To contact us CLICK HERE
View Kalimpong News at
Citizen reporters may send photographs related to news with proper information to

Thursday, October 7, 2010

CBI probe Case admitted in High Court ... GJMM youths join AIGL ... DK Bomjan passed away ... Hill fest to woo tourists

Mukesh Sharma, KalimNews, 06 October Kalimpong:The Calcutta High Court have ordered the west Bengal Government to clear its stand on the CBI enquiry of The Madan Tamang murder case , demanded by AIGL, Pratap Khati a senior AIGL leader and a lawyer by profession  told the press conference today in Kalimpong. Khati said that the hearing appeal was heard after a writ jointly filed by Bharati Tamang, Sanjog Tamang and Laxman Tamang demanding CBI probe in the Madan Tamang murder case.
He added that his party had lost faith on CID after Nicole Tamang's escape from their custody.
TT Adds : Justice Jayanta Biswas asked the state government to file an affidavit by the second week of November stating the progress the CID had made while probing Tamang’s assassination. The case will come up for next hearing in the first week of December. Tamang was killed by khukuri-wielding people in Darjeeling on May 21.
Meanwhile about 80 supporters of GJMM joined AIGL in Pedong area of Kalimpong. Dawa Sherpa Manoj Dewan, Laxman Pradhan along with newly inducted Ex GNLF leaders KN Subba and Tshering Sherpa who returned to their homes after two years of their stay in Silguri. 
This was he first instance of joining by such a huge number of GJYM supporters. in AIGL.  Dawa Sherpa told reporters that AIGL has primary demand of Gorkhaland and two secondary demands CBI probe in Madan Tamang murder case and objection of the proposed Interim Set Up.He also added that probably in the next week they will have a dialogue with the Government.
DK Bomjan passed away
DK Bomjan
Photo: P Khaling
KalimNews, 7 October: D.K.Bomjan President of Gorkha Rashtriya Congress a champion of Darjeeling Sikkim merger died of heart attack this morning at about 6.30 am in a nursing home in Siliguri.  He was very active in the local politics since he formed GRC. Previously he was in the Indian National Congress. He was of the opinion that Sikkim is incomplete without unification with Darjeeling as it was a. part of Sikkim and given to British during British regime. Lately he had also rejected the proposed Interim setup. 

SheemNews (KalimNews): 60 Terai GJYM supporters joined ABGL. These youths of MM Terai  branch Committee joined ABGL and received by Rajen Mukhia AIGL Vice President in Panighatta. 
Taxi Strike called by Terai Chalak Sangathan in NH55 is withdrawn. 
Samar Ghose, State Home Secretary will visit Darjeeling hills from October 8 on a 3 days visit. He will fly from Darjeeling on 11th to Delhi and participate in the tripartite talks.
KalimNews: A 7 member GJM team will participate in the tripartite talks of 11 October. Roshan Giri will lead the team which includes Triloke Dewan, Dr HB Chhetri, LB Pariyar, Hari Psd Niraula (Terai).
Manas Bhuia the State Congress President said that Center has kept option open for inclusion of Darjeeling hills in the sixth schedule of the Indian Constitution. He is in Siliguri and meeting party workers.
All’s well message in tourist fest- Morcha lines up paragliders, bands for day1
TT, Darjeeling, Oct. 6: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has planned a show complete with paragliders and marching school bands to re-introduce a tourism festival that will also be part of the party’s foundation day celebration tomorrow.
The Morcha spectacle seems to be an effort to mollify the stakeholders of the tourism sector that has been frequently hit because of the hill party’s agitation.
The fact that the party has for the first time since its formation three years ago taken the onus to organise the fest also shows that it is eager to send the message that all’s well in the hills, especially after Madan Tamang’s murder in May. The Morcha had been accused of masterminding the killing of the popular ABGL leader.
