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

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Indefinite strike suspended in Darjeeling hills...Morcha's relief to the people...Jaswant back minus Jinnah

KalimNews: GJMM has suspended the indefinite strike from tomorrow. In the central committee meeting held today it was decided to suspend the strike. Party sources said that in view of the talks of GJMM with ABAVP on 28 June, the strike to be in effect from tomorrow morning is suspended till further notice. It has also suspended the proposed hunger strike.
Morcha has informed the public through the pasted posters and public address system. The information was out in the public before it was announced by the party to the press and through its publicity wing.
Daily workers and the persons related to educational institutions are quite happy as most of the schools are reopening  after their summer vacation. Almost all the people are relaxed for getting the relief.
Political thinkers are of the opinion that these are mere lame excuses for withdrawing the strike without any achievement. According to a senior politician GJMM is under tremendous pressure from the government as well as party supporters based in the tea gardens and villages, at the same time the talk with ABAVP is not yet fixed. ABAVP will decide on the proposal of GJMM on 28. But it is quite clear that most of the ABAVP regional committees have disregarded the GAP proposal  of GJMM and have decided to stick for sixth schedule formula of state committee.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJMM) today announced that no bundh would be observed in the hills. It may recalled that the party had called indefinite bundh in the Darjeeling hills from 19th June and a two days' relaxation was given on 23 and 24 June with an indication to resume the bundh from 25 June. However the party has now made it clear that it has decided to observe only two hours chakka jam from Monday 28 June from 11AM in support of its various demands. 
While addressing the local media in the party office Morcha's Kalimpong committee's spokesperson Kumar Chamling said that the National Highway 31 A, lifeline of Sikkim, would be kept out of the purview of the chakkajam to be observed everyday from Monday until party's demands are met. He also added that the govt. offices would observe pen down strikes and rallies would be held regularly on every Saturday and Sunday to 'pressurise' the Govt. to accept Morcha's demands.
In may be recalled that on 23 June the Morcha had announced that party picketers  will strictly follow the guidelines and request the public to comply with the proposed bundh without any excuses to be held from 25 June and not to allow even party workers' two wheelers on the bundh period. Binay Tamang, Assistant General Secretary of the central committee had also requested the tourists to leave the Darjeeling hills by 24 June evening to avoid possible inconveniences. 
Now following the withdrawal of the proposed bundh, the Morcha has shown its flexibility in its earlier stance. This time the Morcha has said that the main reason to withdraw the proposed strike is in view of the Adivasi Vikash Parishad's Dooars unit's positive attitude towards the proposal of the Morcha to join hands with it to demand a separate state in the nomenclature of Gorkha Adivashi Pradesh (GAP). On the other hand, the Adivasi Praishad's local leaders have disclosed that they have received the Morcha's proposal but has not decided on the subject so far. The subject is likely to be discussed during the routine meeting of the Parishad to be held on 28 June in Banarhat, Jalpaiguri. Earlier, the Morcha had threatened to withdraw the ongoing strike only when its demands are fulfilled. The demands included not allowing B.L. Meena in the post of Administrator of the DGHC after June 30 when his present extended term expires, transferring K.L. Tamta, IG, North Bengal and others. 
It is said that the CM had promised to a delegation of All India Gorkha League (AIGL) that Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) administrator BL Meena will not be removed, neither KL Tamata, IGP, N.B nor the CRPF personnel stationed in the hills will be removed and all the Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP) camps will be made empty within in a month.

Deferred, not off, says Morcha- Eye on Adivasis
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, June 24: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today announced its decision to “defer” the indefinite strike in the hills, a day after the party threatened to “strictly” enforce the shutdown when it resumed on Friday after a 48-hour relaxation.
Instead, the party will from June 28 put up two-hour blockades on uphill roads everyday from 11am. The road to Sikkim or NH31A has been spared.
Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said today’s decision ensured the party “channelised” all its energies to jointly launching the movement with the Adivasi Vikas Parishad for a separate state called Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh.
On Tuesday, the Parishad had said it was willing to discuss this issue with the hill party but needed some time.
However, Morcha sources said several party leaders had prevailed upon party chief Bimal Gurung to at least “postpone” the strike in the greater interest of the people of the hills who were “severely inconvenienced”.
The sources also said the party had called the indefinite bandh in the hills to deflect attention from ABGL leader Madan Tamang’s murder. Gurung’s party has been accused of masterminding the murder and had to face severe backlash in the hills.
“But now we feel that the strike has served its purpose so there is no longer any need to continue with it,” a Morcha leader said.
