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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Police seize movable properties of Madan murder accused ...HC road reprieve for Sikkim

SheemNews, Kalimnews-kalimpongonlinenews)): Police has started property attachment proclamation of 3 accused in Madan Tamang murder case.
Saman Pathak repeated that election should be held for the constitution of GRA.
Dr. Samir  Ghose  Roy Superintendent of NBMCH resigned from his post and Dr Saibal Gupta is appointed in the post following a complaint  and protest on the death of 58 patients in four days. TMC protested that the death during the puja was 75 and it will continue its demonstration against the negligency.
Police seize movable properties of Madan murder accused,  Attached: trunks, clothes
Kumar Sinha in Darjeeling on Thursday. (Suman Tamang)
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Oct. 21: Darjeeling police have started attaching properties of absconders in the Madan Tamang murder case following a court order but so far all they have managed to attach are trunks and clothes of the accused who do not have assets like houses in their names.
The ABGL has dubbed the attachment exercise an “eye wash” and “a big drama”.
Police sources said properties of three absconders had been confiscated till late this evening. All three — Tenzing Khambachay, Kamal Sinha and Arun Moktan — are supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
An advocate based in Darjeeling said: “Immovable properties are not seized usually if they are used by family members. If the house is in the name of the absconder, then it cannot be sold to anyone in future.”
The police swooped down on the houses of Khambachay at Jawahar Busty, Sinha at MP Road and Moktan at Gandhi Road in Darjeeling last night.
Kamal’s father Kumar Sinha told The Telegraph: “We clearly told the police that my son was an unemployed youth and he had contributed nothing for the house. I worked in Delhi for 22 years and this flat has been made with my hard earned money.”
An officer said two trunks (boxes) and some clothes were attached at Sinha’s house, while the police seized a suitcase and “few chairs” from Moktan’s residence.
The properties attached from Khambachay’s house include a trunk and clothes.
Thirty Morcha activists were named in the chargesheet filed by the CID on August 30 for their alleged involvement in the murder of ABGL president Madan Tamang. Of the 30, only seven have been arrested so far. Tamang was hacked to death by a khukuri-wielding mob in Darjeeling on May 21 morning.
The attachment process has come under attack from the ABGL.
“It is merely an eyewash and part of a big drama. The police have been making noises for the past two months that the properties would be attached and there was speculation that the absconders would remove the valuables from their houses. Let us wait and see how this drama unfolds in the days to come,” said Dawa Sherpa, the working president of the ABGL.
The police started attaching the properties after the court of the chief judicial magistrate in Darjeeling rejected an application filed by the CID to start the process for the trial of the seven arrested persons.
S.P. Rajak, the chief judicial magistrate, rejected the plea on October 11 saying the police had not submitted an execution report on the Warrant of Proclamation and Attachment (WPA) issued against the absconders. This essentially meant that the court wanted to know whether adequate measures had been taken to force the absconders to surrender before the court by attaching their properties. The WPA against the 23 named in the CID’s chargesheet had been issued by the court between September 4 and 8.
According to the lawyers, once the execution report is submitted by the police, the chief judicial magistrate will split the case between those who have been arrested and those who are absconding. After that, the case of the arrested persons will be committed (referred) to the session court for trial as the offence can only be tried there.
The absconders, including two women, have been booked under Sections 147/148 (rioting/rioting with deadly weapons), 149 (unlawful assembly), 427 (mischief causing damage), 506 (criminal intimidation), 302 (murder) and 120 (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
The trial will involve examining 61 witnesses, including Bharati Tamang and Sanjog Tamang, wife and son of Madan Tamang.
14 pedal on hill adventure route
Rajeev Ravidas, TT, Kalimpong, Oct. 21: A 14-member international team of cyclists began a 10-day mountain-biking expedition yesterday with a tea-tasting tour of the famous Makaibari garden near Kurseong before pedalling up their way to Darjeeling through the potholed NH55.
