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Monday, December 6, 2010

GNLF celebrated Sixth Schedule treaty day ...Madan murder over to CBI soon

KalimNews, Kalimpong, December 6: GNLF celebrated the 5th year of sixth schedule treaty day in  a few villages of Darjeeling. According to informations received, in places like Monteviot of Kurseong a few GNLF supporters gathered and burst crackers and unfurled GNLF flags and performed religious rites. In some other remote areas it organised small rallies and feasts too. Police pockets were posted  in some of the areas .
Photo: Rabin Rai And Mohan lama, courtesy: Darjeeling Times
In Jorebunlow play ground near Senchel Dairy GNLF supporters with party flags organised party meeting and celebrated the day without any disturbance though GJMM supporters were gathered only a few meters away. In Mirik, Chungthung, Rishihat, Bijanbari, Maneybhanjyang, Sukiapohri,  Pubung, Rungli Rungliot, Lama gaon, Danra gaon of Rimbik, Lodhoma, Tamsang, Maneydanra, Lizahill, Barbotey, Garidhura, Chenga, Panighatta, Naxalbari, Kothi gaon of Rohini, Pacheng Oaks, Nehur Balasan and other places GNLF supporters gathered and organised short programmes to celebrate the day.
Clashes in Garidhura of Kurseong and Mirik were reported where 8 were injured with minor injuries. It is also reported that a house of a GNLF supporter was ransacked allegedly by GJMM supporters in Mirik.
TT, Darjeeling, Dec. 6: For the first time in three years, the GNLF today held meetings in more than a dozen venues across the hills to revive its political fortunes while there is a delay in setting up the interim authority.
At all the meetings today, the demand for the inclusion of the hills in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution was once again raised.
The party went on revival mode by deciding to celebrate the signing of the memorandum of settlement on this day in 2005 between the Centre, state and GNLF president Subash Ghisingh to confer the Sixth Schedule status on the hills.
A rally taken out by GNLF supporters at 
Senchel Dairy near Jorebunglow on Monday. 
Picture by Suman Tamang
The GNLF managed to raise the party flags and organise feasts for supporters at nearly 16 places in Darjeeling, Kurseong and the Terai region.
Although no untoward incident was reported, there was palpable tension across the hills today.
“There was a possibility of a confrontation between the supporters of two political parties in various places but police managed to cover all the areas and there have been no untoward incidents. So far there has only been one complaint with the Mirik police station where a GNLF supporter has alleged that his house was targeted by the Morcha,” said D.P. Singh, Darjeeling superintendent of police.
The GNLF’s programmes were mostly confined to the rural areas of the hills, which had once been its stronghold before the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha was formed in 2007.
Ghisingh’s party went on revival mode after it became clear that the Morcha was going to the people with an interim set-up and not Gorkhaland. Besides, the delay in establishing the set-up because of contentious issues also spurred the GNLF activity.
In such a situation, the Morcha is worried any effort to stop rival outfits may lead to violence, something that Bimal Gurung cannot afford now. For it would mean a further delay in the establishment of the set-up as the government would cite law and order problem to defer the talks on the interim authority.
“The GNLF is also going to the people saying that even the Sixth Schedule is only a stepping stone towards Gorkhaland just as the Morcha is claiming about the interim set-up. The Morcha cannot indulge in any form of violence, least it hampers the negotiations,” said an observer.
Shivraj Thapa, the media and publicity secretary of the GNLF’s Darjeeling subdivision committee, said programmes were held in Pubung Phatak, Borobatey, Risheehat, 86 Division, Chungtung, Liza Hill, Rimbick, Maneybhanjyan, Lodhama, Tamsong, Runglee-Rungliot, Bahunpokhri (Garidhura), Naxalbari, Monteviot and Panighatta, to name a few.
At Senchel Dairy Line on the outskirts of Darjeeling town, GNLF members planted the green party flag early in the morning even as a section of supporters occupied vantage points to pre-empt any political attack.
Around 11am, a large number of Morcha supporters brought out a rally and decided to head towards the Senchel Dairy from Jorebunglow — a distance of about 3km — and a clash seemed imminent.
But Morcha assistant secretary Raju Pradhan urged the crowd to refrain from indulging in any act of violence.
“This is nothing but a ploy of the state government to create unrest in the hills so that the interim set-up is derailed. We appeal to all our supporters to refrain from indulging in violence which will only delay the signing of the set-up,” he told the crowd. The mob then dispersed.
The scene was similar in many places across the hills. The Morcha supporters gathered near the GNLF meeting venues but clashes were avoided at all the places.
