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Friday, December 10, 2010

Dawa Pakhrin forms new outfit in Delhi.. Morcha leaders attacked .. GJM renewed Gorkhaland demand

GRNM flag and its meaning Photo:: GRNM media
Mukesh Sharma, KalimNews , 10 December 2010 :  After making an announcement of forming a new party before leaving for New Delhi on 8th Dec at Damber Chowk, Kalimpong, Dawa Pakhrin, Ex-President of GNLF, Kalimpong and Vice-President, Bharatiya Nav Rajya Nirman Morcha today officially declared formation of a new party named Gorkhaland Rajya Nirman Morcha at the premises of Rajghat the Mahatma Gandhi's samadhisthal, New Delhi. Informing of the development over phone, Pakhrin said that the sole motive of his new party would be to achieve the long cherished dream of the Gorkhas i.e. the Gorkhaland. 
According to Pakhrin his new party's flag consists of blue colour which signifies the limitless depth & height of the feeling of Gorkhas, while white indicates the peace and security and the saffron the sucess and prosperity. The symbol of the Gorkhas the two crossed Khukuri is engraved in the middle and the sole star indicates the only objective of Gorkhaland. 
He added that the new party would be participating in the meeting of Federation for Formation of New State on Saturday. On Sunday it will participate in a dharna programme for Gorkhaland in Jantar Mantar, Delhi. 
It remains to be seen if the hill people welcome his party or not.
Rivals Delhi letter match
TT, Darjeeling, Dec. 10: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the ABGL today sent separate memorandums to leaders in Delhi, demanding the creation of Gorkhaland.
“We have written to the Prime Minister, UPA chairperson and other BJP leaders maintaining that the issue of Gorkhaland is about giving political identity to the Indian Gorkhas and that our demand, which is the oldest in the country, must be considered if Telangana is formed at anytime,” said Roshan Giri, the Morcha general secretary.
The ABGL has also written to the Union home minister and the chief minister of Bengal saying that statehood is needed “for national integration and security as Darjeeling is strategically a volatile region”. “The hill people of Darjeeling have already rejected both the Sixth Schedule and the interim set-up,” wrote Binod Gurung, the secretary of the ABGL’s Sadar committee .
The Morcha has decided to allow banks to keep their ATMs open on every alternate day. “The relief department has also been kept out of the bandh’s purview,” said Giri. Banks were so far allowed to remain open only on Monday and Fridays following the Morcha’s call for an indefinite shutdown of government offices since December 6.
Mirik shuts down over stripped post - Morcha leaders attacked
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Dec. 10: Two central committee members of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha came under attack in Mirik today, prompting the party to expel a local leader suspected to have masterminded the stone throwing after he was stripped of a portfolio.
Binay Tamang, the assistant secretary of the Morcha, along with Pravin Rahapal, a central committee member from Kalimpong, were pelted with stones near the Mirik Youth Hostel area around 1.30pm.
“A group of 20 armed people laid siege to our vehicles near the Mirik youth hostel. Pravin Rahapal’s car has been damaged. Rahapal’s friend, Bijay Chhetri, who was also from Kalimpong and travelling with him, suffered minor injuries,” Tamang said over the phone from Mirik, 40km from here.
Tamang and Rahapal had been touring Mirik for the past fortnight, reviewing party activities in the area.
Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said in Darjeeling: “The party’s central committee had decided to relieve Arun Ghisingh from the post of Mirik town committee president recently and instead made him a member of the Kurseong sub-divisional committee. There were allegations that he was interfering in the development works being undertaken by the Mirik municipality.”
The attack on the two leaders is being seen as fallout of the Morcha central committee’s decision to strip Ghisingh of the president’s post. “Recently I had received a letter from the party’s central committee saying that I had been upgraded to a member of Kurseong subdivisional committee. The general public, however, has not accepted the decision and today’s incident is probably a reaction of the general public,” Ghisingh said, denying he had any hand in the incident.
“It was probably a public reaction. I don’t think they were attacked but I heard that one of their vehicles hit a gate when it was speeding.”
Observers said a town committee president of the party had more clout than a subdivisional committee member although the latter was higher in the hierarchy rung.
Tamang claimed “miscreants” had tried to target him and the two vehicles had been pelted with stones. His car, though, was not hit. “They were armed with lathis also. I have filed an FIR at the Mirik police station against Arun Ghisingh, his father J.S. Ghisingh and 20 other people,” said Tamang.
In Darjeeling, Giri said the Morcha had decided to expel Arun for anti-party activities.
