Excommunication from the village or society was the preferred form of punishment for those who used the Right to Information in Meghalaya. Until youth leader Poipynhun Majaw was murder on Tuesday.The police in the State’s East Jaintia Hills district said unknown assailants killed Mr. Majaw by hitting him with a heavy iron object, possibly a wrench, found lying beside his body in Khliehriat, a coal mining hub. They are following a clue – a 125 cc motorcycle found abandoned nearby – to get to his killers.Rights activists in the State said that at least 20 people have been banished from their villages for using the RTI to expose corruption in local governance and utilisation of beneficiary schemes in less than a decade.“Many of those excommunicated are women who dared to go against corrupt local body heads and moved the RTI to find out rations allotted for them were being diverted or ghost workers were awarded MGNREGS (rural job guarantee scheme) work,” Agnes Kharshiing of the Civil Society Women’s Organisation said.On Wednesday, as the police began hunting for the bike owner, some villagers in the adjoining West Jaintia Hills told the authorities they were being hounded by local leaders after getting a reply to their RTI query on the status of MGNREGS in Sankhat, their village.“The RTI reply revealed that area leaders withdrew more money than what the MGNREGS assignment for 11 job card holders of our village could have entailed. We are under tremendous pressure to either take up the matter or leave,” a member of one of 32 households denied work said from Sankhat.Ostracised for using RTI In 2014, the dorbar (governing body) of Umsumbah village in the West Khasi Hills district deprived 11 people of their basic right of seeking information through RTI. The dorbar ‘blacklisted’ them and it needed the intervention of the Block Development Officer to come to a compromise. But the reprieve was temporary, as the ‘dorbar’ allegedly punished the villagers till December last year, cancelling their job cards, denying them access to fair price shops and residential certificates for their children.In 2011, three women – Fatima Mynsong, Acqueline Songthiang and Matilda Suting – were excommunicated by the ‘dorbar’ of Jongsha village, about 30 km from Shillong, after they exercised the RTI to know about utilisation of government funds for the village.The trio, however, fought back and managed to get the village headman, who ordered their exile, removed from his post.In February 2011, a student leader named Bobby Basaiawmoit was asked by the ‘dorbar’ of Mairangbah village to either pay a fine of ₹5,000 for exercising RTI or be banished.“Mr. Majaw’s was the first case of murder of an RTI activist in Meghalaya, where violence was not associated with activism unlike other States such as Assam,” Ms. Kharshiing said.Rights activists believe that Mr. Majaw was killed because of using RTI to expose the unholy nexus between the Jaintia Hills tribal council and cement companies who have been extracting limestone with scant respect for the fragile ecology of the State.“We are yet to find the motive behind Mr. Majaw’s murder, but we hope to get some answers once we find the owner of the bike. The suspected murder weapon has been sent for forensic tests while the autopsy report is expected within a week,” Nazarius Lamare, Superintendent of Police of East Jaintia Hills district, said.
The sessions court at Shivaji Nagar here on Wednesday directed the Pune police to place under “house arrest” three of the alleged “urban Maoists” arrested on Tuesday, following a Supreme Court order.Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Varavara Rao were produced in the Pune court, where police sought 15-day custody for further interrogation. They were arrested from their homes in Mumbai, Thane and Hyderabad, respectively. The police said they would be taken to their homes on Thursday. Accusing the three of waging war against the Government of India and training youth and students in Naxal activity, special public prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar demanded their police custody. The state alleged that the accused were working under the guise of an anti-fascist front called the All India United Front to overthrow the government.Ms. Pawar said the arrests were made based on an investigation of an FIR filed on January 8 by Tushar Damgude against the organisers of the Elgar Parishad in Pune on December 31, 2017. The state submitted a total of seven letters to the court, allegedly exchanged between members of the banned CPI(Maoist), where the names of the three accused were mentioned. None of the letters was correspondence between any of the accused. According to Ms. Pawar these letters were retrieved from seized material after the arrests of Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Mahesh Raut and Sudhir Dhawale in June. She said Varavara Rao was assigned the task of amassing weapons from Nepal and Manipur. Mr. Ferreira and Mr. Gonsalves were given the task of identifying young students, recruiting them, sending them to Naxal areas, training and using them against the Indian government.One of the letters read out by Ms. Pawar said CPI (Maoist) commander Comrade Ganapathy wanted to meet Mr. Rao. The prosecution said the CPI (Maoist) had developed links with separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir.
Mediafinder has released its first quarter report on magazine launches and closures. This year is shaping up better than the previous year, as 45 print magazines launched in 2014 verses 27 in 2013.There is some bad news, however. Closures this year outpaced 2013, with 14 versus 9. Still, that equals a two-year net market gain of 48 new (or revived) titles in Q1.Breaking it down further, 36 of the launches this year are consumer-facing titles and 9 are in the b-to-b space. But all 14 closures this year are consumer titles.In 2009 there was a net market loss of more than 120 titles over the entire year, and things looked bleak. However, the industry is clearly rebounding–with stable net gains since 2010.
Getty ImagesThree men have been arrested for allegedly gang-raping two transgender women at knifepoint in Bengaluru. The incident happened in Koramangala on May 12.The women, who hail from Assam, were scared to approach the police and feared how they will be treated. The News Minute states that with support from their friends and All Manipur Nupi Manbi Association (AMaNA).The incident happened on May 12 when the two victims were at a house in Koramangala. The bell rang and thinking that it was the food they ordered, one of them opened the door to find three men brandishing knives. They forcefully entered the apartment and sexually assaulted the two women for the next two hours. The men held the knives at the back of the victims’ neck to keep them in place, reports TNM.”The three men put their knives on our necks and asked us to remove our dress. When we begged them to leave us alone, they threatened to harm us. We were afraid and we did not do what to do. We had no option,” one of the victims told TNM.”I had seen one of these attackers in the neighbourhood before,” she added saying that they left the apartment immediately to their friend’s place. However, the men, who somehow got hold of their phone number threatened them with dire consequences if they did not come back.The three men were living in the same neighbourhood. One is a driver, the second man is a cook and the third assailant works as a supporting actor in the Kannada film industry.”This is a racial attack targetted towards gender and sexual minority people. This also shows the layers of inhuman treatment that people from the trans community from the North East region who live in big cities across the country face,” Santa Khurai, the president of the All Manipur Nupi Manbi Association was quoted as saying by TNM.
To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: On Thursday’s Houston Matters: A sweeping flood projects bill heads to the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott. The Texas Legislature passed the measure establishing new funds for grants and loans to local governments, now almost two years out from Hurricane Harvey. We learn more about the contents of the bill.Also this hour: We talk with Houston Millennials about why many of them are are not interested in buying a house.Then, David Mitchell of the organization Patients for Affordable Drugs discusses how his own battle with cancer has informed his quest for lower prescription prices.And comedian Matt Braunger tells us about some of the craziest advice he’s given in his not-so-serious advice podcast (it involved a possum), and about the importance of failure.We offer a daily podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcasting apps. This article is part of the Houston Matters podcast Share 00:00 /00:00 X Listen