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Myanmar national involved in illegal migrants influx arrested

A Myanmar national allegedly involved in human trafficking and facilitating inlfux of illegal migrants, has been arrested by the Crime Branch, police said today.

Delhi police received inputs about the accused on August 21 from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which was also tracking him for his alleged links with banned organisations like Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HUJI) and other POK-based millitants, said a senior police official.

"The accused, identified as Shaik Noor, was also wanted by Telangana Police in a case involving buying and disposing of people as slaves, forgery and other related charges under IPC, Foreigners Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Noor has been arrested under section 41(1) of CrPc and handed over to them," said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav.

In 2008, Noor was arrested in Chennai for his alleged links with a fake currency racket. He was lodged in a Chennai jail for two years, after which he moved to Hyderabad and then to Delhi, said the senior official.

Noor's primary service was to facilitate infiltration of Rohingya people and arrange Indian passports on fake addresses for the migrants to be further sent to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations, and sell them there, said a source in Crime Branch.

According to police, the Commissioner's Task Force of Hyderabad had arrested six persons, Pakistan national Mohammad Nasir, Bangladeshis Faizal Mahmood and Joynal Abedin alias Mohammed Usman, and Masood Ali Khan, Sohail Parvez Khan and Zia-Ur-Rehman, on August 14. Usman turned out to be Noor's brother-in-law.

Of the six arrested, Nasir had close links with jihadi groups and POK-based militant ideologue Abdul Jabbar alias Malik. Nasir had allegedly sought Noor's help to infiltrate into India.

The police recovered three fake passports, a mobile phone, five ATM cards and two contact diaries from Noor's possession.

Further investigation is being done by Telangana Police, said the senior official.

At the age of 15, Noor migrated to India and stayed at Bardhaman district of West Bengal. After five years, he migrated to Delhi and started living in Sarai Kale Khan area. He sold skull caps and allegedly got into the business of facilitating infiltrators.

Later, he lived in Chennai, Hyderabad and again returned to Delhi around two years ago, the police source added.

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Burma: Land Rights Activists Are Newest Political Prisoners

(Bangkok) – Burmese authorities should immediately stop using abusive laws on association and expression to halt the activities of land rights activists, Human Rights Watch said today. The recent arbitrary arrest of a prominent land rights advocate in Karen State exemplifies the government’s persecution of vocal opponents of land grabs by officials and their business associates.

At about midnight on August 7, 2015, police arrested U Saw Maung Gyi, a leader of the 88 Karen Generation Student Organization. The authorities charged him under section 17(1) of the Unlawful Associations Act for allegedly providing assistance to a man that police claim is a Karen insurgent. U Saw Maung Gyi faces a two-to-three-year prison sentence if convicted. To further harass the 88 Karen Generation Student Organization, on that same night the police arrested nine farmers and activists who were sleeping at the organization’s office and fined them for staying overnight outside their home district without government permission.

“The Burmese authorities’ repeated use of oppressive laws against land rights activists is a heavy-handed attempt to silence them,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “These activists are forced to run a gauntlet of government intimidation, arrests – and now, trumped-up charges – just to try and help villagers stay on their land.”

The 88 Karen Generation Student Organization is one of the main groups in Burma’s eastern Karen State assisting small farmers to peacefully resist land confiscations, which often involve powerful government officials and members of parliament, crony businessmen, and armed groups. Very few organizations are currently providing such assistance to villagers in Karen State, in part because of government oppression.

The arrests of these activists follows the arrests of 27 people in June in Karen State for allegedly violating section 43(a) of the Forest Law after they erected huts on land they claimed to own. They face up to seven years in prison. In addition, another 13 people from Karen State are facing charges under section 18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law after a protest in Hpa-an in March. Several of those charged for their involvement in that protest told Human Rights Watch that the protest sought the return of their confiscated land and was peaceful. Both groups face trial on August 17.

“Land rights activists in Karen State persist under especially repressive conditions as few groups feel they can safely speak out against government abuses without facing retaliation,” Robertson said.