“His father J.S. Ghisingh, who was also the president of the Morcha’s Mirik ward 1 committee has been suspended for six months,” said Giri.
Ghisingh on his part said the public would shutdown Mirik indefinitely.
“A hartal has started in Mirik and the public has decided to shut down the town for an indefinite period until justice is delivered,” he said.
Some of the shops in Mirik opened late in the evening after members of the Nari Morcha urged shopkeepers to keep their establishments open.
GJM revives demand for Gorkhaland
PTI, Darjeeling, Dec 10 : The GJM today renewed its demand for carving out a separate Gorkhaland state from West Bengal and moved Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and BJP president Nitin Gadkari to press for it.
"We have written to the prime minister, Sonia Gandhi and Nitin Gadkari renewing our demand for Gorkhaland," Gorkha Janmukti Morcha general secretary Roman Giri told reporters.
The demand for Gorkhaland has been revived as no date has been announced for the tripartite talks on GJM's demand for an authority to replace the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, he said.
The GJM has already called a 48 hour bandh from December 20 in the Darjeeling hills if the interim council was not set up by that date.
Hotels buzz for Dalai - kalimpong ready to welcome tibetan leader
TT, Kalimpong, Dec. 10: Hotels here are overbooked for the first half of next week when devotees will throng the town to meet the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
Around 15,000 people from different parts of the hills are expected to be in Kalimpong during the Dalai Lama’s three-day stay from Sunday.
The Nobel peace laureate will put up at the Tharpa Choaling Monastery at Tirpai, where he will deliver public discourses on Tibetan Buddhism. He will give sermons at the Central School for Tibetans, 11th Mile, also.
“We are overbooked for the three days beginning Sunday. It is season time once more,” said Sarat Rai, the manager of Triveni Lodge at Thanadara.
The story is the same in almost all the hotels and lodges in every nook and cranny of the town. “Five of the eight rooms in my hotel are already booked. I expect other three rooms also to be booked by tomorrow. However, I am not thinking of putting extra beds in the rooms to accommodate more guests because of manpower crisis I am facing,” said Raju Sherpa, the owner of Sherpa Lodge on Ongden Road opposite the Mela Ground.
In fact, hotels here do not have enough rooms to meet the rush. Many private homes, too, are readying to host guests, both known and unknown. “Some of my friends are coming from south India to attend the discourse of His Holiness, and they will be staying at my place,” said Lobsang Dhendup, a doctor of Tibetan medicines and a resident of East Main Road.
Gates, arches, banners and prayers flags have sprung up in different parts of the town to welcome the Dalai Lala.
Security measures are also being tightened. Darjeeling police chief D.P. Singh was here yesterday to oversee the security arrangement for the Dalai Lama’s visit.
The Tibetan spiritual leader is visiting the town after eight years. He had last come to conduct a discourse in the tourist hub of Lava, about 35km from here.
Four classes in one room
TT, Alipurduar, Dec. 10: Four classes of a primary school in a garden here are being held in a single room for about a month now after the authorities locked up the only other room of the building because of its dilapidated condition.
The single-storeyed building of Mazdoor Vidyalaya in Kalchini Tea Estate, 32km from here, has two rooms, each of which was divided into two by a wall woven from bamboo to accommodate students of two classes.
About a month ago, a huge chunk of plaster came off from the wall of a room and fell near a student of Class III.
After the incident, the school authorities informed the village education committee, which instructed the teachers to lock up the classroom. Since then, students of Classes I to IV are having to sit in the same room.
Om Lohar, a member of the committee, said the block and district had been told about the condition of the room, but no steps have been taken.
“The government asks young people to join school but fails to provide infrastructure for them. Four classes are being held together in the same room of the school. For the past one year we have been writing to all the people concerned but nothing has been done,” he said.
Debananda Paswan, a senior teacher of the institution, said: “The education committee had instructed us to lock the room. On an average 120 students come everyday and that creates a huge noise in the room. There is also lack of space which makes it very difficult to teach”
There are four permanent teachers and two para-teachers for the 150 students enrolled in the school.
“There is no arrangement for drinking water and washroom in the school. There is a deep tube well on the premises but the water is dirty,” Paswan added.
Tamang Sherpa, the block development officer of Kalchini said: “I am new here and I was unaware of the situation. I will try my best to see to it that a new room is constructed.”
Garden closure in Terai too
TT, Siliguri, Dec. 10: The Belgachi Tea Estate at Naxalbari today became the first garden in the Terai to be shut down in the recent past with the management attributing lawlessness and non-performance of workers to the closure.