Shanta Chhetri, the GNLF MLA from Kurseong who had been hounded out of the hills by the Morcha two years back, said party supporters had only been lying low till now.
“They had said Gorkhaland would be achieved by March 10, 2010, and that was why we were keeping low. Now they are talking about an interim set-up but there is already an interim authority in place as an administrator has been running the DGHC since March 2008,” she said.
In Kurseong, a bandh called by a drivers’ union affiliated to the Morcha to protest bad condition of the roads and alleged police harassment coincided with the GNLF meeting. Earlier too, the Morcha called for shutdowns on days when rival outfits arranged for public meetings.
Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri refused to read much into the GNLF political activity. “It was like celebrating a dead man’s birthday. The Sixth Schedule has been rejected by the hills and organising a political activity with a handful of people in pocket areas does not bother us much.”
Violence over GNLF comeback bid
TNN,DARJEELING: It was a day of contrasts in the Darjeeling Hills. The sun was out heralding a chilly winter day but on the ground, the gloom was palpable, as political uncertainty and violence wrapped the volatile region in a pall of uncertainty. The day also saw a comeback bid by the long-discredited Subash Ghisingh with the help of the very issue that had snapped his stranglehold over the Hills three years ago. 
Clashes disrupted the fragile peace when activists from Ghisingh's Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) raised their star-and-stripes flags at various places to mark the fifth anniversary of the December 6, 2005, agreement between the Centre, the West Bengal government and Ghisingh that sought to put the Hills in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. It was after this that the Bimal Gurung-led Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) hounded GNLF out of the region after the majority of Nepalis opposed the Sixth Schedule proposal fearing disintegration of the community on ethnic lines.
Since morning, as the sun shone brightly, Ghisingh's followers began to hoist their flags at Mirik, Garidhura (in Kurseong subdivision), Ghoom, Jorebunglow, Barbotay, Dairy Line, Sukhia Road, Rishihat (all in Darjeeling subdivision) and a host of other settlements. In some areas, they burst crackers and shouted slogans in support of Ghisingh and the Sixth Schedule proposal.
Since the spring of 2008, Ghisingh has been living in exile in Jalpaiguri because of the GJM's ban on his entry into Darjeeling. Similarly, a number of top GNLF leaders have also been banished from the Hills.
In a show of strength, GJM activists came out on the streets to resist the GNLF's revival programme. Four GNLF supporters, three at Mahendragaon (Mirik) and one at Garidhura, were injured when they were allegedly attacked by GJM activists. The house of a GNLF supporter, where some people had gathered to observe "Samjhauta Divas", was also damaged at Mirik.
"There was some trouble in the Hills. Both parties complained about stone-throwing and attacks on their supporters," Darjeeling SP D P Singh said. Police reinforcements were sent to trouble-prone pockets to prevent further violence.
"The Sixth Schedule proposal gives a constitutional guarantee to the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council. But the GJM's proposed interim set-up will have not such guarantee ," Shivraj Thapa, spokesman for GNLF's Darjeeling unit, said. "Our strength has gone up now. We'll bring our chief back home soon. But we are against violence," he added.
Playing down the day's events, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said, "Celebrating the Sixth Schedule proposal is like celebrating a dead man's birthday." He added, "We're not bothered about what a handful of people did on Monday. We've the backing of an overwhelming majority of the people who have already dumped the divisive Sixth Schedule proposal."
Considering GJM's hardline stand, it's clear that the pro-Gorkhaland party may not allow any political space to GNLF in future. In contrast, it has lately permitted other non-GNLF parties to carry out their activities, especially after the May 21 assassination of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) chief Madan Tamang. 
SNS, DARJEELING, 6 DEC: With the winter deepening its grip over the Darjeeling Hills, the political mercury seems rising as the reports of the GNLF challenge to the GJMM thralldom keep pouring in. The GNLF supporters observed the Sixth Schedule Day today at Ghoom-Jorebunglow, around 8km away from Darjeeling.
This is the first significant political programme for the party whose writ ran unchallenged in the hills some three years back. A major clash involving the GNLF and its arch rival the GJMM was averted today as the law enforcers restrained a group of GJMM activists from getting into the GNLF meeting venue. A large contingent of police led by the deputy superintendent of police was deployed at the Ghoom-Jorebunglow area in anticipation of large-scale violence.
Hundreds of Morcha supporters blocked the entry points leading to the ground at the Senchel Dairy area where around hundred GNLF supporters assembled to observe the Sixth Schedule Accord Day by unfurling the green GNLF flags, bursting crackers and shouting slogans.