Besides, the festival from October 7 to November 9 has been planned at a time when the Morcha is particularly upbeat about inking a deal with the government soon on the interim-set up for the hills. Last time such a festival was held was in 2006. It used to be organised by a citizens’ forum that stopped the show after the Morcha came into being and the statehood agitation picked up.
Nearly 1.5 lakh tourists are expected in Darjeeling town alone in the next one month. Most schools and colleges in the plains get ready for the puja holidays that start with Mahalaya tomorrow.
Darjeeling is already covered with green-yellow-white buntings, the colours of the Morcha flag, while Chowrastha or the Mall, the hill town’s famous promenade, is being spruced up.
The paragliders have arrived from Himachal Pradesh and the party has requested all residents to put up Morcha flags on their rooftops. All party activists have been told to attend the function in traditional Gorkha dresses.
Morcha president Bimal Gurung is scheduled to take the “guard of honour” from Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP), the party’s squad of lathi-wielding volunteers, and will hoist the party flag at 11.19am — a time he considers auspicious.
“We are expecting around 1.5 lakh tourists in Darjeeling alone. They will start arriving from next week, some even at the end of this week. They will stay till Diwali,” said a tour operator. “After that, we will have the winter tourism. But that figure is less.”
Schools from other hill towns like Kalimpong and Kurseong have also been invited. “Bands from Rockvale Academy in Kalimpong and St Michael’s School in Darjeeling along with Gorkhaland Personnel will perform tomorrow,” said Raju Pradhan, the assistant secretary of the Morcha.
The Morcha will also felicitate Rockvale Academy and Girls’ High School from Kalimpong, Ramakrishna Girls’ School from Kurseong, and St Michael’s School and Ghoom Girls Higher Secondary School from Darjeeling for their “overall” excellence.
Prominent personalities from across the hills will also be felicitated during the show. “From Kalimpong we will felicitate Lalit Golay (dramatist) and Paril Lepcha (archer). Father Abraham (social worker) from Kurseong, and Raj Narayan Pradhan (writer), Puran Giri (lyricist), Ganesh Rizal (dramatist) and Gagan Gurung (singer) from Darjeeling will also be honoured during the programme,” said Pemba Tshering Ola, the president of the Morcha’s sub-divisional committee.
The felicitation list also includes five ex-servicemen who have been training the GLP.
While the programme continues at Chowrastha, the paragliders will take off from near St Paul’s School, hover around the venue and land at Lebong, 7km from here.
In the evening, the Gorkha Kala Sanstha — the organisers of the entire tourism festival supported by the Morcha — will put up cultural programmes at Chowrastha. “During the month-long function we will also take the paragliders to Kalimpong and Kurseong,” said Pradhan. The cultural shows will be held daily from 4pm to 7pm at the Mall.
Simultaneous festivals will also be held in Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik in the next one month. 
TT, Darjeeling, Oct. 6: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha will use the platform of its foundation-day celebrations tomorrow to reintroduce a festival in Darjeeling after four years, in an apparent bid to reassure holidaymakers and the tourism trade in the agitation-hit hills.
The tourism festival coincides with the Puja season when 1.5 lakh tourists are expected to visit Darjeeling in the next one month.
Paragliders and school bands will perform at the opening ceremony of the month- long festival at the Mall.
The festival, which was earlier called Darjeeling Carnival, used to be organised by an apolitical citizens’ forum. However, after the Morcha was formed in 2007 and the statehood agitation gained momentum, the forum stopped organising the event, where various cultural programmes showcasing life in the hills used to be held.
The Morcha had earlier announced its plans to organise the festival, hinting it would be a strike-free Pujas this time.
The event, being organised this time by the hill party-backed Gorkha Kala Sanstha, has been planned at a time the Morcha is upbeat about inking a deal with the state government on the interim-set up for the hills.
The festival is also being seen as a Morcha effort to appease the hill people after the murder of Madan Tamang, for which it has been blamed.
