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Monday, July 26, 2010

Axed tribal duo form party...GJMM protests off...Mig crash toll3

TT, July 25: The formation of the Progressive People’s Party was announced today, the same day two of its office bearers were suspended by the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad.
Raju Bara, the Parishad’s organising secretary in the Dooars, and Kirankumar Kalindi, a senior leader of the organisation, were suspended indefinitely by the Parishad’s state leadership for “indiscipline”.
Bara had written to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha last month offering to hold talks with the hill party much to the anger of the Parishad state leadership that wants Sixth Schedule status for the Terai and the Dooars.
Explaining that the creation of the PPP, a new political party in the Dooars, did not mean that the Parishad had split, Bara said: “The Parishad is to the PPP what the RSS and the VHP are to the BJP.” While Bara is one of the four general secretaries of the PPP state committee, Kalindi is it’s central committee president.
“The Parishad is an NGO that works for the betterment of the Adivasis, the PPP is a political party. We will fight in all seats in the Dooars and the Terai in the 2011 Assembly elections,” he said at a meeting in Jalpaiguri’s Malbazar.
The PPP’s central committee general secretary, Joy Tirkey, said the central committee was formed on June 5 when 21 members were selected. “It will comprise 31 members. We have sent a letter to the Election Commission on July 14 seeking recognition,” he said, adding the PPP would maintain its relationship with the Morcha.
Birsa Tirkey, the state president of the Parishad, labelled the development an attempt to pull the wool over people’s eyes. “They brought people to the meeting in vehicles with Parishad flags on them. The people will not accept this,” Tirkey said over the phone from Calcutta.
Morcha to lie low, prods state govt
TT, Siliguri, July 25: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today announced that it would not agitate or demonstrate in the hills till the next round of talks scheduled for August 17.
Morcha spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri told reporters at the Bagdogra airport that the ball was now in the “state government’s court” as the onus lay on Writers’ Buildings to clear its stand on the two demands of the hill party, the interim set-up and the new state.
“In previous meetings whoever represented the state government in Delhi behaved like tourists: they attended the talks and came back (and did nothing). Every time, they only offered assurances on whatever was discussed. Apart from that, the state government has nothing to show for as its contribution towards resolving the issue,” said Chhetri, who was on the talks delegation to New Delhi that returned here this afternoon.
He said after yesterday’s talks the Bengal government would have to come clean on its stand on the Morcha demand. “After the sixth round of dialogue, the central government clearly told the state to finalise its stand on whatever demands that have been raised by us and get back to Delhi by the first week of next month. After going through the state’s observations, the Centre will hold the next level of talks on August 17,” Chhetri said. “Till then, we will not organise any movement in the hills.”
The Centre had proposed that an interim set-up called the Gorkhaland Autonomous Authority, which would report to the Bengal governor, should replace the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council. Delhi had also said the new authority would have “legislative powers” along with the executive authority that the DGHC now enjoys. While none of the proposals were new, yesterday’s development was that both the Morcha and the state government said they would submit their final observations within the deadlines so that the interim authority could be formed soon.
Chhetri and the seven Morcha members who had taken part in the Delhi meeting appeared positive about the outcome. They insisted that the discussions were solely based on their demands. Chhetri iterated that the separate state, whatever be its name, would be the ultimate goal of the Morcha.
“We want to separate from the Bengal government and if the interim set-up is formed, we will consider it only till December 31, 2011, and we are not going to compromise with the proposed area which we have already demarcated,” he said.
When reminded that the Centre had already made it clear that there would be no further division of the state, the Morcha leadership said it was not true.
“Who told you? The majority of the tribal population in the plains is with us. We are not worried about what a section of the Adivasi leadership feels,” said Chhetri, referring to the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad that has been demanding autonomy under the Sixth Schedule for the tribal-dominated areas in the plains of Darjeeling district.
The hill outfit had re-christened Gorkhaland, the state that it wants, as Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh to woo the Adivasis or the tribals.
Death tolls 3
SNS, Jalpaiguri, 25 July: The black box of the MiG-27 aircraft, which crashed yesterday in Jalpaiguri district, was retrieved today as the toll rose to three with two more persons succumbing to their injuries.
The black box or digital flight data recorder was located from near the spot in Bhotputti village where the crash took place, a senior Air Force officer told reporters here.
The MiG-27 had taken off from the Hashimara Air Base on a routine sortie and crashed within minutes, killing one person on the ground and injuring many.
