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Assam’s First literary festival is the new attraction in the North East

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Assam, Jan 28, 2017: Assam is the new member of the cities organising literary jamborees group. Assam’s BLF ie. Brahmaputra Literary Festival is the new attraction in the already mesmerising North-east. BLF will last for three days wherein it will witness the participation of approximately 150 authors from India and abroad.

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BLF is a well-planned event organised by the National Book Trust and the Assam government. It will host 60-panel discussions, book releases, readings and culture events including screenings of films based on books, musical and dance performances.

NBT Director and a Sahitya Akademi winning Assamese author Dr Rita Choudhury gave a statement saying, “We have aimed to make the festival a landmark event of the country’s literary calendar which will not only expose people to interact with famed litterateurs but also take literature of the northeast to the rest of the country and the world.”

“There are many popular literary festivals in the country but the northeast with such a rich literary tradition, both past and contemporary, is yet to have one and the BLF wants to change that,” Choudhury said.

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“We hope that the festival will become an annual feature of the country’s literary calendar and not only encourage new ideas and their dissemination but also offer a platform for intellectual exchanges,” she said.

Carlo Pizzati from Italy, Clara Penalvar from Spain, Randy Teguchi from Japan, Linda Christanty from Indonesia, Dhunpal Raj Heeraman and Ramdeo Dhorundhur from Mauritius, Rajivawizesinha from Sri Lanka and Selina Hossain and Shaheen Akhtar from Bangladesh are few of the many contemporary authors that are expected to participate in the festival. The festival will be inaugurated by Union Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar.

– prepared by Shambhavi Sinha of NewsGram. Twitter:  @shambhavispeaks

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Assam’s Citizen Register Raises Concern of U.N. Human Rights Expert

Assam, a state of 33 million people known for its lush tea estates, has for decades been racked by violence between indigenous tribes and settlers.

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A woman, whose name is left out in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft, stands in a a line to collect forms to file appeals at a NRC Sewa Kendra (NSK) in Guwahati, Aug. 11, 2018. VOA

Three United Nations human rights experts expressed “deep concern” Thursday over a controversial citizens register in India’s Assam state, warning it could inflame ethnic tensions in an already fractious region.

A new draft Register of Citizens (NRC) in the northeastern state announced in July left off four million people, leaving them potentially stateless and facing an uncertain future.

Critics say it is the latest move by the right-wing party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bolster India’s Hindu majority at the expense of minorities. India will hold a national election next year.

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Bakrapara, Assam

The policy was introduced by the state government, which is controlled by the same BJP party in power nationally.

“We are… seriously concerned about the lack of clarity regarding what will happen to those left out of the finalized NRC,” said a joint statement from the UN special rapporteur on religious freedoms, Ahmed Shaheed, the rapporteur for minority rights, Fernand de Varennes and an expert on arbitrary detentions, Seong-Phil Hong.

“There is a risk that persons not part of the NRC could become stateless, be at risk of deportation, or be subject to large-scale migration detention,” they said.

The deadline to provide the necessary documents to be included on the register has been set for December 31.

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Indian Muslim men shout slogans during a protest against tensions in India’s northeastern state of Assam, in New Delhi, India, Aug. 8, 2012.
Source:VOA

The current register includes only those who were able to prove they were in the state before 1971, when millions fled Bangladesh’s war of independence into the state, and their descendants.

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Assam, a state of 33 million people known for its lush tea estates, has for decades been racked by violence between indigenous tribes and settlers.

“It is feared that this entire process is increasing inter-ethnic tensions in a region that has already experienced a tumultuous history of identity-based conflicts,” de Varennes said. (VOA)