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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Beyond Headlines
Illustration by Uday Deb

Where the mind is filled with fear

Terrorism has finally done to the Northeast what it is primarily meant to do — cause lasting psychological injury arising from the fear of irreparable physical harm.

Fear, panic, unrest and angst are the common byproducts of this weapon and never before has it worked so perfectly.

Till last Thursday, Guwahatians thought they knew how to deal with an insurgency-ridden society.

Three powerful serial blasts shattered all beliefs.

Every time a man parks his car in the city, he peers into the next vehicle to see if there is anything that could remotely resemble a bomb.

A bicycle left at a gate by a newspaper hawker became an object of suspicion.

On November 2, two unclaimed bags in Guwahati — one at Ganeshguri and the other at Paltan Bazar — triggered panic among people of the area. Two bags caused similar bomb scares in Imphal and Shillong on November 3.

The government’s efforts to alert residents against possible attacks have only added to the paranoia.

“Don’t touch anything lying abandoned” and “inform the police on seeing anything or anybody suspicious”, are some of the messages that are being aired again and again all over the city.

A police official in Guwahati admitted that such appeals could have a negative impact.

“But we cannot help it. If we don’t send out the appeals, there will be allegations that we did not alert the people.”

Queue of utensils near a waterpipe


City without water

Can a city be called a developed one if it does not have potable water, asked residents of Imphal West at a sit-in recently.

“We have not been getting water supply from the government for the past three years. This sit-in is to draw the government’s attention to the problem. If this fails to extract a positive response, we will take recourse to other forms of agitation,” said 50-year-old Moirangthem Shanti Devi, a resident of Yumnam Leikai in Imphal West.

The woman said she has been buying water for Rs 150 a day for the past three years.

The expansion of the Imphal-Singjamei Road stretch of National Highway 39 and construction for drain snapped the water supply lines.

Buffalo scare

Footnote

More than 50 buffaloes died of a mysterious disease in the three days at Kaziranga National Park in October and authorities still don’t have a single clue about the cause.

Although all these buffaloes were domestic ones, reared in various chaporis (sand banks) in the sixth additional area of the national park, experts fear that the disease might spread to wild animals of the park.

Animals stray into these areas frequently in search of food.

Worried by the deaths, a team of veterinarians launched a vaccination drive in these areas.

“We have taken all necessary steps to check the spread of this disease,” a Kaziranga official said.

There have been instances when diseases spread to wild animals from the domestic cattle, which graze inside the park area. In 1984, several rhinos and deer died of a disease that was suspected to have spread from domestic cattle.

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