It is not known whether it was the GNLF's decision to select the congregation- venue away from the Darjeeling town or the district administration asked them to do so. The GNLF Darjeeling unit spokesperson, Mr Shiv Raj Thapa said that they would plunge into political activities in the hills from today.   “ We kept waiting for a green signal from our leader, Mr Subhas Ghising for the past three years.  He kept us back as he was reluctant to stoke trouble. But now as his return to the hills is a matter of days nothing can hold us back from taking on the GJMM challenge,” he said.
The GNLF observed the Sixth Schedule Accord Day in several places like Borbotte,Ranglee-Rangliot, Sukhiapokhri and Rimbick-Manaybhanjyang.
Meanwhile, with the GJMM remaining adamant for expanding the geographical contour of the proposed Interim Council by way of including Terai-Dooara areas the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikash Parishad is gearing up to demand exclusion of some Adivasi-dominated areas like the Panighatta and Lohagarh from the existing Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.
The ABAVP is contemplating agitations following complaints from the Adivasi people residing in these areas. A list of areas now under the DGHC where over 60 percent people belong to the Adivasi community is being prepared. According to the ABAVP leaders, the Adivasi population remains   deprived of their basic rights under the DGHC.
GNLF to hold comeback rally in Darjeeling
TNN, DARJEELING: The Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) has decided to celebrate December 6 as the Sixth Schedule treaty day in the hills, making its first political programme after being forced onto the back foot in 2008.
The party has already started making its presence felt over the past few weeks with village committees being set up at Kurseong, Borbotte, Ranglee-Rangliot and Ghoom-Jore Bungalow.
GNLF leader Subash Ghisingh, in political exile in Jalpaiguri after Gorkha Janmukti Morch (GJM) came to power in 2007, has refused to come back to the hills. "Our leader does not want any kind of violence that is why he has chosen not to come here," said Shivaraj Thapa, GNLF Darjeeling unit spokesperson. But the party has decided to go ahead and celebrate the treaty day. Aware of the current situation, GNLF has decided not organize its celebrations in town areas but limit them to various tea belts of the region.GNLF under Ghisingh initiated the demand for including Darjeeling hills under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. On December 6, 2005, the state, Centre and Ghisingh signed the memorandum of settlement (MoS), leading to widespread celebrations in the hills. "The Sixth Schedule is the only feasible solution under the present circumstances. The agreement has already been signed and just needs to be implemented," said Thapa. The bill for the Sixth Schedule was placed in the Parliament by the then Union home minister, but was scrapped after the BJP opposed it.
There are apprehensions of fresh trouble erupting in the hills after the GNLF announced its plan to organize rallies and meetings in rural areas. "We have not yet received any official information from the GNLF about their political programme. However, we will make security arrangement according to the situation," said Indrajit Thapa, inspector-in-charge of Darjeeling Sadar police station.
On the other hand, GJM has begun to raise the tempo for its demand of early tripartite talks and settlement to the contagious issue of an interim council in the hills. Since December 4, GJM's frontal organizations have started holding rallies and public meetings, which will reportedly go on till December 20, the deadline for a final verdict on the hills problem.
Madan murder over to CBI soon

TT, Dec. 6: The Bengal government is set to hand over the Madan Tamang murder case to the CBI with the Criminal Investigation Department, a state agency, sending its no-objection letter to the home department today.

The department had asked for the CID opinion when it was decided that the charge of the probe would be handed over to the central agency.
Additional director general of police, CID, Raj Kanojia, replied to the government query saying the agency had no objection.
“This is routine protocol that has to be followed in such cases. We give a no objection letter because we will have to share all the findings that CID has made so far with the CBI,” said a CID source.
In Darjeeling, Dawa Sherpa, the working president of the ABGL, welcomed the government’s decision to hand over the Tamang murder case to the CBI.
“We welcome the decision as the demand for a CBI probe was a popular demand. We had repeatedly pressed for a CBI inquiry and even the Morcha had made a similar request in the past,” said Sherpa.
On the very day Tamang was murdered, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung had told The Telegraph that he wanted a CBI inquiry into the incident.
In fact, Gurung had iterated the same demand at various public meetings after the May 21 murder.
Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri spoke on similar lines today.
“Our stand is clear from the statements we have issued in the past,” he said today.
The demand for a CBI inquiry got stronger in the hills especially after the prime accused in the murder, Nickole Tamang, fled from CID custody on August 16. His escape to an extent tarnished the credibility of the state investigating agency.
