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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Docu film on Gorkhaland movement on anvil ... Youth body found-2 detained

UNI, Siliguri , Dec 21:Movements have a life of their own. But the Gorkhaland agitation will perhaps stay with people in future at the initiative of some young documentary filmamkers eager to capture it through lens.
''We, through our film, want to spread the message of peace and non-violence and probe into the causes that has led to the Gorkhaland movement,'' Jatiyatabadi Yuva Parishad president Diptiman Basu told reporters today.
The organisation had earlier made similar films on Nandigram and Singur highlighting the 'state-sponsored' violence and the agony of the people. It had been advocating for the rights of the poor across India and trying to capture social movements and its impact through lens. ''The group is trying to find out whether any foreign force is instigating the Gorkhaland movement and spread awareness among the masses,'' said former IPS officer Banipada Saha, an active member of the organisation.
The documentary filmmakers are slated to meet later in the day members of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and Akhil Bhartiya Gorkha League (ABGL) to have an indepth understanding of the situation in the hills.
They will also talk with other political parties in the hills along with the masses to gauge their reaction to the ongoing movement for separate statehood.
The demand for Gorkhaland started in 1907 when the Hill Men Association of Darjeeling submitted a memorandum to Minto-Morley Reform Committee demanding a separate administrative set up. The ABGL was the first political party from the region to demand a separate identity for the Gorkha-ethnic group stressing on economic freedom for the community. The movement for a separate state got a fillip during the 1980s when a violent agitation was carried out by Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) led by Subash Ghising. The agitation ultimately culminated into the establishment of an elected body in 1988 called the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), which received autonomy to govern the Darjeeling district. However, in 2008 a new party, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, raised the demand for separate statehood once again and had been carrying on the struggle till date.
New hill party raises state cry
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Dec. 21: A new party has been floated with the Gorkhaland slogan at a time the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is trying desperately to negotiate with the Centre and the state a two year set-up in the hills.
Former Kalimpong branch committee president of the GNLF, Dawa Pakhrin, has floated the Gorkhaland Rajya Nirman Morcha in New Delhi and has started mobilising public support in the capital.
The development is an indication that the Gorkhaland issue will continue to bother the state and the Centre even if the interim set-up is put in place in the coming days.
“I am very happy that we received an overwhelming support from the Gorkhas in the capital,” Pakhrin said over phone from Delhi. The Nirman Morcha participated in a dharna, organised by the Federation of Smaller States, on the Rajghat premises yesterday.
“Demand for smaller states like Gorkhaland, Bundelkhand, Purbanchal, Vidarbha and other new states were raised at the dharna,” said Pakhrin. The Nirman Morcha has threatened to gherao the Assembly (building) before the elections if no concrete steps are taken by the state government to form Gorkhaland. “We are chalking out the details,” he said.
The former GNLF leader, who severed ties with Subash Ghisingh early this year and returned to the hills a few months back, opposed both the interim set-up, and the Sixth Schedule status demanded by Ghisingh. “The demand for Telangana is moving in the right direction. They never compromised despite facing much hardship and they neither had to settle for an interim set-up or the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution,” said Pakhrin.
The former GNLF leader said his party had already started mobilising public support for Gorkhaland at the grassroots level. “We are working with the grassroots at the moment after which we will start holding public meetings and rallies,” he added.
Pakhrin had considerable following in Kalimpong subdivision, something that is reflected in the manner in which he mobilised support for his new party even when the Morcha holds sway in the hills. “Gorkhaland is an emotive issue and will always find takers. The biggest challenge for Pakhrin now is to completely disassociate himself from his public image as a former GNLF heavyweight who did not actively raise the statehood demand for 21 years when it suited his interests,” said an observer.
Youth body found-2 detained
KalimNews: 2 youth are detained by Jaldhaka Police for a murder. Satish Chandra Rai 24 y of 45 Block Rongo Cinchona Plantation under Jaldhaka Police station was missing since 11th December. His body was found on 20th December in the banks of river Jaldhaka near stage II (Jholung).
Police have detained two friends of Satish, Pinto Naik and Dip Tshering Sherpa of Gairibas. It is learnt that the trio were together on 11th and they had an altercation regarding lending of Pinto's motorbike.
Deceased Satish's body was handed over to his family after a post mortem in SD hospital Kalimpong this afternoon. 
TitBits from SHEEM
Trinmool youth congress carried out a rally in Siliguri.