Asok Bhattacharya blamed trade unions affiliated to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad for the shutdown, though the Citu pointed finger at the management’s inefficiency for the closure.
“The management faces inconveniences in the day-to-day running of the estate as labourers stay away from duties or work for only one-and-a-half hours, instead of the stipulated eight hours, a day. They also resort to agitation frequently and steal plants, causing losses to the estate,” reads a notice put up by K.K. Jha, the manager of the garden.
The plantation located 30km from here employs around 800 permanent workers and an equal number of casual workers. The garden was taken over by the Belgachi Tea Company Limited in December 2009. Although many tea estates in the Dooars are locked out quite frequently, Belgachi is the first garden in neighbouring Terai to announce suspension of work this year.
The state urban development minister Bhattacharya said: “The garden in the Terai has closed down only because of immature trade unionism by the leaders and members of newly formed trade unions affiliated to the Morcha and the Parishad. Considering the present state of affairs in the tea industry, no other reason can be cited for the shutdown.”
Bhattacharya’s comment comes at a time the Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union and the Progressive Tea Workers’ Union, affiliated to the Morcha and the Parishad, are rapidly expanding their bases in the brew belts of north Bengal, where the Citu and the Intuc used to hold sway over the labourers.
Both the unions slammed the minister for his comments. “We are a minority in Belgachi where other trade unions have strong bases. Performance of the new management has been miserable,” said Suraj Subba, the general secretary of the plantation labour union.
“As Asok Bhattacharya knows that the CPM will be in a pitiable condition in the ensuing Assembly polls, he is trying to create confusion among workers by making baseless comments against us. He is continuing his propaganda against the Morcha even in tea belt.”
Baijnath Naik, the general secretary of the progressive union, said: “Whatever the minister has said is false. The management’s refusal to infuse fresh funds to clear the workers’ dues had led to the closure.”
The CPM-affiliated Citu alleged that the new management had not paid gratuities and provident funds due to retired workers. “Facilities in the garden have also dried up with irregularities in payment of wages and ration,” said Gautam Ghosh, a district Citu leader from Naxalbari. 
Teacher arrested for cheating
TT, Balurghat, Dec. 10: A schoolteacher, whose social marriage was scheduled to be held today, was arrested from his house at Dangipara last night for allegedly cheating a college student whom he had promised to marry.
Sandip Mondal, 32, was produced in the court of the chief judicial magistrate this morning and remanded in judicial custody for 14 days. He had registered his marriage with a girl from Shanti Colony in October and the social wedding was scheduled for this evening. But when the third year student of Balurghat College, who stays in the same locality, came to know about the wedding, she lodged a complaint with the Balurghat police stating that she had been in a relationship with Mondal for almost a year and he had promised to marry her. She also told the police that she had signed on a marriage registration certificate.
Strike threat
TT, Jalpaiguri: Bus and mini-bus owners in the Dooars have threatened to go on a strike and lock up the office of the National Highways Authority of India in Siliguri to protest the alleged delay in repairing roads. “The NHAI had promised to repair the roads by November. But that was not done. If the work does not begin in full swing by next week, then we will call an indefinite strike and lock up the NHAI’s north Bengal regional office in Siliguri,” said Debabrata Sarkar, the general secretary of the Jalpaiguri-Dooars Minibus Owners’ Association, on Friday. Project director of the NHAI’s regional office, R. K. Chowdhury, said the work could not be completed in time because of non-arrival of funds from Delhi.
Bravery award for Birbhum tribal 
TNN, SURI, 11 Dec: The hapless tribal girl who was paraded naked across four villages in Birbhum earlier this year has been nominated for the National Bravery Award. She would be awarded by the President on the eve of Republic Day in Delhi.
Sunita Murmu, aged around 15, had been threatened for around three months against complaining about the torture. She was stripped and made to walk 8 km amidst hundreds of watching villagers and the beating of drums. She was beaten with sticks as soon as she stopped walking and little boys pelted her with stones all the way. Men pounced on her and molested her as people watched and jeered. Her fault' was loving a boy from another community.
For four months, neither the girl nor her family lodged any complaint with police out of fear. But a 15-minute MMS clip of her ordeal, which was exposed in August, stirred the administration into action. Despite severe chiding from her home, she lodged a compliant with Rampurhat police in the first week of August.
Police arrested the accused men but they were released on bail. Since the disclosure of the incident, the girl had been living in a government home in Rampurhat. Birbhum DM Saumitra Mohan took the initiative to open a bank account in her name and a few lakh have already been deposited in it. Sunita can withdraw the amount when she turns 18. Neither did she want to go back home nor did her family members show any interest in taking her back.
