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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Parties to counter Morcha ‘bullying’ ...

Hill house attacked for Ghisingh visit- Parties to counter Morcha ‘bullying’
Vivek Chhetri, Rajiv Ravidas, TT, Nov. 3: The Darjeeling hill opposition today decided to launch a movement after Diwali against the “bullying tactics” of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, whose supporters attacked the house of a GNLF member in a Kalimpong village on Monday night.
Morcha leaders said the attack had been “provoked” by the villager’s “temerity” to visit the Jalpaiguri house of party chief Subash Ghisingh.
The attack on the house of Muna Mani Pradhan, a former GNLF panchayat member, took place in Kumai along the border with Bhutan, a day after he had called on Ghisingh in Jalpaiguri. According to an FIR lodged with Jaldhaka police outpost yesterday, the incident took place at 11.15 on Monday night when Pradhan was away and women and children in his family were sleeping indoors.
“A group of men went to my house and smashed the windows after breaking the bulb in the veranda. My wife, widowed sister-in-law and two children were at home,” Pradhan told The Telegraph over the phone from Kumai.
Pradhan said he had deliberately stayed away from home after he had got wind that he could be targeted. “Those who attacked my house knew that I was not at home. I never imagined that they would target my house knowing there were only women and children. What saddens me is that at a time others are decorating their homes for Diwali, my house is in a shambles,” said Pradhan.
The Morcha supporters targeted Pradhan after he had been spotted in a picture published in a local daily showing the GNLF sympathisers gathered in front of Ghisingh’s house.
Local Morcha leaders today warned that other GNLF supporters would also face the same fate if they made the “mistake” of meeting Ghisingh.
“If they repeat the mistake, they will face social boycott and may also be uprooted from the village,” said Madan Lepcha, the secretary of the Morcha’s Kumai unit.
Hill opposition leaders said one of the reasons for the Morcha’s “belligerence” was the fact that the GNLF had started forming village committees in the hills in recent weeks and resumed political activities after a gap of almost three years.
As the news of the attack trickled in, the hill opposition said they would protest against the Morcha’s “strong-arm tactics” to curb the political rights of the people.
“We have decided to press for the political rights of the people and we will demand immediate elections to panchayat and municipalities,” said Dawa Sherpa, the working president of the ABGL.
The hill opposition, which mainly comprises the ABGL, CPRM, GNLF (C), Sikkim-Darjeeling Akaikaran Manch and the TMC (Hills), said they would also step up its movement against the new interim authority for the hills.
“We have decided to hold a massive rally in Darjeeling this month,” said Sherpa.
Gurung hints at talks date
TT, Siliguri, Nov. 3: The next round of political-level talks is likely to be held either at the end of this month or in the first week of December where the last hurdles to the formation of an interim authority for Darjeeling are expected to be removed.
Returning from Delhi after “positive talks” with the Centre, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung told reporters at Bagdogra airport: “We told Union home minister P. Chidambaram that the next round of tripartite talks at the political-level should take place by the end of November or the first of week of December. We have got a positive response from Delhi.”

Gurung, along with party general secretary Roshan Giri and central committee member Jyoti Kumar Rai, had gone to Delhi to attend “urgent talks” with Chidambaram on the formation of the interim authority. The Morcha delegation also met junior home minister Ajay Maken who usually chairs the talks at the political-level.
Sources said the Centre had urged the Morcha to be more flexible in its demands so that the interim authority could be formed before the elections to the state Assembly were announced. The Morcha, the sources said, had assured the Centre that it would do so.
This found reflection in what Gurung said today.
“We found both the governments — the central as well as the state — want the issue of setting up of an interim arrangement to be sorted out as early as possible,” Gurung said.
“We, too, want that it should be formed ahead of the state Assembly election, which is scheduled to be held next year.”
Asked whether the issue of inclusion of the Terai and the Dooars in the interim authority, which has been one of the main demands of the Morcha, had been discussed in the Delhi meeting, the hill leaders refused comment.
GJM:set up regional authority for Darjeeling Hills before polls
TH, Kolkata, Nov 4: The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) leadership on Wednesday demanded that the regional authority proposed for the Darjeeling Hills be set up before the Assembly polls in West Bengal due by June 11 next year. “We want the regional authority to be set up before and not after the elections,” GJM president Bimal Gurung asserted at the Bagdogra airport.
Mr. Gurung and two of his associates in the party had held talks with Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram in New Delhi on Monday on the future of the proposed regional authority.
There are certain contentious issues regarding the proposed body that still await sorting out. “We want it to be finalised at the next round of tripartite talks to be held at the political level,” Mr. Gurung told journalists on his arrival from the capital.
Differences persist between the GJM and the West Bengal government on the territorial jurisdiction of the body and its composition — whether it will comprise nominated members which the GJM is demanding or elected members.
The GJM leadership maintains that Gorkha-dominated pockets in the Terai and Dooars regions of north Bengal should be brought within the regional authority's purview. The State government has been of the view that the body's jurisdiction be confined to the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong. Mr. Chidambaram, who was apprised of the GJM's views on the outstanding issues, has reportedly assured Mr. Gurung and his colleagues that efforts will be made to find a solution at the earliest, according to Mr. Gurung.
Under pressure from supporters, the GJM leadership is keen that the regional authority should be set up soon.
सिरडी साई बाबाको मन्दिर उद्घाटन
नाम्ची,3 नोभेम्बर। सिक्किममा देशकै निम्ति धर्मनिर्पेक्षताको उदाहरण स्थापित भएको छ। यहाँ देशको अन्य प्रान्तहरूमा जस्तो धर्मको नाममा हिंसा र आतंक छैन्। देशमा कतै पनि धर्मको नाममा विभाग छैन तर सिक्किममा धर्म विभाग छ जसले सबै धर्मलाई समानरूपले विकास गर्ने मौका प्रदान गरेको छ।

