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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Death spurs scan on winter homes- Siliguri ‘murder’ blamed on Sikkim duo

The Dalai Lama offers khada to his
elder brother Gyalo Dhondop.
TT, Kalimpong, Dec. 14: The Dalai Lama today said he would shortly take a permanent retirement as the temporal leader of the Tibetans by delegating responsibility to elected political representatives.
Addressing a media conference at the Tharpa Choaling monastery here today, the Dalai Lama said he had been in semi-retirement as a temporal leader since 2001 when he carried out the process of democratising his government-in-exile by holding elections.
“I had told them you should carry out the responsibility as if there is no Dalai Lama...In the next parliament (of the Tibetan government), I will ask for complete retirement,” he said.
The residence of the Dalai Lama's
brother at 8th Mile in Kalimpong
The Dalai Lama, however, said he would continue to serve the 

Tibetan cause even if he was reduced to just sitting on a wheelchair. “Ninety-nine per cent of the people in Tibet and elsewhere trust me. I have the moral responsibility to serve them,” he said, adding: “It is the responsibility of every Tibetan to carry forward our struggle.”The monk said in handing over the political responsibility, he would be breaking away from the 400-year-old institution of the Dalai Lama, who is both the temporal and spiritual head of the Tibetans. “Since childhood I have admired the system of democracy,” he said, justifying his decision to quit as the temporal head of the Tibetans.
The Tibetan leader also said it was not for him to advocate the case for the next Dalai Lama but for the Tibetans to make the choice.
On Tibet, the 76-year-old monk said he was seeking a “meaningful autonomy” for the region and not complete independence from China.
Dalai Lama’s brother Gyalo
Dhondop and sister Jetsun Pema.
(All above Photos:Chinlop Fudong Lepcha)
“We are seeking meaningful autonomy where we can preserve our culture, religion and ecology,” he said, adding that Tibet would stand to benefit economically by staying within China. He, however, regretted that the communist regime in China regarded the Tibetan culture and religion as sources of separation. Accusing the Chinese government of exploiting the natural resources of Tibet, he said the destruction of the Tibetan ecology could hurt India as well.
Besides, he added, since both the nations have a combined population of about 2.5 billion and are nuclear states as well, improved ties between them would benefit the entire world.But the Dalai Lama welcomed the visit of the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, to India. “I have always spoken in favour of good Sino-Indian relationship based on mutual trust,” he said.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Tibetan leader had lunch with his elder brother, Sres Gyalo Dhondop, at his sprawling house at 8th Mile. Their younger sister, Jetsun Pema, was also present. “I had a very good lunch,” he later told The Telegraph with a laugh.
Tension simmered Pedong
KalimNews: On the charges of taking out posters and festoons tension gripped Pedong . It is alleged that  posters in the name of public of Pedong were pasted in a private memorial statue of a Pradhan family of Topkhana. The content of the posters were against GJMM. Some unknown people torn away the posters as well as took out the festoon of ABGL on Tuesday, it is alleged. ABGL and GJMM blamed each other for the incident while the Pradhan family members too raised objection for using private and religious property for politics. Police has intervened in the matter and now the situation is under control.
Death spurs scan on winter homes- Siliguri ‘murder’ blamed on Sikkim duo
TT, Siliguri, Dec. 14: The death of a tea stall owner here last night after he was beaten up by two youths from Sikkim has triggered tension and put a glare on the mushrooming boarding houses in Pradhannagar that are often winter homes for people from the hills.
Residents of Pradhannagar on the outskirts of Siliguri have demanded police action against the youths and steps to crack down on the private boarding houses, which they alleged, had turned into dens of drug addicts.
Aloke Das’s death was the immediate fallout of an altercation that Abhishek Lama and Rumi Hilton, both residents of Gangtok in Sikkim, had with Sagar Dey, a local rice merchant around 10pm yesterday.
“The duo had been staying in a rented flat nearby and had suddenly come to the shop and was about to take away Sagar’s bicycle which was kept in front of his store. When Sagar protested, the duo abused him and hit him on the face,” said Bhaskar Guha, who stays in the area.