Darjeeling has been decorated with green-yellow-white buntings, the colour of the Morcha flag, for the festival. The Mall area has been cleaned.
Paragliders have arrived from Himachal Pradesh. The Morcha has requested all Darjeeling residents to put up party flags on their rooftops. Party activists have been told to attend the opening ceremony in traditional Gorkha attire.
Over the next 30 days, cultural shows will be held at the Mall from 4pm to 7pm. Programmes, including paragliding shows, will also be held at Kurseong, Kalimpong and Mirik.
“Tourists will start arriving in Darjeeling from next week. They are expected to stay till Diwali,” a tour operator said.
Rule book for trek organisers
TT, Gangtok, Oct. 6: The Travel Agents’ Association of Sikkim has released a set of guidelines for its members engaged in adventure tourism, aiming to address the “negative” reports on tour operators.
The guidelines — Basic Minimum Standard for Trekking in Sikkim — were released recently.
“There has been a lot of negative feedback about the services of tour operators in the trekking and adventure tourism sector and we aim to address these issues with the guidelines,” said TAAS president Lukendra Rasaily. The apex body of tour operators has 250 members and around 35 of them are into adventure tourism.
According to the guidelines, trekking guides should be experienced, should have good communication skills in English and Hindi, know how to administer first aid and should be conversant with eco-tourism rules. They should know proper etiquette, the flora and fauna of the region and accord top priority to the security of all trekkers. The operators have to inform the tourists about services available, height, time, distance, weather condition, accommodation and other logistics while trekking. The tourists will be asked to furnish copies of life and medical insurance. 
Nathu-la travel and trade hit by shut road- JN Marg closed for two months after cave-in
TT, Gangtok, Oct. 6: Jawaharlal Nehru Marg connecting Gangtok with Nathu-la has been closed for the past two months following a cave-in at 17th Mile, taking a toll on the livelihood of taxi drivers and traders.
Presently, businessmen have to take a 185km route through Rongli to travel from Gangtok to Nathu-la, where the border is open for trade between Sikkim and the Tibet Autonomous Region. The distance from Gangtok to Nathu-la through the JN Marg is around 60km.
A 300-metre stretch of the JN Marg was washed away repeatedly at 17th Mile near Kyongnosla waterfall since the monsoon began in August, reducing the restoration work of the Border Roads Organisation to a meaningless affair.
However, good weather over the past few days has generated hopes of early restoration. “The JN Marg will be made suitable for traffic from October 8, by when the rains will depart from the region,” said A.K. Singh, executive engineer of the BRO’s Project Swastik.
Taxi drivers who operate between Gangtok and Nathu-la said they were struggling to make two ends meet.
“At this point of time last year, more than 150 vehicles used to ferry tourists everyday. But this time, our entire fleet of 280 vehicles is grounded for the past two months because of the road disruption. Even 40-50vehicles travel during the off-season. Our members are surviving on the profits earned in the summer,” said Laga Tamang, the general secretary of the Gangtok Gnathang Taxi Drivers’ and Owners’ Association.
“The tourism season has begun and we appeal to the authorities to clear the road for traffic. The closure of the JN Marg has adversely hit tourism as Nathu-la and Tsomgo Lake along the road are the main destinations for visitors,” he added.
If the tourism stakeholders have suffered patiently in the past two months, the traders have been travelling 125km extra to reach Sherathang from the state capital to sell their stocks and collect dues from the Chinese businessmen.
According to the traders, they set off for the border as early as 6am every Monday and stay at Nathu-la (14,420feet) till Thursday. The traders generally return home in the evenings when the JN Marg is open. The trade is allowed only from Monday to Thursday.
“We go to the mart every Monday and stay there for four days in difficult conditions. There are no proper accommodation facilities and the temperature is very low. We have to sell our stocks like foodgrain, tea and canned food brought from Gangtok. There are also dues to be collected from them as the trade will close at November end,” said a trader. 
