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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.

The committee recommends stripping security forces of special immunity that they enjoy in conflict areas in cases of sexual assault on women, and bringing them under the purview of ordinary criminal law.

Special laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which is enforced in  Jammu & Kashmir and the northeastern states, give security forces immunity from prosecution unless sanctioned by the central government.

from India Insight:

In Bangalore, Northeast life interrupted

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Perched midway between Bangalore's Kodihalli and Indiranagar neighbourhoods, the Glitz beauty parlour has been shut for the last several days. There is little surprise in finding out why. A favourite for locals, it normally buzzes with activity every evening. But the six women who run it are from Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, two states in northeast India.

The people who come from these states, with their proximity to Bhutan, China and Myanmar, often resemble people from east Asia rather than India. Thousands of them, drawn to better-paying jobs in other parts of India, have fled cities such as Mysore, Bangalore and Pune after threats of violence at the hands of Muslims angry about clashes in Assam between Muslim illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Indian Bodo tribespeople that have left nearly 80 people dead and 400,000 interned in squalid refugee camps.

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:

Table laid out in the winter sun

Ever had a lotus stem salad laced with fermented fish, evaporated cane juice cookie, chopped eel spiced with chillies or a plate of fried mountain onion roots?

Okay, they’re probably not on the menu of your average restaurant but to my pleasant surprise all the above and much more were on offer in New Delhi at a cultural event dedicated to northeast India.

from India Insight:

Independence Day – View from the other side of the coin

As the country watched in horror after terrorists exploded bombs in Ahmedabad and Bangalore ahead of Independence Day last month, a small village in far north-eastern Manipur had just finished a symbolic ritual in its efforts to end its grief over a crime purportedly unleashed by state actors.

Friends, families and human rights groups observed the last rites of 24-year-old Thangjam Manorama Devi, four years after she was allegedly raped and killed by personnel of the Assam Rifles paramilitary force. By performing the rites, they broke a pledge not to conduct the ceremony until their demands for punishment of the guilty and the repeal of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from the state were fulfilled.

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