All Posts By

BrahmaFeed

Human Rights

Myanmar MPs Living In Exile In Mizoram Paint Horrific Picture Of Bloodshed In Their Country
by Jaideep Mazumdar –
Myanmar MPs Living In Exile In Mizoram Paint Horrific Picture Of Bloodshed In Their Country
A villager looks on in Myanmar, as the military junta bombs public dwellings and kills thousands, as part of a coup. –
According to the Mizoram Police’s Crime Investigation Department (CID), which keeps track of and deals with political refugees from Myanmar, a total of 5,673 Myanmarese nationals have taken refuge in the state till now.

The Myanmarese refugees have been sheltered in nine districts of the state, including state capital Aizawl. Most of them are staying in Champhai district bordering Myanmar.

Eighteen parliamentarians belonging to Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League For Democracy (NLD) have painted a ghastly picture of the violence unleashed by the country’s military junta that seized power in the country on 1 February this year.

The 18 MPs, along with more than 5,600 fellow-Myanmarese, fled their country and have sought refuge at various places in Mizoram after the brutal and bloody crackdown on NLD leaders and supporters, as well as innocent civilians, unleashed by the Tatmadaw (as the military is called in Myanmar) following the coup.

Defence

China Builds Key Highway Through Brahmaputra Gorge In Tibet Near Arunachal: Report

Security

Ludhiana YouTuber calls Arunachal part of China, arrested
A 21-year-old YouTuber based at Janakpuri, Ludhiana, was arrested after he allegedly called Arunachal Pradesh a part of China and said state’s MLA Ninong Ering “looks like a non-Indian”. Photo for representation only

by Nikhil Bhardwaj

A 21-year-old YouTuber based at Janakpuri here was arrested after he allegedly called Arunachal Pradesh a part of China and said state’s MLA Ninong Ering “looks like a non-Indian”.

The accused, Paras Singh, was booked by the Arunachal Police after the video on his YouTube channel “Paras Official” went viral.

In a tweet, MP Kiren Rijiju said, “The accused will be punished as per law. Such a mindset harms the unity of our country. The Union Home Ministry has already issued advisories to all states and UTs to ensure protection and dignity of the North-East people.”

He said a team of the Arunachal Police had left for Punjab. “I have spoken to the Ludhiana police commissioner and asked him to expedite the accused’s transit remand,” he said. Pragya Jain, ADCP, said proceedings were initiated to hand him over to the Arunachal Police.

Paras had uploaded the controversial video on Sunday and a day later, he posted another video, seeking apology on the matter.

On May 22, Pasighat West MLA Ninong Ering wrote to the PM that efforts were being made to re-launch PUBG in India with a new name.

Paras said the ‘MLA looks like a non-Indian and all AP people have same appearance’. He also said ‘Arunachal can’t be found on Indian map because it is part of China’.

Defence

China completes strategic Tibet highway near Arunachal border

Construction is part of a wider infrastructure push in border areas in Tibet
China has completed construction of a strategically significant highway through the world’s deepest canyon in Tibet along the Brahmaputra river, enabling greater access to remote areas along the disputed border with Arunachal Pradesh in India.

The highway, official media in China reported this week, took seven years to complete and passes through the Grand Canyon of the Yarlung Zangbo river, as the Brahmaputra is called in Tibet. This is the “second significant passageway” to Medog county that borders Arunachal, the official Xinhua news agency reported, directly connecting the Pad township in Nyingchi to Baibung in Medog county.

The highway will reduce the distance between Nyingchi city and Medog from 346 km to 180 km and will cut the travel time by eight hours. The project, undertaken by the China Huaneng Group, required an estimated investment of over 2 billion yuan (around $310 million), Xinhua reported.

The construction, which began in 2014, is part of a wider infrastructure push in border areas in Tibet. In November, China began work on a strategically important railway line — its second major rail link to Tibet after the Qinghai-Tibet railway that opened in 2006 — that will link Sichuan province with Nyingchi.

That project was considered important enough for President Xi Jinping to officially launch it, as he called it “a major step in safeguarding national unity and a significant move in promoting economic and social development of the western region”.

