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

Friday, March 12, 2010

Morcha ‘peaceful’ protests, from Delhi to Darjeeling.. Tribal trade union to be registered

Talks team disclosure on March 15
TT, Kalimpong, March 11: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today announced a number of “peaceful” programmes — starting with one in Delhi — in the lead-up to the fifth round of tripartite talks, but deferred a decision on the composition of the team that would represent the party at the political-level meeting.
“The names of the delegation members will be revealed on March 15. The party president (Bimal Gurung) has indicated that the delegation will not be a big one,” said Morcha spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri at Deolo, 5km from here.
Binay Tamang, the Morcha’s assistant secretary who briefed the media along with Chhetri, said the secret proposal the party had sent to the Centre would also be revealed in Deolo the same day.
“Members of the party’s frontal organisations from the hills, the Dooars and Terai and Siliguri will be present on the occasion,” he added.
Morcha sources had earlier said the secret proposal was a climbdown and would exclude the Dooars and Terai and Siliguri from the party’s current geographical definition of “Gorkhaland”.
However, party supporters from the Dooars and Terai, Siliguri will join those from the Darjeeling hills, north-eastern states, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand at a three-day dharna in the national capital from March 16, the day the new agitation programme begins. The party expects over a thousand participants in the dharna. A similar dharna will be held in Calcutta too.
The Morcha has asked its zonal committees to recommend names for the Delhi dharna, but said members would have to bear their own transport fares. The accommodation and meals would be free.
The leadership, Gurung in particular, has been touring the hills, reorganising the party structure. Sources in the Morcha said at least 40 party zones have been created in the hills so far. Asked how many people from the hills would travel to Delhi, a central committee member indicated that the party was expecting anything between 400 and 500.
The Morcha will also organise mass rallies in the hills on March 17 and March 18, and in the Dooars and Terai and Siliguri on March 18. “We have also decided to withdraw our jail bharo agitation from tomorrow,” said Tamang. This was being done, he said, following the release of 12 women of the 18 arrested in connection with the burning of a police outpost in Sukna.
“The remaining six are expected to be released at the next hearing,” he said. The case was heard today at the Darjeeling session’s court.
The 18 were arrested on February 21 when a mob laid siege to the outpost demanding that a youth, accused of murdering a woman from Sikkim, be bought in front of them from Pradhannagar police station in Siliguri. The mob then set fire to the outpost.
Chhetri admitted that the party had tried to pass off yesterday’s incident when Gurung tried to end his life as “rumours” to ensure there was no breakdown in the law and order situation.
“The incident definitely happened. It is also true that the president had in the past said he would end his life by March 10, 2010, and was emotionally carried away. The president wanted to prove that he was honest and spoke what he believed in, and not to fool people,” he said.
The Telegraph reported today how Gurung in the middle of his speech at Leechi Ground expressed his “remorse” for not being able to realise his vision and walked towards a table on the middle of the dais and tried to open a suitcase kept on it. However, before he could open the box, one of his bodyguards snatched it from him. “I only want to put one bullet through my head,” Gurung had said.
As around 500 people gasped and some screamed, Gurung returned to the microphone and continued his speech. “I am having a strange feeling,” he said. When Gurung was through with his speech, Tamang took the microphone and promised to ensure the safety of Gurung, as the audience shouted “Jai Gorkhaland” and “Jai Bimal Gurung”.
Drop-bandh plea ignored
Siliguri, March 11: The Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee, one of the strongest opponents of the division of Bengal, has disregarded a request by the CPM to withdraw the March 18 strike called to protest the political-level talks on the Darjeeling hills on that day.
“There is no question of withdrawing the strike, as there is a chance that the state and Centre would confer more autonomy than the Sixth Schedule on the Darjeeling hills,” said Mukunda Majumdar, the president of the Bhasha Committee, today.
Majumdar said at the most the outfit could agree to the division of the Darjeeling district into the hills and the plains.
“We suspect a major decision may be taken at the March 18 meeting. Through the strike, we want to voice our protests against any decision to divide the state or bestow special status on the hills,” he said.
The decision to stick to the strike is against the earlier outfit’s earlier responses to the CPM. On several occasions in the past, the Bhasha Committee had called bandhs on the request of the largest Left party and its Siliguri MLA Asok Bhattacharya, one of the two ministers who will represent the state at the political-level talks.
Yesterday, CPM district secretariat member Jibesh Sarkar had in a news conference asked the Bhasha Committee to call off the strike to maintain a peaceful environment during the talks.