After spending their night at the Queen of the Hills, the cyclists again hit the road today on the longest leg of the sub-Himalayan tour before touching base at Peling in Sikkim, which is about 70km from Darjeeling.
By the end of the expedition on October 29, the team will have covered about 450km, taking a circuitous route through Darjeeling, Peling, Yuksam, Borang, Gangtok, Ravangla, Lachung and again back to the Sikkim capital.
The cyclists seem to have thoroughly enjoyed the first day of the ride along NH55.
“It was fantastic. We went down to the tea plantation (Makaibari) and back up to Kurseong (town), which was extremely steep. We saw some interesting sights and the people were very friendly,” said John Fleming from Melbourne in Australia.
Speaking to The Telegraph on the phone from Darjeeling, Fleming said he had been on cycling tours in Laos, Corsica and Spain, and the current ride was the best so far. “It has been a very good ride so far,” agreed 65-year-old Graeme Watkins, also from Melbourne and a veteran of 15 cycling tours across the globe.
Watkins said he was hoping the Sikkim leg of the tour would also be as interesting.
Grace McNally, who is from Washington, said the tour would help promote the adventure sport of mountain-biking in the region.
The cycling is being organised jointly by American national Bob Thompson, who is an ardent promoter of mountain-biking throughout the world, and the Kalimpong-based Help Desk Tourism.
Mountain-biking is yet to be developed as an adventure sport in the region even though experts believe the Darjeeling hills and neighbouring Sikkim with their rugged mountainous terrain are ideal for cycling, which is popular in the west.
Norden Pempa Hishey, a member of Help Desk Tourism, had said the idea behind hosting the expedition was to promote the adventure sport of mountain-biking in the region.
Parents were tempted to receive Rupees Ten thousand 
KalimNews: John Barla ABAVP leader said that on investigation it was found that the parents of the boys rescued yesterday from Dhupguri railway station were given ten thousand for each of their sons.The agents lure their parents and the children as well. Barla said that due to poverty parents are compelled to send their sons and daughters to the towns and cities for employment. But most of them are either ill treated or  are  turned victims of prostitution and taken ill with dreadable diseases. 
Of the four accused in the trafficking two  of Haryana were arrested and produced in the court. All the eight children aged 7-9 years are given shelter by an NGO, and will be handed over to their parents said Subhas Pradhan OC of Dhupguri Police Station.
2 injured in bison attack
TT, Alipurduar, Oct. 21: Two persons were injured when a bison attacked them in Khokla Basti early this morning.
The animal, which took shelter in the village, 60km from here, till late afternoon has also damaged five huts.
Last night four bison from Rangamati forest under the Buxa Tiger Reserve (west) division had entered Khokla Basti near Jaigaon. Local people spotted two bison around 5am today. Initially the villagers thought the animals were bulls. But when they saw they were bison, they started throwing stones at the animals and chased them. One bison returned to the nearby forest but the other hid itself behind a bush in the village.
By the time police and foresters reached the spot, the bison had already injured Maila Rai and Sandeep Lama of the Basti. Maila fell on the ground after the animal gored him. He has suffered a fracture on the rib and has been admitted to the Cooch Behar hospital. Sandeep has been admitted to a local hospital with an injury in his hand.
“Suddenly, the bison attacked Maila and he fell on the ground. I lost balance and fell while running away from the animal. The bison jumped on me and one of it’s legs hit my right hand,” said Sandeep.
R. Jhakhar, deputy field director of the tiger reserve (west) division, said: “The bison was driven back to the forest around 4pm.”
HC road reprieve for Sikkim
TT, Gangtok, Oct. 21: Sikkim High Court has disposed of a pubic interest litigation against the central and the state government agencies entrusted with maintenance of three highways in the state, observing that the pace of work has picked up after legal proceedings were initiated against the agencies.
The court, however, directed the BRO and the Project Swastik to submit a report mentioning the progress of the work every quarter of the year with the first report due on January 11.
The high court had taken up a suo motu PIL in May against 10 government agencies after its attention was drawn to the dilapidated condition of the three strategic roads — National Highway 31A, North Sikkim Highway and Jawaharlal Nehru Marg connecting Gangtok with Nathu-la on the India-China border.
