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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kanu Sanyal’s body found hanging at home ...Furniture burnt, blame on Morcha

Naxalbari movement founder kills self 
Avijit Sinha, TT, Naxalbari, March 23: Kanu Sanyal, one of the founding leaders of the Naxalite movement in the country and the all-India secretary of the CPI(M-L), committed suicide at his house in a Naxalbari village this afternoon.
Sanyal’s body was found hanging from the rafters of his mud hut at Hatighisa village, 20km from Siliguri, by Santi Debnath, the wife of party worker Kesab Debnath who had gone to check on the veteran CPI(M-L) leader around 1.15pm.
Police said Sanyal, 78, a bachelor who was ailing, was suffering from depression.
“My daughter Jaya, who cooks for him, had served him chapatis and vegetables in the morning and rice, dal and egg curry around noon for lunch. He retired after lunch, reading the newspapers and Jaya returned home. I went to check on him later but did not find him on the mattress on the floor. I saw him hanging from the ceiling. I raised the alarm immediately,” Santi said.
She said ever since Sanyal suffered a stroke in 2008, she used to call on him every day and her son-in-law stayed with him at night.
Hearing the news of Sanyal’s death, neighbours and hundreds of people from around the area thronged his Hatighisa home. Leaders of other Naxalite factions and those belonging to the CPM, Congress and the Trinamul Congress also arrived at the spot.
“Of late, he was sounding very depressed. He was frustrated with the current communist movements in the country and used to say that both the Maoists and the CPM had deviated from their ideology. After his stroke, he had become feeble and could not move out to address meetings and rallies,” said Dipu Haldar, a district committee member of the CPI(M-L).
Haldar said though the Naxalite movement of the late sixties had witnessed killings, especially in the urban areas, Sanyal would always say that he was against the “wanton killings of innocent villagers” that the Maoists had been indulging in.
Tea workers grieve for Kanu Sanyal. Picture by Kundan Yolmo
Around 3.30pm, Sanyal’s body was taken to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital for post-mortem. Cries of Kanu Sanyal Amar Rahe rent the air and tribal men and women broke down as the ambulance drove off.
Jogen Biswakarma, the Darjeeling district secretary of the CPI(M-L), said Sanyal’s body would be kept at his home tonight as Naxalite leaders from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Jharkhand were expected here tomorrow to pay their last respects.
Sanyal was born in 1932 in Kurseong and quit the CPM in 1967 to form the CPI(M-L) along with other leaders like Charu Majumdar. He practically led the May 1967 peasant’s insurrection by declaring the “liberation” of Naxalbari village — after which the movement came to be known.
Before that, Sanyal had worked as a revenue clerk at the Kalimpong and Siliguri courts.
Sanyal was arrested in 1970 and spent about seven years in various jails in Bengal and in Andhra Pradesh. Jyoti Basu personally saw to it that Sanyal was released when the Left Front came to power in Bengal in 1977.
Since then Sanyal, though maintaining a relatively low profile, had been campaigning for the rights of farmers and the tea garden workers in north Bengal by denouncing his original ideology of armed struggle.
Sanyal, in recent years, had been vocal in opposing land acquisition in Singur and Nandigram and was also in favour of Gorkhaland.
The CPM has condoled Sanyal’s death. Politburo member Sitaram Yechury said for the past two years Sanyal had become critical of the Maoists.
“His death is very unfortunate. He had been saying that the line adopted by the Maoists did not conform to the revolutionary understanding at the time when he started the Naxalite movement. Sanyal had actively participated in all major agitations of the CPM and other Left parties in Bengal against neo-imperialism,” Yechury said.
Vandals target ABGL office
TT, Darjeeling, March 23: The ABGL office here was ransacked and the furniture burnt by a group of people this afternoon.
The office of Madan Tamang’s party at Ladenla Road had been targeted twice before and like in the past, the ABGL accused the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha of today’s vandalism also.
Only two ABGL members, Mohan Sharma and Binod Gurung, were present when a group of people barged into the office and asked them to move out around 2.30pm. The mob smashed the tables and chairs in the office and brought out some furniture on the road and set them on fire.
The office is on the first floor of a three-storied building. Business establishments situated on the ground floor downed shutters when the vandalism took place.
Tamang alleged that the Morcha was behind the attack. “What else can these people (Morcha) do? I have been told that Puran Thami (general secretary of the Morcha’s town committee) and Kismat Chhetri (president of the student wing) assembled the hoodlums near the Darjeeling municipality (before the attack). I was in the office till 40 minutes before the attack. The office was targeted after I had left.”
The ABGL supporters took out a rally here on Sunday and burnt the copies of a document the Morcha had sent to the Centre, mooting an interim autonomous body in the hills. Tamang said at the rally that the Morcha was trying to hoodwink the people by settling for a special status under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution on the pretext of an interim set-up.
Tamang did not spare even the state government for the attack. “Buddhadeb Bhattacharya must understand that he cannot force a settlement on the people by purchasing some leaders from the hills. We will continue to oppose any arrangement within Bengal tooth and nail and are ready to sacrifice everything.”
Thami has denied any involvement in the attack. “At the moment, I am at Relling, near Bijanbari (about 50km from Darjeeling) to attend a party meeting. I had no role in the incident and Madan Tamang can verify my presence at Relling by contacting the local police station if he wants to,” said Thami.
Roshan Giri, general secretary of the Morcha who claimed he was with Thami at Relling, said: “Our party had nothing to do with the incident. It is a staged incident as the sole aim of the ABGL is to create a law and order situation and bring in security forces to derail our movement.”
