The Peoples Chronicle

The Peoples Chronicle

Marcus Byrne

Pioneer South African Entomologist

Debananda S. Ningthoujam, PhD

Overture

He is an entomologist. Who is an entomologist? An entomologist is a scientist who studies insects.

The pioneering scientist profiled in today’s column studies dung beetles. There are about 6,000 dung beetles across the planet.

He found out that dung beetles know the direction of their movement using the light from the Milky Way.

Who is this pioneering scientist?

Early Life

His early life was spent in South Africa. Then he got his first degree (honours) from the University of London.

Higher Education

He earned BSc Hons from the University of London and MSc and PhD degrees from the University of Witwatersrand.

Academic and scientific career

Byrne is currently an associate professor at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Research Interests

His research interests include biological control of invasive weeds, respiratory physiology of beetles, visual orientation of dung beetles and habitat management for control of insect pests.

 

 

Salient Contributions in Science

Byrne and his team found out that, every time an obstacle came on a dung beetle’s journey, it climbed onto its ball and did a little dance.

He also discovered that dung bottles feel their orientation using the Milky Way.

Byrne’s experiments demonstrated that, beetles could use the faintest light of the Milky Way as their GPS.

He and his team explained the mystery of the dance of the beetle on top of the poo ball as an act of seeking starlight to guide its movement.

Byrne made important contributions in how to use insects as biological control agents to control alien weeds and plants so as to check their deleterious effects on local plants.

Awards and honors

Byrne got an Ig Nobel (Ignoble Nobel Prize) in 2013 for his pathbreaking researches on dung beetles. Ig Nobel Prizes are given for outlandish research work which first makes you laugh and then make you think.

He has also delivered talks in TED conferences.

He was honoured with an invitation to participate in Science Teller Festival in 2013.

Profiled

Byrne has been profiled in Forbes Africa for his zoological researches.

Outreach

Dr Byrne coordinates an annual science outreach exhibition called “Yebbo Gogga” which means “Hello Insect.”

Quotes

About dung beetle, Byrne says “This animal has a brain size of grain of rice and yet it can do things that you and I couldn’t possibly entertain the idea of doing.”

He also says that he is “passionate about poo”, referring to the dung beetle’s life of getting nutrition from animal dung.

Coda

Dr. Marcus Byrne’s life and career will inspire many young aspiring scientists especially those who are passionate about pursuing a gratifying career in entomology and helping decode the mysteries of the insect world.

Read more...

Cultural and Educational Rights

Sarungbam Lucy

Our Country India, being a diverse country with different caste and culture of ethnic backgrounds, religious influence and varied sub-cultures, also have various minorities groups. Articles 29 to 30 of the Indian Constitution effectively aim to eradicate this problem by making a provision in the article known as ‘Right to Cultural and Educational rights of Minority groups’. 

Articles 29 and 30, guarantees to any section of the citizens residing in any  part of India  having  distinct language, script  or culture of its own , the right to conserve the same, language, script or culture. Article 29 (1) guarantees the right of any section of the citizens residing in any part of the country having a distinct language, script or cultures of its own, to conserve the same. Article 29 (2) prohibits discrimination based only on religion, race, caste, language or any of them in the matter of admission to State or State-aided educational institutions.

Article 30 (1) provides that "all minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice". Article 30 (2)  states that State shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.

S.P. Mittal v Union of India: In this case the Society challenged the validity of Auroville Act 1980 on the ground that it was violation of its right under Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution. The Society was established to preach and propagate the ideals and teaching of Sri Aurobindro and the Mother through its numerous centres in India and abroad. An international cultural township Auroville was set up in Pondicherry and huge amount of money was received by the Society for the development of the Auroville Ashram. On receiving complaints about mismanagement of the affairs of Society the Central Government enacted the impugned legislation for taking over the management of the Society and Auroville Ashram. It was held that the Act was not violating the rights of any section of citizens to conserve its own language, script or culture conferred by Art. 29. However, the benefit of Art. 30 (1) can be claimed by the community only on providing that its is a religious or linguistic minority and the institution was established by it. Since the Auroville or the Society was not religious denomination the taking over of their management did not violate Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution.