यस प्रकारको मन्तव्य राज्यका मुख्यमन्त्री पवन चामलिङले व्यक्त गरेका हुन्। दक्षिण जिल्लाको नाम्ची नजिक आसाङथाङमा निर्माण गरिएको सिरडी साई बाबाको भव्य मन्दिर उद्घाटन गर्दै मुख्यमन्त्रीले उक्त मन्तव्य व्यक्त गरेका हुन्। बुधबार बिहानैदेखि विभिन्न परंपरागत पुजा अर्चनाको साथमा मुख्यमन्त्री चामलिङले यो भव्य मन्दिरको उद्घाटन गरे। दक्षिण जिल्लामा निर्माणाधिन विभिन्न धार्मिक पर्यटकीय स्थलहरूको बारेमा जानकारी दिँदा मुख्यमन्त्री चामलिङले भने, यहाँ विभिन्न धर्मिक पर्यटकीय स्थलहरूको विकास गर्ने कार्य भइरहेको छ। यी धार्मिक पर्यटनकीय स्थलहरू धर्मावलम्बीहरूको निम्ति तिर्थ हुन भने स्थानीय नागरिक समाजको निम्ति समाजकै सम्पत्ती हो। यस्ता धार्मिक पर्यटकीय केंद्रहरूलाई त्यसको संरक्षण गर्दै उत्पादनशील सम्पत्तीको रूपमा स्थापित गर्न सक्नु पर्ने बताए। मुख्यमन्त्रीले आज उद्घाटन गरिएको मन्दिरको निर्माण  सिक्किमको निम्ति मात्र नभएर देश विदेशकै निम्ति उदाहरणीय रहेको बताए। यसै गरि स्थानीय नागरिक समाजले यसको संरक्षण र यसलाई उत्दापकको रूपमा प्रयोग गरेर फाइदा उठाउन सक्नु पर्छ। मुख्यमन्त्रीले सिरडी साई बाबा ट्रस्टको मार्फत भएको यो कार्यलाई सराहना गर्दै ट्रस्टलाई बाधाई दिए।
मुख्यमन्त्रीले सकरात्मक कार्यमा विभिन्न प्रकारको वाधाहरू आउने तथा समाजको नकरात्मक तत्वहरू सधैं यसमा सक्रिय हुने गरेको बताउँदै सोलोफोकमा निर्माणाधिन चारधाम र यो साई बाबा मन्दिरमाथि पनि किचलो गर्न खोज्दै सर्वोच्च न्यायालयमा समेत मामिला दर्ता गरेका थिए।
Year on, duo untraceable - Search stuck in widened crevasse
TT, Gangtok, Nov. 3: A mission to locate the bodies of two climbers from Mumbai, who had been hit by an avalanche in Mt Tinchenkang last October, has yielded no results despite several attempts by search teams.
The operation was called off as the search teams found that the crevasse, where the duo had been buried, had widened and deepened, making difficult the retrieval attempts.
Mangesh Deshpande and Sekar Sadashivan were returning to the base camp at 4,150m when they were blown away and got buried in a crevasse at 5,900m on October 19. They were part of a six-member group which had scaled the mountain in West Sikkim.
Two porters with the team, Mingma Sherpa and Ang Dorjee Sherpa, were seriously injured in the incident.
The search operations were undertaken by Chakram Hikers, a Mumbai-based adventure tour operator that had also conducted the expedition to the peak at 6,010m.
According to a report sent to the state government by Chakram Hikers, the crevasse where the climbers got buried has undergone a structural change and it has turned into a 600metre long, 20-30metre wide and 100metre deep bergschrund.
Immediately after the tragedy, the Army and Indian Air Force choppers had been pressed into service along with expert mountaineers to trace the bodies. But weather and terrain conditions hampered the search operation.
After the monsoon, Chakram Hikers decided to launch another operation to locate the bodies. Acting on a proposal sent by the agency in August, the state government waived the fee for the mountain climb and made available a liaison officer for the search.
Five mountaineers, headed by Rajesh Gadgil, and liaison officer Bhaichung Tamang began climbing the peak from Yuksom on September 23. The team set up an advance base camp at 4,835m on September 27 and seven days later, reached the spot where the bodies were believed to have been buried.
But they found that the area had become a bergschrund with glaciers hanging along its walls. A bergschrund is an enlarged crevasse formed because of changes in the snow structure.