The respondents were the secretaries of the Union surface transport, home, defence, finance, forest and environment and the road transport and highways ministries, director general of border roads, chief engineer of Project Swastik, state chief secretary and the state forest department.
Initiating the case, the court had noticed that “the work of upgradation and widening of these roads was taking at a painfully slow place when, considering the national security, it ought to have been done with greater rapidity.”
While disposing of the PIL on October 11, a division bench of Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran and Justice S.P. Wangdi appreciated the constraints faced by the Project Swastik personnel in execution of the work caused by the extreme weather condition and hostile terrain.
“But those are factors that are not new and, considering their experience, the respondent No. 3 (Project Swastik chief engineer) would be expected to evolve necessary strategies to overcome them. It is noticed that after initiation of these proceedings the pace of works have picked up considerably for which we record our appreciation,” the court said.
Observing that the period till May 2011 is conducive to “uninterrupted execution of the work” as the monsoon has receded, the court said the work should be taken up with “utmost urgency” so that those portions of the highways for which the clearances had been obtained and funds provided could be completed soon.
The judges acknowledged that the major reasons for the delay in implementing the work by the BRO were the lack of timely grant of forest and environment clearances and the approval of detailed project reports by the authorities concerned. Considering the importance of these roads, the court expected that such clearances would be granted fast by the agencies concerned on a priority basis. 
Gorkha unit to stay with British army
PTI, Kathmandu, Oct. 21 : Britain has officially dismissed reports that it is planning to discontinue the age-old Gorkha soldiers’ brigade.
“The British government has no plan at all to discontinue the Gorkha soldier unit of the British Army,” a British Embassy spokesman told PTI.
The remarks came in response to media reports quoting a British Parliament member about the possibility of closure of the Gorkha brigade by the British Army as a result of budget cut downs.
The parliamentarian also reasoned that the Gorkhas had been expensive due to equal pay, pensions and rights with regular British soldiers.
The statement comes in the wake of the British Government making public new security strategy and strategic defence and security review.
At present there are around 3,500 Gorkha soldiers serving in the British Army.
Gorkha brigade is regarded as one of the most trusted units of the British Army and the Gorkhas are regarded as very brave and obedient soldiers.
The British Army has very old and cordial relations with the Nepal Army.
The British Army had expressed commitment to continue its assistance to Nepal during Nepal Army chief Chhatraman Singh’s official visit to UK at the invitation of British Army chief G Peter Wall.
Bungalow turns road protest site- ‘Luxury’ tag for PWD building
TT, Siliguri, Oct. 21: A “luxurious” bungalow being built by the public works department in Jalpaiguri was today turned into a scene of protest by people venting their ire on the state government for its failure to repair roads in north Bengal
Members of the Jalpaiguri district committee of the West Bengal Government Employees’ Federation (Unified) today demonstrated in front of the bungalow, accusing public works minister Kshiti Goswami and PWD officials for not meeting the deadlines they themselves had set for the repair of the bumpy roads.
“It is a shame that instead of taking initiative for the early completion of road repairs, the minister and his officials are busy making luxurious arrangements for them,” said Sanjib Chatterjee, the Jalpaiguri district secretary of the federation which is allegiant to the Congress. “When common people are dying or suffering injuries on the roads, the PWD is finishing posh bungalows in Jalpaiguri and Madarihat by spending more than Rs 1 crore,” he said during the demonstration.
The bungalows are scheduled to be inaugurated by Goswami in the last week of October, said PWD sources.
“Public money has been used to build these luxurious buildings where the minister and his sycophants would relax and pamper themselves. The funds could have been spent to repair substantial stretches of the bad roads where thousands of people have been encountering problems every hour for the past seven-eight months,” Chatterjee said.
The sources said the PWD had constructed the two-storied bungalow on the bank of the Karala with Rs 75 lakh. Unlike the other rest houses owned by the department, the Jalpaiguri property is considered swanky as it has two suits, three deluxe rooms, lounge and dining and conference halls. A garden and dome will be added attractions of the bungalow.
