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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Madan Tamang has been Assaulted ...Our men have done it...Meena back with kitty for casual staff...GJMM is accused in murder- Amar Lama

Madan Tamang, president of the Akhil Bharatiya 
Gorkha League was fatally stabbed in Darjeeling on Friday. Photo: Rabin 
GiriMadhuparna Das,  IE: Official intercepts of phone conversations between top leaders of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) and local cadres point to their alleged complicity in the murder of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) leader Madan Tamang on May 21 morning, hours before he was to address a public meeting.
An official of the West Bengal Home Department said voice verification had been carried out and the callers had been identified as GJM president Bimal Gurung, general secretary Roshan Giri and some local leaders —a few were named in the FIR filed by ABGL.
The intercepts, prepared by the state police, give a blow-by-blow account of how Giri was not only aware of the attack but had also given detailed instructions not to let Tamang, considered the moderate voice of opposition in the Darjeeling hills, hold the public meeting.
Using a SIM card issued in the name of Suraj Limbu, Giri is heard instructing cadres to 'come with lathis'. The cadres follow his instructions, keeping Giri in the loop at all times.
Asked about the intercepts, Giri said: "The Bengal government is trying to frame us. They want to destabilise the movement for Gorkhaland."
On the morning of May 21, Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) leader Madan Tamang was killed in the heart of Darjeeling, just hours before he was scheduled to address a public meeting. This is the full transcript of the official intercepts of phone conversations between Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung, general secretary Roshan Giri and their local cadres just before and after the killing.
May 20, 2010
9:02 pm 
Roshan Giri to Puran (local cadre who has been named in the FIR lodged by ABGL): Has Nickol contacted? Narbu Lama from Toong Soong will collect all the boys and come early in the morning. Tell Ramesh as well as Sarat. Madan Tamang has gathered so many people. So, tell everyone to come with lathi, otherwise ABGL will overpower us
9:07 pm
Naresh (local cadre) to Giri: I am coming at 4 o’clock.
Giri: All right you go. However, all should be present by 7 o’clock.
May 21, 2010
6:29 am
Bhanu (local cadre) to Giri: ABGL supporters are holding meeting at Club Side.
Giri: In no circumstances there should be any programme of ABGL.
Bhanu: There may be clash.
Giri: Let there be clash.
Bhanu: Governor is also here.
Giri: ABGL supporters should be dispersed.
Bhanu: What to do with GLPs? (Referring to Gorkhaland Police, a private force raised by the GJM.)
Giri: They should be in plainclothes. In no circumstances, there should be any programme of ABGL.
Bhanu: They are doing programme under police protection. Please inform Kainla. I don’t have his number.
Giri: Puran can also be informed, but (am) unable to get his line as it is switched off.
6:59 am
Naresh to Giri: We are also gathering. They (ABGL supporters) are also in large number. They are carrying khukri with police protection. They (ABGL) are 100-150 in number at the venue and other places like hotel line etc. They (ABGL) are with sword and khukri. We are less in number. What to do?
Giri: You just wait until you are assembled.
Naresh: They are with swords, and at Club Stand they have already fitted mike.
Giri: How many police persons are there?
Naresh: There are so many.
Giri: We should talk to the DM as they are carrying khukris and swords openly. Do our men have lathis?
Naresh: We also have some weapons. What to do?
Giri: Just wait for a while.
7:15 am
Kismat (local cadre) to Giri: We are about to go to Kalimpong as Bimal daju had called us, we should reach there by 10 am.
Giri: In Darjeeling we are less in strength, please look for it.
7:41 am
Kismat: I am here and ABGL supporters are 20-25 in number. Our supporters are less. Please send them to the spot.
Giri: Our men should assemble from all sides and make chaos at the venue.
Kismat: I and Keshab are here. They (ABGL) are staring at us. They also have weapons with them. How can there be a programme at Club Side?
Giri: They have come since 4 am. I will talk to Raju Pradhan regarding this.
8:39 am
Giri to Puran: Go lodge a complaint in thana that the ABGL was threatening, their supporters being equipped with arms.
9 am
Naresh to Giri: We have assembled in Chowrasta and are planning to move towards Club Side.
9:06 am
Naresh to Giri: We are going down from Chowrasta. Only 50 to 60 ABGL supporters have gathered near the venue.