A farmer Bholen Roy, who was cultivating his field, was killed when the fighter jet crashed between Moynaguri and Chengrabandha.
Two more persons, who were seriously injured, later died at hospital, taking the toll due to the crash to three.
Teenager Purnima Rai succumbed to her burn injuries at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital last night. Ten-year old Latika Roy also died of her injuries in the hospital yesterday, Jalpaiguri Sub Divisional Officer Naba Kumar Barman said.
The Air Force would pay an initial compensation of Rs one lakh to the kin of the dead and Rs 20,000 to the injured, the Air Force officer said.
It has ordered an investigation into the crash. A three-member team, which includes a technical officer and a senior pilot, arrived from Delhi to probe the crash. Another team from the Hashimara Air Base also reached the spot.
Besides the death, 16 people were injured in the crash and as many houses damaged.
Mr Saket Verma, injured pilot of the fighter jet who had ejected from the aircraft and returned to the airbase, also suffered injuries. 
Cycle rally for Global Warming awareness
Tarak Sarkar, ANI, Siliguri, July 25 : A cycle rally was organized in Siliguri here on Sunday to spread awareness about the dangers of global warming and how driving cycles could reduce the threat.
The organisers described the cycle as the most viable mode of travel to check pollution.
“Cycle is the future, because slowly and gradually, petrol and diesel are becoming less and prices will increase and pollution will also increase. Our effort is to take the people and their support. Our thinking is that this will move forward,” said Siladitya Choudhury, the chief organizer.
Enthusiastic participants said their endeavour was to set an example for Indians and others on ways to save the environment.
“We have participated in this so that the world can learn a lesson on how to save the environment. By using the cycles, there is no pollution and with this, the country could be saved from pollution,” said Dinesh Kumar Roy, a participant.
Spectators described it as a good step.
“This is a very good step. This will reduce pollution and even improve health,” said Hem Chandra Paul, a spectator.
About a thousand cyclists took part in the event.
Villagers free Maoist after cop tiff
TT, Midnapore, July 25: The backlash against Maoist disruption of everyday life appeared to spread in West Midnapore today but it also put police on notice for their refusal or inability to protect villagers.
Villagers in Nishchinta had last night chased away armed Maoists who had tried to force them to attend a meeting and caught one of them. But today, they forced the police to release him after the cops said they would not be able to open a security camp there immediately.
The village is 25km from Radhanagar, where villagers had chased away Maoists on July 22 and around 8,000 people rallied against the rebels the next day.
Baren Patra (name changed), a resident of Nishchinta, said that last night around 9, a group of 14 armed Maoists had come to the village on motorcycles and asked the villagers to take part in a meeting in neighbouring Naharia “immediately”.
“We told them that we would not attend any programme at night. When we asked them to hold rallies during the day, they started beating me and some others with a stick,” Patra said.
Soon, around 300 villagers gathered and started protesting. “We chased away the Maoists and People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities activists,” Patra said.
The rebels scampered to their motorcycles and sped off, leaving behind Sushil Mahato, who was caught by the villagers.
Sushil, 34, was trussed up and kept in the veranda of a local school through the night.
The villagers guarded Nishchinta at night to stave off a possible retaliation by the Maoists.
After the police reached the village this morning to take Sushil away, the villagers demanded that a security camp be set up in the area. When the police said it was not possible to set up a camp immediately, the villagers snatched Sushil from them and released him.
“It is not possible to set up a police camp at a moment’s notice. We first have to organise the necessary infrastructure. Moreover, there is a high court order against setting up police camps in schools. We had told the villagers we would step up patrolling but they kept insisting on the police camp. Then they snatched the man (Sushil) and freed him. We did not want to apply force on the villagers because they have done a good job by chasing away the Maoists,” said Praveen Tripathi, the superintendent of Jhargram police district.
A farmer, Sridhar Mahato (name changed), said he could not afford to “dance to the tune of the Maoists”.
“The rains have started and transplantation of the aman crop has begun. I can’t afford to waste a single minute by taking part in these stupid processions and meetings. Our day-to-day work is being seriously affected,” Sridhar, who owns a two-acre plot, said.
Low key Appearance for Chhetri 
PTI, New Delhi, Jul 26: Indian striker Sunil Chhetri made a low-key 21-minute appearance in the second half in Kansas City Wizard's surprise 2-1 win over English Premier League giants Manchester United in an international friendly in Kansas City, United States.
Chhetri, who is yet to make his Major League Soccer debut, came in for Teal Bunbury in the 69th minute and had a couple of shots which however did not trouble Manchester United goalkeeper Benjamin Amos at the newly remodelled Arrowhead Stadium.
He was lively throughout his outing as he kept running and tried to pile pressure on the Manchester United defence in an open and free-flowing game that was played at a breakneck pace in front of more than 50,000 spectators last night.

