Utpal Parashar

Utpal is an assistant editor based in Guwahati. He covers all eight states of North-East and was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times .

Articles by Utpal Parashar

Assam logs highest-ever daily Covid-19 cases at 6,982; positivity rate crosses 10%

Like the rest of the country, Assam has witnessed a rise in Covid-19 cases since the beginning of this month with new infections doubling nearly every three days. The overall recovery rate, which was over 98% at the end of last month, came down to 95.18% on Monday.
In view of the surge, the Assam government has decided to treat all new Covid-19 cases as that of the Omicron variant of the virus. Night curfew timings were increased from 10 pm to 6 am last week and from January 15, the government has banned entry of those not fully-vaccinated from public places, offices and means of transport. (PTI PHOTO.)
In view of the surge, the Assam government has decided to treat all new Covid-19 cases as that of the Omicron variant of the virus. Night curfew timings were increased from 10 pm to 6 am last week and from January 15, the government has banned entry of those not fully-vaccinated from public places, offices and means of transport. (PTI PHOTO.)
Published on Jan 17, 2022 10:11 PM IST
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Human traficking from Assam worsens during Covid-19 pandemic: Rights activists

While Assam has been a hub for human trafficking in the past, it is feared the scenario has worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Child rights activists say that Covid-19 and the lockdown and restrictions have pushed millions to poverty and led to conditions which are fertile for human trafficking. (Representational Image/Getty Images/Vetta)
Child rights activists say that Covid-19 and the lockdown and restrictions have pushed millions to poverty and led to conditions which are fertile for human trafficking. (Representational Image/Getty Images/Vetta)
Published on Jan 17, 2022 02:49 PM IST
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Assam commission seeks CBI inquiry into illegal coal mining worth 4872 cr

The one-man commission of inquiry was set up by Assam government in September 2020 to inquire into allegations of illegal coal mining.
The commission held the mines and minerals department of Assam and its officers responsible for failing to protect reserve forest land from illegal mining activities by NEC, CIL and other individuals and organisations. (REUTERS)
The commission held the mines and minerals department of Assam and its officers responsible for failing to protect reserve forest land from illegal mining activities by NEC, CIL and other individuals and organisations. (REUTERS)
Published on Jan 15, 2022 12:52 AM IST
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Mount Victoria Babax bird species spotted in India after 25 years

In a very rare find, two birders have come across and photographed a Mount Victoria Babax, a bird species not seen in India since 1997, in Mizoram on Wednesday.
The bird, Mount Victoria Babax, was sighted at Phawngpui (Blue Mountain) National Park, one of the two national parks in Mizoram.
The bird, Mount Victoria Babax, was sighted at Phawngpui (Blue Mountain) National Park, one of the two national parks in Mizoram.
Updated on Jan 15, 2022 01:24 AM IST
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By, Guwahati

Assam Police’s new joinee packs a punch - it’s Olympic star Lovlina Borgohain

Lovlina Borgohain is the second sportsperson from the state to be appointed a DSP in Assam Police as per a new sports policy. In February last year, top sprinter Hima Das was given the same honour
Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist boxer Lovlina Borgohain after being appointed DSP in Assam Police, in Guwahati on Wednesday. (PTI)
Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist boxer Lovlina Borgohain after being appointed DSP in Assam Police, in Guwahati on Wednesday. (PTI)
Updated on Jan 13, 2022 05:00 PM IST
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‘Assam, Meghalaya reach understanding on 6 disputed areas’:Himanta Biswa Sarma

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Meghalaya’s Conrad Sangma last year decided to first focus on six of the 12 disputed areas along the Assam-Meghalaya border.
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (ANI)
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (ANI)
Updated on Jan 13, 2022 03:12 PM IST
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48-hr internet shutdown in Itanagar over bandh to demand Pema Khandu resignation

The Itangar district’s order to shut down ‘mobile internet including wi-fi services’ came in context of a 36-hour bandh call by All Nyishi Youth Association (ANYA) from January 13 to seek chief minister Pema Khandu’s resignation
Itanagar district authorities said the ban on mobile internet was necessary “to prevent occurrence of serious law and order problems” during the proposed bandh called by ANYA to seek chief minister Pema Khandu’s resignation (Twitter/@PemaKhanduBJP)
Itanagar district authorities said the ban on mobile internet was necessary “to prevent occurrence of serious law and order problems” during the proposed bandh called by ANYA to seek chief minister Pema Khandu’s resignation (Twitter/@PemaKhanduBJP)
Published on Jan 13, 2022 12:05 AM IST
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Gauhati HC seeks detailed affidavit from Assam govt on alleged fake encounters