Giri: Be alert. Has Nickol come?
Naresh: Yes Nickol has come.

After the Attack
9:17 am
Naresh to Giri: Madan Tamang has been attacked. All other (ABGL) supporters fled away, but Madan Tamang and his bodyguard are present at the spot. Madan Tamang fell down. After that, firing started and our supporters are injured.
Giri: You move away from that place. In which part of the body did Madan receive injury?
Naresh: Madan Tamang received injury on his head. The chap hit him twice. I tried to catch hold of his bodyguard.
Giri: Leave the place immediately.
9:23 am
Bimal Gurung to Giri: What happened?
Giri: Chaos has occurred at the meeting place of ABGL and Madan Tamang has been assaulted.
Gurung: Who has done it?
Giri: Our men have done it.
Gurung: Is there any firing?
Giri: Yes.
Gurung: Make arrangements to assemble our men.
Giri: We already had 500-600 supporters. But they fled from the spot during firing. Madan Tamang was hit twice on his head and he fell down.
Gurung: I heard that Madan received bullet injury.
Giri: But Naresh told me that Madan was hit twice, and even our supporters received injury.
Gurung: Mobilise our Nari Morcha, and organise blockades at various places.
9:27 am
Kismat to Giri: Our men have also received injury. I, Alok and others have left the place (and are going) towards Singamari. Police as well as other men opened fire.
9:40 am
Naresh to Giri: We were more in number. We dispersed ABGL supporters, but Madan Tamang and his bodyguard did not leave the place. So he was assaulted.
Giri: Is he severely hurt?
Naresh: Two persons assaulted him. Then firing started. Only Nickol and I were there, and we also left. Nickol went to Singamari. Shall I come to you? If you want, I will change my clothes and come. Otherwise, I will send security for you.
9:49 am
Naresh to Giri: If Madan Tamang becomes conscious, he will identify me.
Giri: Then don’t come.
Naresh: I am sending a security guard. Madan Tamang is severely hurt. But I am not sure whether he was hit by a lathi or any weapon.
9:51 am
Kismat to Giri: I, Alok and Nickol were the main persons (who) remained at the spot. Now we are going towards Patlebas (Bimal Gurung’s home is there)... Our men have also received injury.
Giri: How severe is the injury?
Kismat: He is severely injured. One of them, who assaulted him (Madan Tamang) is with us.
10:52 am
Kismat to Giri: A good number of unidentified persons from Nepal assembled at the spot. (There were) 60 to 70 rounds of firing. You should talk to the administration regarding the accumulation of arms at a party meeting. Thanks that we are able to hit Madan Tamang. There were so many unidentified persons, but they were able to hit Madan Tamang. I heard that he is dead.
Giri: I am not sure.
Kismat: The assault was very severe. Kainla, the person who accompanies Daju, hacked him.
10:54 am
Naresh to Giri: How many of our men are injured?
Giri: One Sangay of Lebong is injured.
Naresh: I heard that Madan Tamang has been shifted to Siliguri.
5:12 pm
Nickol to Giri: The cellphone which was lost during the incident was in the name of Samir Dilawar. So Samir should be sent to the police station for lodging a missing diary.
Seen as the moderate voice of the Opposition, Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang was instrumental in bringing together the non-GJM parties under the common banner of the “Democratic Front”. For the first time since the GJM was formed, there were spontaneous public protests against the party. On Monday, the Democratic Front held its first public rally since Tamang’s death.
While the FIR filed in the case names GJM cadres like Puran (mentioned in the phone conversation), Dinesh Gurung, Tenzin Khambase, Alok Kanti Moni Phulung, E Pokhrel and others, the party has denied any involvement in the murder. It has instead accused the state administration of hatching a conspiracy to derail the Gorkhaland movement. All those named in the FIR are absconding at present.
When asked about the phone intercepts, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said: “The West Bengal government is trying to frame us. They want to destabilise the movement for Gorkhaland. None of the GJM cadres are involved.”
Meanwhile, the tripartite talks between the GJM, Centre and state government have been suspended indefinitely following Tamang’s murder.
‘Govt sitting on evidence’
Within 24 hours of the murder, the transcript was reportedly sent to West Bengal DGP Bhupinder Singh, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Governor M K Narayanan. Senior police officials admitted they had “got several concrete evidence” against top GJM leaders, but the government is “sitting on the evidence”.
