The Peoples Chronicle

The Peoples Chronicle

POLITICAL ECONOMY PERSPECTIVE

The Rise of Disposable Youth: The Crisis of the Future

The growing unemployment is the biggest failure of the government

Dr.Chinglen Maisnam

The Census Report of 2011, details of which were released in July 2014, says that the unemployment rate in the 25-29 age group was nearly 18 per cent and more than 20 per cent of Indians in the 15-24 age group were jobless and seeking work. The Times of India on July 2, 2014 reported that “the army of unemployed youth is staggeringly huge – around 4.7 crores of which 2.6 crores were men and 2.1 crores women”. Overall unemployment rate among the working age population in the 15-59 age group was, according to the Times of India, “a worrisome 14.5 per cent, including marginal workers seeking work. In the 25-29 age group, the unemployment rate was nearly 18 per cent. Even among those in the 30-34 age group, nearly six per cent were unemployed, numbering over 1.2 crore”. As per reports, unemployment rate among the socially oppressed sections likes Dalits and Adivasis was higher with 18 per cent among Dalits and 19 per cent among Adivasis in 15-59 age group remaining without job.

Lack of any worth mentioning social security scheme in our country was exposed again in the Census Report which mentions that 18.5 lakh persons of age over 80 years are still working. In absolute terms, 47 million of India’s youths, of whom much is being discussed nowadays, as demographic dividend to the country, were in search of jobs in 2011 compared with 33.5 million in 2001. This 47 million works out to 20 per cent of our youth population!

It is indeed a vicious circle – no jobs and even if there are we get only vulnerable jobs. The ILO World of Work Report 2014 says that “more than half the workforce in the developing world, numbering 1.45 billion, are in vulnerable employment and this presents a formidable challenge”. It is well known that the same is the situation in India, where the huge majority of workers are without a guaranteed income, social protection etc, putting the future of the young generation in jeopardy. The latest NSSO (National Sample Survey Organisation) report says that “68.8 per cent of workers across India in 2011-12, neither had a job contract nor were eligible for paid leave, compared to 63 per cent in 2004-05”. The report also point out that “95 per cent of casual labourers are without any job contract”. This makes it clear that these workers, who are involved in asset building for the country, did not even exist in any records so as to get at least some statutory benefits! These facts are again confirmed by the World Bank’s World Development Report 2014, which shows that “during 2001-10, people with a regular wage and salaries were only 17% of India’s total employed population”. The World Bank also says that the so-called high growth years following 1990s “have failed to create jobs”.

Recent analysis on the employment scene in India point out to the facts that even among professional people unemployment is increasing. The Planning Commission, which is being extinct, had said, “India needs to create 1 to 1.5 crore jobs per year for the next decade to provide gainful employment to its young population”. The Commission has also noted that “large Indian business – both in the Public and Private Sector – have not generated significant employment in the past few decades and are unlikely to do so in the coming decade or two”. The Commission also noted that “Public Sector and government employment has declined in the past few years” and “large private sector firms have also been slow in generating employment which is unlikely to change due to increase in automation, digitalisation and productivity gains!”

It is in such a situation, the World Bank, international investors and the Indian ruling power have found out that the only magic wand to increase employment is labour reforms – immediately amending labour laws to take away almost 90% of the existing workers out of purview of labour legislations!

All in all, the tendencies that are presently operative tend to sharpen the problems of the youth. Youth are losing control over their lives and fortune. The youth whose futures are thus being adversely affected, are the worst victims of these tendencies. Youth are being crushed under the burden of poverty, unemployment, and spiraling prices, but they are still expected to believe that this is “economic progress”.

We may now conclude that the Indian society under the current dispensation is showing signs of sweeping degeneration. The rise of youth as disposable populations is quite evident in the society. Suffering under huge livelihood crisis, many young people have exhibited a rage that seems to deepen their resignation, despair, and withdrawal from the political arena. Youth no longer occupy the hope of a privileged place that was offered to previous generations. These critical issues need to be constantly taken up. The experience shows that the forces of progress are not vanquished but alive and kicking. Despite setbacks and hardships, they still have the ability to succeed.  Youth need to nurture a radical thought capable of providing alternatives to existing detrimental policies. Youth need a vision that speaks to people’s needs for a better society. They should prove that change is not just desired, it is possible.

