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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Clash after shut-up snub to Morcha ..

KalimNews: Whole days activities in Kalimpong remained peaceful today (7th April). Morcha sponsored closure in SDO and BDO Offices commenced from today for an indefinite period. The Morcha has called this bundh demanding early passage of the proposed Interim Set-up and in protest against slow progress of 100 days employement guarantee schemes and hike in the tax of potable water.
In another developement, Union Home Ministry invited GJM leaders to New Delhi for holding a tripartite level talk as a prelude to the forthcoming second political level dialogue. Meanwhile, the party sources have disclosed Morcha Chief Bimal Gurung himself is likely to lead a team of high level party delegates. The team is scheduled to fly for New Delhi tomorrow (8 Apr) to attend the scheduled meeting on 9th April.
The condition of seven GJM supporters namely Kishor Chhetri, Shyam Rai, Dinesh Rai, Sandip Lama, Pratap Singh Rana, Deo Kumar Tamang, Sonur Rava  who had sustained injuries in a clash that took place at Malbazar on 6th April during the party's Sadbhavna Bike Rally and were admitted at Sub-division Hospital, Kalimpong is said to be normal at present. 
TT, April 6: Supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and anti-Gorkhaland forces clashed in Malbazar this morning, the immediate trigger being a sloganeering hill team clamouring for Gorkhaland who were told to shut up and leave the Dooars town.

