News Wrap


Under the banner of the Action Committee Against Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) addressing several issues, civil society in Nagaland have declared that they would henceforth refuse to pay taxes to sundry groups of insurgent outfits. The calculated move by Naga intellectuals, challenges the rebel groups to unite under a single organization, and impose a common tax on the Naga public. Inhabitants in Nagaland have been finding it difficult to pay taxes to several militant outfits, and feel fragment action of the rebel outfits is unjustified, since they are all fighting for the Naga cause. The ACAUT is headed by Khikeye Sema, ‘a retired government official. Vocal women leaders like Rosemary Dzuvichu, adviser to the Naga Mother’s Association, journalist Monalisa Changkija, and environmentalist Banou Haralu are fighting against taxation and corruption. The ACAUT has been active in different districts of Nagaland, and conducted several rallies across the state. ACAUT members have been threatened by Muivah and the NSCN-IM leadership and cadres. Villagers in Nagaland are ignoring missives from NSCN-IM discouraging support to ACAUT, and are challenging the district commanders of NSCN-IM at district rallies. The NSCN-IM accuses the ACAUT of being agents of the Intelligence Bureau and the Assam Rifles. The Naga National Fighters have become armed brigands, raising resources from the same set of business establishments and a stagnant population. Public support is declining for the ideological groups of National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NCSN) Isak-Muivah group, the NSCN-K led by S S Khaplang, and the Union Government of India. Utopian dreams of Nagalim or Nagaland for Christ are receding. The Nagas have been paying taxes to the NSCN-IM for decades, but there has been scarcely any economic development in the state.

Indians in Iraq
More than 10,000 Indians are estimated to be living in Iraq. Protection for the Indians is becoming increasingly difficult, as Iraq state authority is collapsing rapidly. Hundreds of Indians who had illegally entered Iraq for jobs with work visas for the United Arab Emirates, have been struggling to get back to India. With diplomatic negotiations by the Indian National Security establishment, 46 Indian nurses, stranded in the city of Tikrit, have been successfully evacuated out of Iraq. 36 kidnapped Indian construction workers still remain ‘uncontactable’ in Mosul, in Northern Iraq, that has been captured by the ISIS. Around 25 Indian citizens have travelled to Iraq and Syria, to fight as jihadists.

Three years after Nato bombardment helped topple dictator Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, there are renewed clashes among rival factions in Libya. Over, 6000 Indian nationals are currently in the North African oil producer.

Australia Jail crisis
Jail inmates are put in shipping containers in Melbourne, as Australia faces a jail crisis. Sydney has refused to take any more prisoners. The Northern Territory has locked up more inhabitants per head of population, than any other place on the planet. After politicians called for longer and mandatory prison sentences for a range of crimes, including alcohol related assaults, jails in Australia are hugely over-crowded. Explaining that the 11,000 already behind bars had created dangerous overcrowding, New South Wales, Australia’s a populous state has declined to lock up any more prisoners. The government in Victoria, Australia’s most populous state is holding the overflowing prison population in shipping containers. Prisoners are rising by more than 1% a year. South Australia too is using shipping containers to hold excess numbers of prisoners. The Northern Territory’s rate of imprisonment is 853 per 100,000 of population, mainly because of the marginalised Aboriginal people who are locked up. Accounting for 86% of the entire prison population of the state, the rate of imprisonment for Aboriginal adults is 2837 per 100,000 of the adult Aboriginal population.

Bashing Media in Iran
While Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani pursues a reconciliatory foreign policy, hardliners in the judiciary and the revolutionary guards are tightening their grip on domestic social and cultural norms. In recent months, a number of Iranian journalists have been detained, including Saba Azar peik, who was held incommunicado, and Reyhaneh Tabatabaei. Marzieh Rasouli has previously edited the music pages of Shargh Daily, a leading reformist News paper, which has been closed down repeatedly in recent years. Recently the young female Iranian journalist has been sentenced to 50 lashes, and two years in prison, over charges of spreading anti-government propaganda, in Iran’s crackdown on the independent media. Rasouli is interned in Evin prison, branded as one of the world’s worst jailer of journalists. There are at least two other journalists Parastoo Dokouhaki and Sahamoldin Borghani accused by hardliners of collaborating with the BBC, which the conservatives consider a tool of British espionage.

Child Labour in Bolivia
Child labour is rife in Bolivia. The legal working age in Bolivia has long been 14, and recently reduced to 10 years. Older teens are in theory restricted to jobs that do not damage their health and well being. The new boys, girls and adolescents code maintains the minimum age at 14, but allows the office charged with protecting children to authorize those between 10 and 14 to work independently, and those between 12 and 14 to work for others. Poverty remains a hard reality for the nearly 1 million people, who survive on less than 75 pence a day. Young workers are a highly visible part of society.

Vol. 47, No.8, Aug 31 - Sep 6, 2014