Land rights disputes have dramatically increased since 2011, becoming a major nationwide issue. Increased protests have resulted in a marked increase in the arrest and prosecution of protesters and activists. Most recently, on July 23, police in Pegu Region arrested and charged the prominent former political prisoner and current head of the Myanmar Farmers Association, Su Su Nway, with trespass for her investigations into farmland seized by the Burmese military several years ago. Her trial began on July 29 and she could face three months in prison.

The number of political prisoners in Burma has surged in the past year, with approximately 170 people in prison and over 400 facing various charges. These include large numbers of farmers and land rights activists charged with either trespass or unlawful assembly.

“The arrests in Karen State mirror broader patterns elsewhere in Burma in which land activists are identified, targeted, and silenced,” Robertson said. “Land activists are increasingly becoming Burma’s new political prisoners.”

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Indian Govt: 'We have done our part' :: Dr Puyam Rakesh


Govt of India inks agreement with NSCN (IM) on August 03 2015


Govt of India inks agreement with NSCN (IM) on August 03 2015 :: Pix - Press Information Bureau

Sound of fire-crackers, the Jadonang Park, Ukhrul thanksgiving and press notes celebrating the Naga accord are all parts of Manipur history. It is difficult to say anything about the 'framework agreement' with certainty. But we cannot remain passive. The search for certainty in the dark cloud of uncertainty is not our choice. It has been an imposition. It is the secrecy that makes things very uncertain and speculative. For those who stand for the territorial integrity of Manipur, the signing of the accord without consulting the state government says a lot more things. Keeping the contents of the accord secret increased the clarity.

Those in the corridor of power in New Delhi love to play their own game. Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh will have their own choices. There should be agreed rules and regulations. Two different teams cannot play a game with different rules. Whose rules will prevail? It is happening in a democratic country. The people, transparency and accountability are the vocabularies in the dictionary of democracy. Without these words, democracy is sham. Unfortunately, the word 'authoritarian' crept into the very dictionary. Can it get a new different meaning? Here the word 'power' comes into the scene. Power is what power does.

The people of Manipur have gone through many phases as part of the Indian Union since 1949. They know how the Indian federalism works. The Merger Agreement, Eighth Schedule demand for Manipuri language, statehood demand, repeal AFSPA movement, June 18 Uprising and Inner Line Permit demand were the class lectures given by New Delhi. "India is a militarily powerful state", Delhi recites the line every day. Manipur is the land where military power meets the people's power. It is our history and our daily experience. Nobody can deny it. Now, New Delhi has another lesson called 'Naga Peace Accord'.

Some of the NSCN (IM) leaders are very old. They must be having their own thoughts on the protracted peace process. After all, they are human beings who have their needs and wants. Isak Chishi Swu was hospitalised. Thuingangleng Muivah is not fit for battlefield. There are younger leaders but any lengthy peace process can become a boring task. Getting something concrete after sacrificing so much is desirable. The number of Naga armed groups increased during this period. The Naga family is vulnerable to discords and bloodshed. Every sane being will agree to this. It is a wise step to get something concrete before things fall apart

What are the core demands? Sovereignty and integration of Naga areas are considered very crucial. Without fulfilling some (if not all) core demands, NSCN (IM) will lose its face after opposing past accords for compromising with sovereignty demand. Consolidating the Naga family of various tribes and interest groups is not within the reach of the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India. Such a unified stand of the Nagas may not serve New Delhi pundits. They know better. However, NSCN (IM) is still a powerful force. The group has not lost the faith of a large section of the family. The leaders know the pressing need for delivering something. The sooner it gets delivered, the better things will be for the leadership spearheading the movement.

In the board game of 'Kei-Yen', any single move can turn the relative strength or advantage of the player in his favour or against himself. There is always the fear of making wrong moves. The NSCN (IM) is promoted, in one sense, by the Indian State to win the good faith of its leadership to change the course of history in the region. It is a game of using NSCN (IM)'s strength/influence in favour of New Delhi's calculated policy. In fact, the Government of India knows that losing this group will be a great loss. Its strength and survival as a force to be reckoned with, is not a problem as long as it is consciously or unconsciously willing to serve the so-called national interests. And just read it as a win-win solution.