“We have got telephone records of Roshan Giri and Bimal Gurung which clearly expose how the conspiracy was hatched and the murder was executed. The transcripts were sent to the Chief Minister, the Governor and the DGP on May 22. After sending those transcripts, we asked for permission to pick up those leaders. But even after one-and-a-half months, we are yet to get any response from the government,” they said.
“The names of the senior GJM leaders are mentioned in the FIR as ‘conspirators’. We are collecting evidence against the accused at present and then we will see in which way the case will proceed.” Bhupinder Singh, DGP
“As of now, only nine people have been arrested. However, none of them has been named in the FIR. All the seven people who executed the murder plot and who are directly linked with the murder are absconding. And we are yet to interrogate the senior leaders of the GJM, who seem to have direct and indirect complicity in the murder case.” K L Tamta IG, North Bengal, who was principal investigator in the case.
Call for action against Tamang killers
KalimNews: ABGL in a press conference held in Kalimpong and simultaneously in Darjeeling and Kurseong circulated the news published by Indian Express and stated that now people should shun GJMM and the murderers should be arrested immediately. ABGL leaders have also threatened the administration to start fast unto death if killers of Tamang are not arrested within seven days. 
Meanwhile it is reported that Police prohibited  sale of today's (15th July) edition of Indian Express in Siliguri. ABGL supporters demonstrated in Sukhiapokhri in the afternoon demanding arrest of the Tamang murderers.
Meanwhile, a police source added that on 21st May Roshan Giri made calls from another sim card purchased in the name of Suraj Limbu and the voice test confirmed the voices of some prominent leaders. 
Ranveer Kumar joined as IG North Bengal today while KL Tamta is relieved from his post.
ENS, Kolkata: A day after news reports revealed that police has evidence of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s involvement in the murder of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) leader Madan Tamang on May 21, political parties demanded that the state government take action against the killers.
On Thursday, The Indian Express had reported that official intercepts of telephone conversations the day Tamang was attacked, pointed to the complicity of top GJM leaders. A voice verification had identified the callers as GJM president Bimal Gurung, general secretary Roshan Giri and some local leaders. A few of the latter were named in the FIR filed by ABGL and are now absconding. The intercepts showed Giri was not only aware of the attack but had given detailed instructions not to let Tamang — considered the moderate voice of opposition in the Darjeeling hills — hold the public meeting. 
Reacting to the report, a number of political parties said the state government must act now if it has to restore the rule of law and establish its credibility in the hills.
Dawa Sherpa, working president of the All Bengal Gorkha League who joined the party after Tamang was killed, said the police should immediately arrest the leaders whose telephone conversations have been intercepted. It is a clinching evidence of their involvement in the crime, he said.
“It is meaningless for the Bengal Police and political leaders to issue Interpol notices saying that the killers have taken shelter in countries like Nepal and Bhutan. They are very much in the hills and in Darjeeling giving bhasan,” said Sherpa. It is high time the government acts on the evidence it has in hand. 
During Question Hour in the Assembly on Thursday, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee reiterated that the killers of Tamang have fled the country and are hiding in a neighbouring state. “But we will definitely get them and bring them here for justice,” Bhattacharjee had said. Asked why the government was not acting on the evidence of phone intercepts, Home Secretary Samar Ghosh, however, refused to comment.
RB Rai of the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists said the government should come with an impartial and thorough inquiry in light of the new evidence.
“The perpetrators of the crime are doing everything possible to divert the attention of the Hill people,” he added.
In a public meeting on Wednesday, GJM chief Bimal Gurung had accused Amar Lama, his former aide, of being one of the key conspirators in Tamang’s murder. Lama, who had resigned from the GJM after Tamang’s murder, said: “Every day, Gurung is coming up with a new name.”
The news about the telephone intercepts had spread in the Hills chiefly though the word of mouth. Others had read it online. Several political leaders from Darjeeling alleged that all copies of The Indian Express have been lifted by the police in Siliguri before it reached the Hills. Reacting to the charge, the IG Law and Order, S Kar Purokayastha, said the local administration might have done so to ensure that the reports do not create tension in the Hills.
“The CID is investigating the murder,” he added. “If they find anybody involved in the crime they will definitely arrest him.”
