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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Morcha eases bandh, pulls out squatters ...Day 4 of Indefinite strike in hills ends with 48 hrs relaxation...Adivasis consented on talks For GAP...

TT, June 22: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today announced a 48-hour bandh relaxation starting 6am tomorrow and shifted its lathi-wielding volunteers from some of the government buildings they had been occupying, the conciliatory gestures coming within hours. general secretary, Roshan Giri, said late tonight that the relief would last till 6am on Friday.
“It was made so that people are not inconvenienced,” Giri said, hours after the Morcha had threatened to strictly enforce the indefinite strike across the hills.
A sign that the Morcha was more keen to avoid a confrontation with the administration than ever before was evident when members of the Gorkhaland Personnel started vacating some of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) properties late last night.
However, the outfit tried to give the impression that it had not given up, saying it would not move out of the buildings that were better located.
Col (retd) Ramesh Allay, the president of the volunteer force, said the camps at Deolo, Relli, Kafer, Pedong and Algarah had already been vacated.
At Deolo, 5km from Kalimpong town, Kafer, 55km away, and Relli, 11km from Kalimpong, the Morcha had been occupying DGHC tourist lodges.
At Pedong and Algarah, it had taken over two government offices lying unused for years.
There were 49 Gorkhaland Personnel camps in the hills and seven of them were housed in DGHC buildings.
Four of them — Parijat Lodge and Dalim Fort in Gorubathan, Tribeni Lodge in Rongli-Rongliot and Roy Villa in Darjeeling — are still under Morcha occupation.
DGHC administrator B.L. Meena had filed FIRs against the volunteer force for occupying the seven properties.
Morcha sources said the reason the volunteers were being moved out was the urgency to dissociate with any confrontation or violence in the aftermath of the murder of ABGL leader Madan Tamang. The hill party has been accused of masterminding it.
“The backlash after Tamang’s death has been contained to a large extent and the Morcha does not want to get into a situation which might lead to a confrontation with the government and end in violence,” a leader said. “The government should also reciprocate this gesture by not insisting that the GLP moves out of the other properties.”
The administration indicated the Morcha had no option but to vacate all the buildings. “Action will be taken against all illegal occupants,” district police chief D.P. Singh said.
K.L. Tamta, the out-going north Bengal inspector-general of police, had warned the squatters that they risked being arrested.
KalimNews 5.30pm: As the indefinite bandh of GJMM enters 4th day it is entering a phase of uncertainty and arrogance from the administration. Further to let the people feel at ease during the strike it has been providing help lines and arranged for special vehicles to allow the movement of the people for their urgent and important assignments like attending schools, colleges, duties, sick and funeral and marriage ceremonies, moving for admission, examination and others. Since saturday the GJMM of Kalimpong with the help of Chalak Mahasangh arranged 86 bus and vehicle trips for public conveyance from Kalimpong to outstations.
Now the party thinks that people are taking advantage of the help being arranged as such it has decided to arrange for vehicular movement starting from tomorrow only on alternative days at the same time. From today it has opened vehicle monitoring check points to control the unnecessary movement of the two and four wheelers.
Vehicular movement in NH31A is increasing day by day. Today it was nearly 50-60 percent in comparison to a normal day.
Pix: vehicular movement in NH31A at Chitray on 22nd June
Passengers waiting for taxis and Police taking rest at Chitray
Adivasis ready for statehood talks
TT, June 22: The Terai-Dooars unit of the Adivasi Vikas Parishad today wrote to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha it was willing to discuss the proposal for a joint movement for a state called Gorkha Adivasi Parishad, in defiance of the outfit’s state leaders.
The letter has come as a shot in the arm for the Morcha, on the backfoot because of the backlash after the murder of ABGL leader Madan Tamang.
Since the Morcha launched its statehood movement two years ago, the Parishad had been insisting that the so-called Gorkhaland should not include the Dooars and Terai.
“We had written to the Parishad asking them to sit for talks on the issue. Today, we received a letter from them stating they were willing,” Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said in Darjeeling.
John Barla, the convener of the Parishad’s Terai-Dooars unit, confirmed the letter and said: “We have not joined the movement yet. We have asked for time and will let them know in a day or two.”
About 40 per cent of the population in the Dooars and Terai is Adivasi. The Gorkhas, too, constitute 40 per cent of the population while the rest are Bengalis.
Since the Morcha promised to rechristen Gorkhaland the Gorkha Adivasi Parishad, Barla had been keen to sit for talks but his state leaders had prevented him from doing so. Today, Barla said: “There is no need to involve the state leaders in this as it is a decision concerning our region.” 
Strike to go on, says Morcha- 200 students to return to hill schools today amid band
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, June 22: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today announced that it would strengthen its picketers across the hills from tomorrow to strictly enforce the strike now that “the tourists had left” even as a group of 200-odd students from Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh are planning to return to Darjeeling after their summer break tomorrow.
Binay Tamang, the assistant secretary of the Morcha, today said: “We have allowed smooth passage of tourists for the past four days and it is only expected that all tourists have left town. From tomorrow we will increase picketers across the Darjeeling hills and only those who have emergencies to attend to like job interviews, medical treatment will be given a free passage.” Only those schools having internal term exams were exempted from the strike, he said.
In fact, the Morcha today started picketing in Singamari area (where the party’s office is situated) to check whether vehicles “were moving with proper documents”. The Morcha-affiliated All Hill Transport Joint Action Committee, a union of transporters, has been entrusted with the job of issuing “passes” during the strike.
Meanwhile, a group of 200-odd students from Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh are expected to reach Darjeeling tomorrow, after the Morcha issued permission for their “safe passage.”