At this, Das, who had been running a tea stall next to Dey’s store for the past 30 years or so, intervened and protested. “The youths hit him and he fell to the ground. When we rushed him to a nearby nursing home, he was declared brought dead,” said Guha.
As the news of 50-year-old Das’s death spread, people gathered on streets and voiced their protests. Stones were thrown at the flat where the youths stayed. A force from Pradhannagar police station whisked away the duo. They were later charged under Section 304 of the IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) on the basis of a complaint filed by Ashu Das, the dead man’s nephew.
This morning, all shops in the locality were shut in protest and a small crowd had gathered near Das’s tea stall.
“Yesterday’s incident is a result of mushrooming of private boarding houses in the area where hundreds of youths from the hills stay. Many of them are drug addicts, who create nuisance on a regular basis,” said Krishnendu Sarkar, another resident.
“They often indulge in altercations with the local people and thefts for money to buy drugs. The sale of adhesives, which are sniffed by the addicts for a quick high, is rampant in our area.”
Gaurav Sharma, the additional superintendent of police of Siliguri, said his department was ready to investigate allegations of highhandedness and nuisance committed by drug addicts if the police received specific complaints.
“Yesterday’s incident was the fallout of an altercation over a bicycle and two persons have been arrested in this connection,” he said.
When Das’s body reached Pradhannagar at 1pm today, hundreds of people joined the protests on Nivedita Road that was blocked for 20 minutes. The mob demanded that Das’s family should be compensated.
The blockade was lifted after repeated requests from Mukul Sengupta, the local CPM councillor of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation.
However, the agitation shifted to the Pradhannagar police station where a group of youths demonstrated, demanding immediate action against drug addicts.
Later, the councillor said: “We had time and again requested the police and administration to keep a strong vigil in Pradhannagar to discourage drug addicts from creating any nuisance.”
Residents of Pradhannagar have been told to attend a meeting on December 17 to discuss their grievances.
Saman Pathak, the Rajya Sabha member and a resident of Pradhannagar, described the incident as an isolated one. “Hooligans do not belong to any community, religion or class, they are simply anti-social elements… Cutting across all divisions, be it political or anything else, we have to take common initiatives to alienate such anti-socials from society and not thrust the blame on any particular group.”
Leopard caged
TT, Alipurduar: A female leopard was trapped at Satali Tea Estate near Nilpara range of wildlife III division on Monday night. The foresters had set up a cage in the garden after three cubs were spotted few days ago. The animal was released in a reserve forest on Tuesday.
320 names considered for teacher posts
TT, Jalpaiguri, Dec. 14: The state school education department is planning to appoint as primary schoolteachers 320 candidates whose names had been withheld in the published list.
The drive to recruit 1,411 primary schoolteachers in the Jalpaiguri district was conducted in July and the names of 1,091 candidates made it to the final list.
The remaining 320 job applicants have been sitting on a relay hunger-strike in front of the office of the district primary school council here from December 6, demanding their immediate appointment.
The school education minister, Partha De, said family members of those who had given up land for government projects were among the 320 candidates who had not been appointed. ‘There are some legal problems with their certificates and we are trying to sort them out as soon as possible,” De said.
Sources in the school education department said of the 1,411 posts, 95 had been reserved for land losers. Besides the land-losers, ex-servicemen and physically challenged are also among the applicants who were not considered for appointment.
The fast has hit the functioning of the school council office. “I have sent a report on the impasse at the primary school council to the authorities in Calcutta and I have been assured that the government will soon clear the names of 320 candidates whose appointments has been withheld,” said Kallol Roy, the chairperson of the district primary school council.
Sanjit Kumar, a spokesperson for the agitators, said the hunger-strike would continue till they were given appointment letters.
The recruitment drive had been marred by allegations of corruption and nepotism. De had already announced that jobs of around 340 newly appointed teachers would be scrapped because of irregularities.
The Trinamul Youth Congress today held a demonstration in front of the district magistrate’s office, demanding that those involved in the recruitment scam be immediately punished.
The district president of the Trinamul Youth Congress, Somnath Pal, said if the school education department did not make public its inquiry report on the allegations, the organisation would intensify the agitation.
The district magistrate, Vandana Yadav, said her office had not yet received the inquiry report from the school education department.
