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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tamang’s YouTube footage sent to CFSL... Ghising opposes Gurung's Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh proposal...Rift in tribal outfit ... Cops sleeping..

ENS,Kolkata: The police have downloaded the video footage purportedly showing the events before and after Gorkha leader Madan Tamang’s murder in Darjeeling from YouTube and sent it to the Central Forensic Research Laboratory (CFSL) for tests.
“The pictures are not clear and it is difficult to identify people from the footage. So we have decided to send it to CFSL for forensic tests,” said DGP Bhupinder Singh on Tuesday.
The video, which was shot by a foreign tourist from the window of an adjoining hotel, however, does not show the murder. The police are trying to trace the tourists, who are believed to be French nationals.
Singh said the CID, which is investigating into the case, has zeroed in on some people who seemed to have been involved in the brutal murder.
Ghising opposes GAP
PTI Jalpaiguri (WB), June 1: Breaking his prolonged silence, Gorkha National Liberation Front chief Subash Ghising today said he was opposed to 'Gorkha-Adivasi Pradesh' -- the new name proposed by GJM for Gorkhaland.
"It is not at all practical to change the name of Gorkhaland to Gorkha-Adivasi Pradesh, since issues affecting the Gorkhas and the Adivasis are totally different. The two cannot be combined," Ghising, once the undisputed leader of the Darjeeling hills who first gave the name Gorkhaland, told reporters.
"Only a political solution can solve the problems of the hills and that is the only way out," Ghising, who ruled the hills almost unchallenged till 2008 before being forced to flee to the plains by the GJM, said.

Ghisingh blames cops for hill plight
TT, Siliguri, June 1: Subash Ghisingh today accused police of failing to restore law and order in the Darjeeling hills, the most vocal charge in recent times levelled by the GNLF chief who had been forced to resign as DGHC chairperson by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and flee the hills two years ago.
“During Jyoti Basu’s regime, the police were alive and vibrant but now, the force (under Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee) seems to be sleeping and its activities have come down to zero,” Ghisingh said.
“We mourn the death of ABGL chief Madan Tamang and fear that if the police continue to remain silent spectator, there might be some more political murders in the hills in the coming days,” he added.
Ghisingh, while talking to journalists at his rented house in Jalpaiguri, said the GNLF wanted the state and the Centre to confer Sixth Schedule status on the hills.
“The Morcha leaders must understand that neither the state nor the Centre are interested to meet the demand for Gorkhaland or the interim set-up,” he said. “We want the governments to confer Sixth Schedule with increased powers, followed by elections in which the GNLF will participate. We have revoked the last year’s decision of not contesting the polls.”
Under the Sixth Schedule that Ghisingh had been clamouring for, additional legislative, administrative and financial powers would have to be given to a new council meant to run the hills. Currently, the special status is applicable only in some areas of the Northeast, where there is a predominant tribal population.
Ghisingh recounted that in 2005, he had held a public meeting in Darjeeling after Tamang criticised him. “He was my political opponent and I had even called a public meeting to alert him against bringing baseless charges against me and the GNLF,” Ghisingh said. “However, I had never threatened any leader of other parties or organised any attack on them. It is a new terror tactics in the hills and the police have to take steps to bring back normality. Otherwise, we suspect, the situation will deteriorate.”
The GNLF chief also criticised the role of the police in curbing the alleged violent and illegal activities of the Morcha that had usurped his support base in the hills.
“It is frustrating to see senior police officers changing statements at regular intervals. At one time, they are saying that steps would be taken against the Morcha but after a few hours, they adopt a conciliatory attitude. Such activities only disappoint people who will, in future, no longer bank on the police,” he added.
The GNLF will not join the Democratic Front, an anti-Morcha platform in the hills, he said.

TT, Siliguri, June 1: Subash Ghisingh today said it was “frustrating” to see Buddhadeb Bhatta- charjee’s police “sleeping” but reminded the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha that the state was unlikely to ever agree to carve up Bengal.
“During Jyoti Basu’s regime, the police force was alive, but now the force (under Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee) seems to be sleeping and its activities have come down to zero. It is because of the pathetic condition of the police that despite so many atrocities, law and order can’t be restored in the hills,” said the Gorkha National Liberation Front leader who had been forced by the Morcha to leave the hills two years ago.
“We mourn the death of Madan Tamang (murdered by suspected Morcha supporters). We fear more political murders if the hill police continue to remain spectators,” he added.