The protesters numbering around 20 also observed a minute’s silence in memory of those who had died in road accidents in the past few months.
The PWD is in charge of NH31, NH55 and five state highways passing through Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts.
Chatterjee said a similar protest would be held on the day of the bungalow’s inauguration (probably on October 26) also. “We plan to hang a photo of the PWD minister in front of the bungalow with a writing that he has the habit of speaking lies,” he said.
Goswami had convened several meeting to discuss the condition of the highways and promised speedy completion of the repair at least two times. He said craters would be filled and the roads would be made suitable for travel before Puja. As the roads continue to be in a dilapidated state, bus owners have threatened to launch a strike after Diwali. 
Paddy protest
TT, Siliguri: Members of the Terai Sangrami Mancha demonstrated at the block land office in Kharibari on Thursday, protesting the move to create tea plantations by encroaching on paddy fields in the block.
Suicide arrest
TT, Islampur: Chopra police on Thursday arrested the husband and the brother-in-law of a woman who had committed suicide on October 17. Munni Malakar, 30, a resident of Haptiagach, was married to Barun about seven years back. Since then, she was tortured by her husband and in-laws, police said. Munni’s father Dhaneswar Roy lodged a complaint with police on October 18. The duo were picked up on the basis of the complaint.
Truck gutted
TT, Islampur: A jute-laden truck was gutted in a fire at College More in town on NH31 on Wednesday night. Police said the truck rammed into an electric post and got in touch with live electric wires. Two fire engines from Islampur doused the flames. The driver and the cleaner have, however, managed to escape unhurt.
Woman death
TT, Jaigaon: A 25-year-old woman from Dewkotatol in Jaigaon hanged herself at her residence on Thursday. Police said Bantitosh Niyal was a salesperson of electronic goods and originally hails from Rajasthan. She used to stay at a rented house. An investigation is on.
Rain & sun as Giri casts a cloud
TT, Kolkata:Thursday afternoon brought dark clouds and sudden showers to many parts of the city, while others remained dry, sunny and hot even as the weatherman kept an eye on Giri, the storm.
The Regional Meteorological Centre at Alipore recorded only traces of rainfall till 5.30pm on Thursday though the southern parts of the city and Salt Lake received spells of moderate to heavy rainfall between 11am and 3pm. Central and north Calcutta saw little or no rain through the day.
“The thundershowers in parts of the city and its neighbourhood were because of localised thunderclouds that have formed as a result of incursion of abundant moisture from the Bay of Bengal into the atmosphere over south Bengal,” said an official of the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
The spells of rain did not, however, help lower the temperatures, which stayed above normal. While the maximum was two degrees above normal at 33.6 degrees Celsius, the minimum was three notches above normal at 26.4 degrees Celsius. The high humidity range of 64 to 98 per cent made Calcuttans sweat most of the day.
The IMD said the moisture incursion was under the influence of a cyclonic storm over the Bay of Bengal, which will continue to have an indirect impact on the weather in south Bengal for another couple of days.
“The deep depression over east-central Bay of Bengal intensified into a cyclonic storm, Giri, on Thursday. It is likely to intensify further and make landfall within the next 24 hours,” a Met official told Metro.
As of 2.30pm on Thursday, the storm was 505km south-west of Chittagong in Bangladesh, packing winds up to 88km per hour.
“Intensifying steadily, Giri will initially move northwards and then north-north-eastwards. The system is likely to make landfall between Teknaf in Bangladesh and Kyaukpyu in Myanmar by Friday evening,” said the IMD official.
The storm, IMD officials said, would only have an “indirect” impact on the eastern coast of India.
“Parts of coastal Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Bengal are expected to be influenced by the system. The impact will be indirect, but it could be enough to bring a substantial amount of rain to parts of the region over the next 48 hours,” said a Met official.
If Giri does not dissipate soon after landfall, or if it alters course, could south Bengal face a stronger impact?