A petition filed in the high court said 80 incidents of fake encounters had happened in the state since May 2021 and resulted in 28 deaths and left 48 injured.
The Gauhati high court asked the Assam government to file a detailed affidavit within two weeks on alleged fake encounters by the state police since May last year. (Representational Image/ANI)
The Gauhati high court asked the Assam government to file a detailed affidavit within two weeks on alleged fake encounters by the state police since May last year. (Representational Image/ANI)
Updated on Jan 11, 2022 05:01 PM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

‘We don’t come under ambit of CAA’: Chakma-Hajong group responds to Rijiju

Union law minister Kiren Rijiju said this week that under CAA, no refugee in the state can claim the rights of indigenous tribals, and that the Centre has already asked Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh to look for an alternative place.
Arunachal Pradesh Chakma students’ union said Chakmas and Hajongs came to NEFA (now Arunachal Pradesh) much before the 31 December 2014, and that the Chakmas and Hajongs are governed by the Citizenship Act of 1955,
Arunachal Pradesh Chakma students’ union said Chakmas and Hajongs came to NEFA (now Arunachal Pradesh) much before the 31 December 2014, and that the Chakmas and Hajongs are governed by the Citizenship Act of 1955,
Updated on Jan 08, 2022 02:43 PM IST
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NSCN-IM warns of ‘unpleasant incidents’ in Arunachal for ‘hurting’ Naga interest

Naga rebel outfit NSCN-IM accused Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu and deputy chief minister Chowna Mein of “acting irresponsibly and failing to restore and fulfil the wishes of Naga people” in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts of the state.
In September last year, NSCN-IM demanded the Naga MLAs of the three Arunachal Pradesh districts, Tirap, Changlang and Longding, withdraw support to the BJP government
In September last year, NSCN-IM demanded the Naga MLAs of the three Arunachal Pradesh districts, Tirap, Changlang and Longding, withdraw support to the BJP government
Published on Jan 08, 2022 09:56 AM IST
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Regions near international borders will soon get 4G connectivity: Arunachal CM

Arunachal chief minister Pema Khandu said the country has made a departure from the earlier policy of discouraging development near the LAC (Line of Actual Control).
Arunachal chief minister Pema Khandu addressed public meetings on Thursday in Upper Subansiri district, which shares its border with China. (FIle Photo/Representational Image-PTI)
Arunachal chief minister Pema Khandu addressed public meetings on Thursday in Upper Subansiri district, which shares its border with China. (FIle Photo/Representational Image-PTI)
Published on Jan 07, 2022 11:48 PM IST
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‘Will presume all Covid cases to be of Omicron variant’: Assam CM amid new curbs

Omicron: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said genome sequencing, which is needed to confirm if the coronavirus disease is caused by the Omicron variant, takes 4-5 days. “By this time, the patient recovers from Covid-19, but has already transmitted the Omicron variant.”
Omicron variant: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (right) said wearing masks in public places is mandatory and police have been instructed to impose fines on those found violating this rule. (Twitter/@himantabiswa)
Omicron variant: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (right) said wearing masks in public places is mandatory and police have been instructed to impose fines on those found violating this rule. (Twitter/@himantabiswa)
Published on Jan 07, 2022 07:39 PM IST
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Assam: Three kids killed in fire accident in Charaideo district

A fourth child, also aged around 5-6 years, who was in the shed in Assam’s Charaideo district when the incident took place told police that they were trying to light up a cigarette.
Assam: Police said the three children were in a thatched shed when the fire broke out in Assam’s Charaideo district. A fourth child managed to escape the fire (Representative image) (ANI)
Assam: Police said the three children were in a thatched shed when the fire broke out in Assam’s Charaideo district. A fourth child managed to escape the fire (Representative image) (ANI)
Published on Jan 07, 2022 06:33 PM IST
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Assam aims to vaccinate 15-18 age group within 7 days, 2nd dose before exams

Assam health minister Keshav Mahanta said special camps will be set up in schools and junior colleges across the state to vaccinate students in the 15-18 age group
Assam has nearly 2 million teenagers who are eligible to be vaccinated once Covid-19 jabs for the 15-18 age group begins from Monday, January 3 (PTI)
Assam has nearly 2 million teenagers who are eligible to be vaccinated once Covid-19 jabs for the 15-18 age group begins from Monday, January 3 (PTI)
Published on Jan 01, 2022 09:58 AM IST
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Assam Congress MLA Sashi Kanta Das who extended support to BJP suspended

A statement by the Assam Congress said Raha MLA Sashi Kanta Das has been suspended for repeatedly violating party discipline and indulging in anti-party activities.
Assam Congress MLA Sashi Kanta Das extended support to Assam’s BJP government led by chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (Twiter/@Pijush_hazarika)
Assam Congress MLA Sashi Kanta Das extended support to Assam’s BJP government led by chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (Twiter/@Pijush_hazarika)
Updated on Jan 01, 2022 09:46 AM IST
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High positivity rate due to active testing: Mizoram govt on Covid-19 figures

