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

Monday, June 7, 2010

Plot hatched month ago - CID scanner on Morcha links of murder accused ...

TT, Calcutta, June 6: The plan to eliminate ABGL president Madan Tamang was hatched at least a month before the murder, sleuths of the criminal investigation department have alleged.
The CID claims that Nickol Tamang, a central committee member of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, executed the killing on May 21 along with his close henchmen. Nickol’s name strongly features in the CID investigation following the scrutiny of the call records of his cellphone that police had recovered from the murder spot.
“We are yet to find out if Nickol Tamang was acting on behalf of a mastermind, for it is possible that there were others who had instructed him to carry out the attack,” said P. Neerajnayan, inspector-general (I) of the CID, in Calcutta today.
An officer in the team probing Tamang’s murder said Subhas Tama-ng and Prashant Chhetri, the duo who were shot at and injured on the legs by Tamang’s bodyguard, were assigned by Nickol to carry out the attack. The two men are now under arrest and admitted to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri. The CID officers, however, are yet to ascertain the role of Suresh Raimaji, picked up in Darjeeling on Thursday night, in the murder.
“Subhas and Prashant are both hard nuts to crack and had not yet confessed to anything, but we have enough evidence against them to prove their involvement in the killing,” an investigating officer said.
According to CID sources, the plan to kill Tamang had gained momentum about a week ago from the day he was hacked to death. “Nickol is close to a number of Morcha leaders and we have reason enough to believe that Tamang’s killers had carried out the operation with a motive to gain political advantage in the hills. He was the only person who had been repeatedly making statements that the Morcha was shifting from its main objective of Gorkhaland,” a source said.
The sleuths, who have collected the call details of the cellphones used by the three arrested persons, said a week before the killing, the frequency of calls between Prashant, Subhas and Nickol had increased. “Nickol’s call records also show that he spoke to a number of Morcha leaders a number of times before the incident. However, many more men had been engaged by the mastermind to carry out the killing,” the source said.
The investigators said the gang that swept down on the Clubside motor stand on that bloody Friday, took advantage of the crowd that had begun to gather in the area for the meeting that Tamang was supposed to address. However, the CID is not yet very clear as to who dealt the killer blow.
In Darjeeling, Subhas’s relatives insisted that the 52-year-old had nothing to do with the grisly murder. Speaking on condition of anonymity, one of his relatives said Subhas, a resident of Singmari area, had gone to buy medicines the day the killing took place and that he was innocent.
Six killed in van crash
TT, Siliguri, June 6: Six persons were killed and 17 were injured when a pick-up van they were travelling in toppled on its side on NH31 near Sevoke this afternoon.
Bhaktinagar police said the deceased were Rasu Manjhi, 57, Masang Majhi, 35, Suren Majhi, 55, Payo Majhi, 40, Arun Majhi, 8, and Bishal Majhi, 45. All of them were residents of Damdim. The injured were admitted to the Siliguri district hospital and four of them are in a critical condition.
TT: The labour wing of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has called a 12-hour strike in tea gardens of the Darjeeling hills on Monday to press for several demands, including an interim hike in the daily wages of workers. In the plains, two apex bodies of trade unions also have called a strike in the gardens on Monday.
TT, Alipurduar: Four of the five bison from Dyna forest that had entered two gardens in Banarhat on Sunday died following a chase and tranquillisation. While one fell into a drain and collapsed, the other three died after they were darted.
Langpih cloud on school arson
E.M.Jose, TT, Shillong, June 6: The anger over the May 14 Langpih firing that claimed four lives showed no signs of letting up, as a Nepali Lower Primary School at Mawnohsynrum in Ri Bhoi district was torched in the wee hours today, even after a meeting between the chief ministers of Assam and Meghalaya yesterday.
The Assam-type wooden school building, built in 1960, was completely gutted, police said.
The incident surprised the Khasi and Nepali residents of Mawnohsynrum, who have been living in harmony for the past several years.
Mawnohsynrum is nearly 50km from Shillong.
On May 17, a 70-year-old Nepali cowherd, Loknath Bastula, and his three cows were burnt alive at Umiam in the same district.
Altogether 83 students, of whom 35 are from the Khasi community, are studying in the Nepali LP school.
Balari Kharpuri, who studied in the school till Class IV, said the Khasis and Nepalis lived in harmony and there was not a single instance of a quarrel among them.
According to preliminary investigation after an FIR was filed, the criminals scaled the small boundary wall of the school and poured either kerosene or petrol to torch the wooden structure.
They spared the upper primary school buildings that were RCC constructions.