SSBC will organise a dharna in DC Office, Gangtok tomorrow.
Threat again, this time in Cong belt - ‘Accommodative’ sermon from AICC
TT, Siliguri, Dec. 21: The Trinamul Congress today asserted that in next year’s summer polls it would contest most of the 54 Assembly seats in north Bengal, traditionally considered a Congress stronghold, even if it imperils the alliance — the second go-it-alone warning for the ally in 24 hours.
The warning comes even as the Congress high command asked Bengal leaders to be “more tolerant and accommodative” vis-à-vis Trinamul.
“The Siliguri Municipal Corporation polls and the Assembly byelections here have showed that we have a huge support in the region now. We will contest in most of the seats in Darjeeling, Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri and South Dinajpur,” said Goutam Deb, the Darjeeling district president of Trinamul, flanked by party MP Subhendu Adhikari, at a public meeting in Baghajatin Park here today.
Party insiders, however, said the alliance is important for Trinamul, as it is for the Congress, and such remarks were “public posturing” before a hard bargaining for seats ahead of the Assembly polls.
“We are pitching for more seats now so that we have the upper hand during the bargaining that will begin in a few months,” a Trinamul leader said. “We won’t let the Congress walk away easily with a bulk of the seats because we realise that our popularity has grown here in recent times.”
Yesterday, at the end of the party’s core committee meeting, Trinamul leader Partha Chatterjee had said in Calcutta that it would be “good” if the alliance with the Congress worked out, but, if not, his party was ready to go it alone in the coming polls.
Referring to this, Deb said today: “The core committee meeting in Calcutta has issued clear guidelines on forging an alliance with the Congress and the same will be followed in north Bengal.”
Adhikari, too, warned Trinamul supporters to be “wary” of the Congress. “We had an alliance (with the Congress) during the civic polls in Siliguri but our friends joined hands with the CPM to form the board,” Adhikari said. “We want to alert our leaders here to ensure that forging such an alliance does not help the CPM as had happened in the past. If the need arises, the Trinamul can go on its own.”
In fact, in the course of his speech, Adhikari made it clear that for voters the choice was between Trinamul and the CPM. “There is no party in between these two. You have to choose between these two parties and not any B-team of the CPM,” the MP from Tamluk and a youth wing leader said.
Even as the tirade against the Congress continued, AICC general secretary in charge of Bengal affairs K. Keshava Rao today stepped in to ensure that the “alliance was struck without fail”.
“Alliance with Trinamul has to be struck at any cost…Opposition should not be for opposition’s sake. I want my leaders not to criticise Trinamul in a manner as they do in regard to the CPM for its indulgence to violence and killings. One should keep in mind that both of us mutually benefited after fighting last year’s Lok Sabha polls together,” Rao said over the phone from Delhi.
Trinamul leaders said though traditionally north Bengal has been considered a stronghold of the Congress, the Mamata Banerjee’s popularity has grown here in recent times and this would be reflected in the number of seats the party contests in this region.
Party leaders said other than Malda and North Dinajpur, considered to be the Congress fiefdoms, Trinamul would fight hard to ensure that it gets the lion’s share of seats in the other four districts of north Bengal. “Over all, we want to contest most of the seats from here,” a Trinamul leader said. “We are now in a position to win these seats.”
Trinamul leaders, however, admitted that the Congress would put up a hard fight for north Bengal seats because it hardly expects to get too many berths in south where Mamata has established her supremacy.
Glider tourism takes off - Fly over ridge, treeline for Rs 600

PKhaling, KalimNews and TT, Gangtok, Dec 21: Tourism is growing wings in Sikkim as tourists seeking a thrill of wind behind their back can now soar over the trees riding on a paraglide manned by an experienced para-pilot here at Ranka, East district. Commercial paragliding has commenced on a promotional basis under the initiative of Travel Agents Association of Sikkim (TAAS), the apex body of tour operators in the state.
Three experienced local youths who have trained and did commercial para-flying in Manali have come back to Sikkim to popularize this adventure sport at Ranka hills, 14 kms away from Gangtok recently.
Under the active support of TAAS, Chandra Prakash Pradhan, Rajdeep Thapa and Arjun Rai had started promotional commercial flying from early this month and are slowly attracting locals and tourists alike, though commercial paragliding is still in its nascent state here.