Liquour haul
Jaigaon: Excise department seized 4,000 litres of liquor, allegedly smuggled out of Bhutan, from a godown near Chuapara Tea Estate on Tuesday night. Excise officers conducted the raid after receiving a tip-off. The liquor was worth Rs 5 lakh, the officials said. No one has been arrested.
The Gorkhaland Movement and Localized Autocracy in Darjeeling adapted from - PROBLEM OF POLITICAL STABILITY IN NORTHEAST INDIA Local Ethnic Autocracy and the Rule by: Bethany Lacina

Scholars have examined the development initiatives, formal institutional reforms, and security policies that New Delhi uses in the Northeast in the hopes of resolving various conflicts there. However, the manner in which local elites are empowered by these arrangements is also and ironically central to understanding the persistence of regional violence.
The center’s first response to minority violence in the Northeast is gen­erally to support the existing state government’s attempts at repression.
For example, New Delhi resisted the division of Darjeeling or Cooch Behar from West Bengal throughout the 1980s and 1990s and also tried to prevent the reorganization of Assam throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In addition to a large military presence, the Northeast also has much higher per capita levels of police than much of the rest of the country. If a local conflict proves to be beyond the state government’s control, the center may agree to a redistribution of political power, for example by creating new states or autonomous councils.
The Origins of Political Instability in Northeast India encompasses the states of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, and Sikkim. Between Sikkim and Assam lie the Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, and Cooch Behar Districts of West Bengal. A narrow corridor in Darjeeling District is all that connects the Northeast to the rest of India. The Northeast region of India has seen decades of insurgency and is typically characterized as being exceptionally diverse, with a bewildering number of politically salient ascriptive identities. In terms of colonial background, the British East India Company con­quered Bengal in 1757. To the northeast of these Bengal possessions lay the Brahmaputra River valley, heavily populated by ethnic Assamese. The valley was incorporated into the company’s holdings in 1826 through war with Burma. Company control extended more gradually into hill areas.
Ceasefires and peace settlements also attempt to placate local rivals by temporarily stopping the violence and proffering massive economic trans­fers from the center. The center’s financial and coercive support allow local leaders—ex-militants or civilians at the state level or below—to consoli­date an area of control. In particular, diversion of public resources, re­pression of smaller groups, electoral cheating, and violence against rivals are important means by which local leaders establish themselves. A leader who has consolidated control has an incentive to repress attacks on sensi­tive targets in order to avoid the central government’s interference in his locale. The result is a drop-off in attacks involving the security forces, al­though the leader may at the same time exploit internecine and inter-com­munal conflicts to enforce and expand local control. The extremely corrupt management of government funds flowing to these local autocratic leaders and their locales is well-documented.
The case of the Gorkhaland movement, detailed below, in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal is presented here to illustrate the dynamics of local­ized autocracy. In the 1980s, a movement of Nepali speakers demanding that the Darjeeling District be converted into a Gorkhaland state turned vi­olent. The central and West Bengal governments reestablished stability by concentrating power in a single political party (the Gorkha National Liber­ation Front, GNLF) and, ultimately, a single person (the GNLF’s leader,Subash Ghising). This leader’s political demise has recently pitched the area back into turmoil, a possibility inherent in the use of local autocracy for confilct resolution.
Advocates of the Gorkhaland movement argue that the Darjeeling Dis­trict along with areas of the neighboring district of Jalpaiguri should be made into a separate state within the Indian union. This would acknowledge the area’s distinct linguistic and ethnic characteristics as well as its historically separate administration from Bengal during the colonial period. Proponents further argue that the West Bengal government has extracted wealth from the region for the benefit of Bengalis but invested little in return.