An ABGL supporter had filed an FIR with Darjeeling Sadar police on Sunday, accusing Thami of assaulting him while returning from the procession.
On January 1, 2009, the ABGL office was ransacked and the furniture burnt at Ladenla Road following the death of Subodh Pradhan, a Morcha leader at Rohini.
The office was again attacked on February 15, 2009, two days after Tamang had criticised the Morcha’s strategy in the plains. The Morcha had denied involvement in both the incidents.
Tamang said an FIR would be filed with on today’s incident.
‘Revenge’ death for tribal leader
TT, Alipurduar, March 23: A leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad was lynched this morning to allegedly avenge a murder that had taken place last month.
Alexander Minj, 36, the vice-president of the Parishad’s Banarhat block, was called out of his house reportedly by workers of the Telepara tea estate around 8.30am, tied with ropes to a tree and was beaten to death, police said.
One person has been arrested. After the incident, alleged Parishad members set up a blockade on NH31 around 11am near Telepara, 75km from here. The agitation was withdrawn at 2.30pm following the police intervention.
John Barla, the president of the Parishad’s Dooars-Terai Coordination Committee, said the body of Baburam Oraon had been found along the railway tracks in Binnaguri on February 22. “No one knows who killed Baburam, but his relatives wrongfully blamed Minj for the murder. Today, about 30 people called him out of his house and beat him to death. We have filed an FIR naming the 30.” He said Parishad men were not involved in the blockade. “I have told the police that they (the squatters) were not our supporters.”
The additional superintendent of police of Jalpaiguri, V.S.N. Kumar, said: “We have arrested a woman. The motive of the killing seems to be revenge for a murder in Binnaguri last month.”
Hill kid archers aim high- Paril leads way to the bull’s eye
TT, Kalimpong, March 23: Twenty-two students from different schools of Kalimpong are learning new skills in archery from Paril Lepcha at a training centre here.
The 17-year-old Paril was the first to put Kalimpong on the archery map of the country by her consistent performances in various age-group competitions both at the state and national-levels over the past five years.
The session at the Gorkha Archery Training Centre is on an extended run primarily because of the overwhelming response of the children. The programme that began on March 2 was originally planned to be a fortnight long, but the centre decided to extend it by another 15 days to enable the students to absorb the finer points of the sport. The archery is fast gaining in popularity among the youngsters in the Kalimpong subdivision.
“The sports and youth affairs department of the DGHC had agreed to sponsor the 15-day programme, but we decided to extend it at our own expense. The kids were very keen on having an extended run at the centre,” said Chujang Lepcha, the co-ordinator of the centre.
Though the trainees are using the traditional bamboo bows, they are being taught about modern rules of the game. “They are being given about two hours of intensive training on week days, and for a much longer duration at the weekends,” said Chujang.
The focus at the camp is more on shooting, though the children are being put through basic physical conditioning also. Paril said she was very impressed with the level of talent some of her trainees had. “These kids are very fast at grasping what we teach them. If they are given proper training with modern equipment, they can really go far,” she said.
Three of the trainees had participated in the recently held state-level sub-junior archery competition in Calcutta. Of the trio, Chom Tshering Lepcha, a student of Scottish University’s Mission Institution, has been selected to represent Bengal at the national-level competition beginning at Aurangabad in Maharashtra tomorrow. The other young archers said they, too, wanted to participate in the state and national-level competitions.
“Paril is my inspiration. I want to follow in her footsteps. I have learned a lot from the camp,” said Leezong Lepcha, a student of Saptashree Gyanpith who had also taken part in the Calcutta meet.
Like Chom and Leezong, the other 20 trainees are also under the age of 17.
Army to Boost North bengal Infrastructure
Pinak priya Bhattacharya, TNN,JALPAIGURI: In a bid to increase its presence along the Sino-Indian border in the northeast, the Indian Army is looking for land in the area to match the infrastructure developed by the Chinese in their territory. Accordingly, Army officers held a series of meetings with district officials in Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri on key issues, beginning with an airbase at Bagrakote.
District officials have been asked to acquire land to strengthen the road network to the border in the entire east and the northeast. The plan will be taken up in a phased manner for the next 20 years.
First comes the widening of NH-31A connecting Sikkim with the rest of the country. The Army had decided to lay the road afresh for better mobility and also to prevent damage by recurrent landslides during rains. There is yet another proposal to construct a new road via Odlabari in the Dooars bypassing NH-31A. The proposed road will touch Gorubathan, Lava, Algara, Pedong, Rishi and Ranipur before it reaches Gangtok. This route is not prone to landslides and is also a shorter one to Sikkim. Besides, another road to Sikkim through Bhutan is under consideration.
"Look at the other side of the Sino-Indian border. China has built four-lane roads along the border on the other side of Nathu La. They have total road connectivity along the Sino-Indian border and this has been a cause of concern for the Indian Army. The Army has thus decided to overhaul the road link. Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling districts are strategically very important for the Army," said a senior state government official.
Apart from developing the road links, the Army is also planning an air base at Bagrakote in Odlabari, spread over 400 acres. The new air base has been named Shaugaon Air Base. The Army has urged the Jalpaiguri administration to acquire about 300 acres. The remaining 100 acres is lying with the Army.
"We have asked the Army to deposit the money before we start the acquisition. Most of the land is vested and there are only 20-25 families that need to be compensated. The Army has conveyed it would deposit the money shortly. Once that is done, we will start the process of land acquisition," said a senior district administrative official.
In a meeting with the district administration, the Army has also sought for a piece of land to set up a modern armoury that can help them reinstate forces in exigency

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