chaired as the Chief Guest, P Ranabir Singh, Principal of DM College of Science, Imphal chaired as the President of today’s opening function. Three teams of men and four teams of women from different colleges are participating in the tournament.
In the opening match, women team from MU and Birmangol collage is being played while in the 2nd match, men team from Birmangol collage and DMC Sc will be played.

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HCV infection has become major public health issue – Dr. Vijayalaksmi Brara

HCV infection has become a major public health concern in the state of Manipur, particularly among people who inject drugs, said Dr. N. Vijaylakshmi Brara, Reader, Centre for Manipur Studies, Manipur University, in her key note speech at the inaugural session of the one day workshop on viral Hepatitis C: an emerging public health & social problem organized  by Centre for Manipur Studies (CMS), Manipur University (MU) & Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE) at Anthropology Dept. Conference Hall MU.
Quoting source from WHO – Guidelines for the screening, care and treatment of persons with Hepatitis C infection/201, Dr. Vijaylakshmi said that Viral Hepatitis C (HCV), also known to be the “silent killer” has become one of the biggest public health threat with an estimated 185 million people infected globally, and an estimated 350,000 deaths each year due to hepatitis C–related liver disease.
Prof. H NK Sarma, Vice Chancellor, Manipur University who grace the inaugural session as Chief Guest had addressed an optimistic note to control and prevent the spreading of the disease. He highlighted the various routes of transmission and he is of the opinion that moral education along with the parental socialization will help to prevent the disease from assuming epidemic proportions. Prof. M. Dhaneswar, Dean School of Physical and Natural Sciences, Manipur University who preside over the function said that the issue of stigmatization arising out of it by equipping the people with the right  information, and that one should have a healthy life style and proper food habits alongside with avoiding any of the associated risk behavior so as to stay away from the villages.
The technical sessions were moderated by Prof: N. Joykumar Singh, Former Director, CMS, MU and Dr.Kh. Lokeshwar Singh, Associate Prof., Dept. of Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences, GoM.

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Rape and murder cannot be settled by customary laws

Murder of a five years old girl after being rape is a serious matter. And what is more serious is leaving the accused free to walk without conducting any trial as according to the law of the land. Application of customary law to this kind of cases cannot be accepted as long as the place of incident happens inside the country. If the state fails to take up this case then it is better that those in the government surrender and handed over the administration to the so called leader of each village in the country.
What had happen to the five years old girls on December 25, at a village in Senapati district of Manipur, when the world is celebrating the Christmas Festival is one of the most unfortunate incident not only for this state but for the nation as well as for all the communities of the world. And what is more unacceptable is the silence and helplessness of the state police even after knowing that a 5 years old minor girl had been murdered after being rape or molested.
In India, there are many cases at which customary laws sometimes overruled the verdict of the law court. Debate still continues on whether the customary laws are superior or the rules of law frame and accepted by the nation after passing in the parliament or state legislative assembly. With education imparting to almost all the people and with the government taking up various awareness programme regarding the need to understand the law of the land the so called customary law which was once accepted by each community has now been slowly eradicating. People across the country now accepted the law frame with approval from the parliament or the legislative as supreme and people now accepted it as above anybody. Then Why left the case of Senapati Village at which a 5 years old girl child was mercilessly murdered after being rape? Why the police, who are supposed to enforce the law simply remain quite saying that the matter has been settled as according to the customary law?
When a person is killed and when a suspect is known, the matter cannot be settled on the agreement between the two families. It is about the society. We cannot simply allow to happen such thing. Both the family and those who order them to settle the matter as according to the customary law deserve punishment.
Silence or ignoring the matter is not what we the common men are expecting. If our government under the leadership of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh still remain ignored to this kind of incident then the trust that we have in him will be lost forever.