“ Darjeeling is as silent as a grave now,” said Lama, “it may explode any moment.”
TT, Darjeeling, July 15: The president of the ABGL, Bharati Tamang, has threatened to start an indefinite hunger strike if those involved in Madan Tamang’s murder are not arrested immediately.
“I will sit for an indefinite hunger strike if justice is not delivered,” the slain leader’s wife said today.
She, however, did not say when she would go on fast even as her party supporters demonstrated in front of the Sukhiapokhri police station around 4pm today, demanding the arrest of those accused in the murder of their leader on May 21.
Tamang was hacked to death at the Clubside Motorstand.
The protesters dispersed from the venue, 18km from Darjeeling, after about an hour.
The ABGL supporters will hold another demonstration in front of the Darjeeling police station tomorrow from 10.30am with the same demand.
Left glare on Morcha talks
TT, Siliguri, July 15: The CPM today asked the government to set conditions for the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha to restore normality in the hills before the next round of tripartite talks with the hill party.
Another anti-Morcha alliance, the Democratic Front, has demanded that the Morcha top brass be arrested for their alleged involvement in the murder of Madan Tamang.
“The Morcha is fast loosing its ground which is why Bimal Gurung is threatening to break the record of the 40-day strike set by GNLF leader Subash Ghisingh,” said Jibesh Sarkar, a state committee member of the CPM from Darjeeling district, here today. “We want the state and the Centre to put a precondition before the Morcha that it should refrain from issuing such threats to terrorise people and create pressure on the governments. If the Morcha agrees to the precondition, only then should the governments hold talks with it.”
The CPM leader said the Morcha’s proposed 40-day bandh across the hills would not be successful, as people, fed up with the party’s activities in the past three years, would not allow it to happen.
At a public meeting in Kalimpong yesterday, Gurung had threatened that bandhs would begin from the end of this month and an indefinite strike from August 4 if the Centre did not announce the date for the talks within the next few days.
Sarkar criticised the Morcha president and other leaders for their alleged involvement in the murder of ABGL chief Madan Tamang on May 21 in Darjeeling.
“Yesterday, Gurung had accused former Morcha leader Amar Lama, who was a key leader of the party till the day Tamang was killed, of his involvement in the murder,” Sarkar said. “Gurung pointing finger at Amar Lama only reaffirms the party’s role in the murder.”
The Democratic Front has also echoed the CPM. “It has become clear to everyone in the hills now that the murder is the handiwork of the Morcha whose senior leaders were involved,” said front convener Dawa Sherpa. “Till Amar Lama walked out of the party on May 24, he was an important leader of the Morcha. We do not know whether Lama was involved in the murder or not but we are sure that the Morcha was involved in it.”
When this “reconfirmation” (of Morcha leaders’ role) has come from Gurung himself, police should take legal steps and arrest them, Sherpa added.
Meena back with kitty for casual staff Package comes with permanent job promise Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, July 15: The state government today announced a package for the casual staff of the DGHC which could take the sheen off the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s agitation for the hill council workers.
The kitty was unveiled by council administrator B.L. Meena, who attended office at Lal Khoti here today, the first time since November 2009.
The Janmukti Asthai Karmachari Sangatan, an affiliate of the Morcha, is one of the strongest organisations which has been clamouring for the regularisation of jobs for the casual workers. The Morcha had also demanded that Meena should function from the hills, where the party frequently shuts down government offices.
“The state government has directed us to submit a list of workers who had been in the council for more than 10 years. These workers will get an enhanced monthly salary of Rs 6,500 and will also be entitled to Rs 1 lakh on retirement at the age of 60 (see chart),” said Meena.
Even though the state had come up with a similar package for its casual employees, it had not been extended to the council considered to be an autonomous body in the past. The announcement comes at a time the Morcha is in the backfoot following ABGL chief Madan Tamang’s murder and the government is trying to make a toehold for itself in the hills.
According to Meena, of the 6,321 casual staff members, about 1,300 have worked in the council for more than 10 years. These people will be entitled to the benefits.
“At the moment, Group C and Group D workers get a salary of Rs 4,000 and Rs 3,500 respectively. But now both the groups will get the same salary. We will be sending the list of candidates as soon as possible,” said Meena.
