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Friday, July 23, 2010

Tripartite talks -Morcha to offer 3 options......12 hr Siliguri Bandh...Ajay Dahal granted bail in Sikkim

Hill party willing to leave territory decision to Delhi 
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, July 23: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha will place three alternatives for the hills at the tripartite meeting in New Delhi tomorrow but it is looking at the Centre to decide on the territorial jurisdiction of the proposed set-ups.
Sources who are in the know of things today told The Telegraph that the negotiations would start with the demand for Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh or a new state.
The Morcha had re-christened the Gorkhaland state it wanted as Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh to woo the Adivasis or tribals so that they joined the statehood movement. A document justifying the necessity of GAP is likely to be submitted during the meeting.
But given the fact that the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad, which represents the majority of tribal population, has not yet “officially” agreed to the Morcha proposal, Bimal Gurung’s outfit will also deliberate on two “interim arrangements”. One of them is similar to the proposal submitted to the Centre and the state during the last tripartite meeting in New Delhi on March 18.
“The Morcha is aware that the demand for statehood cannot be achieved immediately at any cost and is now looking forward to things that could be a stepping stone to statehood,” said the source.
The Morcha, according to the source, is pinning its hopes on an “interim arrangement outside Bengal”, which actually amounts to “Union Territory-like status”.
“They will place the demand for an interim arrangement, which will have nothing to do with Bengal,” said the source. Observers believe that this proposal would essentially mean that the Centre should extend its jurisdiction over the area with no interference from Bengal until a concrete arrangement is worked out for the region. However, this proposal is unlikely to be accepted by the state government.
The third option is an “interim set-up within Bengal but with minimal interference”. This would be in line with the document placed by the hill party during the last tripartite meeting, where it wanted the local administrative body to be answerable directly to the governor.
If the government accepts any of the proposed interim arrangements, the Morcha would probably be willing to negotiate on the territory. The Morcha had wanted all areas north of National Highway 31C in Jalpaiguri district to be included in the set-up besides the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling.
“The Morcha will not be averse to forming a joint committee to conduct a survey on the areas demanded, as had been done to settle the territory issue when the Bodo Territorial Council was formed,” the source added. 
12 hr Siliguri Bandh
KalimNews: BOBBBC has called a 12 hr Siliguri Bandh  from 5 am to 5pm in protest against the sixth tripartite talks. Bangala au Bangla Bhasa Bachao Committee an anti Gorkhaland organisation has been opposing the tripartite talks. According to the BOBBC there is no democracy in the hills and Goondaraj is reigning the hills since the GJMM started its agitation, people are being forced to join in the rallies and GJMM programme. GJMM is anti-national and spearheaded by Nepalese citizens instead of sitting for talks their nationality should be verified and all foreigners be driven away. GJMM is stopping public from paying taxes of vehicles and others, revenue of telephone and electricity, have their own parallel police force, and directly and indirectly involved in the murder of Madan Tamang. 
Meanwhile it is learnt that Home Minister P Chidambaram had requested Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattachrya to participate in the talks but he replied in negative.  Ajoy Maken  the Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Dinesh Trivedi the Union minister of state for health  and Union Home Secretary GK.Pillai   is representing the Center in the talks while Health Minister Suryakanta Mishra, Commerce & Industries Minister Nirupam Sen and state Home Secretary Samar Ghose is representing the state. GJMM team consists of Roshan Giri, HB Chhetri, Rohit Sharma, RB Bhujel, LB Pariyar, Raju Pradhan, Santosh Rai, DK Pradhan, Triloke Dewan, LB Rai, Binay Tamang, Pradip Pradhan, P Arjun and Wilson Champramari. It is also said Vijay Madan the interlocutor for the tripartite talks will also be present in the talks.
State Skeptical
TNN, KOLKATA: All eyes are on Saturday's tripartite talks the sixth so far between the Centre, Bengal government and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).
While health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra will represent the Left Front government, Union minister of state for home Ajay Maken will attend the meeting on behalf of the Centre along with Union home secretary G K Pillai.