In the end, sources said, the “saner voices” in the party prevailed upon Gurung and he took a “tactical” decision to “defer” the strike. They said Gurung did not announce that the Morcha was calling off the strike since he wanted the shutdown threat to hang before the district administration.
“The central committee has decided to postpone the indefinite general strike scheduled to resume from tomorrow because of the positive response that we have received towards our proposal for the creation of Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh from the Adivasi leadership,” Giri said at a news conference today. “Instead we shall start a road blockade from June 28, but NH31A will be spared.”
P. Arjun, a member of the Study Forum — a Morcha think tank — said the party should not be distracted by any other movement and instead give its “full attention” to the Parishad response.
“The Parishad’s response is a very positive development and we are hopeful that the meeting will take place by July 10,” Arjun said.
Giri said the future course of the agitation would depend on the outcome of the meeting with the Parishad. However, the party has decided to keep up the spirit of its cadres by carrying out its daily demonstrations in front of police stations, weekly torch rallies, the two-hour blockade of roads and public meetings. 
Setback to GJMM move on Dooars in Gorkhaland
SNS, KOLKATA/DARJEELING, 24 June: In a setback to the move by the Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha to appease the tribal population of the Dooars with their demand for a separate state for both Gorkhas and Adivasis, a delegation of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Bikash Parishad will meet the chief secretary, Mr Ardhendu Sen, opposing the demand for inclusion of the Dooars in ‘‘Gorkhaland’’.
The team will meet the chief secretary and other officials on 30 June. The GJMM chief, Mr Bimal Gurung, had proposed that instead of “Gorkhaland” the new state which will include the Dooars will be known as Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh to woo the tribals in Dooars and Terai region.
However, the Parishad has demanded inclusion of the area in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. They have also made several other demands relating to question papers in Hindi, land pattas etc.
Meanwhile, the GJMM suspended its indefinite shutdown today.
Morcha calls off its staggered bandh
Sabyasachi Bandhopadhyay, IE, Kolkata: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on Thursday decided to call off its indefinite bandh in the Hills that had started on June 19 to protest against the lathicharge by CRPF personnel on Morcha’s women wing — Nari Mukti Morcha — members at Kurseong.
The decision was taken at the central committee meeting of the outfit held today in Darjeeling. “In view of our ensuing talks with the Adivasi Vikas Parishad which will start in a week’s time we have suspended the bandh. We have also suspended our programme of fast unto death. We will however go ahead with our agitational programme of two-hour road blockade and gherao of police stations,” said Roshan Giri, Morcha general secretary.
Though Morcha said the bandh was being called off in view of talks with the Adivasi Bikas Parishad on June 27 on the change of nomenclature of the proposed separate state from Gorkhaland to Gorkhaland Adivasi Pradesh, experts of the region say that it had more to do with the tremendous pressure the outfit is facing in the wake of allegations levelled against it in connection with the gruesome murder of All India Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang on May 25.
Adding to it, the crackdown on Gorkhaland police (GLP), the volunteer force of the Morcha, has also weakened the outfit. From the very onset, the bandh this time failed to evoke strong response. The outfit had to suspend the bandh for two days — June 23 and June 24 — saying it would be reimposed with “stronger force”.
With today’s announcement, the state government could not hide its glee. “The Morcha is fast losing ground in the Hills. They have realised that and which is why they have withdrawn the bandh. It’s time they are dealt firmly,” said Ashok Bhattacharya, minister for urban development, who represents Siliguri at the state Assembly.
Jaswant regrets Jinnah
TT, New Delhi, June 24: The BJP reinducted Jaswant Singh into its fold 10 months after he was expelled for contentious lines on Mohammad Ali Jinnah that the leader had written in his book, and by which he stood today too.
The party decided to expel him at a chintan baithak in Shimla in August 2009.
Singh, the MP from Darjeeling, had then said he had gone from being BJP’s Hanuman to its Ravan.
Today’s event at the BJP headquarters to welcome him back seemed well orchestrated. It was attended by most of the BJP’s top-rung leaders and Singh’s family.
At a news conference that followed, the leaders revealed only what they wanted to, leaving many questions unanswered.
Asked about his comments on Jinnah, Singh told a TV channel: “I cannot disown the book on Jinnah... historical facts about Jinnah can’t be wished away just because we disagree.”
He, however, said the Kandahar controversy, which pitted him against Advani on the issue of national security, was “a closed chapter”.
In his book, Jinnah — India, Partition, Independence, Singh has said Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel were more responsible for the Partition than Jinnah. He also said the Pakistan founder was a secular leader — a point of view unacceptable to the Sangh parivar.
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi banned the book in his state.