Concluding that the bodies had been buried deep inside the crevasse, the team decided to seek the services of sherpas as a last-ditch effort. On October 6, three sherpas reached the spot but they also could not spot the bodies, forcing the team to call off the search.
According to Gadgil, the bodies had been buried in the bergschrund that had opened up after the last year’s incident. “Probable reasons for the structural change of the place could be tremors, high snow depositions during winter and the subsequent high pressure of the ice on the fragile slope of the peak,” he said.
“If the bodies are buried in the bergschrund, it is not likely that they will resurface in the near future unless external factors come into force. But if they are not buried too deep, the bodies may resurface and can be seen,” said Gadgil.
He has also submitted photos of the location to the state tourism department and has recommended that the pictures be handed over to all teams attempting to scale Mt Tinchenkang.
“If a team sights the bodies, they should inform the authorities so that retrieval efforts could be launched, said Gadgil.
Sisters suicide
TT, Balurghat, Nov. 3:
 Bodies of two sisters were found at their residence in Patiram today and police and relatives suspect that the siblings, depressed over their financial condition, had committed suicide about two weeks ago.
Two empty bottles of phenyl were found beside the decomposed bodies of Rumki Choudhury, 32, and her sister Bubu, 26, at their two-storied house in the Tahbazar area of Patiram, 16km from here.
“Most of the time they used to confine themselves to the house. This morning, a foul smell came out from the house,” said Sona Saha, a resident of the area.
“Initially, we thought that the stench was coming from the market where several fish and meat shops were located. As the day wore on, the odour became intolerable, prompting us to hunt for its source. At the end, we found that the smell was emanating from the second floor of the house. We broke the door and to our utter horror found the totally decomposed bodies were lying on the floor,” he said.
Saha, who was one of the residents who informed police, said they had no inkling that the stench was coming from the bodies.
Biswanath Saha, another resident of the area, said the women were hardly seen outside the house since their parents Pradyut Choudhury and Mukti had died about seven years ago. Choudhury was a fertiliser dealer. “Two-three days before Puja, the sisters had a tiff and since then they remained indoors mostly,” Saha said.
Sanchalika one of the siblings of the two who got married to a local trader, said her sisters had been suffering from depression for their present condition, as they didn’t have any source of steady income. “Perhaps, this led them to commit suicide.”
Shantanu Kowar, the inspector-in-charge of Balurghat police station, said: “Two empty bottles of phenyl were found beside the bodies. Preliminary investigation suggests that the two had committed suicide by consuming poison about two weeks back. The bodies have been sent for post-mortem.”
Home and pension to stop baby sale
TT, Malda, Nov. 3: The District magistrate of Malda today announced special monthly pension and a house for the woman who was found trying to sell two of her five children to find means for her ailing husband and to feed her family.
The Telegraph reported today the plight of Samaira Bibi, a resident of Mahisbathani in Old Malda.