On the other hand, Union minister of state for health Dinesh Trivedi said he would be present at the meeting as a representative of Trinamool Congress. "We need to keep tabs on the developments in Darjeeling," he added. He was present in the last tripartite meeting as well.
Sources at Writers' Buildings say chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has decided to skip the meeting because he is against holding any talks with GJM, whose influence in the Hills is on the wane since the May 21 assassination of ABGL chief Madan Tamang.
The names of GJM president Bimal Gurung, general secretary Roshan Giri and nine other top leaders figure in the FIR filed after the murder. Besides, a number of low-ranking GJM activists have been arrested in connection with Tamang's killing. "Now, they (GJM) have lost the support of the Hills people," said urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya, who hails from Siliguri in Darjeeling district.
Bhattacharya said he decided not to attend Saturday's talks "in honour of the sentiments of the Hills people". He added: "I don't think the meeting will yield any fruit. The Centre is giving unnecessary importance to GJM. The people of the Hills do not have any faith in the Morcha. There should not be any dialogue with GJM."
"Once the meeting is over, the Morcha will go back to its disruptive politics, which is harming development work in Darjeeling," said Bhattacharya.
Sources said the meeting will focus on finding ways to have an interim set-up in place of the existing Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council. The Centre and the state want to include only the three Hills sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong in the proposed set-up while GJM is seeking inclusion of the Terai and Nepali-dominated pockets of the Dooars.
Earlier, ABAVP had asked the government to involve it in any talks on the Dooars and the Terai where tribals outnumber Nepalis.
UGRF Chief brought to Kalimpong 
KalimNews: Ajay Dahal UGRF chief arrested on February 9 this year in Sikkim under  Arms Act with a country made pistol and three cartridges in his possession at Gangtok was granted bail by Chief Judicial Magistrate of East district, Sikkim. 
Today he was produced before ND Burman , the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate of Kalimpong as he has some cases of murder in Kalimpong Police Station. Dahal was ordered to keep in judicial custody of Kalimpong Correctional Home. United Gorkha Revolutionary Front Chief  Dahal was in judicial custody at Rongyek Jail before his release in bail.
Speaking to the reporters Dahal said he was positive about the sixth tripartite talks and think that the delegation members will not go against the peoples dream and will concentrate only on Gorkhaland. Refuting the allegation of murder and arms case he told that all the allegation are framed purely political to paralyse him. He even said that for the last 6 months he is not allowed to get in contact with others as such he has no idea on what is happening around the region and world. Condemning the murder of Madan Tamang he stated that his murder in the broad day light is a shame for the Gorkhas of Darjeeling.
Since November 21, 2004 after the foundation of UGRF Dahal, a former Central Industrial Security Force   after declaration of an armed struggle for creation of a separate State of Gorkhaland was wanted by the Kalimpong Police. Later he was wanted for the murder of Yohan Singh Lepcha a GNLF supporter.

ABGL Hunger Strike begins, Darjeeling, July 23: Demanding justice to brutal murder of Madan Tamang, Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League started indefinite relay hunger strike in Darjeeling today. “It’s more than two months, administration is unable to bring culprits into justice, therefore, we are compelled to initiate hunger strike”, said Dawa Sherpa , working president of ABGL at Chowrasta premises, where hunger strike is taking place by seven  ABGL activists including Bharati Tamang, wife of late Madan Tamang.
ABGL believes the murder of Madan Tamang was conspired by Janmukti Morcha. “It is ridiculous to Morcha leaders including Bimal Gurung to ask for CBI inquiry”, said Laxman Pradhan, secretary ABGL. The team of ABGL headed by Bharati Tamang had appealed to chief minister Buddhadev Bhatacharjee, for the immediate arrest of offenders involved in murder of Madan Tamang directly or indirectly. ABGL also pleaded governor of West Bengal M K Narayanan for immediate arrest and CBI inquiry.
Hill girl sold
TT, Gangtok, July 23: A 15-year-old girl of Sikkim was sold for Rs 50,000 in Haryana after she was lured to Delhi with the promise of a job, her father has alleged in a police complaint.
Anita Biswakarma of Temi in South Sikkim, who had paid Rs 2,000 to the girl’s father before taking her in January, has been arrested.
