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

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

DM reaches office in state car - Rival rally in the time of shutdown...Will crush Gorkhaland police camps, state warns Morcha

TT, Darjeeling, June 21: The district collectorate remained open for the first time today during a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha strike, the state government testing waters as the hill party kept its cadres off the roads to avoid confrontation and delink itself from the violence it has come to be associated with after Madan Tamang’s murder.
Also, despite the bandh, around 250 ABGL supporters brought out a peace march in town from Clubside motor stand where its leader Madan Tamang was hacked to death exactly a month ago.
However, the Morcha threatened to intensify its agitation by starting an indefinite hunger strike from June 27 to press for demands like judicial inquiry into the lathicharge on its supporters in Kurseong on Wednesday. 
At 11am, Darjeeling district magistrate Surendra Gupta along with two additional district magistrates, the subdivisional officer and about eight deputy magistrates entered the office.
In every bandh that the Morcha had called in the past, it had put up pickets in front of the district magistrate's office to prevent the entry of officials. The party has made an exception this time and has not come out onto the streets to enforce the bandh.
While Gupta came in his official vehicle, the others arrived in government jeeps that had “on law and order duty” stickers pasted on the windscreens.
“As government officials, we are duty bound to attend office,” said Gupta, refusing to take any further questions. During the earlier shutdown called by the Morcha, the district magistrate always functioned from his residence, which also has an office. Most of the government officials discharged their duties from the DM’s bungalow in the past.
Sources said this time the state government had instructed the officials to attend work during the shutdown to send a message to the Morcha.
The government has been stepping up heat on Bimal Gurung’s outfit since Tamang’s murder and the anti-Morcha backlash that it triggered.
The state had not only implicated the Morcha in the killing, but had also started asserting the writ of administration in the hills taking advantage of the people erupting in anger over Tamang’s murder.
As a first step, three companies of the CRPF were deployed in Darjeeling town for the first time since the Morcha was formed in 2007. This was followed by DGHC administrator B.L. Meena filing FIRs against Gorkhaland personnel — a Morcha squad of lathi-wielding volunteers —occupying government properties for the past two years.
The Morcha has countered this by mounting pressure on the government by calling an indefinite strike in the hills. But it has been careful in avoiding confrontation and distancing itself from all violence by ensuring that its cadres do not come onto the streets to enforce the bandh, especially with the CRPF patrolling the roads.
“The government is hatching a conspiracy to derail the statehood movement. We have called a strike to protest the police excesses on our party supporters at Kurseong. We demand a judicial inquiry into the lathicharge on a peaceful demonstration. If the state fails to act, seven members each will sit on an indefinite hunger strike at Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong from June 27,” said Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha at a media conference.
Lashing out at Meena, Giri said: “He is inefficient and is issuing statements as if he is a political leader. We don’t want an administrator who works from Siliguri despite having his headquarters in Darjeeling. The government must not give him any further extensions after his tenure ends on June 30.”
Asked about the district magistrate’s decision to function from his office during the shutdown, Giri said: “We have not stopped anyone from working.”
Binay Tamang, an assistant secretary of the Morcha, said the Gorkhaland Personnel would not vacate the government buildings. “The Kalimpong police station yesterday sent a notice to the camp at Chest Clinic (a DGHC owned community hall) but the GLP will not vacate the property and we have already written to the administration conveying our message.”
In the meantime, an ABGL seven-member team will leave for Calcutta tomorrow to meet chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. “The team would discuss the prevailing situation in the hills,” said ABGL leader Mohan Sharma.
Indefinite strike- Day 3 in Kalimpong
State warns Morcha
Sabyasachi Bandhopadhyay, Kolkata, IE:In a bid to establish the rule of law in the Hills, the state government has warned that the police would crush all training camps of the Gorkhaland Police (GLP) raised under the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
State Minister for Urban Development Ashok Bhattacharya issued the warning following a meeting with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to discuss the Morcha’s indefinite Darjeeling bandh, which entered its third day today. “I had a word with the chief minister. The GLP camps will be crushed. They are a gang of goons and the police will take action against them,” Bhattacharya told The Indian Express.
The Darjeeling police is all set to evict GLP cadres from buildings belonging to the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC). “We have received complaints that the GLP has illegally occupied five to six DGHC offices. We are going to take action against them,” said DGP Bhupinder Singh. 
