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Thursday, February 3, 2011

GJM to make announcement... March plan with Sec 144 intact - morcha chief to walk the dooars with 3 others ... Gorkha soldier kills 3 attacks 30 robbers

KalimNews, Kalimpong, February 3: GJM is likely to announce its next course of action and its stand on Gorkhaland as well as GRA. It might make a special announcement on one of its programme on 4th February. Bimal Gurung, President and Roshan Giri, General Secretary of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha will address a press conference at Khumani on that day. He might make his Long March with 3 of his associates and guards very shortly.
March plan with Sec 144 intact - morcha chief to walk the dooars with 3 others
Vivek Chhetri, Darjeeling, Feb. 3: Bimal Gurung today said the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha would not violate Section 144 but he would walk to Jaigaon through the Dooars with three party activists.
Section 144, which prohibits the assembly of five or more people, has been imposed on the Dooars to stop the 600 or so Morcha marchers camping on the fringes from entering the region.
Addressing party supporters at Kumani on the border of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts yesterday evening, Gurung said: “We will not violate Section 144 which has been imposed by the state government. I will, however, march till Jaigaon as planned but only three people will accompany me.”
The Morcha president urged the state to ensure the security of the four marchers. “It will be the duty of the state administration to look into the security aspect,” he said.
The Morcha, however, has not officially communicated its decision to either the state government or the Jalpaiguri district administration.
Observers believe that it is unlikely that the administration will allow Gurung to march to Jaigaon with only three other Morcha leaders fearing opposition from anti-statehood supporters leading to a law and order situation. The Morcha chief, however, has not yet specified the date when he would walk the Dooars. As of now, the hill party has suspended its march across the region till February 6. A central committee meeting has also been scheduled for the next day where the party is expected to announce its future agitation for Gorkhaland.
The Gurung-led padayatra had started for the Dooars from Darjeeling via Kalimpong on January 18. The marchers were, however, stopped at Kumani More the same day and Gurung along with his supporters have been camping in the area since then. In between, the Morcha supporters had tried to break police barricades at Kumani More twice. The last time, some of the marchers had entered Sibchu in Jalpaiguri district. But the administration did not allow them to drop anchor in the area and they were pushed back to Kumani.
Gurung also came down heavily on rival hill leaders for “reacting while remaining confined to their party office”. “The Opposition leaders should stop reacting while remaining confined to their party office. They talk about collective leadership but collectiveness comes from the grassroots and the people of the hills and Dooars are united in their fight for a separate statehood,” said Gurung.
The Morcha blamed the CPM and the president of the CPRM, R.B. Rai, who was in the CPM in 1986, for the death of 1,200 people during the 28-month long Gorkhaland agitation in the mid-80s. “R.B. Rai must accept his past mistakes,” said Gurung.
The CPM today held a meeting of its party workers in Darjeeling. Saman Pathak, a CPM Rajya Sabha member, said: “Every one has the right to call a strike but such agitation badly affects the tea garden workers. We have decided to oppose such general strikes in tea gardens. We have already formed party units in 16 tea gardens in the hills.”
Asked about the Morcha’s rejection of the interim set-up, CPM district secretariat member P. Roy said: “They had earlier agreed to the interim set-up without the areas of Dooars and Terai.”
Tale of a brave Gurkha-Soldier takes on dacoits on train Gang Of 30
TNN, KOLKATA/CHITTARANJAN: A Gorkha Rifles jawan travelling on a train did not hesitate to take on a gang of 30 armed dacoits singlehandedly, armed with just a khukri, when he saw them looting his fellow passengers. A GRP escort team posted on the train reportedly did nothing to stop the robbers on Maurya Express late on Thursday.
Nearly 30 armed dacoits looted cash and valuables worth `10 lakh from passengers of Maurya Express between Kulti and Chittaranjan stations along the West Bengal-Jharkhand border on Thursday night.