Chandra Bahadur Bhujel, a day labourer in East Sikkim’s Lower Bardang, said in the complaint yesterday that Anita had had told him that his daughter would work as a domestic help on a monthly salary of Rs 5,000. In Delhi, Anita’s husband Rajendra Jaat sold the minor to a person at Jhajjar in Haryana for Rs 50,000.
Jaat is said to be a resident of Jhajjar.
Recently, the girl called a villager at Bardang saying she had been sold for prostitution, said deputy-inspector general (range) of Sikkim police N. Sridhar Rao.
Efforts were being made to trace the girl and the accused Jaat. “Once the location is identified, we will take assistance of the local police to rescue the girl.” Rao added.
Dream session with Bayern- Six under-18 players to fly to Germany on August 14

TT, Siliguri, July 23: Six soccer players from Siliguri selected by the visiting Bayern Munich team last year are set to leave for their trip to Germany on August 14.
The Under-18 boys will rub shoulders with their dream players, Philip Lahm, Miroslav Klose and Thomas Meuller.
Sanjib Kerketta, Abhishek Chhetri, Litan Shil, Amit Thakuri, Dipu Burman and Nishant Toppo were shortlisted by the German football club to visit Munich for an advanced training after the foreign team played an exhibition match against the Siliguri Mahakuma Krira Parishad XI at Kanchenjungha Stadium here in January 2009.
The German club will bear the food and accommodation expenses of the six players.
“They received their passports yesterday and they will leave for Germany on August 14,” said Jayabrata Ghosh, the SMKP coach. “During their nine-day stay, they will attend practice sessions with the Bayern players, share their dressing room, visit the football ground and also watch one of the matches of the club during the next Bundesliga (German national soccer league) season.”
The first match of the German team in the Bundesliga will be against Wolfsburg on August 20.
Meuller, who bagged the Golden Boot in this year’s Fifa World Cup in South Africa, was one of the members of the Bayern team that came here last year.
“I am really excited about meeting Meuller. If I get a chance to talk to him, I will ask him to show us the Golden Boot. Definitely, I will love to get some valuable tips from him to help develop my skill,” Dipu said.
Amit considers sharing the dressing room with the World Cuppers is a life time experience for players like him.
“They have played the highest level of football in the world. I am excited about the prospect of meeting them and sharing the same ground and dressing room with them. It will be a life time experience for all of us. Whatever tips I will get from players like Meuller will help me improve my play,” he said.
Abhishek, too, echoed his friends. “Time is very short to learn something from the great footballers. I will try to enjoy the every moment of my trip and learn as much as I can,” he said.
State urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya who facilitated the six players’ overseas trip said he had asked the state sports department to provide the players’ plane fare.
Rock music for Sikkim
Prakha, Gangtok, July 23: The last time Gangtokians rocked to a major headbanging event was on Valentine’s Day, last year when Nepal rock band Robin N The New Revolution had performed at Paljor Stadium. This year, the music lovers here have an opportunity to enjoy rock music and at the same time, support Deorali Mayalmu Sangh, an NGO which runs a destitute home at 5th Mile, Tadong here.
An event management company is organizing the charity concert, ‘Valley Rock 2010’ at Paljor Stadium on July 24.This will be the biggest rock concert that Sikkim will ever witnessed, said Amit Gurung, managing director of The Alpine Attitude Event Management private limited which is organizing the charity concert.
Top rock acts like Still Waters from Gangtok and The Hobos from Kolkata will be featuring in the concert, said Gurung.
The opening act will be performed by Gangtok guitarist Yogendra Rai. The rock concert will start from 5 pm and will continue for four hours, it was informed. The event organizers said that ‘Valley Rock 2010’ is a charity concert in aid of Deorali Mayalmu Sangh which runs a destitute home at 5th Mile, Tadong. The NGO had started the destitute home for mentally unstable poor persons in 2008 and today gives shelter to around 25 such homeless persons picked up from streets in a rented premise.