Project director of the district rural development cell Suman Halder visited the ramshackle hut of the woman, 15km from here, for inspection at the instance of district magistrate Pramal Kumar Samanta.
In his report to the district magistrate, Halder confirmed that Samaira’s 47-year-old husband, Ajijul Haque, was too ill to work. She lived with her 72-year-old mother-in-law Phulsan Bewa, three minor daughters and two sons, the report said.
The family holds a BPL card and a health insurance card. According to official sources, possessing BPL cards do not guarantee the poor a square meals a day. Samaira and her husband have BPL cards but are not covered under any poverty alleviation projects.
Samanta said he had asked officials concerned to provide succour to the hapless family.
While the district food controller has been asked to supply rice to the family at Rs 2 per kg, the social welfare department has been instructed to pay a monthly family pension of Rs 750. A house will be built for the family under the Indira Awas Yojna.
The block medical officer has been asked to provide free treatment to 47-year-old Haque, while a gratuitous relief of Rs 120 will be given to the family per month.
Samaira told this correspondent: “Administrative officials had met me this morning. They have assured me all kinds of help. I have explained to them that we do not have any able-bodied men in our family to earn breads.”
“Poverty has compelled me to think of selling off my two children — a five-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son at Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 respectively,” Samaira said.
In Malda district, Rs 1.3 crore meant for the State Action against Hunger and Inequality (Sahai) has been lying unutilised.
In July this year, another resident of the block, Myno Baske, was searching for buyers for her children. She did not have a BPL card.
Druggists dump doctor prescription
TT, Raiganj, Nov. 3: Medicine shops in and around Raiganj change at will drugs prescribed by doctors for lack of proper monitoring by the authorities and absence of adequate trained pharmacists, posing serious threats to the life of patients.
“Doctors prescribe a particular medicine considering its side effect and patient’s past history. But if a shop does not have a particular medicine in stock, salespersons will change the prescription,” said Dhiman Pal, a doctor at the North Dinajpur district hospital and the assistant secretary of the district association of health service doctors.
“These salespersons don’t know what medicines they should give in case the prescribed ones are not available. They lack specialised knowledge and alter the prescription without considering the composition of the drug,” he said.
Citing an example , Pal said: “Suppose a doctor prescribes a patient suffering from gastric troubles a medicine consisting of pantoprazole and domperidom. An employee might be tempted to offer you a medicine keeping domperidom in tact and ignoring pantoprazole.” He said a wrong medicine might cause harm to the patient, instead of giving any relief.
According to government rules, each medicine shop must post a pharmacist holding either a degree or a diploma in pharmacology.
“Only they are authorised to change a medicine considering the composition and ratio. But only few medicine shops have pharmacists on their pay roll. We had lodged several complaints with the district health authorities. But there has been no remedy,” said Pal.
District magistrate Sunil Dandapat said the district drug control office, opened in Raiganj in September, faced acute shortage of staff. “We will crack down on medicine shops without trained pharmacists,” he said.
District secretary of the Bengal Chemists and Druggists’ Association Prashanta Kundu said there were more than 100 medicine shops in and around Raiganj.
“But there are hardly 20 to 25 trained pharmacists. As a result, we are often forced to retain part-time pharmacists who serve in different shops. The shopowners were advised to consult the pharmacists in case they needed to change a particular medicine. But I am not sure if all of them follow the instructions,” said Kundu.
‘Murder’ arrests
TT, Jaigaon, Nov. 3: Kalchini police arrested three persons today for allegedly murdering a resident of Bhatpara Tea Estate last night.Manoj Thapa, 29, Guey Biswakarma, 20, and Pradeep Thapa, 45, had allegedly beaten Subhash Thapa, 35, to death following a brawl at an illicit liquor shop last night. The trio were produced in the Alipurduar court today and they have been remanded in jail custody for 14 days.
Power in Village
TT, Jaigaon: Seventy-eight houses at Rabha Forest Busty in Kalchini block received electricity on Wednesday. Alipurduar Lok Sabha member Manohar Tirkey sanctioned Rs 13 lakh from the MPLAD funds for the project. Around 55 more houses will get electricity in the next phase of the scheme.
Nun identified 4 rapists
HT, Bhubaneshwar: A nun who was allegedly raped during the anti-Christian Kandhamal riots two years ago appeared before a court in Cuttack on Wednesday and recorded her statement for the first time since the trial began in July. The 29-year-old nun, who had stayed away from earlier hearings, appeared before the court on Tuesday too. However, her statement could not be recorded as she was ill. The court directed her to record it on Wednesday.
The nun identified five of the nine accused who were present in the district and sessions court. She had also pointed them out during an identification parade held at Cuttack jail in January.

Two other witnesses, including the doctor who provided first aid to the nun just after the alleged rape, also deposed before the court.

The court will hold its next hearing on Monday.
The Catholic nun was allegedly raped by a mob at Nuagaon village in Kandhamal district, about 250 km southwest of Bhubaneswar, on August 24, 2008.
The crime occurred a day after the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda. The communal violence that followed the swami's killing claimed 38 lives and forced thousands of Christians to flee Kandhamal.

The alleged gang rape triggered international outcry and condemnation.

The Orissa government handed over the probe to the crime branch, which arrested 23 persons and filed four chargesheets.

In the first phase, the court is holding trial for nine of the accused. The trial was initially at a court in Baliguda in Kandhamal. After the nun moved the Orissa High Court apprehending unfair trial and threat to life, the trial was shifted to the district and sessions court of Cuttack.

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