Demands for separation from Bengal date back to the early 1900s, but they came to national prominence at the beginning of the 1980s. As in most of West Bengal, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) was politically dominant in the Darjeeling Hills at the time, although the All India Gurkha League (AIGL) controlled the Darjeeling state assembly seat. Both the CPI-M and the AIGL nominally supported greater regional autonomy for Darjeeling. However, the CPI-M proved ineffectual in push­ing for a constitutional amendment to create a Gorkha autonomous coun­cil.In 1981, the AIGL’s headman, Deoprakash Rai, passed away. Rai had long been the most powerful politician in Darjeeling and after his death, the AIGL fell into internal disorder.
The AIGL’s faltering created a political opening for a party that would push Darjeeling autonomy more aggressively than Rai and the AIGL had done. This opening was flled by the GNLF. Subash Ghising, who had served in the military and was also a popular author, was the charismatic head of this movement; C. K. Pradhan and Chhatrey Subba managed its militant wing, the Gorkha volunteer Cell (GvC). 

The GNLF led strikes and demonstrations to put political pressure on both Kolkata, the West Bengal state capital, and New Delhi for negotiations. At the same time, Dar­jeeling CPI-M militias and the GVC launched attacks against each other, hoping to intimidate or drive away each others’ cadres and supporters. By 1988, up to 300 people had died, most in GVC versus CPI-M violence.After a 40-day general strike in the Darjeeling Hills in 1987, both the West Bengal government and India’s central government agreed to nego­tiations with the GNLF. Their 1988 Memorandum of Settlement called for a Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) to be created by a statute of the West Bengal government. The council had both legislative and ad­ministrative control over a variety of local matters, most related to eco­nomic development and management of natural resources.The terms of this settlement and the manner in which it was implemented demonstrate the use of localized autocracy to create stability. 
Both the state and the center remained passive as the GNLF used violence and corruption to consolidate its power within Darjeeling politics after the accord. The GNLF continued to target Nepali-speaking CPI-M opponents as well as smaller political parties. In fact, the design of the DGHC legislation helped the GNLF eliminate its rivals. Elections to the council were, by statute, super­vised by the West Bengal Ministry of Hill Affairs, headed by a political ap­pointee, not the apolitical state election commission. In the second and third DGHC elections, GNLF intimidation of candidates and poll irregularities went unchallenged by officials. The state government also did not block Ghi­sing’s massive diversion of the council’s resources into patronage networks. For example, the last external audit of the DGHC was performed in 1992—a means of oversight that neither the state nor the center has chosen to revive. Ghising repeatedly extracted small expansions of the DGHC’s power and new financial transfers from both the state government and New Delhi.
By the mid-1990s, democratic political opposition to Ghising had been eliminated. Ghising also clamped down on threats of militancy to protect his own power—a course compatible with New Delhi’s and Kolkata’s pref­erence for stability in the area. The GVC was disbanded, and the GNLF’s enforcement wing was moved under Ghising’s direct control. In 2000, Chhattrey Subba, one of the ex-leaders of the GVC, founded the Gorkhaland Liberation Organization (GLO). The group demanded an independent state and threatened a guerilla campaign. Subba was jailed in 2001 for al­leged involvement in a plot on Ghising’s life, although a case was never brought against him. In 2002, C. K. Pradhan, the other ex-head of the GVC, was assassinated. The Darjeeling police made no arrests.
As Ghising’s reign continued, few in Darjeeling were willing publicly to criticize the DGHC regime because of the threat of violence against dissent­ers. However, the DGHC’s corruption and failure to significantly improve Darjeeling’s public services also made it and the GNLF extremely unpopular. Concerned that the GNLF might not be able to win another election, Ghising convinced the state government to repeatedly postpone the 2004 scheduled DGHC polls. Kolkata ultimately dissolved the council and appointed Ghising caretaker, giving him sole control of the institution’s resources.
Ghising’s explanation for this suspension of democracy was that the DGHC needed to be added to the 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitu­tion, which is the national list of tribal councils. This proposal was, however, unpopular with many Nepali-speakers. Creating such a body in Darjeeling would have necessitated a legal redefinition of Nepali castes as “tribes,” which some in the region considered demeaning. Others feared that the change in designation would apply only to Hindus, excluding Buddhists and other religious minorities, or that Nepali-speakers who belonged to “scheduled castes” entitled by the Indian Constitution to special conces­sions would lose these privileges.
