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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hill Bandh enters 3rd Day- no sign of solution...Supporting the issue of Darjeeling Sikkim unification

Indefine strike called by GJMM enters third day
2nd Day of Strike called by GJMM Peaceful
 Bandh in Kalimpong    
1. Main Road of Kalimpong
2. Sahid D.B.Giri Road
3. Police Patrolling near Damber Chowk
Pix: KalimNews
KalimNews: Peaceful strike was observed in all the three subdivisions of Darjeeling hills. Nari Morcha of GJMM staged 2 hrs dharna in the day time in respective Police Stations. as usual. National Highway 31A was open but only about 20-30 percent vehicles were seen plying on the road. Some two wheelers and four wheel vehicles were seen running with party flags and others with Red cross emblem. Neither picketers of GJMM nor GLP were seen anywhere in the town area.
Till today there is no indication of withdrawal of the strike and there is no effort from the government to request the GJMM for an early settlement. GJMM has confirmed that strike would continue till our demands are fulfilled.
Democratic Front postponed its Public meeting to be held in Chowk Bazar on 20th June. Dawa Sherpa its Secretary said that when the strike of GJMM is withdrawn the proposed meeting will be held on the very next day that is the second day.  
Hope fades time to leave
TT, Darjeeling, June 20: The last group of tourists who were hoping for the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha-sponsored indefinite general strike to end started leaving the hill town today fearing that a delay could cause inconvenience.
Darjeeling police today arranged for two police buses and three cars to transport around 70-odd visitors down to Siliguri.
“The tourists came to us in the morning and we arranged for their transport. A number of local people also came to us as there is a recruitment examination for the Eastern Frontier Rifles in Siliguri tomorrow,” said Azhar Tausef, the deputy superintendent of police (traffic). He added that some tourists had also come to confirm tomorrow’s trip.
Imran Shishga, who had come from Delhi and left town today, said he could not afford to take risks anymore. “I had stayed on, as many people whom I spoke to were of the opinion that the strike would not stretch beyond three days. I have a railway ticket for Tuesday. But then I realised that staying here for another day and waiting for the bandh to lift was not worth the risk.”
The Shishgas plan to spend the next two days in a Siliguri hotel.
For Akash Jobanputra, a resident of Ahmedabad, there was no option but to approach the police. “I have a ticket for this evening from New Jalpaiguri and I had to leave town. I am thankful to Darjeeling police for making the arrangements,” he said.
The Morcha has been on strike since Saturday, falling back on a time-tested tactic to mount pressure on the government after being forced on the backfoot since ABGL chief’s Madan Tamang’s murder on May 21.
Bimal Gurung’s party, on the lookout for any pretext that would help it reassert its strength, had said the bandh had been called to protest the government’s failure to reply why police had lathicharged its supporters in Kurseong on Wednesday.
With the government offices also shut, including the Darjeeling district magistrate’s office and the Foreigners’ Registration Office, no permits could be issued to foreigners wanting to visit Sikkim.
A Spanish couple left for the Himalayan state without permits. “We are banking on the office at Rangpo (border town in Sikkim) where I can get the necessary documents. I need to reach Gangtok today,” said the Spanish man. The couple had arranged for a private vehicle to take them to Gangtok.
The All Transport Joint Action Committee, a Morcha affiliated union, claimed that it had made vehicle arrangements for tourists wanting to leave and local people who had urgent work in the plains.
The Morcha has not indicated how long the strike will continue.
“There is no new development today,” said Binay Tamang, the assistant secretary of the Morcha. “The indefinite strike will continue till the administration gives us a written explanation on the lathicharge.” 
Supporting the issue of Darjeeling Sikkim unification Pashant Bajgain,,Gangtok June 20: The seminar on The Importance of Sikkim-Darjeeling Unification in the context of the Present Political Scenario was held today at Tshoka-Som, Nam-Nang under the initiative of Sikkim unit of Gorkha Rastriya Congress (GRC).
Addressing the seminar DK Bomzan, President GRC said that the Sikkim-Darjeeling unification is the only way to free from the mental slavery of the Bengal government for the people of the Darjeeling hills. If Sikkim is really concerned about the future of its own community then she should support the issue, he said.