 

Hence it is the right of the citizen to select any educational institution maintained by the State and receiving aid out of State funds. There is no one’s right or the State cannot tell a citizen, to direct to choose educational choice out of his/her preview. It is the right of the parent to control the education of the child."

The right to get admission into any educational institution of the kind mentioned as per Article 30 is a right which an individual citizen has and not as a member of any community or class of citizens.

This right is not to be denied to the citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them. If a citizen who seeks admission into any such educational institution has not the requisite academic qualifications and is denied admission on that ground, certainly he cannot be heard to complain of an infraction of his fundamental right under this Article.

Though Art 46 of the Directive Principles of State Policy aims with promoting, with special care, the educational and special interests of the weaker sections of the people and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and with protecting them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation it could not override a Fundamental Right which is justifiable as directive principles is a non-justifiable right.

Read more...

Equally guilty.................

Nikita L Sharma

“Drive all non-Manipuris out of the state! They must not stay here!” This was what we hear often no-a-days. I still don’t get their logic or their proposition about this issue. I mean is this good or do we really need to do this? They are forgetting the reason for the huge influx to our place is primarily the job factor.  They get huge opportunity of jobs here. Okay, I guess you are wondering why I said jobs when we get one, right? Jobs? You must be laughing on it but yes if we are hard working we will get lots of jobs here. Hard work and dedication is what we really need. Jobs, in the sense of not those white collar jobs because even in the States there is huge number of unemployment. And the other thing is saving up. We are not used to saving up pinch by pinch. Most of us have the habit of throwing up more than we earn.

There was a time when those people were afraid to work and that time we had the worst situation of all. There were short of labours, we couldn’t find help from local workers to help lift heavy loads or fix our worn-out shoes and such small stuffs yet which is so necessary. Our locals thinks that jobs are too small. Those white collar jobs are what they are after then I am asking again, why do we despise those people and drive them out just like that. We have grown so dependent on them that we look for them only and after completing we are after them, shooing them away.

Also our own people take too much rest while working. There was this instance where we had our house renovated and it took years since they had to take breakfast before the start of the work, in between tea breaks and wraps up by 3:00pm. So, they do for like only 4 hours and takes lots of time. And take the case of the so-called non-Manipuris. They come early, works like hell with no demands and we had to drive them and told them to stop working and continue tomorrow. The difference! This doesn’t mean we don’t want to give them stuffs to eat but looking at the work, in which situation would you give them food or appreciation from time to time?

Sincerity and dedication helps a lot. They are like one of us only then why so much difference? Why? Because I guess they have the zeal to work in whatever they do. Even if we get the so-called big jobs, do we work to our hearts content? No! Our traffic gets high only at 11:00am and 2:00pm. The reason is obvious. Now, we don’t even work hard or don’t have the passion even if we get our desired job. Other places start off at 9:00am and ends at 5:00pm or 6:00pm at the minimum so that’s the reason why their shops, malls and restaurants remain open till midnight. The sole reason of the fast foods as the name suggest is to get the foods for lunch for those office people who comes to works early but here has the different meaning all together. I guess most of us loves to idle away and loves enjoyment more than anything else. This is also good but it must be a part of our lives not that our lives must be a part of it.

Besides, every professions big or small, holds a very important part. Looking down on ones profession is like telling my nose works better and harder than my teeth when we need both for the proper functioning of our body. Likewise, every posts has a unique pre school cannot be functioned position. Even if we are a peon we must work like it’s the best job ever, as without him the school cannot function properly. And as they say, ”God helps those who helps themselves!”. The idea that our job title is the highest should be driven out as in the end of the day we will end in the same soil.