Today, BJP president Nitin Gadkari said the “past is the past” and hoped that Singh would work to make the party’s future bright. Gadkari said the party was in need of Singh’s expertise in finance, foreign affairs and defence.
Singh profusely thanked Advani for taking the initiative to bring him back to the BJP of which he is a founding member.
“It is good to be back in familiar surroundings.… I wish to unreservedly express my gratitude to Advaniji who took the initiative,” Singh said.
The 72-year-old leader was flanked by Advani, Gadkari, and Sushma Swaraj, leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, among others.
“I was hurt and humiliated by what I had encountered,” said Singh about his expulsion. Advani said: “I am very happy. With happiness there is also a sense of relief. I welcome him (back).” He recounted how he had met Singh several years back in Rajasthan.
The first signs that Singh would be back in the BJP were seen last month when Advani asked the MP to accompany him to Bhairon Singh Shekhawat’s funeral in the same aircraft. 
Jaswant return fuels Gorkha state hope
TT, Darjeeling, June 24: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today welcomed the return of Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh to the BJP, hoping the move will provide fresh impetus to its statehood demand at the national level.
“We are happy with the BJP’s decision and we welcome it. We would like to thank the senior leaders of the BJP, including president Nitin Gadkari, for the decision,” Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said.
Although the BJP had backed the Morcha even after Singh’s expulsion, the hill outfit believes that the Darjeeling MP’s return would help its cause. “It will definitely help our movement,” said Giri.
After Singh’s expulsion, BJP leaders like Sushma Swaraj and Rajiv Pratap Rudy had publicly supported the statehood demand of the Morcha. But Bimal Gurung’s party thinks that the leaders were not as actively involved, as it would have liked them to be.
“With Jaswant Singh back in the main Opposition party, his influence will be stronger. Even when he was expelled from the party, Singh’s stature in Delhi had helped us a lot,” said a Morcha leader.
Locally, too, the Morcha is expected to gain from Singh’s inclusion in the BJP. This is largely because Dawa Sherpa, the state secretary of the BJP, is in the forefront of an anti-Morcha forum of seven parties in the hills — the Democratic Front — and has been appointed its convener.
Earlier this month, the CPRM, one of the front members, had demanded that the BJP explain its stand on the Morcha especially since Singh’s return was imminent. Sherpa had at that time said it was too early to say anything as Singh had not yet returned to the BJP. “The entire issue is speculative … Other parties can interpret our stand based on the BJP’s role in the Democratic Front and the statements made by us in public,” Sherpa had then said.
Today, after Singh’s return to the BJP, Sherpa refused comment.
Collision kills three Teachers
TT, Islampur, June 24: Three teachers from Cooch Behar — two of them retired and one still in service — were killed when the car they were travelling in collided with a pick-up van at Milanpalli here today.
The deceased were identified as Abinash Chandra Sinha, 66, his daughter Sharmistha Sinha, 27, and Nirmalendu Shekhar Jha, 67.
Inspector-in-charge of Islampur police station Krishnendu Mukherjee said the three were heading for Raghunathganj in Murshidabad district from Cooch Behar’s Mathabhanga.
Sinha and Jha were retired teachers of a Mathabhanga high school. Sharmistha had joined a girls’ school at Raghunathganj after qualifying the School Service Commission exams two years ago. Sinha happened to be the father-in-law of subdivisional officer of Darjeeling Amalkanti Roy and Jha was a Cooch Behar district committee member of the CPM.
According to Sunil Das, a witness, the incident occurred around 11am on National Highway 31. “It was raining and the pick-up van was speeding. Its driver lost control of the vehicle when it came near the Ambassador and the two vehicles collided,” he said.
While the two elderly persons died on the spot, Sharmistha succumbed to injuries at Islampur Subdivisional Hospital. All of them had suffered severe head injuries, the police officer said.
Sharmistha was going to join her school in Raghunathganj after summer vacation, said her brother Jyotirmoy Sinha who arrived here in the afternoon. “She was the youngest of our five siblings,” Jyotirmoy mumbled, too shocked to speak.
The drivers of both the vehicles fled after the accident. The vehicles have been seized.
Parents allege murder - Domestic help from Sikkim dead in Singapore
TT, Gangtok, June 24: A 32-year-old woman from Sikkim was found dead in the basement of a building in Singapore where she had been working as a domestic help.
Hemlata Chettri’s parents alleged that she had been murdered by her employers who used to torture her.
The body was found on the morning of June 22 at 22 Melville Park, Simei Street, according to a document from the High Commission of India, Singapore.
Hemlata was a resident of Munong busty at Sombaria, West Sikkim, and she had left for Singapore with a friend from the same place in November. “My daughter was murdered. I want justice,” said 62-year-old Padam Bahadur Chettri.