  Concluded

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A prime minister's assassination recalled (Thirty years after Indira Gandhi's assassination)

Tarun Basu 

Thirty years later, the 90-year-old doctor remembers the event as if it was just the other day.

"I had left after chatting with her, like I used to do every morning after a routine check-up," said Dr K.P. Mathur, of his patient of 18 years, prime minister Indira Gandhi.

"But within 20 minutes I had to come back after getting an urgent call from the office. She had been shot."

Sitting in his modest East Delhi residence, Mathur, slightly bent with age, a little hard of hearing but upright with memory, recalls vividly the morning of Oct 31, 1984, the day that shook India and whose shock reverberated for the next three days, leading to the worst orgy of killings and communal hatred since probably the 1947 partition of the subcontinent.

"I had gone to her 1, Safdarjung Road residence as usual, the routine I had been following every day of the week," said Mathur to IANS as he sought to piece together fragments of his distintegrating memory for the fateful day in his and the nation's life.

"Indira Gandhi was her usual cheerful self even as make-up artists from Doordarshan prepared for her interview with Peter Ustinov who, along with his crew, were waiting in the adjoining 1, Akbar Road office.

"She talked of this and that, including how President Reagan prepared for his TV appearances, what I read on the flight back from Bhubaneswar where the PM had gone to address a political rally, and even remembered how my younger daughter had topped in her high school exams.

"She then went into the adjoining room, told her valet Nathu Ram about her evening programme, including that she has to go to the airport to receive President Zail Singh, who was returning from a foreign tour, asked us to join her for tea and then left for the interview.”

Mathur recalled how he also left after that, driving out the car from the residence himself and headed for Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, just 10 minutes' drive in those days, where he was the medical superintendent.

He had barely parked when his secretary came rushing to say there was an urgent call from the Prime Minister's House (there were no mobile phones then) that there was some shooting and probably the prime minister had been hit.

"I immediately got into my car and drove back, only to find complete disorder having descended on the residence where there was complete order and functional equilibrium just a little while ago," recounted Mathur to IANS.

Guards were running helter-skelter, with one guard shouting incoherently that "she has been shot, she has been shot!"

It was only when Mathur went inside the compound that he realised what had happened.

Two of her Sikh bodyguards, Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, who were manning the wicker gate that separated her residence at 1, Safdarjung Road from her office at 1, Akbar Road, sprayed her with bullets from their automatic weapons as soon as she stepped across it. She came down in a pool of spurting blood, the crackle of guns that punctured the tranquil morning air had her daughter-in-law Sonia Gandhi come running out of her house in her nightgown, shouting "Mummy, Mummy!"

After initial pandemonium (there were no elite Special Protection Group then for the prime minister), a limp Indira Gandhi was put in her white Ambassador car, her head cradled in the arms of Sonia, and rushed to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), about five kilometres away.

Recalled Mathur: "When I reached AIIMS, I saw her lying on a stretcher, her body drenched in blood. I felt her pulse, and knew she was no more."

Doctors were still trying to revive her and para-medics were rushing in bringing bottles of blood. "Everyone knew it was all over, but no one wanted to believe it."

Slowly her senior aides like P.C. Alexander, principal secretary to the prime minister, arrived, and discussions reluctantly veered to government and constitutional matters and options before the nation.

Mathur says Indira Gandhi had a premonition of her death and used to talk of death and political violence in the weeks leading up to her assassination.

In Bhubaneswar, the evening before, on Oct 30, she said: "I am here today; I may not be here tomorrow... I do not care whether I live or die. I have lived a long life and I am proud that I spent the whole of my life in the service of my people... I shall continue to serve until my last breath and when I die, I can say, that every drop of my blood will invigorate India and strengthen it."