Seizing an opportune political moment, Bimal Gurung, Ghising’s second in command, broke from the GNLF in October 2007 to form the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (Gorkha People’s Freedom Front, GJMM or GJM). The GJMM’s goals were to block the 6th Schedule designation, re­move Ghising from power, and obtain a Gorkhaland state. Gurung controls substantial coercive resources because, in the opinion of local informants, he was a leading political thug in the GNLF. He is also quite wealthy. The GJMM organized rallies, road blockades, general strikes, and sieges of government buildings in support of its platform.In the months after the GJMM’s formation, Kolkata and the central government attempted to restore Ghising’s dominance by pushing for the DGHC to be added to the 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution as quickly as possible. The central government tried to ram the 6th Schedule amendment through the national legislature, asking a joint session to pass the bill without following usual procedures. When this move failed, the delay proved fatal. Massive GJMM-led protests throughout Darjeeling District forced Ghising to resign in March 2008.
Darjeeling is currently in a state of political limbo. The GJMM is the de facto local government, although there have been no elections for Darjeel­ing’s local institutions since 1999. The party enforces periodic general strikes and moratoriums on some government offices. It therefore maintains a veto over the interfaces between the state government and the local population, such as provision of utilities or receipt of taxes. In essence, the GJMM has set about establishing its hegemony within Darjeeling, including harassing smaller parties and resisting public debate about its actions. In fact, several people have died, and rioting has been sparked by incidents between the GJMM and its remaining opponents in Darjeeling. 
The GJMM is also try­ing to build a following in the ethnically heterogeneous areas that surround the Darjeeling Hills, which has resulted in small inter-communal clashes be­tween Bengali speakers, Nepali speakers, and tribal groups.Kolkata and the center have already appeared to adjust to the change in leadership of Darjeeling’s local autocracy. This is evident by the fact that the GJMM has held preliminary talks on greater autonomy with the state and national governments. In addition, both the ruling Indian National Congress Party and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People’s Party, BJP) actually sought the GJMM’s support for the 2009 national par­liamentary elections.
In early January, the police attempted to arrest GJMM vice President Pradeep Pradhan on charges of assault but failed after Gu­rung threatened unrest. The Darjeeling police superintendent’s comment to Times of India is a telling indicator of the tacit support the state and na­tional political leadership provide for the GJMM’s localized autocracy: Trying to arrest a GJM leader proves that police are still a force to reckon with. It’s for the government to show interest and a strong will.
It is possible that opposition to the DGHC was inevitable. The council’s status was well short of the GNLF’s original demand for a union state,and Kolkata obstructed some of its funding and autonomy. Demographic pressures have also worked against the DGHC span style population has grown in the plains areas of Darjeeling District (also the Terai or the Siliguri subdivision) and in the northern areas of Jalpaiguri District, known as the Dooars. None of these areas fall within the jurisdiction of the DGHC, which has led to demands that the council’s borders be expanded.
However, the state and center’s focus on keeping Ghising and the GNLF in power helped to block democratic and peaceful channels of opposition to the DGHC. The reliance on Ghising was based on a belief that he would eliminate threats, a fear of anarchy if he fell from power, and a perception that the GNLF commanded more elite and popular support than it in fact retained. The center and Kolkata gave Ghising the tools to elimi­nate regular political competition in Darjeeling and allowed him to divert public funding from programs that might have addressed broad local grievances. As a consequence, effective opposition to Ghising could only emerge in the form of irregular, and potentially violent, politics. It is not an accident that the successful challenger to his rule, Bimal Gurung, has the very same type of resources—money and a reputation as a thug—that dominated Darjeeling politics under the GNLF.

No comments:

Post a Comment