The organizers said that they are expecting around 10,000 music lovers to attend the rock concert. The entry passes are priced at minimal of just Rs. 100 so more and more music lovers could attend the concert, they said appealing the people to support the cause.
Drawing competition for all 
KalimNews: A unique drawing competition for all the students starting from nursery to Class XII was organised by Girls' High School of Kalimpong. There were different type of competition for different class. The category and the type of competition was as follows- colouring up to nursery, flower in a vase (II- IV), landscape (v-vii), festivals (VIII-X), child labour (XI and XII). The competition was organised for encouraging the art of drawing and painting among the students  as well as selecting the best artists of the school.
Five-hour street chase busts desire herbs racket
TT, Gangtok, July 23: Five persons were arrested after a five-hour chase that ended with the smugglers trying to sell around 2kg of cater pillar fungus, known for its aphrodisiac properties, to a decoy.
The decoy used by Gangtok police had struck a deal of Rs 2.7 lakh per kg with the smugglers of Himalayan herb. When the deal was through, a police team led by inspector Tshering Sherpa struck, rounding up the gang at 12.30pm from near the circuit house here.
To throw the police off their scent, the gang had changed position thrice from 8am before agreeing to meet the decoy. From MG Marg to Namnang to the gate of Tashi Namgyal Academy, the gang flitted in and out. Finally, they met the police decoy in front of the circuit house more than four hours later.
“The total weight of the medicinal herbs was 2.10kg,” said Sherpa. “The police had been tipped off about the peddlers.”
Caterpillar fungus or yartcha gombu — scientific name Cordyceps Sinensis — is half-insect (see chart). Although its medicinal properties are yet to be scientifically substantiated, it is famous in the Himalayan belt including Nepal and Bhutan for its aphrodisiac properties. Often, it is known as the Himalayan Viagra.
The consignment had been brought from high altitude regions — 8,000ft and above — of Lachung in North Sikkim. It is also found in East district. A taxi used by the group to ferry the consignment has also been seized.
“We will hand over the consignment and the arrested persons to the wildlife authorities, who will take up the case,” Sherpa said.
The chief wildlife warden of the state, N.T. Bhutia, said the department would register cases against Bhim Bahadur Rai, 20, Pawan Pradhan, 34, Bikash Gurung, 27, Suk Bahadur Subba, 26, and Nar Bahadur Gurung, 47, under the wildlife protection and forest conservation acts.
Under the acts, collection of forest produce from reserve forests, sanctuaries and national parks without prior permission is illegal and attracts penalties of fines and imprisonment depending on the degree of the crime.
Till a couple of years ago, a kg of caterpillar fungus used to fetch as much as $2,000 but its price has come down to $1,500 in recent times, a forest officer said.
Regulated collection and trading of yartcha gombu is allowed in Nepal and Bhutan. Realising that its bio revenue source has been lying untapped, the Sikkim government had in July last year framed rules for sustainable collection and trading of the herb.
Only registered joint forest management committees and eco development committees are allowed to collect the medicinal herbs after permission from the range officer. The permission is given after field verification and approval by the principal chief conservator of forests. Finally, the collection is monitored by a forester not below the rank of block officer.
However, no collection is permitted in the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. This May, the herb-growing areas were supposed to be surveyed, but the study could not be carried out because of opposition from villagers.
After collection, the herb was to be auctioned by a committee set up by the state government. Of the proceeds, 75 per cent would have remained with the forest management committees who collected the herb. The rest would have been deposited with the government. A forester said the villagers’ objection stemmed from the fact that the government’s rate was low. “If they sold it outside, they will profit more,” said the forester.
DGP Fined
PTI, Kolkata: West Bengal Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh was on Friday summoned to the state Assembly and ordered to pay Rs 1000 as "punishment" by Speaker H A Halim for taking a photo in the House with his mobile. The Speaker asked the DGP, who was produced by the marshal in a temporary dock set up in the well of the Assembly whether he had taken a photo in the House with his mobile phone camera on Thursday.
The DGP, who was in civil dress, replied that the flash on his mobile phone camera went off by mistake, but no photo was taken.
The Speaker then said, "You say yes or no. I don't need any explanation."
The DGP replied he had not taken a photo.