The armed dacoits refused to mess with Vishnu Shresta when they came to know that he is a soldier, but the 45 (35:KalimNews)-year-old Gorkha Rifles jawan would not sit back and watch his fellow passengers being manhandled and looted. The fearless Gurkha pulled out his khukri and fell upon the dacoits till he was overpowered. After a hurried shot fired at him went astray, they used the same khukri to slash Shresta's wrist.
Shresta was posted at Ranchi and was proceeding (on September 2010 after taking voluntary retirement from his 7/8 platoon of Gorkha Rifles on seat no. 47 in coach AC3:KalimNews) to his home at Baidam, Pokhra-6 in Nepal. He boarded the Hatia-Gorakhpur Jn Maurya Express from Ranchi on Thursday evening. When the raid took place, he was fast asleep on his berth. 
"Suddenly, there were shouts and the sound of running feet," Shresta recounted from his bed at Kasturba Gandhi Hospital in Chittaranjan. "Somebody pulled at my bedclothes. I sat up and found a number of people standing near my feet. They demanded that I hand over all my cash and valuables. There was confusion all around and I shouted that I am an Indian Army jawan. The criminals backed off and turned their attention to a woman and her child, who were on a berth close by," Shresta added.
He lost his cool when he saw a miscreant trying to pull out the girl, about 8 years old, from the berth and snatch a necklace from her mother.
"I am a soldier and get paid to protect citizens of this country. I could not sit back and watch as passengers were looted. I pulled out my khukri and attacked the criminals. Initially, they were taken by surprise and I succeeded in connecting with at least three of them. The blows were severe and they must have got themselves admitted to some hospital. By then, the criminals started fighting back. They fired a shot that missed me. At one point of time, the khukri fell from my hand and I was overpowered. They picked it up and used it on me," the jawan said.
After Shresta slumped to the ground, profusely bleeding from his wound, all fight went out from the other passengers. None of them dared to make eye contact with the criminals and did their bidding.
According to authorities, members of the gang were travelling on the train posing as passengers. Around 11.25pm, about 10 minutes after the train left Kulti station, the criminals detached the vacuum hose between two coaches. This brought the train to a stop. While some dacoits entered S1, S2 and S3 coaches, others smashed the windows of the A1 and B1 air-conditioned compartments to gain entry.
"The miscreants were shouting in Hindi. When they asked us to hand over all our valuables, I gave them my purse and cellphone," said Nilu Verma, who was on her way to Lakhisarai from Katras. Ajay Srivastava was walking back to his berth from the toilet when he was accosted by the criminals. "One of them snatched my cellphone and asked me to hand over my wallet. As I took some time to react, he slapped me and snatched my belongings," said Srivastava, who was going to Muzaffarpur.
Anita Modi, on her way to Barauni, felt that the 15-20 minutes of terror would never come to an end. "Passengers were beaten up and abused. Even women were not spared. People were screaming but nobody came to our assistance. When the train reached Chittaranjan, we were feeling ill," she said.
Shresta said the criminals were in the late thirties and carrying various types of weapons, including guns, daggers and tangis. Strangely, railway staff on the train said they were not aware that passengers had been robbed till they reached Chittaranjan. "We shall discuss with the RPF and GRP on how to provide security on night trains in this stretch," said G C Roy, senior divisional commercial manager of Asansol.
Police succeeded in arresting six of the criminals and recovered a part of the booty later. A manhunt has been launched for the others. Asansol divisional railway manager Jagadanand Jha claimed that there was a GRP escort on the train, but the personnel did little to prevent the crime.

(The Indian government is to decorate retired Naik (corporal) Shrestha with its Sourya Chakra, Bravery Award and Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Medal.“The formal announcement of the awards was made on Republic Day and on Independence Day on August 15 he will receive the award.His regiment has already given him a cash award of Indian rupees 50,000, and decided to terminate his voluntary retirement. He will get the customary promotion after receiving the medals. The Indian government will also announce a cash bounty for him and special discounts on international air tickets and domestic train tickets.
