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Sunday, January 2, 2011

6 injured- GLP camp attacked for ‘excesses’ - clash after assault on villagers .. Car crash kills former Santosh player Chhetri

6 injured in GLP public clash
File Pic:GLP Training at Upper Fagu Training Camp
KalimNews: According to information received from police sources 6 people including 4 GLPs are injured in a clash between public of Godam gaon of Upper Fagu Tea Estate and GLP cadres a volunteer force of GJM. The condition of one GLP is serious and admitted in a nursing home of Siliguri. Police sources said that Gorubathan Police rushed to the spot and is maintaining law and order situation there.
It is said that a group of GLP trainees belonging to the training camp located in Upper Fagu Tea Estate misbehaved and had some altercation with local youths in which two locals Smt Munna Gurung and Dominique Thapa were injured in the evening of 1st January. On finding the two injured men by the intoxicated GLPs, a group of villagers raided the 150 strong training camp within 100 meter from the Godam gaon. During the raid by the village people four GLPs Satyam Pradhan Driver, Subhas Pradhan and Shiv Burman of Kalchini and Pranay Gurung of Tukvar were injured. Fearing major clash local Police was called by the GLP In Charge commander Sunil Rai for their protection in the midnight. Local people ransacked the camp and smashed a Canter vehicle WB 73A- 1773 of the GLP. Later police rescued the 4 injured and took them to safe place while Pranay Gurung is seriously injured and admitted in a nursing home of Siliguri.  
People of the village demanded immediate removal of the GLP camp from Upper Fagu. Local residents alleged that GLP trainees are involved in  various illegal and antisocial activities, they are making the life the youngsters and girls unsafe. Party leaders from the Central Committee and Subdivisional Committee of GJM as well as GLP chief Ramesh Allay and SP Warner rushed to the GLP camp and tried to pacify the agitated public. There was no positive outcome inspite of series of meetings with the local people till late night. Party and GLP leaders requested the public to wait for a few days for removal of the camp.  GJM leaders Subha Pradhan said that it is an internal matter, there is nothing serious about it and we will solve it very soon. The situation of the area now is normal and under control.
TT, Kalimpong, Jan. 2: An altercation between a few members of Gorkhaland Personnel and residents of a village near Gorubathan descended into a full-fledged clash in which the camp of the voluntary force was ransacked and one persons was injured last night.
The violence was the result of the pent-up anger of the people at Upper Fagu, who said the GLP members were frequently misbehaving with the villagers and creating problems in the area.
The GLP is the voluntary force raised by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in 2008 for “crowd control”. Later, the party had tried to make the squad function like a parallel police force, checking cars and seizing “illegal liquor” in the Darjeeling hills”.
According to sources, the clash took place after a group of GLP members came to the local market around 6pm and started misbehaving with shopkeepers and bystanders. When some locals protested, the volunteers beat up Munna Gurung, 38, and Dominique Thapa, 29.
As the word of the assault spread, the village youths decided to retaliate. Armed with sticks, they swooped on the camp in a tea garden, hurling stones at the tents for the volunteers and smashing the sentry gate. “This resulted in a full-fledged fight between the locals and the GLP boys. The villagers ransacked about 20 temporary tin sheds the GLP had constructed on the tea estate,” said a resident.
A vehicle belonging to the squad was also smashed by the attackers. A GLP volunteer, Pranay Gurung, suffered injuries on the head and was admitted to a hospital in Siliguri.
The GLP sought to downplay the incident. “One of our boys was intoxicated and this led to some problems. There is nothing more to it,” said Ramesh Allay, the GLP president, on phone from Gorubathan, 70km from here.
Munna and Dominique were released after being administered first aid at the primary health centre in Gorubathan, the headquarters of Kalimpong block III.
A villager said ever since the camp had been set up at Upper Fagu two years ago, there had been regular brawls between the volunteers and the local people. “The volunteers would often get drunk and use abusive language against us. People have at last decided to teach them a lesson,” he said.
Confirming the attack on the camp, Darjeeling police chief D.P. Singh said no complaint had been lodged with the law enforcers by either of the parties. “If we don’t receive a complaint, we will start a case on our own because it is a serious matter. The fight broke out as, we believe, both the sides were highly-strung and some of them were intoxicated,” he told The Telegraph over the phone.