Also, speaking of driving them out and killing them in worst cases, have we ever thought deeper and realised that our people also stays in every corners of our country. What if they also get the same treatment. Have you thought deeper on the case of Robert, that engineering students who gets killed. How we felt that time. We were all shouting for justice saying he was a student and he was not a such and such person. So, does that mean those people we kill brutally out here are not innocent? They were just hard working people and they were also innocent like Robert, I bet. Now, if the people who we killed here in our own state gets on us it’ll be more than one states on us. As they say “treat your neighbour like you want them to treat you”. This is really a good reminder of our actions. It’s obvious that we must treat anyone like we want to be treated. As I have always suggested, putting ourselves in the shoes of other person and then thinking in their point of view and taking decision can be one of the best option for a better outcome of the situation. Making decisions in haste always results in frustrations. Of course, mistakes may be made sometimes but since mistakes are always unintended, it can always be forgiven but those out of intended purposes are the worst form ever. I am not giving them tags on who is good or who is bad, just a suggestion about the reality check. So, I hope people gets on the thinking cap and think what’s the best for our future generation and makes a good and better decision from now on.

Thank you for reading and happy appreciating.....

Stay healthy and safe

Read more...

Lowering juvenile age to curb offences doubtful prescription

Parmod Kumar

Union Minister for Women and Child Development Menaka Gandhi's suggestion to lower the juvenile age from 18 years to 16 so that those accused of heinous crimes such as rape can be punished instead of being sent to reform homes is an outdated proposition.

The minister wants juvenile offenders accused of rape, murder, kidnapping and acid attacks to be tried in regular courts and suffer the consequences of their actions. Child rights activists and judicial pronouncements have opposed the rationale behind the suggestion.

This is not the first time that such a suggestion has been made. It first grabbed headlines after the December 16, 2012, gang-rape of a paramedic student in Delhi that sparked off a country-wide outrage and even resonated globally.

Will stricter punishment be a deterrent? Legal history in different jurisdictions has belied this theory. Gandhi's other legal plank is equally weak, empirical evidence shows.

Gandhi fell back on statistics to claim that 16-year-olds commit rape because they know that under the Juvenile Justice Act they can get away with just a stay in a reform home and won't get any deterrent punishment.

But, not many 16-year-olds are actually aware of the Act or the fact that under its provisions they could get away lightly.

Statistics show that 8,392 juvenile accused caught in 2013 were illiterate; 13,984 had studied up to the primary level; 15,423 were between the matriculation and high school levels and 5,812 were beyond the matriculation level.

One could attribute such knowledge possibly to the 137 rapes committed by juveniles in Delhi in 2013, but would it hold true of Madhya Pradesh, which accounted for 347 rapes; Chhattisgarh - 122; Uttar Pradesh - 196 and Rajasthan - 183?

The proposal, expectedly, did not find favour with child rights activists. Neither does it find favour with the Supreme Court, which has twice ruled - in 2013 and again in 2014 - against trying juveniles by regular courts.

Dismissing a slew of petitions filed in the wake of the Dec 16, 2012 gang-rape, a three-judge bench headed by then chief justice Altamas Kabir July 17, 2013 said that the JJ Act was intended to heal and reform children drawn to crime and not turn them into hardened criminals.

"The essence of the Act is restorative and not retributive, providing for the rehabilitation and re-integration of children in conflict with the law into mainstream society. The age of 18 has been fixed on account of the understanding of experts in child psychology and behavioural patterns that till such an age, the children in conflict with law could still be redeemed and restored to mainstream society instead of becoming hardened criminals in future.

"There are, of course, exceptions where a child in the age group of 16 to 18 may have developed criminal propensities, which would make it virtually impossible for him/her to be re-integrated into mainstream society, but such examples are not of such proportions as to warrant any change in thinking, since it is probably better to try and re-integrate children with criminal propensities into mainstream society rather than to allow them to develop into hardened criminals, which does not augur well for the future," the court said.