The DGHC has 3,472 vacant posts and Meena said the process for regularisation of jobs would continue simultaneously. “You can say that this is an interim package for those who have worked for more than 10 years,” the official added.
The council has also decided to start the appointment of primary school teachers. The DGHC is in charge of education, but while it can appoint primary teachers, it does not have any authority to recruit teachers in the secondary sections. However, in the absence of a recruiting agency like the School Service Commission in the hills, the secondary sections are run by ad hoc teachers taken by the council.
Of the 6,321 casual staff, 1,559 are school teachers. “There are 779 primary teachers who will be appointed after a recruitment board is formed. This process will start immediately. We will also work out something on the lines of the School Service Commission to appoint secondary teachers while giving priority to the ad hoc teachers,” said Meena.
With the state doling out incentives to different strata of workers the agitation for regularisation is likely to tone down in the coming days.
The JAKS had been agitating with a single point agenda that all the 6,321 workers of the DGHC be immediately regularised.
Machendra Subba, the president of the JAKS, said: “The announcement is nothing new as the state had already given such a package to others. But the government must fulfil its promise to regularise all the DGHC workers.”
Subba was referring to the written assurance from the state government on September 17, 2009. “The government has authorised the DGHC to start the regularisation process against the sanctioned vacancies in all categories which it is authorised to do as per the existing act and the recruitment rules there under,” read the faxed message from Writers’ Buildings to Darjeeling district magistrate, who is also the principal secretary of the DGHC. The message had prompted the casual workers allegiant to the JAKS to break the indefinite hunger strike.
The letter essentially meant that at least 3,472 casual workers were to be made permanent while the fate of the remaining 2,815 was to be decided later.
Another written assurance was given by Meena on October 30 after the workers started their next bout of agitation. Meena had then said the process would start from November 17, 2009. But the state government said it was impossible to initiate the regularisation process amid frequent strikes and shutdowns in the hills.
Meena, on his part, said the assurance had been given under duress.
Today, the council administrator said he would be mostly working from Lal Khoti from now on. He will also visit Kalimpong and Kurseong once a week.
So long Meena had been functioning from Pintail Village on the outskirts of Siliguri. The Morcha had been demanding that as a council administrator, he should move his office to the hills.
Brother breaks silence
TT, Darjeeling, July 15: Amar Lama today broke his silence saying he would not act as an “alibi” for anyone in the case related to the murder of his brother, Madan Tamang.
Three days after the ABGL chief’s death, Lama, a one-time confidant of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung, resigned from the party. Since then, Gurung has been seeking a clean chit from Lama on the Morcha, which has been accused of masterminding the killing.
Lama, in a written statement, said he had not commented on the case as investigations were on. “But since some defamatory attack is being made against me, I am compelled to break my silence,” he said.
“The people who are defaming me by suggesting that I am involved in the crime are themselves the prime accused and are said to be part of the conspiracy. The outcome of the investigation will eventually show who are behind the despicable and cowardly crime. I will not act as an alibi for anyone, least of all for the ones who have been named in the FIR. As far my position vis-a -vis the Morcha is concerned my resignation on May 14 speaks for itself,” said Lama in his statement.
An FIR lodged by ABGL leader Laxman Pradhan had named Gurung, party general secretary Roshan Giri and other senior Morcha leaders as conspirators.
Yesterday, the Morcha president had lashed out at Lama in Kalimpong, alleging that he might have had a hand in Tamang’s killing as the two were siblings and could have had some rivalry over property. “They could have had a dispute over property or money. Amar Lama was with me for months (preceding Tamang’s murder). He suddenly left on May 19 (two days before the Tamang’s murder). Why?” Gurung had asked. 

TNN, DARJEELING: After more than two months of silence, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) central committee leader and slain All India Gorkha League (AIGL) president Madan Tamang's brother, Amar Lama finally voiced his resentment over the murder episode that is proving to be a turning point in hills politics.
Lama read out his statement over the phone, countering GJM leader Bimal Gurung's allegation that he was involved in Tamang's murder on May 21 in Darjeeling.
"I cannot comment on my brother's murder as it is presently under investigation. However, I am compelled to break my silence due to allegations that are being levelled against me" he said.
Lama resigned from the party post on May 24, three days after Tamang's murder.
Other central committee leaders and members of the study forum of GJM had also resigned, but most of them have returned to the party fold.