Ghisingh’s writ ran in the hills until the Bimal Gurung-led Morcha pushed him into a corner. Today, sitting in his rented house in Jalpaiguri, he accused Gurung of using terror tactics. “(Madan Tamang) was my political rival…. But I had never threatened any rival leader or organised an attack on them. It is a new terror tactics in the hills and the police have to take steps to bring back normality. Otherwise, the situation will deteriorate.”
The GNLF wants the state and Centre to confer Sixth Schedule status on the hills.
“The Morcha leaders must understand that neither the state nor the Centre are interested in meeting its demand for Gorkhaland,” Ghisingh said.
Under the Sixth Schedule, additional legislative, administrative and financial powers would have to be given to a new council meant to run the hills. The only solution to resolve the hill impasse, according to Ghisingh, is increased powers for the hill body and local elections in which the GNLF will participate.
He added that the Morcha move to rename the Gorkhaland it wants as Gorkha-Adivasi Pradesh did not make much sense.
Rift in tribal outfit after Morcha offer Dooars willing to join state struggle, Dagapur (Siliguri), June 1: The Dooars branch of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad said it was willing to “go outside Bengal’s administration” for a better socio-economic future of the tribals in response to Bimal Gurung’s recent invitation, creating a rift within the tribal outfit.
The state leadership of the Parishad, the dominant organisation of the tribals in north Bengal, said under no circumstances would they sit with Gurung’s outfit, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, to discuss statehood plans. They also said they would not surrender an inch of land from the Terai and the Dooars to be included in the separate state, as had been demanded by the hill party. Neither will they allow the areas to be made part of the interim set-up that has been proposed for the hills.
But Parishad leaders in the Dooars, the area which has more tribals than in the Terai, said they found nothing wrong in talking to the Morcha if it extended a formal invitation.
“We have been demanding Sixth Schedule for the past two years or so. Even today, it is difficult for us to get employment,” said Raju Bara, the secretary of the Hasimara-Jaigaon regional committee and a state committee member of the Parishad, over the phone. “We find nothing wrong in extending support to the Morcha and go outside the purview of Bengal if it helps in our socio-economic development.”
“Considering the new nomenclature announced by Morcha president Bimal Gurung and the commitments made by the party leaders, there is nothing illogical in extending support to the Morcha and join the movement for separate statehood,” he added.
Gurung, while addressing a public meeting in Darjeeling on Sunday, had offered to re-christen Gorkhaland to Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh to woo the tribals. The Morcha wants the Dooars and the Terai to be part of the new hill state and the interim set-up. Since the tribals led by the Parishad were determined not to part with the Dooars and Terai, the hill leader dangled the carrot of the new name.
The rift in the Parishad was all the more evident as none of the Dooars leaders reached Dagapur, on the outskirts of Siliguri, to attend today’s state committee meeting presided over by Birsa Tirkey, the state president, and Tezkumar Toppo, the state secretary of the outfit.
Tirkey, however, tried to play down the absence of the leaders from the Dooars. “Mine is a routine visit and tomorrow, we are likely to meet our Dooars leaders in Malbazar,” he said. But when Tirkey was told that the Dooars leader was willing to join the Morcha movement, he described Bara as a “self-styled leader”.
“It is our unanimous decision that we will carry on with our movement for Sixth Schedule and not extend support to the Morcha or sit with them at bipartite-level meetings,” he said. “If some self-styled leader passes comments that contradict our stand, it is for him to clarify his statement. We, on our side, will take necessary steps.
“It is because of such leaders that the Morcha could assemble 40-50 tribal people in their public meetings and then claim that the tribal population is with them,” the state president added.
The Morcha leadership said the state leaders of the Parishad had failed to perceive the ground reality. “The state leaders stay in Calcutta and do not have a concrete idea of the ground reality,” said Binay Tamang, the assistant secretary of the Morcha. 
ABGL smells ‘conspiracy’ in new name
Bharati Tamang
TT, Darjeeling, June 1: The ABGL today alleged that “a conspiracy” has been hatched to include the Darjeeling hills in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution under a new name, Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh.
“The name, Gorkha-Adivasi Pradesh, which is being mooted, is nothing but a conspiracy to force the Sixth Schedule or the interim arrangement on the hill people. It is well known that the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad is continuously demanding Sixth Schedule status for the Dooars and the new name is just a conspiracy, which will be opposed by the ABGL,” party president Bharati Tamang said in a statement today.
