ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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ASSAM-Contending Chauvinisms

 ASSAM Contending Chauvinisms Seema Guha ORGANISATIONS like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) have of late become very active in the north-east, particularly in Assam. This has been so especially since the agitation against 'foreign nationals' began.

ASSAM-Once More unto the Breach...

if these funds did not necessarily get lent within India. If the prospects of operating an offshore centre in Bombay are so very uncertain, why are Indian commercial banks showing such fascination for the idea? Could it be for other, yet unstated, reasons? Even in the West there is considerable argument about the absence of adequate supervision and control over offshore banking operations, be it with regard to reserve requirements or liquidity ratios. But the banks engaged in offshore operations are naturally opposed to any sug- WITH unfailing regularity, the floods of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries have been causing widespread destruction to life and property in the entire Brahmaputra basin year after year. Flood control work, which started in the early 1950s, has had little impact. Most people in the state are cynical about the work done by the Brahmaputra Flood Control Commission (BFCC) and feel that the protective measures undertaken are not in proportion to the huge amount of money allocated to it each year (around Rs 28 to Rs 30 crore annually and the cost is going up every year). This feeling is heightened by the belief that there is rampant corruption in the flood control department. However it would not be fair to blame the BFCC alone for floods in Assam. Harnessing a river as big and un- wieldy as the Brahmaputra requires huge resources and advanced technical knowledge which may well be beyond the scope of the state government. Indeed even the Government of India would probably have to resort to large-scale borrowings from external financial agencies to augment any plan for the effective control of the Brahmaputra.

ASSAM -Union Bashing

Union Bashing Seema Guha THE agitation against 'foreign nationals' which has swept over the state like a fever and roused the emotions of thousands of Assamese in the Brahmaputra valley has had an enormous impact on all working class movements in the state. During the course of the now ten month old agitation the anti-Left nature of the movement has been evident to any impartial observer of events. Besides hitting out at the two principal Left forces in Assam, the CPI and the CPI(M), especially the latter, the movement has also tried to break up Left leaning trade unions. The emotional appeal of the protagonists of the agitation to all Assamese people to contribute their mite to save their homeland from being taken over by 'foreign nationals' has found a ready response among many people, irrespective of their party affiliations.

ASSAM-Explosion at Bargolia Colliery

places, killing an unspecified number of people. The police bloodshed and violence has scared the people of many villages away from their homes. After the March 17 firing at Pakaria, truck- loads of CRPF began raiding all the villages in the neighbourhood and pick- ON January 22, 1979, a major accident took place in the Bargolia coalfields of the Upper Assam district of Dibrugarh. 12 miners died on the spot and 60 others had to be hospitalised. Among these, four more miners succumbed to their injuries bringing the death toll to 16 altogether. Most of the miners killed were young (three of them were recently married) and nearly all were the sole breadwinners of their families. A compensation of Rs 1,000 has been paid to each of the families of the deceased and the company has also promised to give employ. ment to one member from each of the affected families. The Union Ministers for Labour and Energy, both of whom visited the site of the accident, held an inquiry as well.

ASSAM-Despondency and Madness

November 18, 1978 ASSAM Despondency and Madness Seema Guha EVERY month some 400 to 500 mental patients who are desperately in need of immediate medical attention are confined to the prisons of Assam without any medical help whatsoever

Emergency through Western Eyes

Seema Guha The Press She Could Not Whip edited by Amiya Rao and B G Rao; Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1977; pp xxi + 399, Rs 48. THIS is a compilation of newspaper and magazine reports that appeared in Western press during the Emergency and unmasks the ruthless distortion of truth by the Indira Gandhi regime. The remarkable service done to India by the newsmen of the West can be fully appreciated when we realise that despite the great efforts of the Indian embassies in the capitals of the West to put forward the official version of the Emergency and despite pre-cen- sorship and even personal harassment of foreign journalists critical of the government, the Western press was able to present the stark reality of life in Emergency India. And while the censored national press was repeating the lies which Indira Gandhi invented as an excuse to clamp dictatorial rule in the country The New York Times Magazine was commenting: "The Emergency began solely to keep her in power and that remains its prime reason for being. All else is afterthought, designed to swathe the naked blade of personal power in the sheath of national interest" (p 103).
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