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from India Insight:

Rumours trigger panic-buying of salt in northeast India

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Rumours of an impending salt shortage led to panic-buying in India’s north-eastern states and parts of West Bengal state on Friday, officials and media reports said, with a kilo of salt being sold for as much as 200 rupees ($3) compared to average retail selling prices of about 20 rupees (around 35 cents).

Witnesses reported people queuing up at grocery stores to stockpile salt packets, with several shops running out of the usually cheap and plentiful product a day after similar rumours surfaced in Bihar state.

On Thursday, the Bihar state government said that there was abundant supply of the condiment after panic-buying in several districts and state capital Patna following rumours of a reduced supply from Gujarat state, India’s biggest producer of salt.

A senior police official in Mizoram state said many stores in the state had run out of salt.

from India Insight:

Zubeen Garg: not Assamese enough for separatist group

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(Note: paragraph six contains graphic language)

When in Assam, sing like the Assamese do. That was the message from the separatist group United Liberation Front of Assam to singer Zubeen Garg. The 40-year-old singer, born in Jorhat in Assam, irked ULFA last week when he sang Hindi songs at a Bihu festival.

That's a poke in the eye for the rebel group. Bihu is a major cultural festival in Assam, taking place three times a year. It's a big deal for the most populous largest state in northeast India, and ULFA didn't like Garg's decision to sing in Hindi (check his song "Ya Ali" here) because its leaders consider doing that an erosion of Assamese culture.

from India Insight:

Military personnel who rape in India’s conflict zones should be prosecuted: committee

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The Justice Verma Committee, set up to review India’s legislation following the brutal gang rape of a student in Delhi last month, released its recommendations on how to make the country safer for women last week.

Among the issues which the panel addressed was a “neglected area” concerning sexual violence against women in areas of conflict.

from India Insight:

Rhino attacked, tiger killed as floods ravage Northeast

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Northeast India is home to several rare and endangered animal species, which means that Northeast India is also home to poachers. With floods ravaging Assam and other northeastern states and displacing some 2 million people, poachers appear to be using the opportunity to murder animals.

Suspected poachers attacked a rare one-horned rhino by shooting it and cutting off its horn, the BBC reported:

from India Insight:

Assam ferry tragedy not newsy enough?

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On Monday, India's remote northeastern state of Assam saw probably its biggest tragedy in recent memory, when an overloaded ferry carrying about 300 people sank in the Brahmaputra river, killing at least 103 people.

However, the bigger tragedy perhaps was the minimal coverage it got in the national media. Apart from The Hindu, which had the accident as its top story, none of the leading dailies in the country gave it much coverage beyond a mention on the front page.

from India Insight:

Feared India separatist leader invests millions in Bangladesh

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The military leader of a rebel group seeking independence for India's isolated north-eastern state of Assam earns millions of dollars each year from investments in Bangladesh, a Bangladeshi intelligence report seen by a local news agency revealed.

The news could test warming relations between the south Asian neighbours who for years clashed over the issue of rebels finding shelter in Bangladesh.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Bangladeshi group fingered for Indian serial blasts linked to Osama

In the absence of any claims, and a denial of involvement by the main local separatist group, the Indian media is  are starting to point the finger at a Bangladeshi militant Islamist group for Thursday’s multiple bombings that left 65 left dead and more than 300 wounded in Assam state.

 

If it is indeed the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami (HuJi) Bangladesh that orchestrated one of the most deadly attacks in the far flung northeast state, then it could end up hardening the mood in India against not just Bangladesh, but also once again against Pakistan.

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