Morcha vice-president Kalyan Dewan and the party’s Kalimpong unit secretary Suva Pradhan rushed to Gorubathan today, along with Allay, to defuse the situation. The Upper Fagu camp of the GLP has been running for two-and-half years. Allay said there were about 300 personnel, all boys, in the camp at the moment.
The police, however, said there should be about 75 GLP youths in the camp right now, but the figure kept changing.
Footballer died in car accident
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TT, Jan. 2: Former Sikkim football player Mahendra Chhetri died when his car slammed headfirst into a parked truck here early this morning.
Chhetri, who had played for Sikkim in six Santosh Trophy tournaments, was declared brought-dead at the STNM Hospital.
The 31-year-old was returning home after attending a dinner at a friend’s house when he lost control of the car, hit the pedestrian railing and crashed into the truck near Vajra Cinema Hall at 12.30am.
“Local people were woken up by a huge sound and rushed out of their houses. They pulled Chhetri out of the mangled car and took him to the nearby STNM Hospital, where doctors declared him brought-dead,” said a police officer.
The footballer was the sole occupant of the vehicle which was going from Swastik to Deorali.
Chhetri was a member of the Sikkim football team which reached the quarterfinal of Santosh Trophy in New Delhi in 2004. The quarterfinal berth is the benchmark in Sikkim soccer till date.
He had also played for Gangtok Boys Club, Northerners, Sikkim Police and United Sikkim Sporting Club in several tournaments, including the Governor’s Gold Cup, a premier football event hosted by the Sikkim Football Association (SFA).
Menla Ethanpa, the general secretary of the SFA, said the association had held a meeting to condole the tragic death of Chhetri.
“Mahendra was an outstanding footballer. He represented Sikkim in half a dozen Santosh Trophy tournaments. He also used to take keen interest in football club activities and has a great contribution to the club culture in Sikkim. Mahendra’s untimely death is a tragic loss for Sikkim football,” said Ethanpa.
Chhetri was the son of H. Karki, who was the state sports secretary till his retirement in November. The deceased’s younger brother, Gyanendra, is also a footballer and has played for the United Sikkim Sporting Club in several tournaments.
Many footballers and representatives of various clubs and the SFA had assembled at the residence of Chhetri at Deorali to mourn his death.
His body was cremated at Ranipool, 12km from here, in the evening.
Snowfall in Sikkim
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Imansing birthday celebrated 
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Rs 15 lakh stolen from hospital
TT, Alipurduar, Jan. 2: Around Rs 15 lakh was stolen from the office room of a private nursing home here last night.
The incident came to light around 8am today when the attendant of the hospital went to open the chamber on the first floor of the building for cleaning. She found that the lock of the door and an almirah in the room had been broken. She informed the hospital officials who later called owner Apurbo Sen to tell him about the incident.
Construction work is in progress on the first and the second floors of Green Land Nursing Home and police suspect that the robbers had used the passage between the old and the new parts of the building to enter and decamp with the cash.
According to Sen, two night guards, four nursing staffs and eight attendants were on duty last night.
“Money from my medicine shop, ultra-sonography unit, the nursing home and some cash for my personal use were kept together in a bag inside the almirah. I thought the place was safe,” he said.
According to Sen, the amount stolen is not less than Rs 15 lakh, of which Rs 1.5 lakh belonged to the Dooars Utsav Committee. Sen is the treasurer of the body.
Police said the incident might have taken place between 1am and 4 am. David Lepcha, subdivisional police officer of Alipurduar, said: “We are interrogating all the 14 staff members who were at the hospital last night.”
Fog grounds all flights - Low visibility hits Bagdogra airport operations
TT, Siliguri, Jan. 2: Poor visibility due to fog forced the cancellation of all incoming and outgoing flights from the Bagdogra airport today, inconveniencing hundreds of passengers who had to stay back in Siliguri for the night.
The cancelled planes included a Druk Air flight from Bangkok that was scheduled to land at Bagdogra and take off for Paro in Bhutan. This is the first time that not a single plane operated out of the airport in recent times.