Mathur, who said he had not missed a day seeing Indira Gandhi, whether she was in or out of power, for the 18 years he was with her, and that "without any appointment letter", thinks she will be remembered for her genuine concern for the poor, the measures she took towards a more equitable society, for the way she engineered the creation of Bangladesh, for the way she returned to power in January 1980 after her stunning March 1977 electoral defeat.

"She was a very good, simple, informed, charming, well-meaning, helpful and a caring person," reminisced Mathur about his former patient who, from being just a former prime minister's daughter rose to become one of the world's most powerful and admired leaders of her time and even took stewardship in 1983 of the then powerful Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) of countries that were aligned with neither the western or eastern blocs and wanted to retain their strategic and functional independence.

But her death unleashed forces that she had fought against and the principles of secularism, religious tolerance and communal amity that she had sought to uphold.

Incensed by her killing by two Sikhs, organised mobs, backed by her Congress party, roamed the streets of Delhi and a few other cities, pulled Sikhs out of homes, shops and vehicles, beat them up and set them on fire in public view with police nowhere to be seen. Sikh homes and commercial establishments were burnt to cinder.

Close to 3,000 Sikhs were killed, mostly in Delhi, an incident that was dismissed by Indira Gandhi's son and successor, Rajiv Gandhi, with the words: "When a big tree falls, the earth shakes." The army finally moved in on the evening of Nov 2 to restore order. But by then Delhi had burnt in a way that left permanent scars on the collective psyche of a nation.

(Tarun Basu can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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Will the LPG scene ever improve?

There are some things in Manipur which are very precious, precisely because these things are so scarce. We are obviously referring to things like power and water supply, petroleum products and LPG cylinder. Of these, power supply has shown tremendous improvement, water supply too, if not the extent of electricity, has shown marked improvement, while supply of petroleum products remains susceptible to bandhs and blockades. But blockade or no blockade, LGP cylinder remains in perpetual short supply in the state.  This is most inconvenient for a huge section of the state’s population which has been using LPG gas for cooking purposes for the last four decades or so, thereby becoming extremely dependent on it. But unfortunately, this most sought after item has always been in short supply in Manipur even in the most normal of times not to talk of times of economic blockades. But surprisingly, long after the gas dealers and agencies had downed their shutters as the stock gets exhausted, LPG cylinders continue to be available in the black market though at exorbitant prizes. It is a brisk and very profitable business; no surprise then that people who are benefiting from scarcity of LPG gas cylinders uses various means at their disposal to keep it so. There is a whole network of individuals who make substantial profit at the expense of the common people. And despite all assurances from the Ministers to IOC officials to bring about transparency in the distribution of LPG gas in the state, the ground reality has not changed significantly. In a way, the whole LPG distribution system besides being corruption ridden, is in total mess. For the consumers, especially those rare few who go by the book, getting hold of a filled LPG gas cylinder through the proper channel is nothing less than a nightmarish experience. To avoid being left in a lurch many people resort to different means, some register in different agencies under the names of their wife, children, parents etc., some activate their connections with the high and mighty of the land. What has been most frustrating is the fact that the hope improvement in the situation once the Bottling Plant set up at Sekmai becomes operational has been belied severely, for, there has been no  visible change in situation. In fact, many distributors and bullet tankers as per media reports have held mismanagement of the Plant as one of the major factors responsible for LPG shortages in the state. They have made a slew of charges which includes failure to issue Challans for gas refill to the various outlets on time, delay in offloading the bullet tankers, inclusion of defective cylinders in the refill among the truck load of 306 cylinders meant for the outlets, among others. These charges need to be probed thoroughly by the concerned authorities and if found true those responsible should be brought to book and remedial measures taken so that these acts are not repeated in future. Along with this the IOC and the CAF&PD department need to seriously try and pluck the leakages in the distribution of LPG cylinders. The government of India had increased the entitlement of a card holder to 12 cylinders for a year but in Manipur, even half of the entitlement still remains a distant dream. When will the situation improve is the question in everyone’s lips who depend on LPG to keep the kitchen fire burning, literally.

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Three police personnel examined in Sharmila case

A retired Delhi Police officer today told a court here that rights activist Irom Sharmila, facing trial for allegedly attempting suicide during her fast-unto-death here in 2006, was shifted to a hospital after her health condition had deteriorated during the fast.

