To contact us CLICK HERE
View Kalimpong News at
Citizen reporters may send photographs related to news with proper information to

Friday, February 26, 2010

Morcha or Maoist, chief secy rules out talks Tri-meet to be held, but no dates yet

TT, Siliguri, Feb. 25: Bengal chief secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti today said there was no question of dialogue with either the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in north Bengal or the Maoists in the south at a time when policemen were being targeted in both regions.
The fifth round of tripartite talks on the statehood demand is, however, on schedule, said Chakrabarti, adding that he was not aware of the date.
The chief secretary was reacting to a question on whether the government would talk to the Morcha over the recent incidents of arson in the Darjeeling hills: the setting afire of the Sukna police outpost on February 21 and the attack on the Kurseong police station on February 18.
In south Bengal, 24 EFR policemen were killed by Maoists in West Midnapore’s Shilda on February 15.
Chakrabarti, who arrived here this morning before heading for Gangtok to attend a high-level meeting on keeping NH31A that connects Sikkim with rest of the country open, said: “I will not comment on the activities of any political party or organisation, but when our police personnel are being killed and police stations torched and attacked, there is hardly any scope to hold dialogues with those responsible for these incidents.”
The Morcha has threatened to court arrest or launch a “jail bharo” agitation if 18 people arrested for the Sukna arson were not released by Saturday. A mob demanding the immediate arrest of an alleged murderer had set fire to the police outpost.
The Morcha had dismissed allegations that its members were involved in the arson, although it has been demanding the immediate release of those arrested.
When Chakrabarti was informed about the Morcha threat, he iterated that there was no chance of dialogues. “Considering the current state of affairs when incidents of violence are being reported everyday, how can a dialogue take place?”
In Gangtok, Chakrabarti will meet the Union cabinet secretary and the chief secretary of the Himalayan state to discuss probable steps that could be taken to keep NH31A open.
As of now, three companies of the CRPF have been deployed to keep it free of blockades as Sikkim residents face regular disruptions during agitation and strikes called by the Morcha.
According to sources in the Sikkim government, chief secretary T.T. Bhutia will demand the widening of NH31A at the meeting.
The sources said the Border Roads Organisation that looks after the highway was facing problems regarding clearing of trees along the road on the Bengal side.
The chief secretary was talking to the media around 9.30am when he got the information that the inspector-in-charge of Sarenga police station in Bankura had been gunned down by the Maoists early this morning.
The Telegraph had reported Rabi Mitra’s death in the edition that came out on Thursday, but the chief secretary was unaware of it even nine hours after the gun battle that killed the inspector.
Chakrabarti called up officials and took details of the Sarenga episode. “It is a bad news. However, I need to obtain more details to comment on it. Appropriate orders have been passed to the district authorities,” he said.
At the circuit house, Chakrabarti held a meeting with administrative officials, including Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council administrator B.L. Meena, inspector-general of police, north Bengal, K.L. Tamta, Darjeeling district magistrate Surendra Gupta, and superintendent of police D.P. Singh, on the situation in the hills.
“We will hold another review meeting in Siliguri on February 28. Our officials are keeping a close watch on the development in the hills,” Chakrabarti said.
“Three companies of the CRPF have already arrived and have been deployed along NH31A to prevent any disruption. We are expecting three more companies to reach here,” he said.
CRPF camps irk Kalimpong
Rajeev Ravidas, TT, Kalimpong, Feb. 25: A citizens’ forum here has demanded the immediate withdrawal of CRPF personnel from Kalimpong and sought their redeployment on NH31A as the presence of the central force is likely to be exploited by anti-Gorkhaland elements.
In a letter faxed to President Pratibha Patil today, the Citizens’ Rights Forum said the situation in the hills was not “potentially explosive” to justify the deployment of the CRPF.
The letter signed by forum president N.P. Dixit said the only purpose of deploying the CRPF in the region was to ensure free movement of vehicles on NH31A even during strikes in the hills in keeping with a Supreme Court order.
Of the two companies of the CRPF deployed in the subdivision, one has set up base at Reang, off NH31A near Rambi, about 30km from here, while the other is billeted at two places in town.
The forum feared that anti-Gorkhaland elements could exploit the presence of the CRPF in the urban areas by provoking them into “unpleasant and retaliatory actions”. This, the letter said, could only result in “chaos, disturbance and violence” all around. “We (therefore) urge you to recall them (the CRPF) from the towns of the hills and re-deploy them on the highway at the earliest.”
K. L. Tamta, the inspector-general, north Bengal, said the CRPF company camping in Kalimpong was meant to be stationed on the highway at Rangpo on the Sikkim border. “Because of lack of adequate accommodation there, they are being kept in Kalimpong. Once the accommodation is arranged, they will be shifted to Rangpo,” he said.
Gurung to visit Salua
TT, Kalimpong, Feb. 25: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung today said he would lead a 10-member team to Salua, the headquarters of the Eastern Frontier Rifles, to “take a look at the situation there”.
“We have not yet finalised a date for the visit and that will be decided within a day or two as will be the members of the delegation. But I can tell you that I will be going,” Gurung said at Deolo this evening.
A day after the attack on the Shilda EFR camp by Maoists, Morcha spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri had announced that a party delegation would visit West Midnapore. However, he did not specify whether Gurung would be part of the team.
The EFR personnel are mostly drawn from the hills. The massacre of 24 policemen — 19 were from the Nepali-speaking community — has become an emotive issue in the Darjeeling hills.
Observers feel that with the feelings of outrage at the deaths still running strong in the hills and Salua, which has a large Nepali-speaking community, Gurung wants to show that he is the only leader of the community. “He wants to show he is the only one who will stand by those affected by the Maoist attack.”
In fact, Gurung, at a media conference in Darjeeling on Tuesday, attributed the February 18 violence in Kurseong, where the police station was attacked and MLA Shanta Chhetri’s house was set on fire, to emotions of the people.
“If a single minister from the Bengal government cannot offer flowers to the EFR personnel killed in the Shilda massacre, the people will definitely be emotional,” Gurung had said.
On February 18, while paying respects to the bodies of the slain personnel at the Mela Ground here, Gurung demanded a CBI probe into the Shilda incident and wanted the Bengal government to come out “with the truth behind the event”. He had also alleged that the attack was a conspiracy hatched by the state government against the Gorkhas.
Siliguri: The Northeast Frontier Railway has announced that six special trains will run for four more months from March 1. The trains are 0865/0866 Guwahati-Mariani Special, 911A/912A Dibrugarh Town-Tinsukia Special, 0711/0712 Alipurduar Junction-Lumding Special, 0728/0727 Alipurduar Junction-NJP Special, Alipurduar Junction-NJP Passenger Special and 0769/0770 Rangiya–Rangapara North Special.
Darjeeling: An undertrial prisoner hanged himself in his cell at the Darjeeling jail around 8pm on Thursday. While the identity of the prisoner was not known, subdivisional officer Amal Kanti Roy confirmed the death.

No comments:

Post a Comment