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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cellphone & video footage clue to killers .....Rally venue changed

Minister comes to darjeeling to meet tamang’s family 
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, May 28: Sleuths probing the murder of ABGL chief Madan Tamang are relying on telephone numbers and video clippings to identify the killers.
Sources who are in the know of things maintained that the investigators started making headway after tracking down various mobile phone numbers.
They also said that a cellphone was also found at Clubside motor stand, the site where Tamang was hacked to death on May 21, but there was no confirmation from the investigators. “We are tracking a few numbers and the investigation is heading in the right direction,” a source added.
In fact, the CID team has already detained a dealer of a cellular service provider as some of the SIM cards had been issued from his shop. “The SIM cards seem to have changed hands and we are trying to verify who were using the cards,” an investigator said.
Apart from the SIM cards, police have also found a 32-inch long patang, a sharp weapon. The patang might not have been the murder weapon but investigators believe that they can locate the area where it was made. “Different places use different material, depending on the locally available resources, to make the handle of such weapons. The area where it has been made has more or less been identified,” said a source.
The police have also laid their hands on a video footage in which some of the members of the gang that had attacked Tamang can be seen. “We can see one of them chasing the ABGL supporters right till the end of the Clubside motor stand before retreating,” said an officer, refusing to reveal the source of the footage.
There are strong suggestions that the group might have come only to disrupt the ABGL meeting that Tamang was supposed to address. “Even though these people had an opportunity to assault other ABGL leaders, they did not. The leaders were seen running away. No one was hurt. The idea might have been to disrupt the meeting but on seeing Tamang rooted to his place someone might have hacked him,” a source said, claiming that it was purely his “personal view”. This, however, does not absolve the people of the murder charges, he added.
Investigators believe that they have “more or less” identified the group involved in the attack. However, they are trying to find out the masterminds of the crime.
“The CID is trying to gather as much evidence as possible before making any arrests,” said a source.
But amid the CID investigations, there has been a growing demand for a CBI probe into the murder.
State urban development minister, who arrived in Darjeeling today to express his condolence to the late ABGL leader’s family, said he would convey the demand to the chief minister in deference to the “wishes of the hill people.”
Almost all the hill parties, including the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, whose members are widely believed to have carried out the murder, have demanded a CBI probe, expressing their lack of faith in the state controlled CID.
Bhattacharya, who visited Darjeeling after more than two years, said: “Since it is the hill people’s wish to involve the CBI in the investigations, I will convey the message to the chief minister.”
The CPM MLA from Siliguri also maintained that people in the hills wanted peace. “The people of the hills wish for peace and want the law and order machinery to function properly. I have also asked the police to maintain law and order,” said Bhattacharya, who had represented the state government along with health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra in the first round of political level talks on Darjeeling.
Bhattacharya said he had come to Darjeeling only to offer condolence to the bereaved family.
“I have not come to indulge in politics,” he said, adding that the party leaders would meet Bengal governor M.K. Narayanan when he returned to Darjeeling on June 2. The governor is in Goa now.
Mohan Sharma, the general secretary of the ABGL’s trade union, while demanding a CBI inquiry iterated that the lack of security had led to Tamang’s murder. “Had there been adequate protection, the incident would not have taken place. It is only obvious that doubts over the state’s role in failing to protect Madan Tamang arises,” said Sharma.
The ABGL has, however, decided to hold a condolence meeting at the site where Tamang was murdered at 10am tomorrow. “Leaders of other political parties especially the Democratic Front would also be present,” said Sharma. Tamang’s family member have already constructed a memorial at the site where Tamang was hacked.
Rally permission
The Morcha has been given permission to hold a public meeting at St Joseph’s School grounds on Sunday. Raju Pradhan, assistant secretary of the Morcha, said the venue of the meeting has been changed from motor stand to accommodate more supporters.
Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh, who said he would attend Sunday’s rally, today met Union home minister P. Chidambaram and appealed to him to ensure peace in the hill town in the wake of Tamang’s killing, reports PTI.
“I have appealed to the home minister to ensure peace and law and order in Darjeeling. The GJM (Morcha) is for peace and tranquillity,” Singh told reporters in Delhi after meeting Chidambaram.
Asked about the alleged Morcha role in Tamang’s murder, Singh said the CBI could be asked to probe.
“Let the CBI probe the murder and the truth will come out,” he said.