In another case a three-judge bench headed by then chief justice P. Sathasivam (since retired) on March 28, 2014, justified this differential treatment between hardened adult criminals and juvenile ones on the ground that this was what India had signed up for when it ratified international child rights conventions.

The Justice J.S. Verma Committee that was set up in the wake of Delhi gang-rape did consider the question of lowering the age, but ultimately rejected it as not viable.

"We did consider, however, a general lowering of the juvenile age. The research and the statistics in this area, as well as our own experience shows that it was not viable. Even women's organisations, most of them were of the view that it was not desirable. And you see you can't make a generalisation", Justice Verma's report said.

The brutalities that accompanied with the 2012 Delhi gang-rape rape and recently in Badayun shakes the conscious of the nation but does it warrants changing a law that was enacted on the strength of expert opinion the world over?

Shouldn't Gandhi worry about the general state of lawlessness into which the country seems to be sliding into? Lawlessness egged on by the law-makers themselves?

A Tapas Pal (Trinamool Congress) asks his workers to rape women of the CPI-M women and gets away while his Samajwadi Party counterpart Mulayam Singh Yadav describes rape by boys as a 'galti' (mistake) and suggests they should be let off lightly.

The increase in the incidence of juvenile crime should not be seen in isolation. It is part of the general spike in the crime graph. If Gandhi intends to check the rising incidence of crime, she should focus closer home - on the likes of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Tapas Pal.

(Parmod Kumar can be contacted at )

Read more...

More stress on health, education needed

The total income of a country is generally concentrated in the hands of a small percentage of the total population. Consequently, to measure how equitably the economic growth of a country is distributed, the Human Development index or HDI has been proposed. This Index propounded by Pakistani economist Mahbubul Haq and the Indian economist Amartya Sen in 1990, measure indicators like life expectancy, education, and income indices and ranks countries into four tiers of human development– Very High Human Development, High Human Development, Medium Human Development and Low Human Development. As per the Human Development Report 2013, India comes under the Medium Human Development category and ranks a lowly 136 among a total of 186 countries.  It is obvious from this report that India needs to do much more to make basic essential service like health care and education accessible as also enhance the economic security of vast proportion of its populace. Among the states, Manipur as also other northeastern states is much better placed in terms of human development and figure much higher in the list. This is because even though these states are not very rich, the income distribution as of now is much more equitable and there is less incidence of abject poverty as has been witnessed in bigger states like Bihar UP, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh etc. Manipur’s literacy rate is quite commendable figuring among the top states, it also has very good health indicators like infant mortality rate. But the point is to consolidate on this sound platform and make further progress. Despite, these achievements it is a fact that we are long way off from making health accessible to one and all especially those living in the remote and hilly areas. This issue we hope will be addressed to a great extend when the district hospitals which were inaugurated recently becomes fully functional. But what is very important is providing these hospitals and other health centres with the required infrastructure, equipment, doctors, nurses and other staff. The Health department must ensure that doctors and nurses posted at particular hospitals and health centres is physically stationed there, for there are too many reports of them not turning up to their posting if it happens to be slightly distant and remote from Imphal. In the education sector also, we cannot be content with high literacy rate, for, the state has to a lot of work if when it comes to the quality of education being imparted in government schools and colleges. Most government schools suffer from lack of proper infrastructure and teachers, then there are other problems like proxy teachers, teachers being absent most of the time, improper implementation of laudable central government programmes like SSA,, Mid-day meal, RMSA etc. Now the Education Minister, has been saying that lot of infirmities which higher education in the state is suffering from can be addressed with the implementation of RUSA and additional fund allocation from the 14th finance commission will give the right impetus to improving the quality of education in the state. This could well turn out to be true but the Education Department has to ensure that all the funds available are judiciously used and there is as little leakage as possible. Implementation has always been one of the weakest area in this state, marked by inefficiency, leakages,, misappropriation and diversion of all kinds.

Read more...