Former Journalist IAS officer died
Prakha, GANGTOK, July 26: Former IAS officer PG Tenzing who served Kerala for two decades in various capacities rising to rank of secretary, passed away today morning at Central Referral Hospital here at around 4:30 am at an age of 48 years after a prolonged illness. He was suffering from ill health for quite some and had been admitted at the ICU ward of the hospital for the past few days, family members and friends informed. 
Tenzing who hails from Mangan town in North Sikkim leaves behind his wife, Ambika who is an additional secretary in the State tourism department and two daughters. The elder daughter, Menda Rawa is pursuing graduation in USA while younger daughter, Dechen is studying in Class 10 here in Gangtok.
His funeral will be held later this week as per the Buddhist rituals at his ancestral hometown.
His body was first taken to Chorten monastery here at Deorali in the morning 6:30 am and then to his home here at Gangtok and from there to his ancestral hometown.
Tenzing, a graduate of Delhi University had passed the Civil Services exam in 1986 and had been posted to Kerala where he served for twenty years before quitting service in 2006 when he was heading three departments. He then embarked on a nine-month 25,320 kms ride across the country on his Enfield Thunderbird motorcycle. The experiences of this tour came out in the shape of a book, ‘Don’t Ask Any Old Bloke for Directions: A Biker’s Whimsical Journey across India’, published by Penguin Books India in March, 2009.
Tenzing had taken voluntary retirement, strapped a few possessions on his bike, got his retirement benefits encashed, bade good bye to his co workers at Thiruvananthapuram and had started his ride from the Varkala beach at resort in Kerala.
The book priced at Rs. 250 was aimed to inspire those yearning to break free from the bonds of professional life and embrace the freedom of the open roads. The book had been also been long-listed in the Vodafone Crossword Book Award 2009 but could not make it to the short-listed category which was announced earlier this month.
Raman Shresta who runs the popular Rachna Books here at Gangtok said that the highest seller from the book store was the book penned by Tenzing.
When the book was released at Rachna Books on third week of March last year, Tenzing’s 14 years old daughter Dechen P. Tenzing had also released her Manga comic book ‘Wolfs Fang’ on the same occasion.
Tenzing had produced the comic by his daughter.
Tenzing had also infused new blood in Sikkim journalism in the late 90’s by starting a weekly English newspaper, ‘Weekend Review’ in 1998. He got together a team and mentored the team members for the growth of journalism in Sikkim.
The weekly had revolutionized media in the laidback State of Sikkim and many of its products are well-established journalists here.
Former Telegraph correspondent Pema Ledya Sangderpa who worked under Tenzing in ‘Weekend Review’ said: “Tenzing wanted the growth of journalism in Sikkim and he formed a team. He was the mentor for the team and had great vision”.
“His death is a great loss. Everybody is shocked. In his short span, he had achieved everything. He was a true gentleman, doting father and a man of integrity”, said Sangdrepa expressing condolences to the bereaved family members from the old team of Weekend Review.
Journalist Yishey Doma who was attached with Weekend Review in 1999 to 2003 had acknowledged Tenzin in her book which had been released yesterday at Gangtok.
In her book ‘Legends of Lepchas-folk tales from Sikkim’, Yishey Doma points out that her exploration of the culture, myth and traditions of ethnic communities of Sikkim began between 1999 and 2003 when she used to work for Weekend Review.
“Some of the stories in this book were collected during that period, when I was doing a series called ‘Village Spotting’. My gratitude is therefore owed first to PG Tenzing, who not only roped me in the realm of Weekend Review but also recommending my name to the publishers of the book”, said Yishey Doma in her acknowledgments.
After the all-India tour in his bike and subsequent book release, Tenzing had settled down in Sikkim shuttling between Mangan and Gangtok pursuing his various interests. He was one of the founding members of Taktse International School here at Panthang and volunteering his services to monastic institutions. He also used to run a hotel here at Gangtok.
Tenzing had also come to Sikkim on deputation for at least on two occasions. He had first come as the director of the industries department in the early 90’s and later, he was deputed to Sikkim as the Census 2001 director, his friends inform.
Bhutanese Refugees on hunger strike
DAMAK: Around 4,000 Bhutanese refugees deprived of food relief started a hunger strike on Monday.
Refugees of seven camps in Jhapa and Morang district are on strike demanding food relief. They were deprived of the relief after missing the verification process.
"Our protest will continue till the demand is met," said Nandu Poudel, coordinator of the affected refugees.

The agitating refugees are said to be not getting assistance being provided by various donor agencies in food relief.

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