At least nine persons were injured in the clash and the administration has deployed the Sashastra Seema Bal in Malbazar in Jalpaiguri district, 52km from Siliguri.
Police also burst tear gas shells to disperse the crowd that laid siege to Malbazar police station for nearly five hours.
Both the Morcha and the Mal Jana Jagaran, an anti-Gorkhaland forum in Malbazar, have blamed each other for the violence.
Trouble started around 11.30am, when more than 1,000 Morcha supporters entered Malbazar in a procession while on the way to Kalimpong, and were stopped by Jana Jagaran leaders.
“The Jana Jagaran leaders at Caltex More opposed the consistent sloganeering of the Morcha supporters. This led to an altercation that culminated into a clash,” said V.S.N. Kumar, the additional superintendent of police (headquarters) of Jalpaiguri, this afternoon.
Jana Jagaran, which had been spearheading the anti-statehood movement, accused the police and the administration of being apathetic in the face of violence. “Our president, Apurba Das, was standing on the roadside. Seeing the rally approaching — with the Morcha supporters wielding sharp weapons, sticks and even firearms — he stopped them and asked them to leave town immediately,” said Avik Choudhury, the joint secretary of Jana Jagaran. “They refused to listen to him and attacked him instead. He fell unconscious and has been admitted to a private nursing home in Siliguri.”
Police burst tear gas shells in Malbazar on Tuesday. Picture by Biplab Basak
Wilson Champramari, the Morcha-supported Independent MLA of Kalchini, however, alleged that the Jana Jagaran supporters were the ones who pelted the procession with stones and bricks. One group of about 800 people under Morcha leader Samuel Gurung had passed Malbazar without any trouble, Champramari said. “But the others were not spared. The supporters of Jana Jagaran and Amra Bangalee (another anti-statehood outfit) attacked us without any provocation. Four Morcha supporters suffered injuries while four motorcycles and a car were damaged,” said Champramari.According to Choudhury, two other Jana Jagaran members, Santanu Sarkar and Shankar Choudhury who came to rescue Das, were also assaulted. “It was then that the local people reacted. They came out of the shops and houses and chased the Morcha supporters, who fled the spot. But a group on about 100 motorcycles took shelter in the police station to escape the wrath of the local people,” Choudhury said. 
Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri while condemning the attack said: “This attack on our people just when the tripartite talks are on and the environment congenial is an attempt to derail the discussions.”
Nearly a thousand people laid siege for more than five hours to the police station, when the Morcha supporters took shelter there. The police burst tear gas shells at 2pm to disperse the crowd, which thinned considerably by the time the SSB arrived two hours later.
A mob also ransacked an NBSTC bus on the Darjeeling-Jaigaon route. Conductor Ramnath Sharma, and Bithi Das, a passenger of the bus on its way to Jaigaon near the Bhutan border, were injured. They have been admitted to Malbazar Subdivisional Hospital.
By afternoon, Malbazar wore a deserted look as shopkeepers downed shutters.
The additional superintendent of police of Jalpaiguri admitted that the Morcha did not have any permission for a procession involving such huge numbers. Around 500 motorcycles — at least two men on each bike — and two cars were on their way, along NH31, for the meeting of the party’s youth wing in Kalimpong.
“We have sought support from the SSB to keep law and order across the town,” the Jalpaiguri ASP said.
About 40 SSB jawans of the 10th Battalion started a route march immediately after they reached Malbazar at 4pm. Around 5.30pm, six police vehicles escorted the Morcha supporters out of the police station and Malbazar.
Lathicharge memory meet
TT, Darjeeling, April 6: The Bharatiya Gorkha Bhutpurba Sainik Morcha has decided to hold a rally and a public meeting in Sukna on April 9 to mark the day when ex-servicemen from the hills were lathicharged in Siliguri two years ago. Sainik Morcha is an affiliate of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
Lt Col (retd) Ramesh Allay, the president of the ex-servicemen’s association, said: “We will felicitate on that day all those who were injured in the lathicharge.”
The lathicharge had led to an uproar in the hills and the state government constituted a one-man commission chaired by M.L. Meena, a principal secretary to the state government, to probe the incident.
“However, till date we are unaware of the findings,” Allay said. He alleged that an application, under the Right to Information Act seeking details of the findings, has been filed.
First Sikkim civic polls face boycott
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, April 6: The first elections to civic bodies in Sikkim have virtually become a one-sided affair as the Opposition has decided to boycott the April 27 polls.
Finding fault with the delimitation process, the Opposition parties have alleged that once the polls are held, Sikkim will lose its constitutional safeguards enshrined in Article 371 (F).
Elections are scheduled to be held to the Gangtok Municipal Corporation and nagar panchayats in Singtam, Rangpo, Jorethang, Geyzing and Mangan along with the Namchi Municipal Council. Other than the candidates of the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front, a few local people are in the fray as Independents.
Pawan Chamling’s party, which swept the 2009 Assembly elections, has already won 35 of the 47 urban wards in Sikkim uncontested as yesterday was the last date for filing nominations.
This is the first time that the nagar panchayats and municipal council will be formed in the Himalayan state’s 35-year-old history. In 1975, when Sikkim merged with India, a municipality was in operation in Gangtok by nominated members. But the body became defunct in the mid-80s.
K.N. Upreti, the vice-president of the Congress, said: “The delimitation took place without a proper public hearing and on the whims and fancies of the SDF. The Opposition was never taken into confidence and this is why we have decided to boycott the elections.” Upreti is also the co-ordinator for the seven Opposition outfits that include the Congress, BJP, CPM, Sikkim Himalaya Rajya Parishad, Sikkim Gorkha Prajatrantik Party, Sikkim Janshakti Party and the Sikkim National People’s Party.
“We also fear that once the municipal corporation, nagar panchayats and the municipal council are formed, there could be a dilution of Article 371 (F) and more particularly the 1917 Revenue Order 1,” said Upreti. These legislations bar outsiders from purchasing land in Sikkim.
The SDF has, however, rubbished the Opposition fear.
P.D. Rai, Sikkim’s lone Lok Sabha MP and the spokesperson for the SDF, in an email toThe Telegraph said: “If they (Opposition) do not participate in the democratic process under the Constitution of India, their action only sends a wrong message to the rest of India and the people of our state. Here is a chance to get the mandate to speak for the people. This opportunity is being thwarted in this fashion is not becoming of a national party or local parties. We see it as pure political posturing and not in the interests of the people. Are they afraid of losing?”
However, observers believe that even if the Opposition had fielded candidates for the civic polls, a repetition of the 2009 Assembly elections — the SDF had won all 32 seats — could not have been ruled out.
Chamling’s party has also dismissed the Opposition’s charges on delimitation as baseless. “This matter (regarding delimitation) has taken a long time to reach this stage. These issues could have been filed much earlier when it was notified in 2007. There was ample time. However, now is really not the time when elections have been notified and put into motion,” Rai said responding to the alleged anomalies.
The SDF has reaffirmed that the constitutional safeguards granted to the Sikkimese under Article 371 (F) will not be diluted at any cost.
“An Enlargement of the areas is necessary as the urban spaces have increased over time. It is only to provide better services and urban facilities and local governance,” Rai wrote.
Relief hope for hail hit gardens
TT, Alipurduar, April 6: An RSP member of Jalpaiguri zilla parishad has requested the Bengal chief minister to send a team from Calcutta to visit the areas hit by a hailstorm on March 31, even as the Alipurduar subdivisional officer toured Kalchini and promised that relief would reach the affected people tonight.
“Six thousand tarpaulin sheets will reach Kalchini tonight and we will write to the Jalpaiguri district administration for grant to repair the huts. For completely destroyed huts, the families would get a compensation of up to Rs 10,000 each. For partially damaged dwellings, the amount will be less than Rs. 4000,” said SDO Anurag Srivastav, after visiting four gardens in Kalchini block.
More than 3,000 huts were destroyed when a storm accompanied by hailstones lashed Kalchini on March 31 night.
In his letter to Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the zilla parishad member Ramkumar Lama said nobody from the Jalpaiguri administration had visited the affected areas and people were yet to get relief. “I have requested the chief minister to send a team from Calcutta immediately to assess the loss of property and take necessary steps.”
Assault Slur
TT, Siliguri: Dipali Sarkar, a Group D employee of Siliguri District Hospital, was allegedly beaten up by a pathologist, Kalpana Ghosh, for refusing to clean instruments in the laboratory on Tuesday. Sarkar, who fell unconscious after the assault, was admitted to the female ward and lodged a complaint with the hospital superintendent. Ghosh has denied the charge.
Maoists attack again, killed 74 CRPF men in Chhattisgarh  
PTI, Raipur, 6 April : In the biggest attack by Maoists in Chhattisgarh, at least 74 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have been killed in the ambush and several have been injured critically near Chintalnar in Dantewada district.
The attack took place while the
forces consisting of around 120 personnel were returning to their base camp on Tuesday morning when the Maoists ambushed the troopers of 62nd batallion.  
Reinforcement have been rushed to the spot from neighbouring districts and choppers pressed into rescue operations. The Bastar inspector general of police T J Lonkumer told PTI that the ambush was followed by landmine blasts and encounters. “So far 25 bodies have been traced but we fear the casualty figure may rise as it was the major planned attack by the ultras”, the IGP said.
Top police officials believe that more than a thousand Maoists might be involved in this meticulously planned attack and the CRPF perhaps walked into their booby trap.
Top state police officials including the DGP of CRPF, special DG CRPF are on their way to assess the situation on how the forces suffered high casualties despite heavy deployment of security personnel in Bastar region ever since the mega operation against the left wing extremists began in Chhattisgarh.Photos : PTI, Mahendra Sethiya

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