No HC circuit bench in Jalpaiguri
PTI:People of North Bengal are unlikely to get a circuit bench of the Calcutta High Court at Jalpaiguri in the near future given the lack of infrastructure there. “The Chief Justice of the HC, Justice J N Patel told us that there was lack of infrastructure at Jalpaiguri where the circuit bench is scheduled to be set up,” said Bengal Bar Council chairman Bimal Chatterjee.
International Tea festival inaugurated in Mal Bazar
KalimNews:  Chitta Dey Secretary of Coordination Committee inaugurated two days' International Tea festival in Udichi Hal of Mal Bazar.Presided by Manohar Tirkey MP the programme had the presence of trade union leaders Mani Kr Darnal of INTUC, Jetha Sankrityan, Professor of Economics, Sudash Lama, Nirmal Das, MLA .
To Isaipriya - My Sister, My Mother, My Comrade
- Raja Puniani
(Isaippiriya was born in 1982 and was educated in the Memorial School until Grade 5. Isaipriya got a scholarship on education in Veampadi Girls High School in Jaffna until 1996.With her family displaced by war to Vanni, Isaippiriya continued her studies in Vanni till she joined the movement’s media division. 
The female Tamil journalist, Isaipriya alias Shoba (27), was killed during the final stages of the war by the troops belonging to 53rd Division of the Sri Lankan Army, in an execution-style murder at an unknown location in the island’s northern battle-zone. The mutilated naked body of the rebel media specialist was showed in a shocking video footage aired by British TV, Channel 4 recently.Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence releasing a long list of names of LTTE leaders killed on May 18, 2009 - the final day of the war - said on June 21, 2009 that “Lieutenant Colonel” Isaipriya was among the top rebel leaders killed by the troops of the 53rd Division and claimed that she was attached to the Communications and Publicity Wing of the rebels. However, the Channel-4 video footage has now clearly established the fact that she was killed in an execution-style murder with hands tied behind and not in 'fierce clashes.' 
The gruesome video footage aired on November 30, 2010 by the British TV channel, showed the elongated version of how Sri Lankan soldiers in military fatigue, freely carrying out execution-style murders on a dozen of naked and blind-folded men and women with their hands tied behind. The soldiers speaking in native Sinhala language could be heard making sexual remarks on the naked dead bodies of women. A close look at the video and the conversation of the soldiers in the background clearly show that the women have been raped before being shot down close range.-Editor)
Many a disease plagues this world
but none so devastating
as the silence of those
that can speak.
I speak today,
I cry today,
for you. 
My Sister,My Mother, My Comrade.
My Sister! With music
in your name.
The 'isai' of your sacrifice
like that of my other sisters
Manorama, Nilofar, Phulmoni
will be sung for ages to come
in songs of our resistance
This I promise,
your brother, a sorry being
whose only weapons
are his words.
My Mother! I was born
as your son the day
the child of your womb
was killed. Mother,
I am your son.
As I am the son of the mothers
of Eelam, Kurdistan, Palestine.
A son who seeks justice
for unheard voices,
for untold horrors,
for unspoken miseries.
A sorry being, your son,
whose only weapons
are his words.
My Comrade! I claim to live
(rather shamelessly)
for the cause you died for,
a people longing for freedom,
a soil aching for peace,
a love for life,
now facing despair,
now facing death.
As my eyes see
what has been done to you
tears pour - as words.
Words. The only weapons of
a sorry being, your comrade.
Oh dove of freedom
torn apart by vultures of lust!
Oh lamb of peace
prey to jackals of power!
Oh angel of justice!
Oh goddess of liberty!
She lies there, naked
and ravaged
by creatures called 'men'.
Disrobed was not your body,
but the farce called Lanka.
Violated was not you,
but the notion of humanity.
Raped, again and again,
was the silence
of those that can speak,
but who chose not to.
But I speak today,
I cry today.
Your sibling, your son,
your comrade.
Now a man.
Now a walking corpse.
Whose only weapons
are his words.
As of now..
Bhutan attack was betrayal, says Ulfa leader - 7 years to the day, mama relives Operation all Clear
(TT,15 Dec): The women cadres were making pithas for the King of Bhutan while the men were sprucing up the camp to welcome him when the first shots rang out, breaking the morning calm.