On Friday, Mizoram recorded 243 new Covid-19 cases, the highest among all states in the northeast and one death. There are 1,471 active cases in the state at present. Till date the state has recorded 141400 cases and 543 deaths.
On Thursday, Union health ministry joint secretary Luv Agarwal had flagged eight districts, which logged more than 10% weekly positivity rate. Six of these districts are from Mizoram. (REUTERS PHOTO.)
On Thursday, Union health ministry joint secretary Luv Agarwal had flagged eight districts, which logged more than 10% weekly positivity rate. Six of these districts are from Mizoram. (REUTERS PHOTO.)
Published on Dec 31, 2021 10:45 PM IST
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SIT meets soldiers in Nagaland firing case

The team, comprising six members, recorded the statements at the Rainforest Research Institute at Jorhat in Assam, said army officials familiar with the matter.
Nagas hold placards at a rally protesting the killings of 14 civilians this month in Nagaland. (Representative image/AP File)
Nagas hold placards at a rally protesting the killings of 14 civilians this month in Nagaland. (Representative image/AP File)
Published on Dec 31, 2021 12:08 AM IST
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By, Guwahati

MP seeks FIR against Assam chief minister for alleged hate speech

Khaleque called Sarma’s reference to revenge a “wanton provocation” to the public “to commit further acts of rioting against a particular community”
Villagers near their houses which were demolished during an eviction drive at Gorukhuti in Assam’s Darrang district in September. (Representative image/PTI File)
Villagers near their houses which were demolished during an eviction drive at Gorukhuti in Assam’s Darrang district in September. (Representative image/PTI File)
Updated on Dec 30, 2021 09:44 AM IST
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Assam’s Himanta Biswa Sarma goes on overdrive against drunk driving on New Year’s Eve

The Himanta Biswa Sarma government in Assam has made an exception in its night curfew rule for December 31 and has asked people to maintain social distancing and take precautions as they celebrate the new year.
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said 29 lives were lost last year on December 31 and January 1 in road accidents in the state. Sarma added that police have been told to penalise people who indulge in drunk driving. (ANI)
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said 29 lives were lost last year on December 31 and January 1 in road accidents in the state. Sarma added that police have been told to penalise people who indulge in drunk driving. (ANI)
Updated on Dec 28, 2021 06:47 PM IST
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Nagaland shooting: Army inquiry team to visit incident site on Wednesday

In a botched operation, 13 civilians were killed by 21 Para Special Forces of the Indian Army on December 4 at Tiru-Oting area in Mon district of Nagaland and another civilian killed by security forces in Mon town on December 5.
Mon: Charred remains of vehicles of security personnel after the vehicles were put on fire by some miscreants over the death of 13 people, who were allegedly killed by Armed Forces, in Mon district, on Dec 5, 2021 (PTI File Photo)
Mon: Charred remains of vehicles of security personnel after the vehicles were put on fire by some miscreants over the death of 13 people, who were allegedly killed by Armed Forces, in Mon district, on Dec 5, 2021 (PTI File Photo)
Updated on Dec 28, 2021 03:40 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, Guwahati

Govt panel to review Afspa amid Nagaland killings row

According to news agency PTI, Vivek Joshi, who is Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, will head the five-member committee while Additional Secretary in the Union Home Ministry Piyush Goyal will be the member secretary of the panel.
There were massive protests across the state with Naga organizations seeking a fair probe into the incident. In picture - Rally in Kohima, Nagaland, against the killing of fourteen civilians.(AP)
There were massive protests across the state with Naga organizations seeking a fair probe into the incident. In picture - Rally in Kohima, Nagaland, against the killing of fourteen civilians.(AP)
Published on Dec 27, 2021 03:34 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, Guwahati

Centre to form panel to look into withdrawal of AFSPA in Nagaland, says Neiphiu Rio

In a botched-up operation, 13 civilians were killed by 21 Para Special Forces of the Indian Army on December 4 at Tiru-Oting area in Mon district of Nagaland and another civilian was killed by security forces in Mon town on December 5 in a chain of related events which also resulted in injuring 35 people.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio addressing the media on Sunday about the decisions taken in a meeting held at New Delhi on December 23 with Union Home Minister Amit Shah. (TWITTER.)
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio addressing the media on Sunday about the decisions taken in a meeting held at New Delhi on December 23 with Union Home Minister Amit Shah. (TWITTER.)
Published on Dec 26, 2021 04:59 PM IST
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Assam writer pens children book to address discrimination; gets lauded in India and abroad