Deposing as a prosecution witness, Delhi Police's retired Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) GL Mehta denied before Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain that Sharmila was falsely framed by the cops in the case.

"People who sit at Jantar Mantar enjoy their constitutional right. Police surveillance is there round the clock. It is wrong to suggest that it is Delhi Police's policy to remove every citizen from Jantar Mantar, who are enjoying their constitutional right, after 2 or 3 days of protest.

"It is wrong to suggest that due to the said policy, we filed a false case against the accused (Sharmila) and removed her on false ground from Jantar Mantar," Mehta said during his cross-examination by Sharmila's counsel VK Ohri.

Mehta said that during the night on October 6, 2006, he was present at Jantar Mantar where Sharmila was sitting on a hunger strike and he noticed that her medical condition was deteriorating after which he informed the police control room to get her admitted to a hospital.

Initially, Sharmila and her supporters were refusing to go to the hospital but she agreed and she was taken to AIIMS, he said.

Apart from Mehta, the court also recorded the statements of Dr Prashant Sinha, who had medically examined Sharmila after she was admitted to AIIMS, Delhi Police's ASI Anang Pal Singh and Constable Bijender Singh in the case.

The court, after recording statements of the four witnesses, fixed the case for hearing tomorrow.

41-year-old Sharmila, who is now under judicial custody, also appeared in the court with her nose tube in place in pursuance to the court's production warrant. She was brought before the court from Manipur amidst tight security.

A case was lodged against her in 2006 for allegedly attempting to commit suicide during her fast-unto-death here at Jantar Mantar.

Sharmila, who is on a fast for over 13 years in Manipur demanding repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), had earlier told the court that she was very much eager to eat if she got the assurance that the "draconian" Act will be revoked.

She had claimed that widespread discrimination was being done with the people from North East.

She had told the court that she never intended to commit suicide and it was just a protest against AFSPA. On March 4 last year, the court had put Sharmila on trial after she had refused to plead guilty for the offence of attempting to commit suicide (section 309 of the IPC).

If convicted, Sharmila, who is out on bail in this case, faces a maximum jail term of one year.

Popularly known as the 'Iron Lady', Sharmila, who has been on fast since 2000 and is fed through a nasal tube, had earlier told the court that her protest was non-violent.

She had also rejected the charge that she had attempted suicide in 2006.

Her counsel had earlier told the court that Sharmila has already spent one year in judicial custody, which is the maximum sentence for the offence under section 309 of IPC.

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Contribute to Moreh’s transformation into a cosmopolitan city: Gaikhangam

Inaugurating the three-day Chavang Kut 2014 celebration at Moreh Town on Thursday, Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam fervently appealed to all section of the society to contribute their mite to the state government’s initiative for transforming the border town into a cosmopolitan city.

Addressing a public function held at Galngam Lentol, Moreh to kick-start the annual post-harvest festival of the Kuki-Chin-Mizo tribe, Gaikhangam said Manipur, particularly people of Moreh should be fully prepared to capitalise on the imminent economic boom when the ambitious Look East Policy gains momentum.

Highlighting that various development programmes are being planned by the state government to enhance Moreh’s profile as the centre of trade activities between India and south east Asian countries, he cautioned that in-spite of Moreh having the potential to reap the fruit of the economic boom owing to the town’s location in the gateway to south east Asia, such a prospect will remain as a pipe-dream if conducive environment is not provided.

Noting that problems related to transportation is one of the major issues that had been causing severe inconveniences to the people, the Deputy CM said with the people’s support and cooperation government’s endeavour to usher development in the town would become a reality.

Describing the Kuki-Chin-Mizo tribes as one of the most fortunate communities owning to linguistic similarities, he said emphasis need to be not only in promoting love and brotherhood among the tribes but also to reach out to people of other communities.

Stating that Chavang Kut as well as many other festivals celebrated across the state should be seen as an opportunity to forge stronger ties amongst the indigenous communities settled in the state, Gaikhangam said without cordiality in individual families neither will there be peace in the village nor will aspiration of the people for development in the state and country be possible.