“If the dissipation does not start within a few hours after landfall, the weather in the region could be affected for some more time. If the storm alters course to steer towards the Bengal coast, the impact would be severe. But the chances of that appear slim, as of Thursday evening,” said O.P. Sharma, the chief meteorologist of a private Met agency.
Trinamul leader killed in Malda-Turf wars claim four lives in 15 days, finger at CPM
TT, Malda, Oct. 21: The bullet-ridden body of a Trinamul Congress leader was found in a mango orchard in Sujapur this morning, the fourth person to fall to political rivalry in the constituency in the past 15 days.
With Trinamul Congress making inroads into north Bengal, bitter turf wars have broken out in recent times between the CPM and Mamata Banerjee’s party in many pockets of Malda. Clashes between the Congress, a Trinamul ally, and the CPM is a regular feature in the district.
The death of Rinzu Biswas, a resident of Biswaspara in Sujapur who had been abducted yesterday, is suspected to be a fallout of the turf battle especially at a time many CPM supporters are switching sides to join Trinamul.
Trinamul and the Congress that has lost three members have accused the CPM of masterminding the murders. The Congress members were killed in adjoining Kaliachak that is part of Sujapur constituency.
With the exchange of charges and the palpable tension in the area, a police picket has been posted in Sujapur.
The 26-year-old Trinamul branch committee president had gone to visit his in-laws’ house at Jadupur, 10km away. Around 5.30pm yesterday, he started for his home on a motorcycle and was soon stopped by eight-nine persons at Hatimari, only half a kilometre from his house and part of the Sujapur gram panchayat that had been grabbed by the CPM in 2008 from the Congress. The Assembly constituency of Sujapur though still remains with the Congress.
Witnesses to the abduction had informed the Biswas family who filed a police complaint. Despite the police launching a search operation Rinzu could not be traced.
“But this morning, his body with bullet injuries on the chest, abdomen and shoulder, was found in a mango orchard near Nazirpur-Chamagram, nearly 2km from Sujapur,” a police officer said. The body was sent to Malda District Hospital for post-mortem. Rinzu was a mango merchant and a labour contractor.
“The murder is a handiwork of CPM-backed goons. Over the past few months, the strength of Trinamul has been increasing in Sujapur and many CPM workers and leaders are enrolling with us. This has become a cause of concern for the CPM which is why they have resorted to violence,” said Mojahar Hossain, the Kaliachak block Trinamul president.
Sabitri Mitra, the Malda district Trinamul president, blamed the CPM and the Congress for harbouring “anti-socials” to create panic.
“Since these parties have failed to stop people from joining Trinamul, they are abducting and killing people now. We will soon organise a movement to protest such murders and atrocities and demand stern police action,” Mitra said. Mazkura Biwi, Rinzu’s mother, has filed a complaint at Kaliachak police station, naming nine persons. The list of accused includes Meheru Sheikh, Lassu Khan, Zahirul Sheikh, Ekap Sheikh and Tinku Khan, all of them local criminals.
Abu Hashem Khan Choudhury, the Malda district Congress president and MP, has accused the police of inaction. “Over the past 15 days, four persons have been murdered in Kaliachak. On October 6, miscreants gunned down Rabeka Biwi, the 55-year-old wife of a Congress leader at Bamangram. Piyari Sheikh, another Congress worker, suffered bullet injuries the same day. Malek Sheikh, another from our party, was also murdered,” he said.
On October 9, CPM-backed criminals murdered Nitu Sheikh, a Congress worker from Sujapur, the MP alleged. “The police have badly failed. They could not arrest the culprits who had committed the murder and we suspect a section of them is backing the CPM.
“The superintendent of police is incompetent and has failed to uphold law and order in Malda district. We will write to the chief minister, the DGP and IGP (north Bengal), demanding his immediate transfer. Also, our PCC leaders will be intimated,” he added.
Jiban Moitra, the CPM district secretary of Malda, has brushed aside the allegations. “These murders are consequences of clashes between mafia members. There is no politics in it. The youth’s death was a result of a gang war,” Moitra said.