Since the DGP was speaking softly and there was no microphone in the well, his answers were conveyed by the marshal using the microphone of CLP leader Manas Bhunia.
Halim said, "When I called you to my chamber yesterday you said you received an SMS from Darjeeling and when you tried to see it, by mistake you took a photo. It was not intentional.But today you are saying that you did not take a photo, but the flash on your mobile went off. Why the contradiction?"
The DGP replied that he did not know if a photo was taken and the mobile phone had to be examined.
The Speaker then asked, "Don't you think you have committed a grave mistake?"
The DGP replied, "Yes, sir."
"Do you regret it?" the Speaker asked.
The DGP replied, "I regret it and apologise unconditionally."
Halim then ruled "Since the DGP has admitted his mistake and apologised unconditionally, his mobile set stands forfeited by the House. To get back the mobile set the delinquent must pay Rs 1000 to the Chief Minister's relief Fund."
The Speaker later clarified to reporters in his chamber that the DGP had not been reprimanded or fined.
"The word fine was not in my ruling. Also it cannot be said that the DGP was reprimanded. Since he realised his mistake and apologised, it is punishment," Halim said.
Suicide to save tortured men
Legal expert, TT: A septuagenarian father has taken his own life to “save” his son and other tortured husbands.
Prasanta Kumar Ghosh blamed his death on his daughter-in-law’s threats to slap false torture charges and demanded a law to protect husbands and in-laws in such a predicament.
“My daughter-in-law is responsible for my death. I take the decision to end my life only to save thousands of husbands and their family members from the hands of cruel women like her,” the retired government employee in Hooghly’s Mogra wrote in a neatly folded three-page note he left behind in his shirt pocket.
Ghosh’s daughter-in-law was allegedly involved in an extra-marital affair with a cop in the area. “(But) neither me nor my son could protest as she threatened every day that she would lodge a complaint against us under section 498A,” wrote the 71-year-old.
In Calcutta High Court on Friday, Justice A.K. Banerjee read the note at least twice before the division bench, also including Justice R.N. Roy, dismissed the daughter-in-law’s plea for anticipatory bail. The police have charged the 31-year-old daughter-in-law with abetment to suicide.
“I know my letter will reach a judge one day. I would like him to consider my case. If there should be a law like 498A to protect housewives from cruel husbands and in-laws, there should also be a law to protect them from the hands of cruel women like my daughter-in-law,” wrote Ghosh.
Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code was introduced in 1983 to fight harassment for dowry. Under the law, a husband and his relatives can be jailed for life. The “cruelty” charge means immediate arrest and lawyers said the accused had no option but to wait out the investigation period. “Once the investigation reveals that a false complaint had been lodged, they can sue the woman and her kin,” said advocate and ex-mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya.
Complaints about the misuse of Section 498A have been levelled before by in-laws at the receiving end of threats. Advocate Jayanta Narayan Chatterjee said such complaints were on the rise. “Around four out of 10 complaints of harassment against husbands and in-laws do not stand in court.”
Pratip Ghosh found his father hanging at their home in Mogra, about 65km from Calcutta, when he returned home after dropping his six-year-old son at school on June 25. The police found the note in Ghosh’s pocket.
Opposing the daughter-in-law’s plea for a reprieve, government counsel Pradip Roy furnished a copy of the FIR Pratip had filed after his father’s death. “My wife was adamant in nature and did not want to keep a good relationship with me and my father. In my absence, she used to meet a person (the cop)…. He sometimes came to our house in my absence…. My father had opposed all this... the matter has maligned us in society,” it said.
Pratip is married for eight years. Ghosh had initially opposed his son’s relationship with her “but he accepted her after some time”, Pratip wrote in the FIR.
Women’s organisations chose not to read too much into the tragedy. “It is not so easy to misuse the law,” said Indrani Sinha of Sanlaap. “Even if a woman is trying to misuse section 498A, her family, in this case her father-in-law and husband, could easily have taken precaution in the form of going to the police first and lodging a complaint. If they are innocent, they need not fear.”
Sinha also pointed to the domestic violence law that “does try to protect women” but can also “be used by the men, or any member of a family who is facing a problem at home”.