Urging people of Moreh town to collectively tackle elements inimical to the society, he said “peace and development would become a reality only when the people discard communal feelings and thoughts.” 

Inauguration programme of the festival hosted by Chavang Kut Celebration Committee, Moreh was also attended by IFC Minister Ngamthang Haokip, MLAs Manga Vaiphei and D Korungthang and Autonomous District Council, Chandel Chairman Lukhosei Zou.

Highlight of the festival’s opening day include presentation of traditional dances by cultural troupes from the North Eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland as well as Kachin tribe from Myanmar.

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Police seize narcotic drugs from post office

A huge consignment of psychotropic drugs sent through post from Delhi and Kolkata and addressed to seven persons, including non-Manipuris has been seized by sleuths of Imphal East Police Narcotics Cell from Imphal Post Office on Thursday.

Even though worth of the illegal drugs is yet to be worked out, sources in the Narcotics Cell estimate the seizure to be in terms of lakhs of rupees.

The drugs, in 10 parcels, were reportedly mailed by parcel-post in the address of seven persons/firms located here.

It is said that based on specific information about arrival of the drugs consignment at the Post Office, personnel of Imphal East Narcotics Cell, including some in civvies, were deployed inside as well as outside the Post Office to ensure that consignments do not land in the hands of the drug dealers.

After isolation of 10 parcels on suspicion that they contained drugs, the contents were subsequently checked at around 3 pm with the approval of the Magistrate concerned, eventually resulting in confiscation of the consignments as they were found to contain spasmo-proxyvon (SP) and Nitrosun-10 (N-10) tablets.

Informing that the parcels were sent from Delhi and Kolkata to Imphal on October 14, the sources revealed that nine out of 10 parcels had 56-BRB Basu Road, Kolkata as address of the sender with one sent from Shree Shankar Road, New Delhi.

The consignments were supposed to be received by N Ranjan c/o PP Store Keishampat Junction; Sandwip Kumar, Paona Bazar (three boxes); H Somorjit c/o Rajni Store, Thangal Bazar; Th Sushila c/o AT Variety Store, Keishampat Junction; Kh Tony Meetei c/o RP Store, Thangal Bazar, M Virendra Singh, Thangal Bazar (two boxes); and M Pawan Kumar, Paona Bazar.

According to Post Master Laishram Raikumar, a team of Narcotics Cell arrived for checking consignments armed with an order of the Magistrate.

On checking the isolated boxes in the presence of Post Office personnel the contents were found to be psychotropic drugs, said the Post Master who also informed that all consignments sent through flight services/air cargoes undergo mandatory verification at the airport concerned before reaching the post office.

Raikumar, however, conceded that he has no knowledge on the checking/verification procedures followed in these airports.

Meanwhile, police have registered a case in connection with seizure of the contraband items for investigation and relevant measures to trace origin or recipients of the consignments.

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Labourer falls to death

A construction worker identified as Ningombam Gunachandra (55) son of Leibakmacha of Kakwa Khongnang Pheidekpi succumbed to injuries after falling from the fourth storey of an under-construction building of UNACCO School located at Khongman, which falls under Irilbung police station.

According to police report, soon after Gunachandra’s fall from the building at around 9 am Thursday, he was rushed to JNIMS Hospital, where the doctors declared him brought dead. The body has been deposited at the JNIMS morgue.

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Sit-in-protest demands ILPS implementation

Demanding implementation of Inner Line Permit System (ILPS) in the state of Manipur at the earliest to protect the indigenous people from the increasing influx of outsiders in the state, a sit-in-protest was staged at Karang by the people of the area.

According to a release of The Karang Panthoibi Khoyol Standard Association, the protest participants raised slogans like “Implement ILPS in the State” and “Outsiders without proper identification are prohibited entry into the state”.

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Govt unveils austerity drive; bars First Class travel

Unveiling an austerity drive to cut non-plan expenditure by 10 per cent, government has barred bureaucrats from travelling First Class on overseas visits and have asked them to use video conferencing as much as possible.