Malda police chief Bhuban Mondal said the culprits in two of the four murder cases have been arrested. “Some of them are absconding. We are conducting raids to catch them.”
3-year sentence for the attempt Promotion Of Civil Unrest, 14 October, 2010: - Gelephu dungkhag court sentenced last week a 40-year old man to three years in prison for attempting to promote civil unrest.
Prem Singh Gurung from Tarithang was arrested on May 21, after villagers in Gonggaon and Simkharkha of Jigmecholing gewog complained that he was screening movies on Christianity in the two villages.
Simkharkha is a one-day and Gonggaon a two-day walk from the nearest road head in Surey. Both villages do not have electricity.
But Prem Singh Gurung, with the help of some people, is believed to have carried a projector and a generator to screen the movies in the village.
Kuensel sources said that Prem Singh Gurung invited the villagers, saying that he would be screening Nepali movies, but in between he would show movies on Christianity. “When people walked away, saying that they don’t want to watch such movies, he again showed the Nepali movies,” said a source from Jigmecholing.
Gelephu police filed the case on July 23 and charged him for the promotion of civil unrest, and violation of sections 105(1) and 110 of Bhutan information, communication and media act, which says that a producer or owner or importer of any film, which is intended for public exhibition by any mode of information and communication technology or media within Bhutan, shall submit the film for examination; and failure to comply with the requirement shall be an offence.
But Kuensel sources said that, since it could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt that Prem Singh Gurung promoted civil unrest, he was charged with an attempt to promote civil unrest.
The judgment was passed on October 6. Gelephu police, court officials and officials from the office of attorney general refused to comment on the case and the verdict.
(By Tashi Dema)
The chants of Sereni-Tea- US poet celebrates power of brew
Avijit Sinha,TT, Siliguri, Oct. 21: Dharlene Marie Fahl is the creator of 101 tea “chants”, poems that she has penned to celebrate the powers of brew — a must during “festivi-tea” or to keep one’s “sani-tea” or simply for greater “compatibili-tea”.
And 36 of the 101 “chants” have been brought out in Sereni-Tea.
“My fascination with tea has grown over the past six years. As I grew accustomed to the beverage and started consuming it everyday, I felt it could be related to the well-being of an individual, particularly when it is an established fact that tea is a health drink,” Fahl told The Telegraph during a visit to Siliguri early this month.
“Being an inspirational writer, my attempt was to write poems or verses where tea can be focussed as a drink that is related to every aspect of a human being’s life, attitude and expressions. I worked for years and finally, could come out with the book which contains 36 of the 101 poems. Two more books on the same subject would be released in the coming years. I am working on them now.”
The 209-page book, on how to develop the self with qualities that can contribute in achieving personal and social goals, has chapters like Compatibili-tea, Masculini-tea, Receptivi-tea, Festivi-tea, Reciproci-tea, Sani-tea and Adversi-tea. Each chapter starts with a tea poem, and then moves on to quote some of the greatest tea lovers across the world followed by Fahl’s claims of how the brew helps to achieve tranquillity, fight adversity, or retain sanity, depending on the chapter.
For example, in “Tranquili-tea”, Fahl, who is based in California, writes: “…………I am refreshed, replenished and rejuvenated/From this place of purity and perfection/ I drink of my own goddess/and know my vessel will never empty/I sip slowly and enjoy it totally…….with each sip I am enlightened/ I am all I need to be….Thank You Tranquil One…”
The chapter on “Vitali-tea”, starts with “…… I am able to revitalise myself as often as necessary/ I need only sip of this ancient elixir/ to remember by own good….” Each chapter has four parts, a chant, a paragraph on how the cuppa helps to improve the self, a quote from a famous tea lover and finally the “affirmation”.
The “affirmations” are mostly four-liners. One such “affirmation" reads: “Part of me known the history and mystery of tea/I drink while it is hot/ It finds the spot.”