Puhor and Niyor’s Mural of Family Stories has already sold nearly 9,000 copies in India and abroad and a second edition is underway
The front cover of the book-Puhor and Niyor’s Mural of Family Stories.
The front cover of the book-Puhor and Niyor’s Mural of Family Stories.
Published on Dec 26, 2021 04:09 PM IST
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There were no illegal immigrants among those evicted in Assam’s Darrang: Report

The study, ‘Dhalpur-The Truth Behind’ by Guwahati-based Centre for Minority Studies, Research and Development (CMSRD) was carried out by 14 members who stayed in the area for 15 days and interacted with 517 of the 963 evicted families.
The evicted families were not illegal immigrants or land grabbers, as alleged by the Assam government, the report said.
The evicted families were not illegal immigrants or land grabbers, as alleged by the Assam government, the report said.
Updated on Dec 25, 2021 03:27 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, Guwahati

Evicted families of Assam’s Dhalpur not illegal immigrants or land grabbers, says report

On September 23, 2 civilians were killed in clashes between evicted families and police and 18 other people including policemen were injured during the eviction drive. The state government had evicted the area to make way for an agricultural project for the local indigenous people.
Since most of the evicted families were Bengali-speaking Muslims, it was alleged that they are illegal immigrants who had forcibly occupied government land as well as land of indigenous people and also settled on grazing land. (PTI PHOTO.)
Since most of the evicted families were Bengali-speaking Muslims, it was alleged that they are illegal immigrants who had forcibly occupied government land as well as land of indigenous people and also settled on grazing land. (PTI PHOTO.)
Published on Dec 24, 2021 08:34 PM IST
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Om Birla expresses concern over ruckus in Parliament, state assemblies

There should be agreements and disagreements, but the expectations of the public should be reflected in the Houses, Birla said, adding that elected representatives should also articulate the ideologies they represent.
Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla being felicitated with traditional Assamese Japi (hat) and Gamocha by Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at the official launch of the Assam Legislative Digital TV Assam Legislative Assembly in the central hall of the Assam Legislative Assembly in Guwahati.(ANI)
Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla being felicitated with traditional Assamese Japi (hat) and Gamocha by Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at the official launch of the Assam Legislative Digital TV Assam Legislative Assembly in the central hall of the Assam Legislative Assembly in Guwahati.(ANI)
Updated on Dec 25, 2021 03:58 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, Guwahati

Assam amends law to allow seizure of properties of illegal cow trade accused

Amid a heated debate in the assembly, chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said he wants to convey the message that Assam is a “tough state” while dealing with unlawful cattle trade
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said there is no restriction on buffalo sacrifice in the temples. However, there will be no sacrifice of cows in the temples or any slaughter. (ANI)
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said there is no restriction on buffalo sacrifice in the temples. However, there will be no sacrifice of cows in the temples or any slaughter. (ANI)
Updated on Dec 24, 2021 04:59 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, Guwahati

Speaker nod to merger of Congress MLAs with TMC in Meghalaya

Meghalaya assembly speaker Metbah Lyngdoh on Thursday recognised the merger of the 12 Congress MLAs with the Trinamool Congress (TMC) -- a month after the legislators decided to switch sides in a sudden move.
Former chief minister Mukul Sangma was among 12 legislators who handed over the letter of merger to the Speaker on November 24.
Former chief minister Mukul Sangma was among 12 legislators who handed over the letter of merger to the Speaker on November 24.
Updated on Dec 24, 2021 04:31 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, Guwahati

Assam assembly allows seizure of properties of those accused of illegal cow trade

The BJP-led government had sought two major amendments to the Bill, four months after it was passed in the state assembly. One of them allowed the state government to auction vehicles seized while transporting cattle illegally.
Transport of cattle from places outside Assam to any place within the state will also be banned by the legislation, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told the assembly on Thursday. (PTI PHOTO.)
Transport of cattle from places outside Assam to any place within the state will also be banned by the legislation, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told the assembly on Thursday. (PTI PHOTO.)
Updated on Dec 23, 2021 10:29 PM IST
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Meghalaya Speaker recognises merger of 12 Congress MLAs with Trinamool

Congress had, however, challenged the merger and sought disqualification of the MLAs. M. Ampareen Lyngdoh had, on November 29, filed 10 petitions with the Speaker seeking disqualification of the 12 defected legislators. She filed two more similar petitions earlier this month.
The 12 legislators led by former Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma had handed over the letter of merger to the Speaker on November 24. (PTI PHOTO.)
The 12 legislators led by former Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma had handed over the letter of merger to the Speaker on November 24. (PTI PHOTO.)
Published on Dec 23, 2021 09:18 PM IST
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Tuesday, January 18, 2022