With an aim to restrict fiscal deficit to 4.1 per cent of GDP in 2014-15, the Finance Ministry has barred officials from holding meetings in 5-star hotels and put a freeze on fresh appointments and filling up posts lying vacant for over one year.

"While officers are entitled to various classes of air travel depending on seniority, utmost economy would need to be observed while exercising the choice keeping the limitations of budget in mind. However, there would no bookings in the First Class," said the office memorandum.

The facility of Video Conferencing, it said, "may be used effectively".

The Finance Ministry said purchase of new vehicles to meet operational requirement of defence forces, Paramilitary forces and security organisations are permitted but ban on purchase of any other vehicles would continue.

"Such measures are intended at promoting fiscal discipline, without restricting the operational efficiency of the government. In the context of the current fiscal situation, there is a need to continue to rationalise expenditure and optimise available resources," it said.

The government proposes to lower the fiscal deficit to 3 per cent of GDP by 2016-17. The deficit which had touched a high of 5.7 per cent in 2011-12, was brought down to 4.8 per cent in 2012-13 and further to 4.5 per cent in 2013-14 by way of austerity measures.

"The task before me is very challenging because we need to revive growth, particularly in manufacturing sector and infrastructure," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in his budget speech. He added that choice has to be made whether or not to be victims of mere populism and wasteful expenditure.

The Finance Ministry said that the "mandatory 10 per cent cut" in plan expenditure will exclude interest payments, repayment of debt, defence, capital, salaries, pensions and grants to the state.

"No re-appropriation of funds to augment the non-plan heads of expenditure on which cuts have been imposed, shall be allowed during the current fiscal," it said.

It said the austerity measures would also apply to autonomous bodies, adding that no fresh commitments would be made over and above what was provided in the Budget.

Only seminars and conferences that are absolutely essential should be organised, it said, adding that "holding of exhibitions/seminars/conferences abroad is strongly discouraged except in case of exhibitions for trade promotions."

It said in all cases of air travel the lowest air fare tickets available for entitled class are to be purchased. "No companion free ticket on domestic/international travel is to be availed of," it added.

Referring to jobs in government departments, it said there will be a total ban on new posts and those that have remained vacant for more than a year will not be filled except "under very rare and unavoidable circumstances".

The Finance Ministry has also asked the departments to avoid bunching up expenditure in the last quarter to ensure that there is no infructuous or wasteful spending.

It said the Secretaries would be responsible to ensure compliance of the austerity measures and the Financial Advisors would be required to submit reports to the Finance Ministry on a quarterly basis.

The non-plan expenditure of government deals with outlay on subsidies, interest payment, salary, among others.             For the current fiscal, the government has proposed a Plan expenditure of Rs 5.75 lakh crore, while that for non-Plan expenditure is over Rs 12.19 lakh crore.

Total budgeted expenditure estimates, including Plan and non-Plan stand at Rs 17,94,892 crore, higher than revised estimates for 2013-14 at Rs 15,90,434 crore.

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Girl escapes after four days of forced elopement

A nursing student, who was duped into eloping by her lover, escaped from the clutch of her boyfriend after an ordeal of four days. The victim is a BSc Nursing Second Year student while her boyfriend is identified as one Naoba of Wangjing.

According to the victim, she got acquainted with Naoba some three months back. They met on October 26 and had some snacks at Hotel Imphal. At around 3.30 pm they went to Andro for sightseeing on Naoba’s persistence. On their return journey, Naoba told her that his vehicle has developed some problems and they went to the house of Naoba’s friend. He then told her that they have eloped and will spent the night at his friend’s house. They spent the next day in a tribal village nearby.

Meanwhile, mother of the girl said that they waited for the boy’s family to come to their house as per tradition after elopement on the next morning. As they never turned up till late afternoon of October 28, they lodged a complaint to Bishnupur Police Station. On Thursday morning, Bishnupur Police informed them about the location of their daughter. They had to rush her to the RIMS hospital after finding her in poor health and necessary forensic examinations have reportedly been conducted on her.

Demanding immediate arrest of the accused Naoba, she appealed to the authority concerned to award befitting punishment to him.

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