Since morning, Bhasha Committee members had been going around town in auto-rickshaws fitted with microphones to campaign against the talks. The outfit came down heavily on Morcha president Bimal Gurung. “The suicide attempt was a cheap political game,” said Majumdar.
Trekker’s dreams
TT, Darjeeling, March 11: Reena Kaushal Dharmshaktu has become the first Indian woman to ski across Antarctica to South Pole, but for the 38-yea-old adventurer this is not the end of the mission. She has now embarked on an expedition of a different kind.
Empowering women to achieve greater heights and protecting nature are her new-found passions.
The Darjeeling woman, who is on a two-day visit to the hometown after almost eight years, is running against time, meeting students and telling them about the need to dream.
“We women can scale any dreams. We must dream and lead a disciplined life to achieve our goals,” Reena told a gathering of students at Gyanoday Niketan here.
She was part of the successful Kaspersky Lab Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition in which women from eight Commonwealth countries — Brunei, Cyprus, Ghana, India, Jamaica, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom — braved blizzards and temperatures below — 30 degrees Celsius and crossed crevasses to ski over 900km for 40 days to reach the South Pole on December 31.
“The expedition was never easy. A five-minute negligence could have spoiled every plan. This happened to my colleague from Jamaica who started developing frostbite and had to be airlifted before the start of the expedition,” said Reena.
Reena told the students to be aware of the surrounding. “We need to preserve our environment. No animals or plants can be taken to Antarctica and 47 countries have signed a treaty to preserve the place. We, too, must preserve environment. I could feel that March is no longer cold as it used to be in Darjeeling.”
And Reena is not alone in spreading the message.
“I have been encouraging students to join adventure courses at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute for past nine years. Everyone must follow their passion in life to be successful and I take this opportunity to appeal to both the students and parents to join the course,” said Dhiraj Thapa, director, Gyanoday Niketan.
Tribals extract union promise
TT, Siliguri, March 11: The joint labour commissioner of Siliguri today gave in writing that his office would recognise in a week the tea workers’ trade union floated by the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad, a tribal outfit based in the Dooars.
The assurance was extracted after nearly 5,000 Parishad supporters participated in a rally at Baghajatin Park before 2,000 of them snaked their way through town to the JLC office at Collegepara. While Parishad leaders went in and met JLC Pashupati Ghosh, demanding recognition of the trade union, the crowd waiting outside shouted slogans. The talks went on for nearly two hours, the slogans rising to a crescendo after sometime, forcing Ghosh to give a written assurance that his department would recognise the Progressive Tea Workers’ Union.
Parishad leaders have threatened to confine Ghosh to his office indefinitely and also resort to indefinite strike across tea gardens in the Dooars and the Terai if the promise was not fulfilled in a week.
By noon, more than 5,000 Parishad supporters from the Dooars and the Terai assembled at Baghajatin Park to hold a rally and march to the JLC office, half-a-kilometre away. The procession made its way through Sevoke Road, Bidhan Road and Hill Cart Road, disrupting traffic across Siliguri. A large contingent of police and district commando force was deployed at the JLC office.
“Recognition of our tea trade union is a longstanding demand as the workers are being exploited,” said Rajesh Lakra, the secretary of the Dooars Terai regional unit of the Parishad.
The Parishad supporters reached the JLC office at 2.45pm. State general secretary of the Parishad Tezkumar Toppo, Lakra and other state committee members entered Ghosh’s chamber to submit the memorandum.
Discussions started and went on for two hours. At 4.45pm, Ghosh came out and told the waiting crowd: “Following the discussion with representatives of the Progressive Tea Workers’ Union, it is assured that recognition of the trade union will be granted within seven days after necessary corrections.”
Later, Ghosh told reporters: “I have requested them (the Parishad) to make necessary corrections, that is, they will have to add the words Terai and Dooars within brackets, at the end of the name. Once it is done, and the papers reach us, recognition will be given in seven days.”
The Parishad leaders said they were willing to wait for the Higher Secondary exams to be over before launching their agitation if the recognition did not come within a week.
Abandoned camp torched
TT, Bankura, March 11: A police camp from where security forces had been withdrawn after the attack on the Eastern Frontier Rifles camp in Shilda last month was set ablaze by suspected Maoists on Monday.

Although police learnt of the incident on Monday itself, they could visit the spot in Sutan village and carry out raids only on Tuesday because of “inadequate forces”.
The police said 60-odd Straco (specially trained company) personnel used to be stationed at the camp, providing security to the villagers and keeping an eye on the movement of the Maoists.
“The building in Sutan was originally a forest bungalow for tourists but had been handed over to the police,” said Bankura superintendent of police Vishal Garg. “The camp was abandoned as the forces had moved out after the Shilda attack to a more secure location nearby. Suspected Maoists, possibly with local help, set fire to it on Monday.”

No comments:

Post a Comment