But the future is bright and as soaring as one can reach while riding a paraglide from either Ani Gumpa or Thami Dara, just few a minutes of walk from the nearest approachable road at Ranka.
“From Ani Gumpa, one can do paragliding for five-ten minutes depending on the weather and wind conditions and from Thami Dara, one can paraglide for two-three minutes”, said Pradhan after dropping four local youths from Gangtok in separate flights from Thami Dara into the landing zone at the open field of under-construction Khel Goan, a project being undertaken by the State government.
A short burst of speed is enough for a first-timer to gain momentum and sail over the ridge at Thami Dara with the para-pilot hunched behind him and manning the paraglide over the tree line and into the clear blue sky. The flight then slowly takes a couple of swerving turns some 400 ft above the ground and descends into the landing zone safely.
It is an even longer flight from Ani Gumpa where one can reach some 700 ft above the ground, said Pradhan.
The rate for a flight from Ani Gumpa is Rs. 1000 while it is Rs. 600 for the short trip from Thami Dara.
“The suitable time for conducting paragliding is from September up to March where the weather conditions are clear and favourable. We have been conducting promotional flights and clients are coming in slowly. With the venue for paragliding being so close to Gangtok, we are hoping that tourists will be attracted during the season. The future prospects is high”, said Pradhan.
Earlier, paragliding used to be done for tourists and trainees during tourism festivals in Sikkim but now this time TAAS has moved in to add another attraction for tourists by promoting paragliding. The organization has already rented the taking-off ridge at Thami Dara which falls under a private holding.
“There is a huge opportunity for commercial paragliding here. We also have trained pilots and we have started promoting this adventure sport through our 250 members. We are in a promotional phase and it will take time to establish this adventure sport. However, the flights undertaken so far have been encouraging,” said TAAS president Lukendra Rasaily.
Rasaily said that TAAS is contacting land owners in the area for constructing a landing zone of its own which will also be feature other tourism amenities like cafeteria and other village tourism attractions.
“We will be negotiating with the land owners and bring them to village tourism festival. Tourists can do paragliding during the day time and rest in the homestays and enjoy the local cuisine and culture. Once the paragliding adventure sports takes off, these para-pilots will open their own office and we will just sent tourists. Right now tourists and interested locals are going through TAAS members for paragliding”, said Rasaily.
ASGTBA election
Prabin Khaling, KalimNews, GANGTOK, December 21: Twenty seven candidates are in line for the eleven posts in All Sikkim Gurung (Tamu) Buddhist Association (ASGTBA) executive committee after the scrutiny of the nomination papers were held today by the unification election committee.
The scrutiny process was supervised by the unification election committee chief election commissioner, Manoj Kumar Gurung.
Out of 32 nominations, 27 were declared valid and five were rejected due to incomplete submission of forms, it was informed.
Five candidates are contesting for the ASGTBA president’s post while three candidates are in the field for the post of the vice-president. There are four candidates for the post of general secretary, four for treasurer’s post, two for the post of publicity secretary and nine are contesting for the six posts of executive members, said the election committee.
Candidates from far flung areas and remote corners of the State are also contesting in the ASGTBA executive committee elections which reflect that the polls are uniformly endorsed by the 40,000 members of the Gurung community of Sikkim, the committee said.
Representatives from 121 blocks of 33 constituencies drawn up by the election committee and nominated by the village members during the unification drive of Sachet Gurungs will be casting their votes to elect the new ASGTBA executive body on December 26. Voting will be conducted at Saramsa Gardens near Ranipool from 1 pm and results will be announced on the same day.
The committee has appealed the members of Gurung community to witness the elections and show solidarity and reinforce the need to have a unified body of the Gurung community in Sikkim.

Robbers flee bust at sight of cops
TT, Malda, Dec. 21: Seven armed criminals jumped off a running bus and fled after abandoning an attempt to rob passengers when they spotted a police jeep following them on NH34 near here this evening.
The police were on routine patrolling and had no inkling of what was going on inside the bus travelling from Kaliachak with 60 passengers.
“Robbers boarded the bus at Kaliachak. When the vehicle reached Jalalpur around 5.30pm, two of them pointed a gun at driver Nripen Roy and told him that they were hijacking the bus,” said Bhuban Mondal, the Malda police chief.