According to another report Shrestha had had enough when the robbers stripped an 18-year-old girl sitting next to him and tried to rape her right in front of her parents. He then took out his khukuri and took on the robbers.“The girl cried for help, saying ´You are a soldier, please save a sister´,” Shrestha recalled. “I prevented her from being raped, thinking of her as my own sister,” he added. He took one of the robbers under control and then started to attack the others. He said the rest of the robbers fled after he killed three of them with his khukuri and injured eight others.
Police escorted Shrestha to the Railways Hospital after the rescued girl told them about his heroic deed. Mainstream Indian media carried the story. The parents of the girl, who was going for her MBBS studies, also announced a cash award of Indian rupees 300,000 for him but he has not met them since.: KalimNews & Agencies) 
Birds back in Chhangu to nest
TT, Gangtok, Feb. 3: Migratory waterfowl like Ruddy Shelduck and Mallard have again started flocking to the Chhangu Lake to rest and nest, with the waterbody regaining its pristine glory after years of environmental degradation caused by tourism.
The lake in East Sikkim has been revived after three years of protective measures taken up by the local people under the guidance of the WWF-India.
“Chhangu was an important transit point for migratory waterfowl. They used to flock the lake in large numbers to rest and nest. But in recent years, they would halt at the lake for a few days and then fly away because of disturbances around,” said Usha Lachungpa, a senior research officer (wildlife) of the Sikkim forest department.
“But we are again seeing the migrants thronging the lake and resting in pristine conditions free from disturbances,” she added.
More than 30 wild ducks were spotted resting on the frozen surface of the 1.5km X 0.5km lake yesterday. The local people said the birds had been at the lake since December.
Chhangu is a nesting point for Mallards before they fly to the Tibetan plateau. Bevies of Ruddy Shelduck also flock the lake for breeding.
The lake at 12,400ft, 35km from here, is a famous tourism destination with more than 400 vehicles carrying visitors to the spot daily during the peak season.
“Over the years, the tourism boom degraded the lake and the surrounding bio-diversity. Garbage dumped by households and shops, lack of drainage system and vehicular pollution among other things threatened the very existence of the lake,” said an official of the WWF-India.
Awaken by the gravity of the environmental degradation, the government dismantled more than 50 huts located along the lake and shifted the families to a newly constructed building below the waterbody in 2007. A parking yard was also constructed below the lake to put an end to the fuel seepage from vehicles.
The same year, WWF-India stepped in and formed the Tsomgo (Chhangu) Pokerhi Sanrakshan Samiti in association with the forest department. Residents of Chhangu and Cheepu were made members of the samiti.
“We help the samiti in garbage management, de-siltation of the lake,” said WF-India senior project officer Lak Tsheden Theengh. “Earlier, there used to be lot of garbage accumulation in the area. But after 2009, we did a survey and found that the trash deposit has gone down drastically.”
The residents of Chhangu and Cheepu, who are the main beneficiaries of the lake’s tourism potential as shop owners and drivers, want the waterbody to remain as the source of livelihood for future generations also.
“There has been a huge difference as far as the protection of the lake is concerned compared to five years ago. Earlier, people used to litter everywhere but with the shops and parking lot being shifted and people becoming aware of the need to preserve the lake, there are tangible results of the waterbody’s revival. We want the lake to remain in good shape forever and sustain the livelihood of the families here,” said Chewang Norbu Bhutia, the president of the samiti.Ex-rebels set rehab deadline
Rehab demanded
TT,Jalpaiguri, Feb. 3: Former members of the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation today threatened to hold up traffic and demonstrate on highways across the region if they were not given proper rehabilitation in a month.
More than 200 surrendered members under the banner of the Ex-KLO Union today met the assistant divisional commissioner of Jalpaiguri Jang Bahadur Subba and demanded that they be given jobs. Subba said the state had not been receiving funds under the scheme. “We will have to find an alternative project for them,” he said.
Tusker raid
TT, Jaigaon: A lone tusker damaged five huts in Uttar Rangalibajna village near Madarihat range of Jaldapara wildlife sanctuary on Thursday. The elephant returned to the forest later in the day.

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