Assam CM vows to slow down the growth of minority population

Agencies
June 29, 2021

Guwahati, June 29: The Assam government will take specific policy measures to slow down the growth of minority population with an aim to eradicate poverty and illiteracy, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

The state government's primary objective is to expand health and educational initiatives, and check the growth of Muslim population through such steps, Mr Sarma said in an interview.

However, there must be an approach that comes from within the community because when the government takes measures from "the outside, it will be interpreted on political lines", he said.

"This is not a political issue, but simply about the well-being of our mothers and sisters and above all, the well-being of the community," the Chief Minister asserted.

Assam has been able to manage its annual population growth at 1.6 per cent, but "when we lift the veil off the statistics, it is found that the Muslim population is growing at a rate of 29 per cent (decadal), whereas the Hindus are growing at 10 per cent", he claimed.

Mr Sarma said he is in constant touch with the leaders of the Muslim community, and he will hold consultations with several organisations next month to create some kind of leadership within the community.

"Our policy parameters will include some incentives for the community like free education for girls till the university level, financial inclusion for minority women, reservation in panchayats and government jobs, and establishment of colleges and universities for women in minority areas," he said.

The incentives will be there, but at the same time if "we focus only on it and ignore the disincentives, then I believe every policy will fail", Mr Sarma said.

"If you are punishing someone for a particular case, then there should also be a reward for someone who is doing something good," he added.

Mr Sarma had recently said his government was planning to introduce a population policy with a two-child norm, and families adhering to it can avail benefits under certain schemes. A similar rule exists for contesting in panchayat elections and in state government jobs.

"It is not that we are going to focus only on the disincentives; in a society, there has to be an approach in which both incentives and disincentives work together," he said.

Asked whether a particular community is being targeted in the eviction drive in the state against encroachers, the Chief Minister said, "It appears like that from outside, but who will allow encroachment of forests? It is merely accidental that some of the evicted people belong to a religious minority community."

The Supreme Court and the high court regularly pass orders to ensure forest cover is not depleting, he said, adding, "it is a national concern and I am acting according to a national policy".

"Recently, some Hindus and Assamese were evicted from an area in the city, and so it is not that we are only targeting minorities. Unfortunately, encroachment is higher in the minority community," he said.

Mr Sarma said as the Chief Minister, it is his duty to protect forests, and for doing so, he does not have to keep in mind which religion the encroachers belong to.

Encroachers become a "separate class for me" and only when the eviction takes place, it comes to the fore whether the people are Hindus or Muslims, he said.

As far as ''Sattras'' (Vaishnav monasteries) and ''Namghars'' (prayer halls) are concerned, the CM said he had appealed in the assembly that neither Hindus should occupy masjid lands nor Muslims ''Sattra'' and ''Namghar'' areas.

"Both the Congress and AIUDF had said they do not want such lands to be encroached... In the political spectrum, there is unanimity that there should be no encroachment of lands belonging to religious institutions," he asserted.

On his other priorities as the Chief Minister, Mr Sarma said Assam has a few typical problems like flood and erosion for which solutions must be found.

"Assam is not among the top brackets of states in terms of infrastructure and social sectors, and my effort will be to improve the infrastructure, social development goals index, maternal and infant mortality rate, among others.

"Resolving the flood and erosion issue requires big money, technology and institutional structure, and we are working towards those. We will, of course, have to be dependent on the Centre for this and I am sure support will be available," he said.

Mr Sarma also said he was committed to resolving various disputes, including issues involving inter-state borders with other northeastern states and evolving a unified vision for the development of the region. 

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
February 11,2024

rafah.jpg

Palestinians in Rafah, in which more than half of the Gaza Strip's population have been forced to seek refuge from an ongoing genocidal Israeli war, vow to remain in the city, despite the imminent threat of an all-out Israeli assault.

More than one million people have fled to the southern Gaza city amid the October 7-present war that has so far killed around 28,000 Palestinians, mostly women, children, and adolescents.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Israeli military on Friday to prepare to evacuate civilians from Rafah ahead of a planned ground operation against the city. Aid organizations, however, say such a move will be nearly impossible to fulfill, given the scale of devastation elsewhere in Gaza, and the huge numbers of people trapped in the besieged area.

In a statement on Saturday, Palestinians in the city asserted that "we will not leave Rafah under any circumstances. We have decided to either die here or return to our homes victorious when the war has stopped."

"We will not leave Rafah. And we will die standing tall. Either victory... or martyrdom," they said.