“When the gangsters were trying to overpower the driver, the conductor jumped off the bus and tried to alert local people. Suddenly, the criminals spotted a police jeep behind the bus and got scared. They jumped off the bus and fled. The police came to know about the incident only after the bus stopped and the passengers got off,” said Mondal.
The bus was later taken to Englishbazar police station. The passengers had not lost valuables and did not lodge any complaint.
Some passengers said the gangsters had burst crude bombs in the driver’s cabin but the police did not confirm any such incident.
The driver suffered minor injuries on the head as criminals hit him with the rifle’s butt. He was taken to Malda district hospital and released after being administered first aid.
Flames devour shop, glare on robbery revenge

TT, Alipurduar, Dec. 21: A three-storeyed shop selling electrical appliances and furniture was razed to the ground in a fire here this morning with the loss estimated to be not less than Rs 3 crore.
The fire was suspected to have been started by robbers who had been caught earlier after stealing items from the same shop. Six fire engines fought eight hours to bring the blaze under control.
The fire was first noticed by morning walkers around 4am and they immediately contacted the owner of the shop Sushil Roy and the Alipurduar fire brigade. Within 15 minutes, the owner and firemen reached the spot, but they could not enter the building as it was locked from inside. As local people and the fire personnel struggled to break open the door for half-an-hour, precious time was lost and the flames spread to more parts of the shop.
Finally, the firefighters entered the building and found the door on the roof open. It suggested that miscreants or thieves had entered the shop and locked the main gate from inside.
Four engines from Alipurduar and two each from Cooch Behar and Toofanganj shuttled between a wetland and a PHE reservoir to fill water. While the waterbody is around 200 metres from the shop, the reservoir is 1km away.
Paritosh Das, the secretary of the Alipurduar Byabsayee Samity, said the wholesale shop had catered for the Dooars and lower Assam. “The loss is not less than Rs. 3 crore. The shop is at least 300-feet long and a lot of items were stored for the wedding season. Robbers who had entered the shop earlier were later arrested and goods were seized. They have been released from jail recently and we suspect they entered the shop again last night and started the fire.”
Roy was so upset that he was not able to say much. “The door was locked from inside and a few persons entered the shop last night. The loss is huge,” he fumbled.
Pradeep Sarkar, the officer in charge of the Alipurduar fire station, said local people had helped to bring the fire under control. “As the door was locked from inside, we faced difficulties initially. Another problem we encountered was the shortage of water in the town.”
Quit spree on ragging - Hostel chairperson walks away after ‘lax’ charges

TT,  Siliguri, Dec. 21: The chairperson of the hostel monitoring committee of North Bengal University today said he had resigned from his post even as the campus remained shut to protest the alleged reluctance of the authorities to act against 14 students accused of ragging their juniors.
J.C Basak, however, is still the convener of the varsity’s 22-member anti-ragging committee. He said he had given up his post in the hostel panel because it had been accused of failing to prevent ragging in the varsity hostels.
“The Executive Council members who voted against the recommendations of the anti-ragging panel had alleged that the ragging occurred because of laxity on the part of the hostel monitoring committee,” said Basak.
“Such baseless allegations are insulting for the hostel committee and the anti-ragging panel as well. In protest, I have submitted my resignation,” Basak said.
Two anti-ragging committee members resigned after recommendations to rusticate six senior students for ragging 17 juniors were shot down at the council meeting on December 16. Eight others had been awarded milder punishments like ouster and suspension from the hostel. Those, too, were dismissed.
According to varsity sources, some more members of the two committees are likely to put in their papers although none of the resignations have been accepted yet.
The varsity was shut today following a strike called by the Chattra Parishad, the student wing of the Congress, to protest the alleged apathy of the authorities to act against the accused. “If the recommendations of the panel are not immediately implemented, we will call an indefinite strike at the varsity,” said Ronald Dey, the president of the CP’s varsity unit. The SFI said the anti-ragging panel was targeting its members.
One held for class damage
TT,Jalpaiguri, Dec. 21: An alleged Trinamul Congress supporter was arrested this morning for damaging furniture in a classroom of a school at Duramari in Dhupguri block last night.
Headmaster of Chandrakanta High School Jyotirmoy Sarkar said the school was shut yesterday for the SFI-sponsored student strike. “We were holding the annual school sports in an adjacent field when some Trinamul Congress supporters arrived and asked us to keep the school open. They went away when the students and the teachers protested,” he said. Later, members of the school’s managing committee alleged that Dulu Roy, 28, a local goon, known to be a Trinamul Congress supporter, was found consuming liquor inside a classroom. “He had entered through a broken window. The night guard saw him around 1am. When Dulu started breaking benches in the room, the guard raised the alarm. Duramari police arrested him,” said Nirmalendu Roy, the secretary of the managing committee.