The abrogation of ceasefire agreement by NSCN (K) was a bitter pill that Prime Minister Modi had to swallow. It was not just about the loss of some lives in the NSCN (K)'s armed attacks in Nagaland, Arunachal and Manipur. It is about the loss of faith in New Delhi's peace process. The political score made by NSCN (K) move was not negligible. After this, New Delhi cannot send the message that it is not willing to walk the extra mile for peaceful settlement. Its sincerity has to be re-claimed in the eyes of the people.

As a result, the NSCN (IM) became the good guy waiting for the right time to get Prime Minister Modi's political blessing. Did Khaplang group's change of course favour Muivah's party? Truly speaking, a better ground for bargaining was established in the wake of the ceasefire abrogation by Khaplang group. To make things look good, Isak Chisi Swu's hospitalisation was exploited to make the move. Media also made everything look more edible and delicious. Heartfelt messages from India's Prime Minister and other leaders for their sincere efforts to bring a solution to the vexed Naga issue scored well.

New Delhi knows very well that there are many groups in the Naga family fighting for different interests. There are people who are against the NSCN (IM), aspiring different goals. To some extent, New Delhi proved its sincerity and showed political will to crack the hard nut. The peace deal is in the news. If they cannot give much to the good guy, it is because of the strong opposition from the neighbours. If there are differences in the Naga family, that is not New Delhi's problem.

At present, New Delhi is reciting a verse: We are willing to give as much as we can. We have kept our promise. Any failure in fulfilling the Naga dream will not be our responsibility. Such problems can arise from the Naga family's crisis and bad neighbours. Delhiwallahs will cross their hands and legs after this. In this situation, who will be the victims? The answer is in the tip of every thinking Tom's tongue.

For the peace brokers in Delhi, saying that the territorial boundaries of the northeast states will not be re-drawn is not the fine line to hide their true colours. They must come up with an explanation on why the three congress chief ministers were not consulted before signing the framework agreement. Again, they are keeping the contents of the accord in the dark. The modus operandi was undemocratic in every sense. Some people can grope for fish in the dark night. To be honest, the lack of transparency in reaching a political solution for peace and development in the Naga areas is the very light that makes things clear. Every observer who is not snoring at the moment can see that.

After many rounds of talks in foreign soils, the NSCN (IM) leadership came back to India to test the water in New Delhi. They have tasted the political air in India. Their international support base and vibrancy of the movement have collectively taught them the lesson of proper marketing. One cannot sell a thing in the right price for higher profit without knowing how to sell it well. These leaders attached to the Hebron Camp know the art of selling for a bigger piece of the Pie. Cartographic nationalism is one such thing.

Territory inhabited by the Naga tribes is vast and it is located in a very strategic region lying between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, China and Myanmar. The areas inhabited by the Naga-cognate ethnic groups are also in the map. Asserting the Nagas as the master race in the region is also a good advertisement. Modi administration wants to buy what Muivah group is selling. Without a firm control in northeast, the 'Act East' policy is not making progress for expanding India's strategic interests in Southeast Asia.

Two ways are better than one way. The Chinese naval force is modernising and expanding in a fast rate. The Indian Ocean is becoming a lake for the Chinese navy. The guns in the northeast must be silenced to make proper use of the strategic region. When geo-economics is becoming the trend of the century, Prime Minister Modi and Ato Kilonser Muivah must be talking about business. The business acumen of the Gujarati leader and Muivah's opening the gate to Southeast Asian market passing through the Naga areas are worth studying. They have to face landslides if they are for it. It is a serious business indeed.

In addition to the difficulty to establish a pan-Naga body, there is curiosity to know the kind of sovereignty that the Nagas will enjoy under any new arrangement. Article 370 has been the target of the Modi camp for a long time. The nationalist Hindu groups get eye sores to see a Muslim-majority state bordering Pakistan to have autonomous status. Any sort of shared sovereignty is likely to be opposed by the nationalist camp followers if it can threaten the integrity of the country. Giving the new entity some space within the Ministry of External Affairs or making a mechanism to work in partnership will be a valuable experience of the Indian federalism. Or, will New Delhi use the groups opposing the NSCN (IM) to cut the share of the harvest? Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi knows the rest of the subject.