Our motherland is none other than Sikkim as the historical essence shows Sikkim as the legal owner of the Darjeeling hills under the Chogyal regime and it has been acceptable by now. But in recent Darjeeling has been treated as the detached son of the same mother owing to which she had to face hundred and three years of slavery, he further told.
Bomzan further raised the topic of the present political stand of Sikkim and expressed that the people here has known to live on government grants. But they should think above that and stuff the feelings of competition so they can abstain from becoming a mere grant seeker when the Bengal government already accepted Sikkim as the legal owner of Darjeeling hills way back in 1986 issuing it on white paper, he said.
The unification of Sikkim-Darjeeling will bring one hundred and thirty nine tea-estates, colleges, universities, bigger territory and further better infrastructure and most importantly a sense of pride with itself from Darjeeling only to enrich Sikkim which will prove beneficial for her in days to come, Bomzan further spoke while counting the benefits of the proposed merger.
Also addressing the juncture Durga Lama, one of the revolutionary of the 73rd agitation of Sikkim said that there is much to be exploited in the context of this issue as it is a sensitive one.
The very issue should be raised in valid platform for creating a spark but the people here should not feel insecure on being merged with Darjeeling hills which is quite possible in future, she suggested.
However addressing the seminar Biraj Adhikari, President Sikkim National Peoples Party said that Sikkim in future may not face security problem with the merger but she is already insecure from its own present government. The initiative of pink card and COI of the state government has mere become useless exercise and nothing else, he expressed.
He further told that the present approach of the GRC requires Politically, Socially, Environmental and Constitutional attachment with it.
In course of expressing the views at the juncture GM Rai, President Gorkha Prajatantrik Party said that supporting the issue of merger is suicidal as the people of Darjeeling are none other than ‘thugs’ and those people of Darjeeling hills are impossible to trust.
GRC has only raised this issue of merger to create the disturbance of the prevailing peace of the state. Further it will hamper the special provisions of our state, he said.
Rai further told that whoever the people of Darjeeling is supporting the merger is just eying the rich resource of Sikkim. One can not help his community by bringing up the rear of his present condition, he expressed.
Earlier BP Bajgain, writer of the forty six issue of Gorkhaland diary said that a scientific approach other than political approach is needed for adding a pace to this issue and expressed that the Unification by means of mind is much needed for the Ecological, Environmental and Habitational assurance for our hills. Historically, ethnologically and linguistically Darjeeling and Sikkim is one, he told.
One can not restrain the political and environmental misbalance which is likely to occur in the adjoining hills of Sikkim and Darjeeling by tomorrow. There is no unhurt escape from the present burning problem of Darjeeling for Sikkim and vice-versa, he expressed.
The seminar was also addressed by Nabin Kiran, General Secretary All Sikkim Educated Employed and Unemployed Association, Niran Rai, State Convener GRC and Subodh Pakhrin, President Sikkim-Darjeeling United Front which were participated by intellectuals of Darjeeling and the state.
Jumbos kills 3
TT, Siliguri, June 20: A herd of 100-odd wild elephants has killed three villagers and damaged about 20 huts in the Kurseong forest division in the past 48 hours.
Phulmoni Sauria, 65, and Parshuram Majhi, 60, two residents of Ajmabad Tea Estate, were trampled to death by an elephant this evening when the herd raided the Factory Line of the garden around 7.30.
Garden residents ransacked two vehicles of police and the forest department to protest frequent elephant raids.
“Rasai Nagasia, a 45-year-old resident of Uttamchand Chhatbusti under Tukriajhar range, died late last evening after the herd attacked her village,” said Y.T. Eden, the divisional forest officer of Kurseong.
Foresters said the herd was earlier confined to the Kalabari forest but for the past two-three days it had been raiding Tukriajhar, Darabux, Chenga and Panighata areas before shifting to Dalka forest, damaging 18-19 huts and destroying crops of several acres on the way.
“It has become difficult for us to check the elephants as they have split into small groups, changing its direction frequently,” Eden said.
Rebels’ bid for revival- KLO militant held

TT, Siliguri, June 20: A KLO militant arrested from the outskirts of Siliguri on Friday has given police information on the outfit’s renewed efforts to raise money from businessmen in north Bengal to regroup and revive its activities.
Tirtha Burman, a resident of Habibpur in Malda district, was arrested from Indrajeet Roy’s house at Patiramjote in Matigara.