Track death
TT,Jalpaiguri: Prakash Pradhan, 28, a resident of Chuihabusty near Malbazar was killed when a goods train hit him on Tuesday. Pradhan was sitting on the tracks and on his cellphone when the train knocked him down. After the accident, the Alipurduar-bound Capital Express was stranded near Bagrakote for nearly half an hour. The train left at 2.30pm.
TT,Siliguri: Members of the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad confined the principal of Siliguri College for three hours on Tuesday, demanding that the nomination forms of 15 candidates for the college student elections be accepted. Malay Karanjai, however, refused to take the forms because they were submitted after the deadline ended at 2pm. The demonstration was withdrawn around 5pm.
Notice protest
TT,Siliguri: A group of newly appointed primary teachers of Jalpaiguri locked the district primary school council office here on Tuesday after submitting a memorandum to the the additional district magistrate demanding that the decision to showcause some of them be revoked. Showcause notices will be served on 423 teachers, the school education department said on Monday, for anomalies in their recruitment process.
IIT in mind, khukuri in hand
PTI, New Delhi, Dec. 21 : A teenage IIT aspirant murdered a retired teacher in his south Delhi home on Saturday for making his parents pay up for a credit card and jewellery he had stolen, police said.
D.K. Joshi, who lived alone, was found dead with head and neck injuries after his son Anurag asked a cousin to check on him because his calls from the US were going unanswered.
“We detained the boy from his uncle’s residence in Gurgaon early this morning. He is from a well-to-do family. His father is a businessman while his sister is pursuing second-year MBBS,” deputy commissioner of police H.G.S. Dhaliwal said.
The police have found the khukuri used to commit the murder, the teenager’s bloodstained shoes and a laptop and wine bottles that he allegedly stole afterwards.
The 17-year-old had stayed as a paying guest with the retired teacher in his Vasant Kunj apartment from November last year to March. Joshi, who had turned an introvert and an Osho follower after his wife died in 2008, had taken in two students as paying guests.
“He started treating them as his own kids and used to help them in their studies. He even got his cable connection cut so that their studies were not disturbed,” Dhaliwal said.
But in March, Joshi discovered the boy had stolen his wine bottles, jewellery and credit card on which he spent Rs 1.3 lakh. He allegedly sold the jewellery for Rs 56,000.
The retired teacher made the boy’s parents, who live in Shingroli in Madhya Pradesh, pay him Rs 3 lakh. “We worked on this lead and this led to the detention of the teenager who felt he was humiliated. Joshi, who had not pressed for criminal charges against the teenager, had later demanded another Rs 50,000. The boy was angry at this and wanted to get rid of Joshi,” Dhaliwal said.
The teenager got the khukuri, which he had bought on a Nepal trip two year ago, from his home last Thursday, the officer said. The next day he got a women’s wig he could use as a disguise from a friend’s beauty parlour in Kalkaji telling her he needed it for a play. Another unwitting friend helped him get away on his motorcycle.
“He told his school friend that he could arrange a job for him and went to his house to take his motorcycle. He also arranged some interviews for his friend. The teenager then took him to Vasant Kunj on the pretext of collecting some money,” Dhaliwal said.
Joshi, who had gone out to shop, found the boy outside his flat when he returned and asked why he was there. The teenager pushed his way inside and allegedly attacked him with the knife.
“The khukuri got damaged as the boy hit the teacher. Then he stabbed him with scissors. He also searched the house and laid his hands on whatever he could find easily. He returned with a laptop, three wine bottles and a mobile phone in his bag to where his friend was waiting for him,” Dhaliwal said.
He spent the night at the beauty parlour, the officer added.
Joshi, who had retired in 2003 and moved to Vasant Kunj a year later, was not registered with the senior citizens’ cell because he was planning to join his son, a software professional, in New Jersey.
“Also, his relatives were very caring. They used to meet him every day. The nephew who reported the murder used to park his motorcycle in his flat only,” Dhaliwal said. “However, our beat constable used to meet him regularly. We were also aware of the theft that took place in March though no case was registered.”

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