Transformation Media Books has published Fahl’s Sereni-Tea, priced $15.95.
“Despite tea being the most popular beverage across the globe, it is yet to gain first position in my country (US). The charm and aroma of the beverage have attracted me so much that I decided to write a book, which can also serve as an instrument to popularise tea,” said Fahl, who has been certified a tea specialist by the Specialist Tea Institute of America. “Once people understand how tea can help in improving their quality of life and keep them rejuvenated, the popularity of tea is bound to go up. This is the beverage by which you can pamper yourself at specific times during the day.”
Elaborating on her next books — all three would form a tea trilogy — Fahl said: “The second book would be a journey to the tea belts of the world, like India, China and Sri Lanka, complete with history and several other inherent information related to tea. It would be a composition of fictional and non-fictional chapters while the final book would be a journey to eternity, with tea being the accompanying elixir.”
Peaceful poll on crime pitch
Ramashankar, TT, Patna, Oct. 21: The opening day of the six-day poll test on crime pitch was over peacefully. (KalimNews: Bihar is going to polls in six phases spread over a month from October 21.)After stumps were drawn, none of the political parties had any major complaint on law and order.
Till the last Assembly election, the law and order used to overshadow all other issues in the areas that went to polls today. Be it Dhamdaha, Rurapuli, Bihariganj or Alam Nagar, all these constituencies have a sizeable number of candidates either with criminal antecedents or with the backing of people known for their muscle power in the Kosi belt.
“Earlier, gun powder used to fill the air during elections in the Kosi region. But this time gun-wielding security personnel are seen everywhere,” said Ghanshyam Mishra, a resident of Madhepura.
Purnea district magistrate N. Shravan Kumar said: “We made elaborate security arrangements at the polling stations identified as sensitive and supersensitive.” This has been proved right as no major untoward incident was reported from any part of the district on the polling day.
“Unlike previous elections, law and order doesn’t figure on the main agenda of the political parties, as the situation has improved considerably over the past five years,” said Shravan Kumar Mandal, a resident of Supauli under Rupauli Assembly constituency.
Raman Kumar Thakur, a resident of Purnea, echoed him. “The entire Seemanchal region had become notorious due to the unprecedented rise in the incidents of organised crime like contract killing, kidnapping for ransom, bank robbery and smuggling of narcotics from Nepal,” he said.
Only five years ago, gangsters used to rule the roost in the areas under Purnea, Madhepura, Araria, Kishanganj and Supaul districts.
“The ganglords used to dictate terms and the people had to oblige them or face the consequences. But now they have vanished from the scene due to drastic reforms in the law and order situation,” said Rima Gupta, a native of Forbesganj in Araria district.
Though law and order is no longer on the agenda of the political parties during electioneering, it has been haunting the minds of the electorates. “Who does not want peace? Everyone does, be it a businessman or a common person,” said Ganesh Kumar Mishra of Saharsa. He said the voters cast their votes keeping the law and order problem in mind.
The list of bahubalis and their proxy candidates fighting the election from Seemanchal is long. While Shanker Singh, the chief of the North Bihar Liberation Army, is contesting from Rurapuli on an LJP ticket, Braj Kishore Yadav alias Buchan Yadav, is trying his luck from Bihariganj.
Shanker is pitted against Bima Bharti, the wife of the leader of notorious Faizan gang, Awadhesh Mandal. He is still considered a terror across Purnea, Madhepura, Kishanganj and Araria districts.
Shahnawaz Alam, an LJP nominee from Kasba seat, was earlier booked on charges of committing heists in banks.
A BJP nominee from Purnea, Raj Kishore is facing charges of forgery and rape. Besides, Mumtaz Ahmad and Manoj Paswan, both Independents, have charges related to kidnapping, rape and dacoity pending against them. Pappu Kumar of the LJP from Purnea, too, faces criminal charges.
Lesi Singh, the widow of gangster Butan Singh, is contesting election on the JD (U) symbol from Dhamdaha. Butan was gunned down while being escorted to the court from Purnea jail a few years ago.

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