“Hemlata had been placed by a Singapore-based employment company, Charisa agency. She was initially working in the house of one Arrya Vissal. My daughter used to call us and talk about physical torture by the employers,” said Chettri, a farmer.
Later Hemlata was placed in another house owned by Smitha Nityananda at Simei Street. “There also, my daughter was tortured physically and she was not paid wages for five months. She could not come back because she did not have money,” said Chettri, who had borrowed Rs 17,000 from relatives to send his daughter to Singapore.
Hemlata was paid a salary of Rs 10,000 a month and had sent home Rs 17,400 after working for the first two months.
Hearing his daughter’s plight last week, Chettri sought help from senior police officers in Sikkim. “I met the superintendent of police (West), inspector-general (law and order) and even the director general of police. They had assured me of all possible help,” he said. “The West police chief also spoke to Hemlata on the phone and he was told that she did not want to work in Singapore anymore.”
The police chief of West district, Rajiv Ranjan, said he had spoken to Hemlata, but she had not said anything about the torture.
The father had raised money to bring Hemlata back to Sikkim and had also written to the Indian high commission in Singapore about her plight. “I was getting ready to book tickets for my daughter when I received a call from her on June 21. She said there was no need to send the tickets as her employers had started treating her properly,” said Chettri.
The next morning, an anonymous woman called up the Chettri family to tell them that Hemlata had committed suicide by jumping from her employer’s building. “The caller refused to identify herself and now her mobile phone is switched off,” said Iman Singh Limboo, a friend of Chettri.
Rejecting the suicide claim, the family has demanded an investigation and action against the persons involved in the death. A letter has been faxed to the high commission in Singapore, the National Human Rights Commission and the Singapore consulate in Calcutta.
Sikkim chief secretary T.T. Dorji said: “The state government will pursue the matter with the ministry of external affairs if the parents of the victim make a formal complaint.”
The Indian high commission in Singapore had faxed Hemlata’ s death certificate to the family members here. The cause of death had been listed as “craniocerebral injuries” and the name of the person who had reported her death was given as Smitha Nityananda.
The document dated June 24 was attested by Anil Kumar, assistant consular officer at the high commission.
The family members said they were trying to bring the body to Sikkim.
Admission worry end for students
TT, Siliguri, June 24: The withdrawal of the indefinite strike has removed the cloud of uncertainty over the counselling of hill students seeking admission to colleges in the plains.
Absence from counselling, after a name appears on the merit list, is construed as the student’s disinterest in the course and a second candidate may be considered.
A lot of students, who had applied for admission to colleges outside the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong, were not sure whether they would be able to make it to the counselling.
“It’s a relief that the strike has been called off because the counselling of my college is scheduled for June 29. When the Morcha had declared yesterday that the shutdown would resume from June 25 and this time it would be more severe, I was wondering whether I would be able to make it,” said a girl from Mirik seeking admission to Siliguri Women’s College.
Five students from Kurseong who have applied in Siliguri College rented a flat in Shivmandir when the strike was announced. “We came down as soon as the strike was announced and have been staying here since Friday. We didn’t want to take any risk. We are waiting for the college to publish its second list,” one of the girls in the group said.
While Bagdogra College has completed its admission process, Siliguri College has published its first merit list and started the counselling sessions on June 22. Siliguri Women’s College published its list yesterday and the counselling is scheduled for June 29. Gyanjyoti College published its first list three days ago and the second list will be out tomorrow. As for Siliguri College of Commerce, its merit list was out today and counselling scheduled for June 28.
With public transport off the roads during the bandh, students had to shell out extra money to hire cars to reach Siliguri. “My entrance exam for Jadavpur University in Calcutta is scheduled for June 23. I had approached the Morcha leadership and they issued me a pass to Siliguri. But the hired car charged us Rs 2,000 for a ride to New Jalpaiguri station. We had no option but to pay,” a girl from Kalimpong had said before leaving for Calcutta on Monday. At other times, the ride costs anything between Rs 60 and Rs 120 for each person.
College authorities said they could sense the students’ concern. “We had published our first list when the strike was still on and a lot of students who could not come down had called us to enquire if they had qualified,” said a representative of Gyanjyoti College
Worker held for rape
TT, Gangtok, June 24: A 38-year-old construction worker from Jalpaiguri was arrested yesterday for allegedly raping a six-year-old girl at Central Pandam in East Sikkim.
The accused, Sudhir Roy, who was working in a construction company, had been picked up after the girl’s father lodged a complaint with Rangpo police. A case has been registered.

No comments:

Post a Comment