Zhu Weiqun, a senior Party official formerly in charge of Tibet policy, was quoted as saying by state media the railway will help “transport advanced equipment and technologies from the rest of China to Tibet and bring local products out”. “If a scenario of a crisis happens at the border, the railway can act as a ‘fast track’ for the delivery of strategic materials,” he said.

The first segment of the line within the Sichuan province, from Chengdu to Yaan, was completed in December 2018. Work on the 1,011-km section from Yaan to Nyingchi will be finished in 2030.

Civilian settlements in disputed territories
Another part of the border infrastructure push is the construction of new civilian settlements — along with the expansion of existing smaller hamlets — along border areas, some of which lie in disputed territories claimed by India and Bhutan, to strengthen China’s control over the land.

In 2017, the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) government launched a plan to build “moderately well-off villages” in border areas, under which 628 “first line and second line villages” — referring to those right on the border and others in remote areas slightly further within — would be developed in the prefectures of Ngari, Shigatse, Shannan and Nyingchi, along China’s borders with India, Bhutan and Nepal.

An investment of 30.1 billion yuan (about ₹30,000 crore) was announced for the project, covering 62,160 households and 2.4 lakh people, and includes plans to resettle residents to live in the new settlements.

Last year, satellite images emerged showing a new village called Pangda built 2-3 km into what Bhutan sees as its land. On January 18 this year, another village built newly 4-5 km into what India sees as its territory in Arunachal came to light via satellite images. Indian officials said this land has been under China’s effective control since 1959 and there were military barracks there earlier. The civilian settlements, along with the new infrastructure connectivity, are seen as aimed at bolstering China’s control over the areas

Environment

Rarely spotted Mandarin Duck and Black-necked Crane stop by in Assam==========“I couldn’t believe it,” says Madhab Gogoi excitedly over the phone from Assam, about his surprise date with the spectacular-looking bird in the early weeks of February. He was at Maguri-Motapung beel (wetland) in Tinsukia district, Assam, birdwatching in the wetlands when he noticed a colourful bird floating on the surface of the lake. Curious, he zoomed in with his binoculars and realised that it was the Mandarin duck, a rare bird that was last seen in Assam in the 1900s.

Unforgettable
“It was a historic moment, as the bird has shown up after 120 years at the same location. It was last spotted at Dibru river in Tinsukia in 1902. The streak of colours on the plumage, especially the male during the breeding season is a mind-boggling mix of white, green, golden orange and blue. You can call it the ‘queen’ among water birds,” says Gogoi.

Advertising

Advertising
The eBird website, a platform that documents birds the world over, calls it a ‘small-exotic looking bird’ native to East Asia, and describes the male as ‘very ornate with big orangey ‘sail fins’ on the back, streaked orangey cheeks, and a small red bill with a whitish tip.’

According to birders like Jaydev Mandal, the duck “seems to have strayed from its regular migratory path”. He says over call from Assam, “They breed in Russia, Korea, Japan and the northeastern parts of China — as the name Mandarin also suggests. The species is also found in western Europe and the US. The bird rarely visits India as the wintering grounds of the birds are Mongolia and China.”

Spotted
After Assam, a lone Mandarin duck was spotted last week in Arunachal Pradesh at Siikhe lake, Ziro, a first spotting of this small and exotic species in the State.
It is suspected that it is the same duck from Assam’s Maguri Motapung wetland spotted earlier this month that has made a 300-kilometre journey to get there.
Jaydev spearheaded the second edition of Bihu Bird Count that covered 27 districts and recorded 400 species of birds. “ We can call it a vagrant that briefly stopped by at the same location where it was last seen in the 20th Century, making it a record sighting.”

“Maybe it’s a casual sighting” says Nilutpal Mahanta, a PhD scholar at Gauhati University and an avid birder. “If one studies the migratory pathways listed on ebird, we learn that this bird is not a winter visitor to India. The birds that flock wintering grounds in India take the Central Asian Flyway, and Mandarin ducks don’t take that route.

It could even be a species that escaped from an illegal wildlife trader. The ducks is often captured and traded because of its beauty. Illegal trading of exotic species is rampant along China, Bangladesh, and Myanmar border,” he adds.

Rare sightings
Naturalists suspect that climate changes and habitat destruction have triggered a spate of rare sightings in Assam. A pair of black-necked cranes were also sighted in the countryside of the outskirts of the Panbari range of Manas National Park, a first-ever record in Assam.