Meanwhile in Kolkata, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said on Thursday that the killers of Madan Tamang had possibly escaped from India. "They have taken shelter in a neighbouring country. But we are taking steps to ensure that they are arrested," he added.
Meet on Tea wage hike
TT, Siliguri, July 15: The state government has invited the tea unions to a tripartite meeting on July 22 in Calcutta even as garden labourers launched a “work-to-rule” protest in the Dooars and the Terai.
Under work-to-rule, the labourers will only do stipulated duties — and “nothing extra” — to demand an interim wage hike. For example, those in charge of plucking will not pick a single leaf after the bell rings, indicating duty hours were over.
Samir Roy, the convener of the Defence Committee of Plantation Workers’ Rights, an apex body of tea trade unions, said: “We will participate in the meeting on July 22 and based on the outcome, the future course of action would be chalked out.”
The Defence Committee, in association with the Coordination Committee of Tea Plantation Workers, another apex body which has Citu and Intuc as constituents, had decided to launch the work-to-rule after planters had rejected an interim wage hike.
The tea unions claimed that the workers were finding it tough making ends meet with a daily wage of Rs 67.
“We will continue this protest till July 22 when the meeting is held in Calcutta. If the management representatives accept our demand, it is fine. Or else, we will go for intensive movement in the coming days,” said Aloke Chakraborty, the Darjeeling district Intuc president.
The union affiliated to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha claimed that the “work-to-rule” protest would fail to impact the gardens.
“But since we are fighting on the issue of wage revision on our own, we will attend the Calcutta meeting,” said Suraj Subba, general secretary of the Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union. “Our demonstrations and submission of memorandums to managers are going on but there was no impact of today’s protest.”
Tezkumar Toppo, the vice-chairman of Parishad-affiliated Progressive Tea Workers’ Union, said: “We have been intimated about the meeting but can disclose our stand only after we hold our meeting on July 18 at Banarhat in the Dooars,” he said.
Battlefield-NJP Station
SNS, SILIGURI, 15 JULY: The entire area in front of the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station turned into a battlefield over the control of turf midday today, when a clash broke out between the CPI-M backed Citu and Trinamul workers.
Around 12 pm, Citu supporters ransacked the Trinamul Congress office,  makeshift constructions in front of shops and eateries and two wheelers, leaving the area when Trinamul workers retaliated. A police jeep was also damaged.
The NJP outpost police could not tackle the situation and they informed their higher authorities, seeking reinforcements. During the clash, the police were mute spectators. Around 3:30 pm, a heavy downpour brought the situation under control. 
The groups, armed with firearms, crude bombs, swords, hockey sticks and batons, clashed with each other, hurling bombs and pelting stones and injuring three or four persons, police said. One Citu worker received serious injuries and was admitted to hospital.
Trouble broke out following an altercation between two touts, one each from the CPI-M and Trinamul, over the issue of commission yesterday evening.
Due to inadequate police presence, the situation went out of control and scared traders had to shut down their shops. They criticised the role of both the Citu and Trinamul workers in the turf war.
The Trinamul Congress district president, Mr Goutam Deb, denied yesterday's incident and claimed that the Citu workers’ attack was a pre-planned attempt to wrest control over the area.
“We have mentioned the matter to our state leadership. If they continue violent behaviour we will take them on violently,” Mr Deb said. 
However, the CPI-M leader, Mr Jibesh Sarkar, said, “Trinamul workers have been trying to control the area and they were held responsible for the clash. We have asked the police to take action against them.”
Around 2:30 pm, the Trinamul Congress, led by Mr Deb, took out a procession and started a fresh attack on the shops belonging to Citu supporters.
Around 3 p.m, an adequate police force, including Rapid Action Force personnel, reached the spot and lathi charged Trinamul workers to disperse them. After some time, when the situation came under control, the Jalpaiguri DSP (headquarters), Mr Pradip Dutta, reached the spot. “We could not rush to the spot on time, because we were busy with a crime conference. The incident is nothing new, a routine clash between the two political groups to control the area in this region,” he said. No one has been arrested, he said.  
Players eye spot past quarterfinal
TT, Gangtok, July 15: The most promising Sikkim football team assembled in recent years is aiming to break its quarterfinal benchmark in the 64th Santosh Trophy championship that started in Calcutta today.