“I was helpless to see the building up in flames around 2.30am and immediately called the villagers, but there was not much help coming in as it was the middle of the night,” the headman of the village, Aristar Ryngkhang, said.
According to him, fire engulfed the wooden structure very fast, razing it.
“We do not know who is behind this violence, but we are concerned over the matter and are ready to provide any assistance,” the headman said.
He said the villagers had been guarding the school after the Langpih firing to prevent any damage.
According to the villagers, the arsonists might have taken advantage of the lax security.
The headmaster of the school, Punya Subedi, who stays in a nearby village, said the villagers informed him about the incident around 3am.
“The whole building was gutted. It will take several months to rebuild the school,” Subedi said.
He said the managing committee would meet to discuss how to accommodate the LP school students.
As students from at least five nearby villages are studying in the school, the villagers have to find an alternative space soon. 
Fire in Late CM's house 
KalimNews:  Fire in Chyakhung house, residencial building of late Kaji Lhendup Dorjee, 1st CM of Sikkim resulted in destruction of important documents including the Padma Bibhusan  received by late Dorjee. The fire in the building located in Kalimpong was controlled by the Fire brigade.
Dawa Pakhrin GNLF leader announced that he severed his connection with GNLF. Having a difference with the GNLF Chief Subhas Ghising on the sixth schedule issue I am compelled to do so. Though Ghising is my political teacher, Gorkhaland is my demand and I will stick unto it, he said during a press conference in Siliguri. Gjhsing had lately demanded sixth schedule provision for the Darjeeling hills.
The Exception to a rule
Romit Bagchi hazards a trip to Reshikhola and is privy to one man’s struggle to buck the odds
SNS: IT wasn’t the ideal day to embark on a trip into the hills. All India Gorkha League president Madan Tamang had been murdered in Darjeeling the previous day and we received reports from Darjeeling that there was tension. Though no party called a bandh, the people chose to observe one as a mark of mourning for the slain leader. With the situation being volatile, colleagues asked me not to repair to the hills. Apart from the political scenario, the weather too was depressing. The sky remained overcast with intermittent rain and we feared the situation could be much darker in the hills.
But having planned in advance, we were determined to go, my friend Abhisek, a teacher and documentary filmmaker, and I. Our hired car arrived and we informed a friend of ours, a journalist working in a Nepali daily, Sukramani Rasaili, that we would go straight to Algarah to pick him up on our way to Reshikhola. Accordingly, we left early in the morning, our driver, Jhantu, a Rajbongshi youth, full of enthusiasm anticipating adventure on the way. There was no rain but the sky wore its grim visage.
   We chose the Dooars route via Gorubathan, Damding and Paparkheti on our way to Algarah, skirting Kalimpong. This was, of course, to avoid as much political tension as possible. Besides, the route is arguably one of the most beautiful in the hills, with a flavour of both the hills and the Dooars.
   My mind remained obsessed with the previous day’s incident — Madan Tamang’s murder and its likely repercussions. I had spoken to him over the phone barely a week, Bimal Guurng had announced a 10-day shutdown beginning 12 June at Deolo near Kalimpong. A few days before Tamang’s assassination, a democratic front was formed comprising the All India Gorkha League, Communist Party Revolutionary Marxists, Trinamul Congress and the BJP as a counterbalance against the “autocratic GJMM stranglehold”. I had asked Tamang about his reactions to the bandh programme, expecting a humourless outpouring of anger, but was startled on hearing hearty laughter. “One thing I can say — binash kale bipartite buddhi (loss of mental poise with the end nearing). And this is perhaps enough for you today,” Tamang said, literally roaring with laughter. I found his tone strange, as though he was cocksure the end of the GJMM era was near. I chose to take what he said as an overstatement. One thing was unmistakable — he exuded confidence, something not in sync with his customary mode of talking that we were accustomed to.
   His words kept ringing in my ears. With his battered body lying at his residence for people to pay their last respects to the lone vociferous voice of dissent in the hills, would his words now prove prophetic? Assuming that the GJMM was at least morally responsible for, if not directly involved in, his murder, what else could one think except that the beginning of the end of the GJMM era had set in? Tamang was not a popular figure as far as mass following is concerned, but nobody could question that his was the voice for democracy, for respect, for dissent. The time is not yet ripe to come to a decisive conclusion, yet given the reactions in the hills, one is inclined to think the GJMM slide is irreversible now; unless, of course, it rethinks its intolerant brand of politics and opens itself to criticism.