SNS, SILIGURI, 28 MAY: The state urban development minister Mr Asok Bhattacharya has assured the slain Gorkha League chief Madan Tamang's family of raising their demand for a CBI probe into the assassination with the chief minister. 
Mr Bhattacharya made the assurance, by visiting the bereaved family at their Gandhi Road residence in Darjeeling this morning. He was accompanied by the CPI-M Darjeeling Rajya Sabha MP Mr Saman Pathak and the party's state committee member Mr Jibesh Sarkar.
Today's was the urban development minister's first Darjeeling visit in a year, after the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) barred the entry of state ministers’ to the Hills. Mr Bhattacharya had last visited Darjeeling in May 2009, during the Lok Sabha polls. 
“The minister came to out residence at around 10:30 a.m. today and extended condolence to my mother and other family members. He also listened patiently to all our grievances against the local administration and assured placing our demand for a CBI probe to the chief minister by meeting him in Kolkata tomorrow itself,” informed the slain Gorkha League chief's son Mr Sanjyog Tamang.
“I have asked the administration to stand by the Hills people, especially when they were raising voice against the GJMM atrocities,” he said. Towards afternoon, the Darjeeling district Left Front brought a protest rally in Siliguri, condemning the Maoist violence and the assassination of Madan Tamang, where Mr Bhattacharya also participated.
Meanwile, Lok Sabha member from Darjeeling Mr Jaswant Singh today met Union home minister Mr P Chidambaram and appealed to him to ensure peace in the hilltown in the wake Tamang’s killing.
“I have appealed to the Home Minister to ensure peace and law and order in Darjeeling. The GJM is for peace and tranquillity,” Mr Singh said. Mr Singh said he will visit Darjeeling tomorrow and attend a peace rally there.
AIGL, CPRM to launch stir
Apparently to counter the GJMM campaign denying its involvement in the Madan Tamang murder case, the AIGL and the CPRM are busy making groundwork to launch a movement once the mourning period for slain AIGL leader is over.
Confirming they would not sit idle in the changing political landscape in the Darjeeling hills, the leaders of the two parties said that the state government seemed to have bungled again with the situation, letting those allegedly involved in the butchery roam free. 

Fear Factor? 4 GJM men withdraw resignation 
TNN, SILIGURI: Four of the 10 GJM leaders, who had quit in protest against Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League chief Madan Tamang’s murder on May 21, have withdrawn their resignations, apparently under intense pressure.
They include GJM spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri and Study Forum members L B Pariyar (former IAS officer ), Amar Rai (retired professor) and Trilok Dewan (ex-IAS officer). Chhetri and Pariyar rejoined on Tuesday, while Rai and Dewan did so on Wednesday.
Sources in Siliguri said Chhetri and Pariyar agreed to take back their resignations after GJM representatives went to their houses in Kalimpong soon after they quit the party on Monday evening. Rai and Dewan reportedly held a long meeting with GJM chief Bimal Gurung before they withdrew their resignations.
“The fear factor seems to have returned to the Hills after police let Gurung break Section 144 and hold a meeting in Darjeeling on Tuesday. Many in the Hills suspect the state government is hand-in-glove with GJM,” the sources said. Prior to his death, Tamang had repeatedly warned people that GJM and the state government might use force to make the Hills people accept the proposed interim autonomous set-up in place of a full-fledged state.
“Gurung knows he is on the back foot and is trying everything to reimpose his writ in the Hills. He reportedly skipped a scheduled meeting in Kurseong on Wednesday,” the sources said.
In Darjeeling, Rai told TOI: “Gurung requested us to rethink our decision. Factors such as GJM’s demand for a CBI probe also played a key role in our decision.”
Chhetri added: “ I realised over the last couple of days there was a hint of conspiracy by the state government, with an eye on the 2011 polls. It is trying to take advantage of the situation. The Gorkhaland movement is not only Gurung’s movement but mine as well. Which is why I decided to stick with the Morcha.”
Resist GJM’s autocratic rule: Tamang widow
SILIGURI: Bharati Tamang, who has succeeded slain husband Madan as Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League president called upon people on Wednesday to resist “the autocratic rule” of the Morcha. She knows it is a difficult task, considering the way the administration cowered before Morcha chief Bimal Gurung on his return to Darjeeling on Tuesday.
“We do not want to fight a political battle with GJM. Our priority is to restore peace and democracy in a civilized way. After this, we can take up statehood and other issues,” she said at her INA Bypass residence here. “We are faced with a very difficult task but I believe people will support us in our struggle.”