The best performance of Sikkim in the Santosh Trophy so far was a quarterfinal berth in Delhi in 2004.
This time, the Sikkim team has higher ambitions than a spot in the last eight of the national football tournament. The team’s confidence comes from two main factors.
Firstly, the team has been given a relatively easy draw against Haryana on July 21 and Chhattisgarh on July 23 in their group.
Secondly, the squad is banking on the experience of 13 members who are currently playing for three I-league clubs and second-tier professional football clubs in the country.
“This time, we have hopes that the team will better the quarterfinal record. Most of the members are playing for various clubs outside the state and there would not be acclimatisation problems, which the Sikkim team used to face in the past,” said Sikkim assistant coach Arjun Rai.
“All the 20 players are physically fit and they had played for their clubs before joining the 20-day selection camp at Paljor Stadium here. Most of the members are under 20 and will be raring to prove themselves at the national levels,” said Rai.
Asked about Haryana and Chhattisgarh, Rai was cautious. “Every state sends their best team for the Santosh Trophy and we expect strong resistance from Haryana and Chhattisgarh. We have to play good football to top the group,” he said.
Both captain Sanju Pradhan and defender Nirmal Chettri play for the I-League team East Bengal.
Three more players in the squad will be playing in the next season of I-League as their clubs have been promoted to the national league. They are Bikask Jairu and Robin Gurung (ONGC, Mumbai), and Nim Tshering Lepcha (HAL, Bangalore).
Eight others are playing in second-tier clubs like Amity, Lanshing Football Club (Shillong), Md Sporting AC (Calcutta), Arhima Football Club (Shillong) and Nakuarat Football Club (Shillong). The remaining seven players are with Sports Authority of India (Namchi) and Sikkim Police.
Sikkim Football Association general secretary Menla Ethanpa said Bhaichung Bhutia had conveyed his best wishes to the team. He said Bhutia was away in Portugal for a coaching camp.
Anti GJM leaders returning to hills
Deep Gazmer, TNN, DARJEELING: Three years after they were hounded out of the Hills, political leaders opposed to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) are trickling back to their homes aided by the National Human Right Commission (NHRC).
Their return should add to the pressure on GJM, which has been faced with a rising tide of opposition since the murder of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang on May 21.
On July 9, former Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) councillor Dawa Pakhrin returned to his Kalipmong residence. Acting on his plea, NHRC directed the state government to make arrangements for his safe passage. "We have received pleas from three GNLF leaders after NHRC upheld Pakhrin's plea on returning home," said Surendra Gupta, DM Darjeeling.
The trio are Aita Raj Dewan (former councillor), Jigme Sherpa (former municipal commissioner) and Tika Khati (ex-WBCS officer and former director of the DGHC information and culture department).
Along with GNLF supremo Subash Ghisingh, Pakhrin and the other leaders had been hounded of the Hills by the newly formed GJM in 2007. All of them have been living in the plains around Siliguri. Pakhrin's house was burnt more than once by mobs allegedly owing allegiance to GJM.
Pakhrin has severed ties with GNLF following differences with Ghisingh over the issue of a separate Gorkhaland. The former councillor still champions the separate statehood cause, while Ghisingh has been demanding the inclusion of the Hills region under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian constitution.
"I am oriented towards the Gorkhaland cause because of which I disassociated myself from GNLF. I appreciate the NHRC's verdict," said Pakhrin. NHRC had written to the state DGP and chief secretary to make arrangements for the safe return of political leaders and others ousted from the Hills.
"We are duty-bound to respect NHRC directives as we are part of the state government. Since the affected persons are free citizens of the country they have rights to free movement," said the DM.
"It will be very difficult to provide security to individual persons or houses because of the limited forces available with us. However, we are keeping a close watch on the locality where these affected persons have their houses. We will ensure safe passage to others too," said D P Singh, SP Darjeeling.
Parties opposed to GJM's iron grip on every aspect of life in the Hills welcomed the NHRC's intervention. "Every party and their leaders have the right to political activity, life and property. The state government must ensure implementation of the NHRC's directives," said R B Rai, general secretary of Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxist (CPRM).
On Saturday the Democratic Front (DF) an anti-GJM alliance held its first public meeting in Darjeeling town, which was attended by thousands of people.

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