An improvised 9mm pistol, two magazines and 13 rounds of live cartridges were recovered from him. The police also arrested Pratap Burman from the house on the suspicion that he was a KLO linkman. He is a rickshaw puller from Tapan in South Dinajpur. Indrajeet was charged with harbouring criminals.
The KLO, formed in 1998, had resorted to political killings, abductions and extortion till 2003, when its training camps in the forested hills of Bhutan were successfully dismantled in the Operation Flushout by the Royal Bhutan Army.
Self-styled KLO chief Jeevan Singha, alias Tamir Das was forced to escape to Bangladesh. Several KLO leaders were picked up and handed over to India by Bhutan, dealing a severe blow to the outfit.
“However, over the past few months, we have been receiving specific inputs that the KLO is trying to regroup and has recruited a number of people for training in Bangladesh,” said a police officer.
“Our apprehensions were confirmed when the militants tried to abduct a tractor dealer from Gajole in Malda on April 22. One of the kidnappers was arrested when the vehicle overturned during their bid to flee with the businessman. Within a fortnight, we picked up a couple of linkmen from Malda for providing the KLO with information on businessmen living in the region,” he added.
“During interrogation, the trio revealed the names of some other linkmen who are collecting information on businessmen in north Bengal. We have also come to know that some abductions have taken place recently and the families of the persons concerned have paid ransom to the KLO without informing the police,” said the officer.
D.P. Singh, the superintendent of police of Darjeeling, said Tirtha — who had undergone training in handling arms and explosives in Bangladesh — had been involved in the April 22 abduction attempt also.
The police and intelligence branch said the KLO might even attempt an attack on vital installations in north Bengal to make its presence felt again.
“This is a common tactic adopted by militant groups to create terror and panic. Our intelligence officers are working in tandem with other security agencies and are trying to find out the number of youths who have joined the outfit after 2003,” said another officer. “There is information that the KLO is carrying out recruitments from certain districts of Assam also.”
Tirtha was remanded in police custody for seven days along with Indrajeet and Pratap. 
Maoists 'disown' Foot soldier
Pronab Mondal, TT, Calcutta, June 20: Bapi Mahato had been denied shelter by Maoist leaders unhappy with him for having led the train sabotage keeping them in the dark, sources in the Intelligence Bureau said today.
The backlash following the death of 150 Jnaneswari Exp-ress passengers is believed to have prompted the Maoist brass to turn their backs on Bapi when he was desperately seeking refuge.
Immediately after the May 28 train tragedy, a group from the Maoists’ People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army had sought an explanation from Bapi and his men, all members of a so-called village defence squad.
The Maoists are known to have trained villagers in the use of arms and set up such squads across the region. But some of their leaders, like Bapi, 22, are now proving difficult to control.
The Maoists took Bapi to Jharkhand on May 31 to seek an explanation why he had targeted the tracks on which a passenger train was scheduled to pass.
“He failed to explain himself. His act caused massive damage to the image of our organisation. We never target people who are not our class enemy,” a Maoist source said.
The families of cops slain by the Maoists and the many villagers branded “police informers” and killed would scoff at the claim, but so “massive” was the damage caused by the 150 deaths that the guerrillas treated Bapi like hot potato.
Rebuffed by his leaders, Bapi returned to his village, Rasua, about 6km from the crash site, and realised he could not stay there. The police had already been to the place several times.
For a week after that, Bapi went searching for shelter into villages deep inside the forests, but was turned away under instructions from Maoist leaders. With nowhere to go among his comrades, Bapi apparently decided to tap his relatives.
A police source said calls from “unknown sources” first alerted them about his movements. It is possible that some of those who had denied him shelter under instructions from Maoists may have turned him in. “We suddenly received calls from unknown sources who told us he was wandering from village to village on his own. Our own intelligence confirmed that the local Maoists were not with him any more,” said the officer.
Most of the calls were ap- parently made from booths at Manikpara, near crash site Rajabandh. “The callers contacted us with surprising information,” said another officer.
“We started gathering information about Bapi’s friends and relatives. We carried out searches in a number of places and they proved futile. Then we came to know about his relative near Jamshedpur,” the officer said.
Asked whether Bapi was protected by the Maoists when he was on the run, Jhargram superintendent of police Praveen Tripathi said this evening: “The police are investigating it.”

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