Black-necked crane sighted at Manas National Park, Assam.
Black-necked crane sighted at Manas National Park, Assam. | Photo Credit: Nilutpal Mahanta

Explains Nilutpal, “It is a medium-sized crane that breeds on the Tibetan Plateau and remote parts of India and Bhutan. They have been mostly recorded in high altitudes of Jimithang and Sangti valley in western parts of Arunachal Pradesh in India. Locals of Panbari have named bird deu korchon (Deu means related to God and mythology, and Korchon means crane) as it has mythological importance in Buddhist culture.”

Though the environment became stable in the last year with less pollution, habitat destruction is a cause of worry, says Nilutpal. “In January, we also spotted the rarely seen Indian golden oriole in Assam. Such rare sightings make us happy but also leave us confused,” he explains.

Gogoi is happy; the appearance of Mandarin duck has kick-started a discussion on conservation. “Of the 1,200 birds that can be seen in India, over 900 species are found in the Northeast part of India, including Assam and Mizoram. Birders throng to Assam to see resident beauties like grey peacock pheasant and white winged wood duck,” he says. Then adds, “But the beauty of Mandarin has left not just the naturalists, but also the general public speechless. It has inspired them to give a serious thought about conservation. It is heartening.”

Disaster, Environment

5 Bodies Recovered, Over 150 Missing in Flash Flood Triggered by Nandadevi Glacier Break in Chamoli; Uttarakhand -=====5 Bodies Recovered , 100 feared to death as Nanda Devi glacier broke and crashed into the dam in Chamoli district :——————A part of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off at Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on Sunday, leading to a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river and causing large-scale devastation in the upper reaches of the ecologically fragile Himalaya. Over 150 labourers working at a power project in Tapovan-Reni are feared dead, an Indo Tibetan Border Police spokesperson said while quoting the project-in charge. Five bodies were recovered. The power project was swept away completely, added state Director General of Police Ashok Kumar while describing the situation as under control. Homes along the way were also swept away as the waters rushed down the mountainsides in a raging torrent. There were fears of damage in human settlements downstream, including in heavily populated areas. Many villages were evacuated and people taken to safer areas. Connectivity with some border posts was “totally restricted” due to a bridge collapsing near Reni village, an ITBP spokesperson said.

Several districts, including Pauri, Tehri, Rudraprayag, Haridwar and Dehradun, that were likely to be affected were put on high alert and forces of the ITBP and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rushed in to help with the rescue and relief effort. I am constantly monitoring the unfortunate situation in Uttarakhand. India stands with Uttarakhand, prays for everyone’s safety, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. News that the 150 labourers at the project on Rishi Ganga were affected had come in the early in the day. Representatives of the power project have told me that they are not being able to contact around 150 of their workmen at the project site,” said State Disaster Response Force DIG Ridhim Aggarwal. The waters in the Dhauli Ganga, a tributary of the Ganga, was flowing two to three metres above normal, the official added. Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and assured him of all possible support to deal with the situation arising from the glacier burst and the resulting floods. In a series of tweets in Hindi, Shah also said teams of the NDRF were deployed for rescue and relief operations of the affected people while additional troops of the force were being airlifted from Delhi

Indigenous no-state people

China’s dam-building over Brahmaputra risks water war with India
Hong Kong: China is planning to construct a mega-dam on the Yarlung Zangbao River, which flows through Tibet and eventually becomes the Brahmaputra when it enters India.
india china dispute
Photo Credit: FacebookYarlung Zangbao RiverHong Kong: China’s plan to dam the Yarlung Zangbao, the world’s highest river, threatens to spark conflict with downstream India, reported Asia Times.China is planning to construct a mega-dam on the Yarlung Zangbao River, which flows through Tibet and eventually becomes the Brahmaputra when it enters India.

The Yarlung Zangbao Dam plan is moving ahead without China discussing or entering into water-sharing agreements with downstream India or Bangladesh.Bangladesh, which maintains cordial relations with China, too protested over the Yarlung Zangbao Dam, reported Asia Times.