   My trance was broken as our car stopped and the driver said, “A landslide has blocked the road.” We were then at Paparkheti in the Dooars, just a few kilometres from Lava. We got out and saw locals clearing the road of boulders. Asked whether the PWD department had employed them to clear the road, they said, “We have taken it upon ourselves to keep the road clear for this is one of the roads through which people, particularly tourists, go to Lava and other tourist spots in Kalimpong subdivision. Last night’s shower caused these landslips.”
   The surroundings were mesmerising. Static mountains and ancient trees mute witness to the eternal vicissitudes of life in all its beauty and ugliness. The message clear as a bell: to live long it is necessary to live slowly. Thanking our benefactors, we set off but had hardly gone a few kilometres when the drizzle started and then came the fog that enveloped everything.  Visibility almost zero, we kept going though the headlights failed to penetrate the deepening fog. Aghast, I could only wonder at our predicament on the twists and turns of that mountain road. And then came another surprise — most dense at the point where we were, yet a few metres away the day seemed to be sparkling under a vivacious sun, with not even the faintest trace of haze. How could it be, I kept wondering. Did this queer disposition indicate the eternal light-and-shade play our lives seems suffused with?
   From Lava, the road remained clear of fog up to Algarah. Our spirits picked up seeing Sukramani waiting for us. After an exchange of pleasantries and cups of tea, we started for Reshikhola via Pedong. While crossing Pedong, Sukramani pointed to a hill atop which the famous Damsang Fort is located. “The way is stiff and the place is leech-infested,” he said, knowing our penchant for “impossible” adventure.
   Reshikhola is about 15 km from Pedong and we stopped at one place on the road that leads straight to Sikkim. Then, taking a turn, we started moving slowly along a cobblestone path, almost touching a swift-flowing hilly stream — Reshi. This stream is the soul of the place. I don’t know what Reshi means in the local language (some call it Rishi) but its beauty seems capable of disrupting the meditation of a rishi. It originates from Rishap near Lava and merges with the Teesta near Rangpo. It is beautiful now when the monsoon has not yet set in, though the flow along the pebble-strewn bed seems indicative of the turbulence within.
   Sebastian Pradhan, a pioneer of eco-tourism in these parts of the hills at whose invitation we went to Reshikhola, recounted a special feature of the stream. “It happens to be the only stream in the hills as well as the northeastern region which moves towards the north. Usually a stream moves in the southern direction, having its origin in a mountainous crevice. But the Reshi is an exception. It keeps moving in the north, in the direction of Kanchenjungha, deemed here as the deity. This stream can be promoted as a place of pilgrimage for its uniqueness. The locals believe a dip in the transparent stream can wipe a man clean of his accumulated sins,” he said.
   Pradhan told us many other interesting things about the place — how he was ridiculed when he embarked on an adventurous plan to build a resort here based on the notion of eco-tourism. “Even my close relatives mocked me, saying I was crazy. Such a remote place with no communication with the outside world becoming a tourist spot was beyond their imagination. But I took the initiative, contacted DGHC officials and, having received no response, I and some people in the village guys began giving shape to my dream. The place was known in local parlance as Bandare Orar, meaning the haunt of monkeys. The first cottage was built in 2005 and then came the present resort, comprising several cottages, all built in accordance with the eco-tourism concept. The arrangements are simple with no provision for luxuries, yet the amenities are all there. I named it Homestay Monkey Lodge.
   “Tourists started coming and the spot gained a place on the tourist guide map. Most of them enjoy the plain, yet hospitable ambience of the lodge. Some, however, resent the lack of luxuries available in other resorts. I do not mind, for I have remained focused on promoting eco-tourism while providing tourists with the essential amenities,” he said.
   Asked what happened when the monsoon was at its peak, he said, “We get isolated and those tourists left get stranded for some days. We have proposed the construction of an alternative route to maintain the tourist inflow all the year round. But the monsoon is beautiful here. The stream roaring through the rocks with the sylvan majesty sparkling against the hazy horizon gives this remote place a special charm.”
   Abhisek told us of how his relatives got stranded here last year when the monsoon intensified. “The wooden bridges lay broken. The stream surging in billows touched almost the edge of the resort and isolated the place from the outside world. Such a state continued for some days before the water started receding,” he said.
   Sukramani quipped, “Like a mouse trap?”
   The allusion to Agatha Chistie’s world-acclaimed crime mystery thrilled me into imagining a number of people being huddled together in a resort like this, their links with the outside world snapped, and then something happening that brought Hercule Poirot in to explore the murkiest recesses of the subjective world. But such things do not happen in real life, and blissfully so. 

No comments:

Post a Comment