NO to ‘Free Basics (by Facebook)’, YES to ‘Net Neutrality’

“What Facebook wants is our less fortunate brothers and sisters should be able to poke each other and play Candy Crush, but not be able to look up a fact on Google, or learn something on Youtube or Khan Academy, or sell their produce on a commodity market, or even search for a job on Naukri.”
- Mahesh Murthy, net-neutrality activist
Net neutrality means that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. To put it in simple terms, anyone from anywhere around the world should be able to access or provide services and content on the internet without any discrimination.
Internet.org is a partnership between Facebook and six other companies (Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia and Qualcomm) that planned to bring affordable access to selected Internet services to less developed countries. It was launched in August 2013, and faced a global backlash!  Facebook’s role as gatekeeper in determining what websites people can access was criticised for violating net neutrality. An Indian journalist, in his reply to Mark Zuckerberg’s article defending Internet.org in India, criticized Internet.org as “being just a Facebook proxy targeting India’s poor” as it provides restricted Internet access to Reliance Telecom’s subscribers in India.
Internet.org is now repackaged with a different name called “Free Basics”. 
Facebook launched the “Free Basics” initiative in India in February this year by partnering with Reliance Communications. RCom offers the Free Basics service under a ‘Freenet’ button on mobile phones. It started with free access to select 33 websites across Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Goa. This was subsequently increased to 80 websites.
Net neutrality is basically towards democracy, against monopoly, where Internet.org/ Free Basics is exactly opposite. Facebook have been at the receiving end from net neutrality supporters.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked Reliance Communications to suspend its Free Basics service this month. Few weeks back, the TRAI had issued a consultation paper on differential pricing for data services, where it had asked if telecom operators should be allowed to have different pricing for accessing different websites, applications and platforms. TRAI said some service providers were offering differential data tariff with free or discounted tariffs to certain contents of certain websites, applications or platforms. TRAI has invited comments till 31st December 2015.
In the last few days, from billboards (in metro cities) to YouTube ads, from two-page newspaper ads (in national newspapers), to ‘Send a Mail to TRAI to Save Free Basics’ campaign where they ask Facebook users to send signed emails to the TRAI in support of the campaign., Mark Zuckerberg & Co. have been aggressively trying to get their message of ‘Free Basics’ across to people.
Facebook users were repeatedly shown a misleading petition by Facebook on top of their pages, and in the form of notification (of friends who have signed up the petition), without being told both sides of the story, and thinking they were doing something for a noble cause, and not to further Facebook’s business strategy, many have clicked ‘yes’ and submitted. Later many realized that they were conned into doing have since said no. For all those who have signed up via Facebook to support the online campaign of ‘Free Basics’ but want to reverse their decision, can do so in the web addresses given in the end of this writeup.
Facebook calls Free Basics “a service offered on mobile devices that provides free access to a set of useful websites on the internet”.So, Facebook is going to decide what ‘useful websites’ are? Now, the question is, can one trust Facebook’s discretion? And more importantly, should one? After all, this would potentially decide what millions of users who get internet access for the first time will have access to.    (Contd. on page 2)
The airwaves and wireless spectrum of India belong to us, the citizens of India. On our behalf, the government of India temporarily gives licenses to telecommunications companies under some terms and conditions. Those terms pushed for the development of the whole of India, including our poor. The telecom policies of India have so far produced over a billion connections, changing and improving all our lives. The basis for this has always our policies which have forced our mobile operators to offer a full and open internet, accessible by anybody. Many poorer countries look to us for inspiration on how to do things right. But Facebook has been spending millions of dollars to change our policies.