The CID has already filed a chargesheet in the chief judicial magistrate’s court in Darjeeling in which 30 Morcha supporters have been named.
So far, eight people have been arrested.
This is however not the first time that the CBI is investigating a case, considered a political murder. In the past, it had probed the murder of C.K. Pradhan, a GNLF strongman from Kalimpong.
Pradhan was shot dead on Mintri Road in Kalimpong on October 3, 2002. The CBI is yet to crack the case.
New central committee of AAGSU assumed charge from Sunday

Dil Bahadur Limboo-Outgoing President of AAGSU with
Chief of the AAGSU Volunteer Cell (AVC) Mr. Keshav Pandey
Swearing Ceremony
Archana  Lwhrwng Rai, KaimNews, Guwahati, 5th Dec 2010 (Dekhiajuli, Sonitpur): The new central committee of the influential apex organization of the Gorkhas the All Assam Gorkha Students’ Union (AAGSU) that was elected by Special Convention at Amlighat in Morigoan on 2nd October 2010 was accorded charge after being administered oath of office and secrecy by outgoing President Mr. Dil Bahadur Limboo today at ‘Sohmuia Bhawan’ Dekiajuli in Sonitpur.
The ‘Oath Taking’ meeting was presided over by outgoing President Mr. Dil Bahadur Limboo where more than 500 delegates from various districts of Assam attended the mega ceremony. Most of the former Presidents and General Secretaries and office bearer were present. The meeting was attended b the GACDC Chairman Mr. Harkha Bahadur Chhetri and Secretary General Mr. Dillu Sarmah as observers. 
Limboo in his presidential address thanked one and all for making him one of most successful President in history of AAGSU and regretted the incident of breakaway fraction AAGSU lead by its expelled former president and advisor of his committee Bhaskar Dahal. He termed himself one of ‘unlucky president’ stating the fact that a group under Bhaskar Dahal who wanted to divide and rule the Gorkha students for poltical benefit had suspended his office of president unconstitutionally however was happy that the Gorkha populace of Assam terminated Bhaskar Dahal; Advisor , Krishna Newar self claiming President who was the Vice President and General Secy. Tharka Adhikari from primary membership and resolution termed them ‘Traitor’  in Odalgiri Extended Executive Meeting. It may be here noted that it is under Limboo that AAGSU got a tribal and ethnic representation in entire North East and relations with all ethnic and tribal organization North East glorified. Mr. Limboo’s multi dynamic leadership will always be credited with the formation of Gorkha Development Council (GDC) a giant recognition of the Gorkhas of Assam besides a huge list of activities towards Gorkhas development in Assam. Besides the Gorkhas the entire populace of North East will remember Limboo as one of the most gentle social leader in the history of the region. An aggressive speaking humble gentleman will remain idol for generations as he will be leading the organization as ‘Chief Advisor’.
A 21 member central executive committee along with Jagadish Khanal, Nanda Kirati Dewan and Keshav Sharma  respectively President, Info & Publicity Secy and Gen Secy took charge after being administered oath of secrecy and office by the Chief Advisor. Office bearers elected of AAGSU are Mr. Dil Bahadur Limboo-Chief Advisor: Mr. Jagadish Khanal-President: Mr. Bhim Bahadur Rai,Mr. Birendra Subba-Vice President:Mr. Keshav Sharma-General Secretary:Miss Geeta Chhetry,Mr. Santosh Baral,Mr. Meghraaj Upahyay- Asstt. Gen Secretary:Mr. Nanda Kirati Dewan- Info & Publicity Secretary:Mr. Digambar Chhetri-Organising Secretary:Mr. Kamal Subba-Education Secretary:Mr. Kamal Pradhan-Cultural Secretary:Mr. Keshav Pandey-Chief; Volunteer Cell and Mr. Ram Upadhyay-Secretary Magazine.
Office Secretary, One female Vice President and Kamal Pradhan representation from Delhi unit will be sworn in as Cultural Secretary in the next central executive meeting in Guwahati on 12th Dec 2010 at its Head Office at  Gorkha Thaurbari (Nepali Mandir) in Guwahati. In the same meeting Mr. Padum Bariely and Mr. Ram Chandra Adhikari will take charge of advisors of AAGSU. After taking charge the 1st extended executive meeting was held which was presided by Jagadish Khanal. Later in the evening Nanda Kirati Dewan Info&Publicity Secy. briefed the local media about the meeting. A press conference was scheduled the following day in Tezpur Press Club.
