North-East Briefcase

Recovery of eight human skulls to be investigated

Imphal: Manipur government will hand over the investigation into the recovery of eight human skulls to a central investigating agency to find out the truth.Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh’s secretary N Ashok Kumar said the police had registered a case on the recovery of the skulls and a number of skeletons during excavation at the Tombisana High School complex, which is not being presently used, on December 25 and December 26.”Considering the sensitivity, complexity and technical issues involved in the investigation, the state government has decided to hand over the case to a central investigation agency like CBI or NIA,” Kumar said here.Various social organisations in separate statements demanded DNA tests of each human skull and skeletons recovered from the former school complex. They have demanded a thorough probe into the matter, saying so many innocent youths who were arrested during the peak of insurgency between 1980 and 1999 had disappeared and their whereabouts have not been known till on Monday.Tombisana High School complex in the heart of Imphal city was occupied by central paramilitary forces during the peak of insurgent activities in early 1980s.The social organisations in their statements mentioned the names of those youths who were arrested and had never returned homes during 1980s. (PTI)

Bodies of three missing teenagers found

Kohima:The bodies of the three students, who went missing at frozen Sanctuary Falls of the picturesque Dzukou valley at Khonoma village in Kohima district, were found on Monday. State police, Army and National Disaster Response Force from Guwahati helped in finding the the bodies after 72 hours of search operations, the police said. Volunteers from Khonoma and surrounding villages, the police and Army are carrying the bodies from the spot to Khonoma village for funeral. Three teenagers drowned in the frozen lake on December 26 after the icy upper layer of the lake caved in when they along with some friends who had been to the spot for a picnic were posing for a photograpgh, the police said. (PTI)

Bird carcasses found in raid

Itanagar:Several oriental squirrel and bird carcasses were seized during a raid by the officials of the forest division and the Dering Wildlife Sanctuary (DEWS) at Pasighat market in East Siang district. Led by DFO (WL) Tashi Mize, East Siang ZPC Kaling Dai, chief municipal councillor Denong Tamuk and other officials, the raid took place yesterday after a tip-off about bush meat being openly sold in the market, a forest department statement said. Carcasses of 11 oriental squirrels, 143 bulbuls and 4 hill mynahs were seized and later burnt in public, it said. Open sale of bush meat has encouraged hunters to kill birds, deer, squirrels in the district, local wildlife activists said. State Environment and Forests Parliamentary Secretary C T Mein, on a visit to DEWS, lauded the DFO’s efforts and expressed interest in starting elephant safaris to promote tourism there. (PTI)

Assam has potential to produce purple tea

Guwahati:Assam can emerge as the only place in the world after Kenya to become a producer of health-rich purple tea, a senior scientist and tea expert in the Tocklai Tea Research Institute has said Currently, Kenya is the only country that produces unique purple tea which fetches three to four times the price of black tea and has established both a domestic as well as export market. “Assam has tremendous potential to produce purple tea, as it is the tea of the future as far as health benefits are concerned. Besides, such tea bushes are still found in the state”. The clone TRFK 306/1 for purple tea of Kenya was originally from Assam and wild bushes of the tea have been found in the hilly forested areas of Karbi Anglong district and Longai area of Cachar district in Barak Valley while there was also possibility of its presence in some areas of Upper Assam, he said. “The germplasm collection at Tocklai has purple tea plants, commonly known as ‘ox blood’,” Baruah said. Purple tea has been found to have a host of medicinal properties and is rich in anthocyanins and contains lower catechins and caffeine, is high in antioxidants that provide anti-cancer benefits and improve vision, lower cholesterol and blood sugar metabolism. “Assam is very rich in tea germplasm as it is the place of original tea variety and wild tea plants are still available in the state’,” the author of the book ‘The Tea Industry of Assam: Origin and Development’.The planting material for manufacturing purple tea was selected from the germplasm stock of Tea Research Foundation of Kenya and was released as TRFK 306 in 2011 to the planters for commercial cultivation, he said.(PTI)

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