Now, imagine that there’s a new policy that could let a mobile company only offer us Facebook and nothing else on government spectrum. Not Google, not Naukri, not You Tube, no site we really need. But instead all we can have is Facebook, and a bunch of other sites, and that’s all we can ever use. That’s what Facebook wants to offer the poor of India who can afford a phone but not a net connection on it. Given that data packages cost as little as Rs. 20 a month while phones cost Rs. 2,000 and up. That what the net neutrality activists feel is wrong. Mahesh Murthy, a prominent Mumbai based Net Neutrality activists said, “Yes, we net neutrality activists are opposed to Facebook’s attempt to disconnect Indians from the full internet. Yes, we are opposed to the digital apartheid they want to bring about, giving the poor only Facebook but denying them other sites. In Facebook’s ads, they’ve been claiming they want to bring “digital equality” when they’re actually bringing digital slavery or digital apartheid to our poor. Unlike the rest of us who are all digitally equal, being able to access the full and complete internet which has more than a billion sites on it, Facebook wants to offer our poor, our young and our future a few dozen sites, that’s all. We are happy to support any effort that brings the full and unfettered internet to as many Indians as possible, as cheaply as possible. This is not that effort.”
In a report published in the Guardian, Tim Berners-Lee, the British computer scientist who invented the internet, the world wide web in 1989, says that consumers should “just say no” to initiatives such as Facebook’s Free Basics (formerly known as Internet.org) because programs like that are not the full internet.
At the London Web We Want festival last year, Tim Berners-Lee had called for a bill of rights that would guarantee the independence of the internet and ensure users’ privacy; an internet version of the Magna Carta, the 13th century English charter credited with guaranteeing basic rights and freedoms.
According to the Guardian, the Web We Want campaign promotes five key principles for the future of the web: Freedom of expression online and offline, affordable internet access, protection of user data and privacy, a decentralised internet infrastructure, and net neutrality.
Delhi based Osama Manzar said, “Facebook is actually not the Internet. Because, even if I endorse hundreds of good things about Facebook, it is not something so critical that I cannot live without it. And I have no hesitation to say that for me and for millions who are connected to Facebook that we will not miss even one critical thing in our lives if we don’t have Facebook. But I cannot say the same for the Internet. I can for sure say that without the Internet we can be critically affected. It must be noted that the DNA of Facebook is that it is made by the masses and for the masses; if it is derived to control, acquire and exploit that privilege, it would automatically lead to its own undoing.”
As I compose this writeup, there are a bunch of protestors sitting under a tent erected on the road in Hyderabad opposing the ‘Free Basics’ initiative of Facebook. They are an unusual set of protestors consisting of youngsters armed with laptops and a good knowledge of the ways of the virtual world. Started on 26th December, their protest will go on till 29th December. The protesters also tried to drive home the point free internet access to rural households was possible with alternative solutions through a device called ‘Freedom Box’. “By just spending around Rs. 50,000, we can connect a whole village and create a network through the magic box that we designed which acts like a router and has other facilities like free calling. With the amount spent by Facebook for promoting ‘Free Basics’, we can connect one third of the villages in the country. It is high time, the government puts a brake on this misleading campaign and take responsibility,” said M. Siddhartha, member of Swecha, Hyderabad chapter of Free Software Movement of India (FSMI), an active GLUG (GNU/Linux User Group).
What net-neutrality activists are telling our government is this: On our airwaves, make sure that every mobile carrier in India offers every person in India the full internet and not just some small corner of it chosen by Facebook. That’s it. No special Facebook landgrab on government property, our wireless spectrum.
What Facebook is saying is this: allow the mobile companies using government-owned bandwidth to offer just Facebook and Facebook-chosen sites and nothing else, and let them grab the land or users they want.
If you agree with Net Neutrality, please sign the petition/ send-email to TRAI via http://www.SaveTheInternet.in or www.fsmi.in and tell TRAI that we need Net Neutrality, last date is 31st Dec 2015.
The Net Neutrality activists don’t have a hundred crores to spend. Please share their ideas of net-neutrality with as many people as possible. Your sharing can overcome any billionaire’s advertisement budget.
By : Ringo Pebam

(The writer is founder of Linux-Manipur (GNU/Linux Users’ Group of Manipur), he can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or facebook.com/ringo.pebam.)

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