2,432 insurgents arrested in counter-insurgency operations

action against ten security personnel found involved in vehicle theft

Manipur Home Minister Gaikhangam on Wednesday informed the state assembly that till date security forces have arrested a total of 2,432 insurgents from both within and outside the state.

Replying to a question raised by opposition MLA Laishom Ibomcha, Gaikhangam said 2,415 militants belonging to different outfits were apprehended from the state and another 17 were arrested from outside the state by the security forces in counter-insurgency operations till now.

Gaikhangam, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister, further informed that Rs 61,86,723 were recovered from the possession of the militants.

Responding to a supplementary question raised by Ibomcha, the Home Minister said one case related to the arrested militants has been chargesheeted so far while the other cases are now under investigation, and that the chargesheet or final report of the other cases will be submitted as early as possible.

Gaikhangam said 1,145 militants are now in judicial custody while eight are in the police custody. He said 1,270 militants have been released on bail as of now.

Ibomcha alleged that the total amount of money recovered from the militants as mentioned by Gaikhangam was quite different from the media reports. Replying to this, Gaikhangam said that the Home Department has not yet received any official report in this regard.

Replying to another question raised by MLA Ibomcha, Gaikhangam said the police have been able to arrest 237 persons involved in vehicle theft and extortion cases in the period from April 1, 2012 till date.

He informed that four IRB, three police and three VDF personnel were involved in the vehicle theft and extortion cases. Gaikhangam said 109 vehicles were returned to the owners.

Departmental actions have been initiated against the involved security personnel, placing them under suspension and initiating departmental inquiries against them, besides FIR cases.

One VDF personnel has been terminated from service, Gaikhangam added.

The Dy CM also said altogether 237 vehicle lifters have been apprehended since April 1, 2012 till date and a total of 109 vehicles which were stolen have been returned to the rightful owners. Altogether 21 vehicles are yet to be returned and it will be returned to the owners when the formalities are completed, he added.

Among the apprehended 237 people, 193 of them are in judicial custody and 44 of them have been released on bail. Departmental actions have been initiated against security personnel involved in vehicle lifting cases.

On the other hand, the Dy CM responding to a question put up by Thangmeiband MLA on the status of rape of a differently abled girl hailing from Thangmeiband Khoyahthong on October 3, 2013, said police is yet to arrest the rapist B Shamananda Sharma of Samram Mayai Leikai, Thoubal District. He said an appeal has been made to the CJM Imphal West on October 3, 2013 to declare the culprit as proclaim offender.

On the other Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh responding to a question raised on civil defence department by Oinam MLA Dr I Ibohalbi, responded that department is presently under the Department of Relief and Disaster Management, He also said government is unable to initiate of process for transferring the department to Home Department. 

Commerce and Industries Minister, Govindas Konthoujam, who also holds the protfolio of Veterinary Department also responded to a question raised by MLA Kh Joykishan and MLA RK Anand on PMEGP Scheme and District Veterinary Hospital, Mekola. About the PMEGP scheme, the Minister said District Level Task Force Committee (DLTFC) have provisionally identified 2077 PMEGP applicants for the year 2013- 4 and 276 beneficiaries have been sanctioned by the banks.

Responding to MLA RK Anand’s question, Govindas said estimated cost for the construction of the District Veterinary Hospital at Mekola is Rs 83. 21 lakhs and 70% of the construction have been completed and amount of Rs 81.58 lakh have been released so far. He added that the initial targeted date for the completion of the construction was March 31, 2011, but it has been revised to October 31, 2014.

Read more...

Last rite of Salouni held at Karong

Biting their lips to conceal the despair and sorrow over the loss of a young man, hundreds of young students and denizens of Senapati came out to pay their homage and respect to Akha Salouni at the condolence programme held at Karong Wednesday.

Many held placards that called for stopping of racial discrimination in Delhi, and not to let the national capital become a killing field for NE people.

During the condolence and funeral programme, a representative from NE Community Forum, Delhi and the Delhi-based NE Students Union, said Salouni had awakened the NE community not to let such fate befall their children/ward.

