India Insight

Rumours trigger panic-buying of salt in northeast India

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.

“Since early morning people have been rushing to buy salt, there is nothing left to buy in stores,” P.C. Chunga, the additional superintendent of police in Mizoram’s Mamit district, told Reuters over the phone.

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

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.

Manipur blockade highlights India’s northeast dilemma

An entire state held to ransom for the past three months. And a central government that seems helpless to stop it.

Naga groups on Tuesday said they were extending for another 25 days their blockade of the two highways linking landlocked Manipur to the rest of the country.

This follows almost consecutive 20 days and 69 days of similar blockades, leaving the northeast state surviving on army-escorted supplies for the past three months.

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