“There were eight flights which were scheduled to arrive here from Calcutta, Delhi and Bangkok today. However, we were informed that these flights did not take off from the airports because of poor visibility owing to fog and mist at Bagdogra. The conditions were not safe enough to fly. We regret the inconvenience faced by the passengers,” said K.K. Bhowmik, the airport director.
The authorities apprehend that more services might be cancelled, if the bad weather persists for the next few days.
“Of the eight flights, three were supposed to come from Calcutta, four from Delhi and one from Bangkok. We fear if the fog and mist continue in the coming days, more flights are likely to be cancelled,” said an official.
According to weathermen, it was the western disturbance — storms from the Mediterranean that trigger sudden winter showers and occasional snowfall in northern and north-western India — passing over the region that had caused the inclement weather and the condition was likely to prevail for next 24 hours.
“Western disturbance is responsible for the cloudy and foggy weather in the region. There was an upper air trough extending from sub-Himalayan West Bengal to Orissa which had caused rainfall yesterday. Today, the trough has weakened over the region and so, there are lesser chances of rainfall. The air will be dry but the foggy condition will prevail for the next twenty-four hours,” said T.K. Pal, the meteorological officer at regional met office in Jalpaiguri.
Currently, the maximum temperature is around five-six degrees Celsius below the normal maximum temperature of 24 degrees Celsius, which has increased the chill in the region. The minimum temperature is recorded two to three degrees Celsius above normal of 11 degrees Celsius.
“The chill is more during the day because the maximum temperature has gone considerably below the normal. The temperature is above normal during night because the heavy cloud cover does not allow the heat to escape,” Pal added.
Today, the maximum temperature of Siliguri was 17.9 degrees Celsius, while the minimum was recorded at 13.5 degrees Celsius.
The flight cancellations caught the passengers and their tour operators off guard. Many of them who had arrived at the airport to avail themselves of their flights had to return and put up at lodges and hotels in Siliguri.
Suresh Badiya from Delhi was supposed to take a flight back home today but was forced to stay at a hotel.
“I had a very good time vacationing in Darjeeling and Sikkim but this has been a spoiler at the end of my trip. I had to reach Delhi today on account of urgent business but my flight got cancelled. The weather is such that it is uncertain whether or not I will be able to fly back tomorrow. I have asked my tour operator to make alternative arrangements like train reservation for me,” said Badiya.
Tour operators, too, had a harrowing time making hotel arrangements for their clients who couldn’t take off for their destinations.
“Many of the tour operators had to make last minute arrangements in hotels for the passengers. In fact many of their clients who were due to come from Calcutta and Delhi also could not make it and their itineraries had to be re-scheduled,” Samrat Sanyal, president of Eastern Himalaya Travel and Tour Operators Association said.
Officials at the Calcutta airport said a Kingfisher flight had flown to Bagdogra but could not land and returned at 1.19 pm. “A Jet Airways plane did not take off and was cancelled because of the bad weather,” said an airline official in Calcutta.
BDO seeks transfer
TT, Raiganj, Jan. 2: Itahar block development officer has sought transfer “close to home” in Burdwan for “family problems”, 48 hours after seven CPM supporters who had been arrested for thrashing him, were released on bail.
The written appeal by Sheikh Jahur Ali was sent to the subdivisional officer of Raiganj yesterday. Sources said Ali had written that his home was in Burdwan where his ailing mother needed constant attention.
Ali was allegedly thrashed by CPM members who had come to submit a memorandum to him in Itahar on December 22. He filed an FIR against seven CPM workers, including the party’s Itahar zonal committee secretary Habibur Rehman, and they were arrested on December 27. However, police filed a report in a court on December 29, saying the seven were only present at the spot and they had not been involved in the attack. Subsequently, the court granted bail to the seven CPM supporters.
“Ever since they were arrested, the CPM had been demonstrating in front of my office. However, they withdrew the agitation after the arrested persons were released on bail. But I doubt whether there will be a conducive atmosphere for me to implement development work properly,” Ali said.
“However, these problems cannot be cited to request the transfer. So, I mentioned family problems for the posting closer home in Burdwan,” he added.
North Dinajpur district magistrate, Sunil Dandapat, said he had received the BDO’s letter and forwarded it to higher officials. “I have asked police to keep special watch on the Itahar BDO office.”


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