Arrest plea for fake papers
TT, Gangtok, Dec. 6: The Sikkim National People’s Party has filed a police complaint demanding legal action against over 31,000 people who possess “fake” Sikkim Subject Certificates, the existence of which was admitted by the government earlier this year.
Biraj Adikhari, the SNPP president, said: “We filed a complaint at Sadar police station here on Saturday enclosing a pamphlet published by the state land revenue department which admitted that 31,180 cases of fraud were detected while issuing Sikkim Subject Certificates (equivalent to domicile documents) during a survey in 2005. Five years have gone but the people holding the fake papers have not been brought to justice or the false certificates revoked.”
Staff assault after herd raid
TT, Alipurduar, Dec. 6: Two forest employees were assaulted and a vehicle was damaged last night by residents of a Madarihat village who alleged that inactive guards had failed to drive out a herd of marauding elephants from the area.
Following the attack, the forest department filed an FIR against four villagers including a CPM panchayat member.
Around 11pm yesterday, a herd of 30 to 35 wild elephants entered Kalibari under Khayerbari gram panchayat of Madarihat block, 50km from Alipurduar. The herd that came out of Jaldapara damaged five huts of Madhya Madarihat village. A tusker in the herd also injured Ukil Oraon, a temporary forest worker.
Personnel of the Madarihat elephant squad reached the spot. But by then agitated villagers had assaulted Khagen Barman and Niloy Guho Majumder, two forest employees, and pushed the foresters’ vehicle into a ditch, sources said.
“Police saved both the employees and the vehicle. We have lodged an FIR against four persons including the panchayat member with Madarihat police,” said Omprakash, the divisional forest officer of wildlife III. Ukil who complained of chest pain was shifted to Birpara State General Hospital from the block hospital.
Kanchha Tamang, a gram panchayat member, said: “For the past five days, wild elephants have been wrecking havoc in our village, damaging huts and nut fields. The foresters visit the spot either late or not at all. We are much annoyed at their inaction. Today we submitted a memorandum to the range office demanding continuous patrolling in our village.”
The DFO said the indiscriminate use of fire crackers by the villagers made the elephants agitated, and the animals, instead of going towards forest, entered the village. “Had the villagers helped our staff, the herd could be sent back more easily.”
Legalise jumbo sale: Forest - Govt wants changes in wildlife act to tackle growing elephant population
TT, Siliguri, Dec. 6: The state forest department has asked the Centre to make the capture and sale of wild elephants legal so that problems caused by the animal’s growing population in north Bengal can be mitigated.
The number of elephants in north Bengal forests has gone up from around 350 in 2008 to 500 this year. The foresters are worried that if the number of jumbos increases, there will be more man-animal conflicts in the region.
>The state government has asked the Union ministry of environment and forests to excise clauses prohibiting the capture and sale of elephants from the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
>“Time and again, the act has been amended for the conservation of wildlife. It was through these amendments that capture of wild elephants and their sale or donation have been prohibited,” S.B Mondal, the principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), said here today.
“The elephants are beyond our control because of their steady rise in population. To stem regular incidents of depredation and attacks on humans by the elephants, we want the removal of certain clauses which debar the capture and sale of the jumbos”.
At present, calves rescued by foresters are domesticated and the act says the animals’ ownership can be changed only through inheritance.
“There is a huge demand for elephants from individuals and other countries. But we cannot supply elephants as only a few are in captivity. Since we are prevented from capturing and donating elephants, it is not possible for us to provide the jumbos to various government departments, which need the animals for patrolling in remote areas,” said Mondal.
“If certain new provisions are inserted in the act to allow the capture and sale of elephants, we can get rid of the problems caused by the growing population of the pachyderms. We have sent our proposal to the Centre and are awaiting a reply,” he added
According to the officer, 200 elephants or at best 250 are suitable for north Bengal, whose forest cover is around 3,100sqkm. Preliminary findings of a census conducted in November have shown that the region has more than 500 elephants.
Mondal said the ratio of human deaths from elephant attacks was also high in north Bengal. “The ratio of human fatalities to the number of elephants is as high as 1:9, instead of the normal 1:50. It means for each nine elephants, one person is killed by the animal in north Bengal a year.”
NH blockade 
TT, Jaigaon: Around 400 people blocked NH31 at Dhupjhora More in the Metelli block on Monday, demanding immediate payment of wages under the 100-days’ job scheme. The protesters said the wages had been pending for the past six months. The hour-long blockade was lifted at 4pm after K.N. Garl, the joint block development officer of Metelli, reached the spot and assured the people of immediate payment.

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