Bharati, 60, a former government employee , said: “I accepted the post of ABGL president to fulfil the wish of the people and the dream of my husband. The people have become disillusioned with GJM. This became evident during my husband’s funeral.”
Gorkha National Liberation Front MLA from Darjeeling, Pranay Rai, said he would resign as legislator if the state government failed to ensure “security and a democratic atmosphere” in the Hills. “I am a citizen first and then an MLA. My purpose of representing people will not be served if there is no peace and democracy. I have told chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee that I will resign if violence and undemocratic activities continue in the Hills.” 

The Political Misery Of The Common Man Of West Bengal Today, the peripheral politics of the state of the state of West Bengal is experiencing, a déjà vu of the unstable days of the 70s, where on one side there is a justifiable People’s War going on in the jungle areas, where civilians are being targeted along with local law enforcement and government officials and suddenly the blatant assassination of All India Gorkha League chief Madan Tamang ion broad daylight in the middle of the popular tourist hill station Darjeeling. In the presence of local law enforcement and administrative officials, and as per local media reports, hired mercenaries stabbed Tamang and fled from the extremely populated city undeterred crossing into Nepal, the neighbouring Himalayan Kingdom.
What remains astonishing that though the local populace of Darjeeling has shut down the city voluntarily in fear of a backlash leading to more violence, there has been a simple and fumble protest by the present Governor of the state, who coincidentally is on a visit to Darjeeling, who protested against he manner in which ‘democracy was suppressed’, but the rest of the political factions including that of the government, the opposition and other political units and affiliated organisations either got embroiled in their pre-ordained blaming game or remained as mute spectators. It is astonishing that the person or persons who kills or gets killed gets off the scene fast and is soon overtaken by known political figures of the state blaming each other. It is a pity that the state law enforcement agencies are in a quandary where if they do take action they will be blamed to be supporting the suppressive governmental forces and if they just don’t take actions so that peace and security and mass violence is thwarted, then they are blamed for inaction and inefficiency.
In such a situation, the general masses can either be members of the faction who kills, who gets killed or remains to be the scared mute spectator who can experience, fear for the situation, can worry about the prevailing turmoil, can down the shutters of their businesses, boast about watching a movie called ‘The Wednesday’ and hope to survive and lead their day to day affairs in the following day. No one blame’s no one as who will blame whom in a democratic polity. People in West Bengal have decided their own fate through democratic elections how rigged it might be. Today’s political turmoil and social conflict is underlined with decades of suppression, exploitation and alienation. If one gets the courage to voice one’s protest then either he is bracketed either as a rebel tribal perpetrating violence or supporting such violence in the jungles. So, it’s better to remain mute spectators, looking for each others well being and if something happens in the family like a suicide, it’s better not to report it all to the police, or the media can blow it out of proportions, where the mother of the bereaved ‘might be’ forced to stand against the government in local elections. If I don’t get food, get exploited, as I am landless, remain deprived of receiving the basic standard of living in an independent society that I expect to receive, then it turns into a basic survival than living in it.
So we expect to witness and remain mute spectators of the death of more thousands of Madan Tamangs, Rizwanurs, the tribal and the law enforcement officials, who were just trying to do their job along with the innocent silent civilians of West Bengal everyday and fear when it will be me or my near one’s turn.
(Dhrubajyoti Bhattacharjee, Asst. Prof. Siliguri College, Darjeeling and Pramod Kumar, PhD Scholar, SIS, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
Two fake doctors held at eye camp
TT, Alipurduar, May 28: Two persons with “fake” medical degrees have been arrested here on the charges of treating eye patients and organising camps without permission from the health authorities.
Chayan Sarbadhikary, a resident of Bankura, and Indrajit Choudhury of Calcutta’s Keshtopur, were handed over to Shamuktala police last night after they were found treating patients in an eye camp on the Majherdabri gram panchayat premises, 10km from here.
Majherdabri pradhan Geeta Roy said she was surprised to see the camp yesterday. “Since I did not permit anybody to hold an eye camp, I asked them to show me the permission but they failed. I then contacted the block medical officer of health of Alipurduar II and the subdivisional officer.”
The pradhan alleged that the two accused, who were charging Rs 15-20 from each of the 7-10 persons they “treated” till she encountered them, had organised similar camps in Turturi and other places a few months ago without any permission. In Turturi, the duo were caught by the villagers, but were let off after an undertaking. “They must have earned huge amount from holding such camps,” she said.