Tamang, the widow of murdered ABGL leader Madan Tamang, said the ABGL and the hill people had rejected both the Sixth Schedule status and the interim set-up and would continue to do so in future.
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung while addressing a public meeting on Sunday said the “chapter of interim set-up was closed” and that his party would discuss only the statehood demand in the next tripartite meeting with the Centre and the state. The Morcha chief had further maintained that keeping with the Adivasi aspiration, the new state that his outfit had been demanding would be renamed Gorkha-Adivasi Pradesh.
The ABGL is unconvinced that the Morcha wants a separate state, and is only trying to juggle with words to have an administrative arrangement within Bengal. “The ABGL has always been against any administrative arrangement within Bengal and will continue to oppose any such conspiracies,” the letter states.
The ABGL also attacked the Morcha leadership for demanding a CBI probe into the death of their leader. “People who had performed the funeral rites of Madan Tamang much before he was murdered…are now talking about a CBI inquiry even before his ashes have cooled down. The hill people are aware of these facts,” the statement read.
“Madan Tamang always wanted a CBI inquiry to probe the irregularities in the mid-day meal and Sarva Siksha Abhiyan schemes. Despite his death, the hills have not forgotten his demand for a CBI inquiry into these issues,” said Tamang.
Sources said the next round of tripartite meeting was likely to take place on June 9, but with the Morcha new stand that it would discuss only statehood, the result of the discussions is uncertain.
Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh, who is camping in the hill town, is scheduled to meet Bengal governor M.K. Narayanan at 10am tomorrow. The governor returned to Darjeeling today from Goa.
800 tourists evacuated in Sikkim
TT, Gangtok, June 1: Around 800 tourists returned here safely today, a night after they were stranded by multiple landslides on North Sikkim Highway and Jawaharlal Nehru Marg.
Heavy rainfall in North Sikkim had triggered at a dozen slides around 8pm yesterday between Kabi and Phengla. Around 100 vehicles bringing tourists to Gangtok from Lachung and Lachen were trapped in the slides.
Similarly, three vehicles ferrying 29 tourists from Chhangu Lake in East Sikkim were also stranded when a stretch of Jawaharlal Nehru Marg, which is being widened, caved in near 13th Mile. Two slides blocked the road at 17th Mile.
A team of the Travel Agents’ Association of Sikkim led by its president Paljor Lachungpa attempted to reach the tourists but could not do much. “We reached Phengla last night but the evacuation was difficult because of darkness and falling stones,” said Lachungpa.
In a joint operation by the government, tour operators and local people, the stranded tourists were provided with snacks, tea and medicines at night and in the morning before they were brought back to Gangtok.
“The rescue operations got over by afternoon and no tourist was injured”, said Gangtok subdivisional police officer R.K. Sundas at Phengla.
The visitors appreciated the efforts of the stakeholders of Sikkim Tourism. “It was a unique experience as they (stakeholders) were there to help us. Some of us slept in the vehicle while others were provided with accommodations at local huts or in army barracks,” said Partha Ghosh, a tourist from Calcutta returning from North Sikkim.
The tourists who were stranded at 13th Mile on Jawaharlal Nehru Marg that connects Gangtok with Nathu-la border while returning from Chhangu were also brought here safely this morning.
Director of the Border Roads Organisation’s Project Swastik (works) that maintains both the highways C.P. Sharma said traffic on North Sikkim Highway would be restored by the next three-four days while the Gangtok-Nathu-la road would be repaired by this evening or by tomorrow at the latest.
Water supply hit
Yesterday’s heavy rainfall also disrupted water supply to Gangtok from the Rathey Chu water source. Three six-inch and one 14-inch pipes were damaged between Rathey Chu and the water treatment plant at Selep tank, officials said.
“Temporary restoration may take another four to five days while the permanent repair may take almost two months,” said PHE junior engineer K.B. Karki.
The department has engaged more than 300 workers for the restoration. Only 50 to 70 per cent of the normal water supply will be released for Gangtok until the temporary restoration is over.
“Water will be released only during the evenings for the next two days,” said PHE secretary P.S. Basnet.
Titbits from SHEEM
Ghising opposes Gurung's Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh. 
Sikkim declared smoke-free state. 
Yuwa Morcha's leadership workshop commenced in Missiontar, Kalimpong.

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