"We had recommended her name to the Indian Council for Child Welfare for a bravery award. We thought she had shown enough courage to expose the culprits who had threatened her with dire consequence. Even her parents did not want to lodged a complaint and were afraid of social boycott. Despite knowing what could be in store for her in future, she dared identify the men during a police parade," Mohan said.
The district administration received the consent letter signed by Gita Siddhartha, president of the Indian Council for Child Welfare,New Delhi, on Friday. 
WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE: This above all
Khuswant Singh, TT, Opinion, 11 Dec 2010: I was down with a heavy cold: sneezing, watery eyes, running nose, sore throat and cough. Inwardly, I prayed that my worthy guests would go and leave me alone in my misery. Out of the blue, burst in Asma Jahangir. She had flown in from Lahore, dumped her baggage in the India International Centre, and come over as fast as she could as she knew I retired early.
Suddenly, the mood of depression vanished. I welcomed her with open arms: “Mubarak ho! Shabaash!” I cried. She had just had a historic victory. She had been elected president of Pakistan’s supreme court bar association. That too in a country ruled bymullahs and the Taliban, who forcibly put women in burqas, stone them to death if they are unfaithful and are forever preparing for a holy war against infidel India. This is indeed a great victory for a woman who strives for close ties with India. I have written before that she deserves the Nobel prize for peace. I add the name of Kuldip Nayar as a possible joint winner of the award because, from our side, he leads Indians who endeavour to bring the two countries closer— ‘Hindi-Pak Bhai Bhai.’
In both Pakistan and India, people live in different centuries. In Pakistan, a majority live mentally in the Middle Ages and support the imposition of draconian shariat laws on the people. In India, we have girls drinking and dancing through long nights, and some walking to distant villages in which elders sit on their charpoys smoking hookah, pronouncing annulment of love marriages if the couple belong to the same gotra, expelling them from the village, and, at times, even having them murdered. The likes of Asma and Kuldip are rare and deserve the highest honours.
Light pen
Rajbir Deswal is the most unusual police officer I have ever met. He is more eager to make a name for himself in the world of letters than to nab thieves and robbers. He is well on the way to succeeding in both his ambitions. He is an inspector-general of police in Haryana and has won the president’s police medal. He is also a member of the Haryana Sahitya Akademi and has won the Haryana Akademi’s Pandit Lakhmi Chand Award. He is a prolific writer: his ‘middles’ appear regularly in several national dailies like The Tribune,The Hindustan TimesThe Indian Express and The Pioneer. So far, he has seven books to his credit. My introduction to Haryanvi humour was through his writings. In the last two months, he has produced two books: Hoor Menaka —The Seductress — an adaptation of Pandit Lakhmi Chand’s drama. A month later, he came up with a second collection of his ‘middles’ — Mall Watch.
Deswal wields a light pen. A vein of gentle humour runs through all that he writes which makes him highly readable.
Speech defect
There are quite a few words of English which Indians from different parts of the country find difficult to pronounce. Many south-Indians pronounce ‘M’ as ‘Yum’. I recall Mohan Rao, who was head of the publications division, talking on the phone to M.M. Ameer, member of parliament. When he put down the phone, he explained to me: “That was Yum Yum Yamir, Yumpee”.
Many Bengalis find it hard to pronounce ‘V’ — so ‘very’ becomes ‘bhery’. And they love using ‘O’ lavishly. A Bengali member of the staff of the Yojna applied for six months’ study leave to research the life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda. He explained: “I will examine material on Shwami Bhibheka Nondo.”
There are many other examples. For Urdu speakers, ‘school’ becomes ‘iskool’; to Punjabis, ‘sekool’. ‘Stool’ becomes ‘istool’ to Urdu-speakers; ‘satool’ to the Punjabi. ‘Uncle’ becomes ‘unkil’ to Urdu-speakers; ‘unkal’ to the Punjabi. ‘Scotch’ become ‘iskatch’ to Urdu-speakers; ‘sakotch’ to the Punjabi. ‘Speech’ becomes ‘ispeech’ in Urdu, ‘sapeech’ in Punjabi. Why? The answer lies in the alphabets they use. In Urdu, when ‘S’ is followed by the consonant, ‘T,’ a vowel is inserted in the middle. Devnagari, which is derived from Sanskrit, does not have the problem — so Hindiwallas usually pronounce English words correctly.
I recall Bangladesh’s famous poet Jasimuddin (Joshmuddin), who became a good friend. He always greeted me: “Shordarjee, aap ko boro baj gayaa?”

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