"On behalf of every displaced person and on behalf of the people of Rafah, we call on all world powers to act forcefully to curb the aggression, stop the massacres, and prevent the Rafah catastrophe."

Philippa Greer, head of Legal Office at UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, in the Gaza Strip, meanwhile, posted on X, underlining the appalling humanitarian condition in the city.

"1.4 million people are amassed in deteriorating conditions, many displaced multiple times," she said, underlining that "the population has already endured intolerable pain, suffering, hunger & fear," and noting that the city suffered from "acute shortages of shelter, clean water, food & medicine."

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
February 20,2024

gaza.jpg

United Nation's (UN) experts have raised concern over reports of human rights violations against Palestinian women and girls in Gaza and the occupied West Bank since Israel launched its war on Gaza on October 7.

In a statement on Monday, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said that it had received information that Palestinian women and girls have been subjected to multiple forms of sexual assault at the hands of Israeli army officers, reported Al Jazeera.

"We are particularly distressed by reports that Palestinian women and girls in detention have been subjected to multiple forms of sexual assault, such as being stripped naked and searched by male Israeli army officers. At least two female Palestinian detainees were reportedly raped while others were reportedly threatened with rape and sexual violence," the UN experts said.

The experts also said that the OHCHR has received reports of 'arbitrary execution' of Palestinian women and girls, often with their families.

"We are shocked by reports of the deliberate targeting and extrajudicial killing of Palestinian women and children in places where they sought refuge, or while fleeing. Some of them were reportedly holding white pieces of cloth when they were killed by the Israeli army or affiliated forces", they said.

Israel waged a brutal war on besieged Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian Hamas resistance group carried out its historic operation against the occupying entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

So far, the Tel Aviv regime has killed at least 29,092 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured 69,028 others.

In the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem too, Israeli forces intensified raids, killing hundreds of Palestinians and detaining thousand others.

UN experts raised alarm over the arbitrary detention of hundreds of Palestinian women and girls, human rights defenders, journalists and humanitarian workers in Gaza and West Bank.

Many women have reportedly been subjected to inhuman treatment, denied menstrual pads, medicine and food. The OHCHR said that they have also suffered severe beatings and on at least one occasion. Palestinian women detained in Gaza were allegedly kept in a cage in the rain and cold, without food.

UN experts noted that photos of the detainees in 'degrading circumstances' were taken by Israeli forces and then posted online.

An unknown number of Palestinian women and children have gone missing since Israel began its war on Gaza, the experts said.

“There are disturbing reports of at least one female infant forcibly transferred by the Israeli army into Israel, and of children being separated from their parents, whose whereabouts remain unknown,” they said.

The experts have called for an 'impartial, independent and effective' investigation into the allegations and for Israel to cooperate.

The experts further expressed, "taken together, these alleged acts may constitute grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, and amount to serious crimes under international criminal law that could be prosecuted under the Rome Statute."

"Those responsible for these apparent crimes must be held accountable and victims and their families are entitled to full redress and justice."

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
February 15,2024

Bengaluru, Feb 15: Days after a group of farmers from Karnataka travelling to Delhi for the ‘Dilli Chalo’ farmers’ protest were detained by the Madhya Pradesh Police, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday sought the intervention of his MP counterpart Mohan Yadav.

According to the farmers, they were detained by the police in the early hours of Monday as the train they were travelling in to reach Delhi approached the Bhopal railway station. Prominent farmer leaders such as Badagalapura Nagendra and Kuruburu Shanthakumar were among those from different parts of Karnataka who were stopped by the Bhopal police.

In his letter to the Madhya Pradesh CM, Siddaramaiah said the detention of the farmers was a violation of their constitutional rights. “It has been four days since the farmers were detained and yet they have not been released. It is now learnt your police authorities are shifting them to Varanasi. Travelling to Delhi to participate in a peaceful protest is the constitutional right of the people,” the Karnataka CM said in his letter.

“It is highly unfortunate that farmers who are seeking better policies are being arrested and ill-treated by police authorities in Madhya Pradesh. I request you to personally look into this and get the farmers released without shifting them from place to place,” he said.

Soon after the farmers were detained in Bhopal, Siddaramaiah lashed out at the Madhya Pradesh government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for trying to suppress the farmers’ struggle.

Siddaramaiah said on social media platform X that the Narendra Modi government’s action against farmer protests might only lead to more farmers taking to the streets. “Looking at the current actions of Narendra Modi’s government, it seems their main aim is to intimidate the farmers into submission,” Siddaramaiah had said.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.