Ramesh Roy, a villager, said initially he did not realise that the duo were fake doctors. “The two told us to go for cataract operation in our village at a minimum cost. But when the pradhan challenged them, we became suspicious and realised that everything was wrong. It is very difficult for innocent villagers like us to understand because the accused were soft in their behaviour.”
The angry villagers kept the two confined to a room for nearly six hours. Around 7pm, the duo were brought to the subdivisional office and the additional chief medical officer of health of Alipurduar, Dinesh Biswas, was called. “They showed us their degrees from a Dooars institution that does not have any existence. We immediately realised that they are fake,” Biswas said. “They also did not have any permission from either the district or subdivisional health authorities to organise an eye camp which is a must.”
Subdivisional officer of Alipurduar Anurag Srivastav said as the accused persons could not produce any evidence of their medical degrees and permission for organising the camp, they were handed over to the police. “We will discuss the matter in the patients’ welfare society meeting today.”
The duo, in their mid-thirties, were today remanded in judicial custody for seven days by the additional chief judicial magistrate of Alipurduar. 
Kanthalguri to go organic
Abhijit Sinha, TT, Siliguri, May 28: Kanthalguri Tea Estate, which will reopen on June 2 after eight years, will be developed on the lines of Makaibari not only in terms of organic production but also participatory management where “workers will be partners”.
“We have a plan to uproot the tea bushes and start organic production, the future of the industry that can largely contribute to the sustainable development of the garden as well as those associated with it,” said Rajah Banerjee, the owner of Makaibari Tea Estate, today — a day after Calcutta-based Airon Private Limited announced the take-over of Kanthalguri
Banerjee, who is associated with Airon, said: “We have decided to adopt the holistic approach of participatory management where workers will be partners and together we will strive for comprehensive development of the garden and produce the best quality of organic tea.”
Efforts would be put in to revive and conserve the environment through the production of bio-gas, maintenance of greenery and render an improved and refreshing look to the garden much like Makaibari.
Dubbed as the “garden of death” — at least 340 worker deaths were reported in the past eight years in Kanthalguri — the estate in Banarhat had closed down on July 14, 2002 with 1,487 workers. Since then, there had been several initiatives to reopen the estate, but the state government found it hard to buy any prospective buyer.
“It was really nice to hear from the representatives of the company yesterday evening that they will reopen Kanthalguri on June 2. It was a long-standing task which we, with the help of all stakeholders, could finally complete,” said Vandana Yadav, the district magistrate of Jalpaiguri.
“In yesterday’s meeting, it was decided that of the 1,112 workers’ families, employment will be provided to one member each,” Yadav said. “In the next seven years, members from the 340 families (where worker deaths were reported) will be provided jobs.”
Usually, a garden worker gets employment for 280 days a year. “As of now, the new management will provide employment for 180 days while the government will offer jobs under the 100-days’ work scheme to make up for the shortage. Other welfare schemes will continue,” an official said.
Trade union leaders have welcomed the move. “Kanthalguri was like a nightmare,” said Mani Kumar Darnal, the joint general secretary of the Intuc-affiliated National Union of Plantation Workers. “It is indeed an achievement that the garden will finally open.” 
National Human Right Commission ordered inquiry
KalimNews: NHRC has ordered BSF to submit an enquiry report on the firing at Jholung last year after an alleged rape of a woman by a SSB constable and a n attack by the local people in the SSB camp. Advocate Amrit Singh had filed a case in the supreme court and accordingly supreme court directed the NHRC.           
76 killed as Maoist attack Mumbai-bound train
Rescue work in progress after Gyaneswari Express derailed in West Midnapore district.
PTI, Jhargram (WB), May 28 : At least 76 passengers of a Mumbai-bound express train were killed when Maoists derailed it early today with five of the 13 coaches that jumped the tracks also being hit by an oncoming goods train.
200 passengers were also injured in the derailment of of the Howrah-Kurla Lokmanya Tilak Gyaneshwari Super Deluxe Express in West Midnapore district, about 150 kms from Kolkata at around 1:30 am, when the train was running between Khemasoli and Sardiya stations, South Eastern Railway officials said.
76 passengers were killed and 200 injured in the derailment of the Gyaneswari Express, West Bengal Chief Secretary Ardhendu Sen said.
Several passengers are feared trapped in the worst smashed S-5 compartment of the train which bore the brunt when the speeding goods train ploughed through the derailed coaches. Officials feared that the death toll could go up.

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