Sainthia duo own up to diversion ‘mistake’
TT, Calcutta, July 23: The two “booked off” officials at Sainthia station have admitted that they had not applied the interlocking system that could have diverted the speeding Uttar Banga Express and prevented the July 19 tragedy, a railway source said today.
The cabin operator and the assistant station manager were on duty when the Uttar Banga Express rammed into the Vananchal Express, killing 62 people.
“They had committed a mistake by not applying the system to divert the train to another track. They have admitted their mistake in front of the inquiry committee. They have already been temporarily taken off duty,” the source said.
Today, CID officials probing the tragedy said they had found a broken brake-shoe beside the tracks near Mayurakshi bridge, which the Uttar Banga Express had crossed before hurtling into Sainthia station. The bridge is 1km from the station.
The sleuths are yet to ascertain whether the brake-shoe had split off the wheels of the Uttar Banga Express.
“Experts from the forensic department will examine the brakes of the Uttar Banga Express to ascertain whether the drivers had applied them to try and bring the train to a halt.
They will also examine whether the brakes were functioning properly,” a CID officer said.
Railway officials, however, said one brake-shoe falling off would not have “created any problem”.
“Each coach has eight pairs of wheels with one brake-shoe for each wheel. If one of the 16 brake-shoes fall off, it won’t affect the braking system,” a railway official said.
The post-mortem report of the two drivers of Uttar Banga Express has confirmed that they were not drunk.
The police are also waiting for the viscera report of the two drivers. The report will reveal whether they had been drugged.
Varsity strike withdrawn
TT, Santiniketan, July 23: The students of Visva-Bharati today lifted their strike for the time being after the authorities expressed regret over Sunday’s police cane-charge on students protesting a fee hike and assured them that they would “discuss” the fee-reduction demand.
The varsity authorities said the students’ demand would be discussed at the institute’s finance committee meeting on July 30. Amitabha Chowdhury, the public relations officer of Visva-Bharati, said: “We deeply regret Sunday’s cane-charging by the police.”
“We have also asked the students to suggest a fee structure,” Chowdhury said.
What boys pack in schoolbags: bomb, blade ‘Blow-up’ bid to get even
TT, Behrampore, July 23: A Class VIII student in Murshidabad today took a bomb to school, apparently to teach a senior “a lesson” for beating him up yesterday.
Manirul Sheikh (name changed), 14, said he had bought the bomb for Rs 100 from a man in his village, Chandrasinghabati in Kandi. had had a fight with Class X student Tapesh Ghosh (name changed) while returning home from Chatinakandi Gurupada High School on Thursday, police said.
Before the prayer meeting today, Manirul asked some of his friends if they had seen Tapesh. He bragged that he had a bomb in his schoolbag and would “blow up” the older boy. Tapesh, however, had not come to school today because he was unwell.
Some of Manirul’s classmates informed life science teacher Dhananjoy Mondal about the bomb. “I took Manirul to a classroom and fetched a bucket of water. I asked the other students to leave the room and told Manirul to hand the bomb over to me. He took the bomb out of his bag and gave it to me. I immediately put it into the water,” Mondal said.
The boy was made to sit in the staff room till the police arrived and took him into custody. “We are investigating how such a young boy could get a bomb so easily,” said B.L. Meena, the district superintendent of police.
Intelligence officials said bombs were smuggled into Murshidabad’s Khargram, Islampur and Samsergunj from neighbouring Jharkhand. Priced at Rs 80-100, they were used during political clashes.
Tapesh said he had beaten up Manirul but “never thought he would try to kill me”.
An officer said Manirul had proposed to a classmate who had complained to Tapesh. The senior boy had accosted Manirul outside school.
“After taking a few blows from Tapesh, Manirul said he would teach him a lesson the next day,” the officer said.
What happened: A Class IX student slashes a senior’s throat with blade
Where: At a Malda madrasa
Why: Fight over a girl
What happened: A Class VIII student brought a bomb to school
Where: At a Murshidabad school
Why: To “teach a lesson” to a senior with whom he had a fight

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