Bhattacharya, meanwhile, criticised the role of the Darjeeling police saying had it acted in a better manner after the murder of Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang, the Morcha’s grip on Darjeeling would have weakened further. “The police should have been more pro-active,” the minister said.
The bandh, meanwhile, saw an open defiance by shopowners in the Sukna area of Darjeeling today. Even as Morcha activists forced them to shut down their businesses, the owners stood their ground and the Morcha activists ultimately had to beat a retreat.
“It is a good sign that people here registered their protest against the authors of anarchy,” the DGP said, while adding that District Magistrate’s office in Darjeeling remained functional despite the bandh.
Officers at work, govt tests Morcha bandh Closure delays pay for jumbo victim kin 
TT, Siliguri, June 21: The families of three persons who were killed in elephant raids in the past few days have become the major victims of the agitation by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
The forest department is unable to open its offices in the hills because of the strike and hence, it cannot pay compensation to the next of kin of the deceased persons.
“The strike has led to the closure of most government offices in the hills and our department is not an exception. So, we could not arrange for funds to be disbursed to the families of the elephant attack victims,” said an officer of the Kurseong forest division today.
“According to rules, 25 per cent of the compensation should be paid in cash immediately after death. The rest can be disbursed once investigations are over. As of now, Rs 1 lakh is the total compensation that a victim’s family is entitled to.”
While two men were trampled to death in Ajmabad Tea Estate last night, a woman was killed in Uttamchand Chhatbusti on Saturday evening. The foresters said a herd of 100-odd elephants was behind the attacks in Naxalbari block.
“We have been spending sleepless nights because of frequent elephant raids in villages and tea estates in the Naxalbari area for the past one week,” said a forester.
“The animals have killed three persons and damaged about 20 huts in the past 48 hours. People are already aggrieved over the attacks and want us to work round-the-clock to stop the elephants from causing further damage. Since we could not pay the first instalment of the compensation, we apprehend a violent response from the villagers in case any more elephant depredation occurs in the next few days. Some of the residents have already started asking our men why the families have not yet been given the compensation.”
Foresters said they were trying to drive the herd into Kalabari forests located close to India-Nepal border.
“The herd has 103 adults and seven calves. They have been roaming in the border villages and tea estates for the past seven days. We have begun a drive to steer the animals to the Kalabari forest. Once the elephants are pushed back from the fringe villages, chances of further raids are minimal,” said Y.T. Eden, the divisional forest officer of Kurseong.
The irate villagers had ransacked two vehicles, one of the forest department and the other of police, after the raid. “We could have calmed down them to some extent if we had paid the compensation immediately. With the further delay, we are apprehending more problems,” said a forest officer.
Eden is camping at Tukriajhar range office with other senior foresters and the Naxalbari police.
Unions try to woo tribals
TT, Siliguri, June 21: The poor response of tea garden workers in the plains to its June 7 strike has prompted the Co-ordination Committee of Tea Plantation Workers to invite the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad’s labour wing for a joint movement to demand interim wage hike and better living conditions for the labourers.
Only 25-30 per cent of the gardens in the Dooars and the Terai were closed on June 7 as the Progressive Tea Workers’ Union of the Parishad had asked the labourers to defy the strike called jointly by the Co-ordination Committee and the Defence Committee of Plantation Workers’ Rights.
“Considering the response from labourers on June 7, we found it important to mull over the factors that discouraged a section of the workforce to abstain from strike. A meeting of the Co-ordination Committee was held here today and it was decided that the Progressive Union would be requested in writing to participate in a joint movement in July for common issues like revision of wages and improvement in living conditions of workers and their families,” said an Intuc leader. The Intuc is a constituent of the Co-ordination Committee.
“We plan to sit with leaders of the Defence Committee, the Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union, affiliated to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, and the Progressive Union on June 24. If they respond, we will insist on the formation of a common platform to spearhead a joint movement in the brew belt,” said the Intuc leader.
A political observer said after the strike, the Citu and the Intuc were left with no option but to sort out issues with the Progressive Union and if possible, include it as a constituent of an apex body.
Tezkumar Toppo, the vice-president of the Progressive Union, said: “We are yet to receive any invitation from the Co-ordination Committee. In case we receive it, we will definitely contemplate on the issue and decide our response.”

No comments:

Post a Comment