The students belong to St Joseph’s School (North Point), which is among the best schools in the hills, where former kings of Nepal and Bhutan, among other royal members, have studied in the past.
“Cancelling tickets and getting confirmations is an arduous task for the students. Since the students are coming from various places, we decided to approach the Morcha to grant us safe passage to which they have agreed. We are thankful to the Morcha,” said Kinley Tshering, rector, North Point. The school is scheduled to reopen after their summer break on June 24.
Ten vehicles from North Point will leave for Birtamore- the nearest airport in Nepal, to fetch the 70-odd students from Nepal most from Kathmandu, while an equal number of cars will reach Phutensoling to get the students from Bhutan.
“The Thai and Bangladeshi students will be reaching Bagdogra airport,” said Tshering. North Point boarders from Calcutta, — there are about 35 boarders from the city — and the rest of country, will however come as and when the strike ends.
Maoist ‘comrades’ meet in lock-upChhatradhar & Bapi in same court
TT, Jhargram, June 22: When the cloth wrapped around Bapi Mahato’s face was removed this afternoon, a familiar face greeted him.
The bespectacled Chhatradhar Mahato leaned forward to confirm if it was indeed his comrade. Then he broke into a smile. Bapi smiled back.
The leader of the Maoist-backed People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities was among 20-odd undertrials in the lockup at Jhargram court, where Bapi, the prime suspect in the train track sabotage that killed 150 people, was produced.
Two of the biggest names linked with the Maoist insurgency in Bengal shared the courtroom lockup for about 30 minutes before the magistrate called Bapi’s name.
Bapi was still in the maroon T-shirt and white dhoti in which he was when the police picked him up from a guesthouse on the outskirts of Jamshedpur on Sunday.
His sister Minu went to a policeman with a trouser she had brought from home. The police searched the garment and let her walk up to the lockup. In the crowd, Bapi had missed his sister. Chhatradhar gestured him to come forward.
After a silent greeting, the trouser was handed over. Bapi changed using the dhoti like a towel.
The packed courtroom saw Bapi looked exactly like the “wanted” man in the photo circulated by the CBI.
Before additional chief judicial magistrate Sheikh Muhammad Rezza, the lawyer for the CBI, Partha Tapaswi, recounted the police version of events from the day of the train tragedy to the arrest. He sought a fortnight’s police remand for Bapi and his relative Bimal Mahato.
The defence lawyer wondered why the same remand was being sought for both. Nothing was found on Bimal to suggest his role in the sabotage, Kaushik Sinha said.
The police said Bimal had provided Bapi with three phones with which he used to stay in touch with others involved in the case. “Bimal might also have some vital information.”
The magistrate sent them to 10 days’ police custody. They will have to be produced in his court again on July 1.
The cloths wrapped around their heads again, the two left for Kharagpur at 4.30pm.
Chhatradhar was in the court in connection with the kidnapping of six CPM leaders in Lalgarh in 2009.
Another Maoist, Telugu Dipak alias Venkateswara Reddy, who had been arrested from Behala on March 2, was produced in a court in Bankura’s Khatra in connection with the murder of a police officer in 2005. He was sent to 14 days’ police custody and taken back to Calcutta by road.
Morcha buckles, GLP pulls out of Govt buildings
TOI, Darjeeling: The GJM succumbed to govt pressure on Tuesday and started dismantling camps of its ‘police wing’, the GLP, and pulling them out of govt buildings. On Monday, the state govt had threatened to use force to demolish these camps.
In a further indication of the softening of stance, Morcha leader Roshan Giri announced late on Tuesday a relaxation of the indefinite bandh in the Hills from 6 am on Wednesday to 6pm on Friday to “ease public convenience”.
The Morcha has suffered a dent in its support base after 11 of its top leaders, including its chief Bimal Gurung, were named in an FIR for the brutal murder of ABGL chief Madan Tamang. The lathi-weilding GLP has gained notoriety for acts like smearing tar on people who do not wear the Gorkha traditional dress and stopping couples from holding hands in public.
On Sunday, however, there were reports of GLP cadres pulling out of camps in Dello, Relli, Pedong, Algarah and Kafer in Kalimpong. “We have started vacating some DGHC buildings on the orders of the GJM president,” GLP commandant colonel (retired) Ramesh Allay said.
GLP evicted from guests houses in Darjeeling
PTI, Darjeeling/Kolkata, June 22:  The West Bengal government today evicted ”police” volunteers raised by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha who were illegally occupying government guest houses in Darjeeling, a day after it decided to do so. “The illegal occupants of five out of eight or nine government guest houses in Kalimpong have been driven out without any resistance,” IGP (Law and Order) Surajit Kar Purakayastha told reporters in Kolkata.  
Legal notice has been served on the remaining ”Gorkhaland police” (GLP) volunteers to move out of the other guest houses in Kalimpong, he said. The CRPF have also been deployed in the hills to maintain law and order in the hills, Purakayastha said. 
The GLP had policed the hills earlier in the absence of the police. At a meeting with Urban Development Minister Asok Bhattacharjee yesterday, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had given the nod for the eviction of the GLP. In Darjeeling, government offices remained open even though an indefinite strike called by GJM in protest against police baton charge on some GLP volunteers in Kurseong has been on since Saturday. 
Schools and colleges were also open, though the number of students were few. The GJM has been on the back foot since the assassination of All India Gorkha League president Madan Tamang on May 21 for which it has been blamed.
Peace Rally on 21 June in Darjeeling organised by ABGL( Madan Tamang ABGL President was hacked to death on 21 May 2010 in Darjeeling)
Pix: Rabin Rai, Darjeeling Times 

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