Bertil Linter in an opinion piece in Asia Times wrote that precise technical details regarding the mega-dam on the Yarlung Zangbo River are lacking, but regional media reports indicate it will likely dwarf the massive Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River and generate three times as much electricity for distribution in China.Both Brahmaputra and the glaciers that feed Ganga originate in China. As an upstream riparian region, China maintains an advantageous position and can build infrastructure to intentionally prevent water from flowing downstream.

Owing to previous tendencies where the Chinese have been reluctant to provide details of its hydropower projects, there is a trust deficit between the two neighbours.China’s dam-building and water division plans along the Brahmaputra (called Yarlung Zangbao in China) is a source of tension between the two neighbours.

Not only India but other nations of Southeast Asia are affected due to China’s lack of consultations with downstream neighbours and has sparked controversy with them.China has built eleven mega-dams on the Mekong River, causing water levels there to fluctuate widely without prior notice in Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, reported Asia Times.As per reports, in late December, China reduced water discharge from a dam to test its equipment near the town of Jinghong in southern Yunnan province from 1,904 cubic meters to 1,000 cubic meters per second.It took almost a week for China to inform the downstream countries of the move, which wasn’t enough time for downstream countries to prepare, resulting in disruptions in shipping and commerce. Water levels had already dropped a meter at Thailand’s Chiang Saen, where the Mekong forms the border with Laos, wrote Linter.China’s announcement was made only after the Washington-based Stimson Center’s Southeast Asia Program’s Mekong Dam Monitor, which uses satellite imagery to keep tabs on water levels along the river, notified the Mekong River Commission, a regional cooperation organization of which China is not a member.Some analysts believe China is using its leverage over water flows as a stick to win concessions from downstream Southeast Asian states on other issues, including in regard to its Belt and Road Initiative.China is using the same tactics with India with its Yarlung Zangbao Dam designs. Earlier, China clashed with India in Ladakh in June last year and a 2017 border stand-off near the border with Bhutan has angered both nations over China’s unilaterally decided hydroelectric power scheme.The Himalayan water war will affect India and Bangladesh as both rely on the Brahmaputra’s water for agriculture. Both India and Bangladesh worry that these dams will give Beijing the ability to divert or store water in times of political crisis.Everyday policy concerns like water sharing and usage often receive less attention, are combined with larger security or border concerns, or are dealt with only when natural disasters occur. Yet water politics has far-reaching consequences for the prosperity and security of countries. Courtesy: SCMP

Media

TRP scam: Pulwama martyrs’ kin slam Arnab Goswami, demand strict action against him . . GUWAHATI :
Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, whose name surfaced in the past few days in the Television Rating Points (TRP) rigging scam, has been slammed by the military veterans and aggrieved family members of the Pulwama attack martyrs. Goswami was attacked for his vulture journalism and demands have been made for strict action against the journalist for compromising national security. The Pulwama martyrs’ kin has claimed that Goswami should be shameful for his acts and should stop playing such incidents for TRP gains. Furthermore, they also say that the government should probe how the Republic TV editor-in-chief got the sensitive information

Health

1,000 doses of Covishield vaccine found frozen, damaged at cold storage in Assam
Guwahati: Around 1,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine were found damaged at the Silchar Medical College & Hospital (SMCH) in Assam’s Cachar district. The vaccine doses were found lying frozen in the vaccine store unit of SMCH.
und 1,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine were found damaged at the Silchar Medical College & Hospital (SMCH) in Assam’s Cachar district. The vaccine doses were found lying frozen in the vaccine store unit of SMCH.

According to reports, about 100 vials of Covishield vaccine, containing 1,000 doses, were stored at sub-zero temperatures. The Covishield vaccine require to be stored at a temperature of 2-8 degrees Celsius, but the temperature of the ILR at Silchar Medical College & Hospital went below zero.

A health official at Cachar district said that the vaccines were found partially frozen.

“There might be some technical fault of the Ice-Lined Refrigerator (ILR). We generally regulate the temperature of ILR between 2-8 degrees Celsius. When the temperature goes down, the ILR machine sends a message. But our vaccinator didn’t get any message and most probably it was a technical fault. The vaccines were stored the whole night and somehow the temperatures had dropped,” the health official said.

Meanwhile, Assam health department has decided to send another batch of 100 vials of the Covishield containing 1,000 doses to the Silchar Medical College & Hospital as replacement.

On the other hand, the state health department has sought a report from the hospital authority following the incident.