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Myanmar is about to be overrun with sex tourists

There were few perks to the xenophobia that permeated Myanmar's totalitarian junta for decades. But there was at least one: It kept the scuzziest tourists at bay.

Much of Myanmar (also called Burma) is mesmerizing in its beauty. It's also now easier to visit than ever. The current government has kicked down many of the hurdles that kept outsiders away during a long era of despotic army rule, which began to recede about five years ago.

But as one of Myanmar's generals once observed, "when you open the windows for fresh air, flies sometimes get in." And in Southeast Asia, that can mean anything from sex tourists to drunken backpackers.

Tourism is exploding in Myanmar like never before. The government is targeting 4.5 million tourists this year, a quintupling of the number just five years ago. A new report, however, warns that Myanmar is "poorly prepared" to handle this flood of visitors.

The report, by the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business, suggests developing Myanmar as a "destination for smaller numbers of high-spending tourists looking for an experience that makes Myanmar special." That is an alternative to simply seeking to jack up the number of arrivals. Instead, the report suggests that the tourism sector "reflect on lessons learnt from elsewhere in Asia."

Those hard-learned lessons are most evident places such as Pattaya, a seaside town in Thailand that has been consumed by sleaze.

Or Vang Vieng, a party town in the Laotian jungle infamous for cheap drugs, river tubing, and backpackers partying so hard they end up injured or dead.

Or Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital, where much of the downtown promenade buzzes with hostess bars and pushy drug dealers — all catering to foreigners.

There is nothing quite like this in Myanmar (except, perhaps, for a few dark spots run by militias on the far-flung Chinese border.)

In the mainstream touristed areas, the country has little to offer Western travelers who want to drink by day and haunt brothels by night. The long spell of military rule effectively sealed off the country and preserved a conservative Buddhist propriety that is hard to find elsewhere in Asia. Prostitution certainly exists but is largely confined to scattered karaoke joints and nightclubs.

Yet the potential for a slide into openly debauched tourism is there.

In impoverished Myanmar, dollars go very far. Arrests for crimes both minor (prostitution) and major (child prostitution) can potentially be avoided by bribing the police. And in a nation rife with child labor and guerrilla war, the prospects for a well-regulated prostitution sector that protects sex workers and routinely screens for disease are extremely dim.

Already in Yangon, the largest and most-visited city, high-end hotels have filled up with more sex workers seeking foreign men. Ethical tourism advocates fear a future Myanmar with "more prostitutes than monks." Even the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning daughter of Myanmar's independence hero, has spoken about a "callous expectation of sex tourists" and the specter of "social exploitation."

This would mark an unfortunate return to a previous era, before the military's reign, when English colonialists lorded over the country. There was a time in the early 20th century when foreign men sustained what was, according to one academic, a larger prostitution market in Myanmar than any other in British-ruled India.

This article, by Patrick Winn, originally appeared at GlobalPost.

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Air Bagan plane skids off Myanmar runway, leaving one injured

YANGON: A Myanmar passenger plane skidded off the runway on landing during heavy rain at Yangon International Airport, the carrier said, leaving one injured.

The Air Bagan ATR 72 twin-engine turboprop, carrying 49 passengers from the central city of Mandalay, “veered slightly off the runway due to bad weather and heavy rain” on landing Friday evening, the airline said yesterday in a statement posted on Facebook.

It said that all passengers were “safely disembarked” and only one, a Buddhist monk, sustained a slight injury to his hand.

It was not immediately possible to reach the airline or Myanmar’s civil aviation department for further comment.

In December 2012 an Air Bagan plane crash-landed in thick fog and burst into flames in a field short of the runway at Heho airport – the gateway to the popular tourist destination of Inle Lake – in northern Shan state, killing a tour guide on board and a motorcyclist on the ground as well as injuring 11 people including foreigners.

The airline was launched in 2004 by business tycoon Tay Za, who is known for his close links to the former junta, as the first private carrier in Myanmar. — AFP

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Sunday, August 30, 2015
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