Asking the elected members and senior leaders to continue supporting them in trying to bring justice, the scholar requested the local MLAs to take up the issue at the ongoing assembly session of the state. 

During the programme, Naga Women’s Union, NPO, SDWA, Poumai Naga Union, SDSA joined in condemnation and called for justice to the deceased and for ending such crimes once and for all.

Two tribal students’ apex bodies, ATSUM and ANSAM, also questioned how many more dead bodies should they wait to come in coffins to their places. The bodies also asked concerned authorities to pursue the case till justice is done.

SDSA send out a strong message stating, “We have been once again reminded that when death snatches our youthful lives, it wrenches our hearths and we despair, but when life is cut short by a violent act, our hearts are filled with bitterness and such is the fate that met to our brother, son and friend, late A Salouni.”

Poumai Women’s Union, in their condolence message said the death had created an indescribable sorrow and grieve among the women community.

The President wanted to let the four corners hear that the women community’s strongly condemned the frequent brutal killing  and that it is fed up of hearing of all such killings, assaults, harassments, rapes etc. on people of the NE in general. The women’s communities demand capital punishment to whoever is found guilty in such crimes.

MLA, Dr. V. Alexander Pao while consoling the deceased parents added that, their brave son died for the sake of the NE community and that it is time we wake up by his death so that, such cases will not appear in the future.

Read more...

Rajnath should step in to ensure safety of NE people: Cong

Congress today sought Home Minister Rajnath Singh's personal intervention in ensuring safety of people from North-Eastern states living in Delhi and demanded speedy investigation into death of a Manipuri youth two days back in a suspected case of road-rage.

Delhi Congress Chief Arvinder Singh Lovely, in a letter to Singh, also demanded that the Home Minister give specific instruction to police to take "concrete steps" like deploying special forces in specific localities to improve security for the students from North-East.

The letter by the DPCC chief came amid outrage among North-East community over the killing of 29-year-old Akha Salouni who was allegedly beaten to death by a group of five men in a suspected case of road rage in Kotla Mubarakpur in the wee hours of Monday. "We urged the Home Minister to give personal attention to the issue and take all necessary steps to dispel security concerns among the people from the North East living in Delhi," senior leader and DPCC Chief Spokesperson Mukesh Sharma said. He said if concrete steps for safety of North Eastern students are not taken, then Congress will start an agitation

Read more...

PRO-ILP MOVEMENT

Students injured in police tear-gas firing

At least three students sustained injury when police resorted to firing tear-gas shells on students following a stand-off over the students’ attempt to hold a rally demanding implementation of Inner Line Permit System in the State Wednesday.

Reports said that students of Johnstone Hr Sec School, as a part of the pro-ILP movement under the auspices of Students’ Wing of JCILP, were confronted by the police at the school gate when they tried to stage a march till the Assembly Wednesday morning around 10:45.

Police resorted to firing tear gas shells and rubber bullets on the students to thwart their attempt to takeout the march. Three students suffered injury in the police tear gas firing.

The injured students have been identified as Th Shashikumar, Yumnam Deepak and P Gunachandra. All three are Class XII students of Johnstone Hr Sec School. Deepak has been admitted to a hospital.

Speaking to reporters, Mairembam Amos, finance secretary of Johnstone Hr Sec School Students’ Union said the police blocked the students’ attempt to hold a rally to demand the implementation of ILP in the state.

Strongly decrying the police action, Amos demanded that the Govt bears the expenses in the treatment of the injured students.

Read more...

UNC 48-hr strike from July 24 midnight

A 48-hr ban on vehicular movement on National Highways of Manipur passing through Naga areas will come into effect beginning July 24 midnight, as part of the protest against the continuing deployment of state police personnel including IRB and Commandos at Ukhrul town.

However, educational institutions, medical, power and water supply, postal service will be exempted from the purview of the bandh called by the United Naga Council and also informed Nagas to remain alert to face any eventuality.

Read more...