The gunshots signalled the launch of Operation All Clear, which, by the time it ended after three days, not only left Ulfa in utter disarray, but, more importantly, dealt a crippling blow to its confidence and the fight for a sovereign Assam. That was on December 15, 2003.
Seven years later and free for the first time since then, Ulfa’s adviser Bhimkanta Buragohain or Mama, a term of endearment and respect, relives those defining moments till his arrest in a conversation with Ripunjoy Das at his ancestral house at Ahomgaon in Dhola of Tinsukia district
It was a morning like today — cold, with the sun struggling to break through the clouds. There was a cheer in the camp as we were expecting the King of Bhutan. The previous day (December 14), I was sitting in front of my camp at our central headquarters along with my bodyguards and some of our cadres after having my morning meal when a major from the Royal Bhutan Army (RBA), whom I knew very well, came and informed us that the King would be visiting our camp the next morning.
The King had visited our camp on a couple of occasions earlier, too. The army official exchanged pleasantries and handed over some gifts, including a huge box of fresh oranges and a silver bottle of US-made vitamin pills.
On December 15, all of us — there were around a hundred of us including women and children — got up early and started preparing for the King’s visit. The women were preparing Assamese pithas, while I instructed my men to tidy up the camp and line up along the three approach roads to accord a ceremonial welcome to the King. Everything was ready. Around 8.30am, I heard the first gunshots. Initially, I thought our boys were firing to welcome the King.
Quickly, though, I realised that the firing was directed towards the camp and us. Among the melee of thoughts that crowded my mind in those moments, one realisation dawned with shocking numbness: We had been betrayed and attacked. My bodyguards put a protective shield around me as I shouted out to all to run to the jungles.
I went inside my camp to pick up my bag and some other items but one of my bodyguards immediately dragged me out by my hand. That saved me. Within seconds, the first mortar shell landed right on my camp. Two of my boys died in the attack but we did not fire a single round till then.
We remained in the jungles for three nights, starving and thirsty. The attack, mainly shelling and indiscriminate firing, continued for three days. The attackers, however, were unable to locate us and just kept shelling and firing. Then they started sending out radio messages, knowing we would be intercepting those just as they were intercepting ours, to come out of the jungle and give ourselves up.
This was the time “major” Robin Hondique, who is no more now, decided to take a calculated risk.
Converting the gamocha into a white flag, we walked down from the hill for an hour to reach Buddha Vihar where the RBA officials were camping in civil dress.
All of us were taken captive, but they behaved very well with us. We stayed there for two days. Next day, the RBA took us to Writers Army Camp at Koipani. They sent two beautifully decorated horses to take me to the camp, which was a journey of three hours. After a stay at the camp, on December 25, five of us, including Robin and KLO (Kamtapur Liberation Organisation) vice-chairman Harshabardhan Barman, were taken to Deothang, another RBA base, where we saw several Indian armymen. After some time, an Indian Army chopper arrived and the five of us were taken to it. While black cloth hoods were put over the heads of the other four and their hands were tied, they let me be. Not long after, we landed at a large base of the army. It took me a while to make out I was in Tezpur.
We never really recovered from the reverses we suffered in Bhutan. Operation All Clear left us in total disarray with there being no trace of several leaders while some of us were arrested. The last I saw of Ashanta Baghphukan and Robin Neog was at the Writers Army Camp. Before I was sent away, I was told they would be sent later.
The central headquarters, which was under my command, the general headquarters and two other camps — headquarters of 27 battalion and the Madhya Mandal camp — were all demolished by the Royal Bhutan Army with assistance from the Indian Army.
Till Bhutan happened, there was a proper communication between the higher-ups and the battalions. But the offensive broke this chain. More important than the blow to the organisational set-up perhaps was the pounding that our confidence took. Suddenly, our war became more difficult.
Operation All Clear may have been a huge success for Delhi but for us it was a great betrayal. The Indian Army also tried to create further chaos among our rank and file by spreading the word that I had died.
I heard later that hearing the news of my death, the RBA official who had visited us the day before the operations were launched shot himself with his pistol.

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