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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Relief for more energetic agitation Morcha to PC: Scaledown only a prelude ... तीन सदस्यीय केन्द्रिय समिति टोलीले मात्र भए पनि डुवर्स पदयात्रा गर्ने विमल गुरुङको घोषणा ... Spiderman held for cop attack - Robbery after dagger blow

Relief for more energetic agitation Morcha to PC: Scaledown only a prelude
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Feb. 1: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today said the Union home minister “will always have reasons to be happy when a movement is scaled down” but the temporary suspension of political activities was actually a preparation for a long term agitation for Gorkhaland.
Union home minister P. Chidambaram, while presenting his ministry’s report card for January, had yesterday said the “next steps are being actively considered”, hinting that a draft of the interim set-up would soon be handed over to the Morcha.
Chidambaram had also said he was happy to note that the Morcha had lifted the bandh. The minister was referring to the 27-day strike called by the Morcha in the hills last month to pressure the Centre to clear its stand on Gorkhaland.
Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the spokesperson for the Morcha, said: “The home minister will always have reasons to be happy when a movement is scaled down. But this suspension of agitation is only to give a breathing space to our frontal organisations so that they can chart a strong agitation, and also to mentally prepare the people for a long term struggle for Gorkhaland.”
Chhetri made it clear that the decision to scale down the agitation had been taken before they came to know about Chidambaram’s statement. “The home minister has practically said nothing. He has merely thanked the Morcha for suspending the agitation but this slowing down is to provide the party with more energy for the movement,” he said.
The Morcha had yesterday announced that the “long march for Gorkhaland” led by Bimal Gurung, which was stopped at Kumani More by the administration, is being suspended till February 6. It had also said there would be no demonstrations in front of police stations from February 1 to 3. The demonstrations will resume on February 4. But the relay hunger strike will continue as usual. A proposed padayatra from Darjeeling to the Terai, which had been lined up for February 2, had also been postponed.
As of now, the Morcha maintained that there was no way the interim set-up for the Darjeeling hills would be accepted. “The central committee of the party has already decided to reject the interim set-up.”
The party seems to be peeved that the Union government did not exert enough pressure on the state government to agree on the interim set-up on its terms.
“There were talks about rationalising the territory under the interim set-up, forming joint verification committee to include Gorkha-dominated areas of the Dooars but it seems they (Union and state governments) have not reached any conclusion on these issues. The Union government has not been able to exert pressure and for us there is no question of leaving the Gorkha dominated areas of the Dooars (out of the set-up),” said Chhetri.
The Morcha said the Bengal government had started projecting the set-up as the final solution. “We had repeatedly made it clear that during the two year tenure of the interim set-up, negotiations should continue for a final solution which should either be a Union Territory or statehood. We had wanted a clear and a written statement to start the process of separation,” said Chhetri, hinting that the interim set-up was a closed chapter as far as the Morcha was concerned.

Plea on NH
TT, Gangtok, Feb. 1: Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling today urged the Centre to find a permanent solution to the frequent blockades on NH31A, the only road link between the state and the rest of the country.
At the meeting on internal security chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi, Chamling said though Sikkim shared international borders with three countries, its security concerns arose from the statehood agitation in the neighbouring Darjeeling hills of Bengal.
“I seek to reiterate our security concern arising out of a different situation. That as a landlocked state, our only communication link National Highway 31A passes through the neighbouring district of Darjeeling in West Bengal. Since 1986, the people of Sikkim continue to bear the brunt of the statehood movement causing huge economic loss besides the acute mental agony that we suffer. The frequent disruption of traffic along NH31A due to the ongoing agitation is a matter of serious concern for us,” said Chamling in his address, a copy of which was released to the media here.
Chamling said though the Centre had sent paramilitary forces to keep NH31A open in accordance with the Supreme Court’s directions, it was often observed that their deployment took many days.
The chief minister also used the occasion to reiterate the demand for an alternative highway for Sikkim.
“This extended hardship for decades has necessitated our demands for early construction of an alternative national highway. The ATR 72 greenfield airport at Pakyong which is under construction has to be upgraded for bigger aircraft... Reliable connectivity is essential not only for Sikkim but imperative for our defence establishments ... and for the overall interest of the nation,” said Chamling.
तीन सदस्यीय केन्द्रिय समिति टोलीले मात्र भए पनि डुवर्स पदयात्रा गर्ने विमल गुरुङको घोषणा
मनोज बोगटि, कालिमन्युज, कुमानी, 1 फरवरी। आज गोर्खाल्याण्ड प्रस्तावित क्षेत्रभरि नै युवा मोर्चाले लाठी चार्जको विरूद्धमा विरोध प्रदर्शन गर्‍यो भने जीएलपीको क्याम्प राखेर डुवर्स पस्नको निम्ति कुमानीमा बसेका मोर्चा अध्यक्ष विमल गुरुङको निर्देशमा कुमानीमा पनि ब्यारिकेड् अघि कालो पट्टी लगाएर युवा मोर्चा कार्यकर्ताहरूले विरोध प्रदर्शन गरे। दार्जीलिङ अनि जलपाइगढ़ी सिमाना तथा कुमानीदेखि पॉंच किलोमीटर पर राखिएको ब्यारिकेड् पुलिस प्रशासनले हिजो नै उठाएको छ। सोही स्थलमा विभिन्न क्षेत्रबाट उपस्थित युवा कार्यकर्ताहरूले कुनै नाराबाजी नगरी केवल पट्टी बॉंधेर पुलिस प्रशासनले गरेको लाठी चार्जको विरोध गर्‍यो।  
यसैबीच मोर्चा अध्यक्ष विमल गुरुङले कुनै दोष बिना नै मोर्चा कार्यकर्ताहरूमाथि लाठी चार्ज गर्ने कार्य संविधानको विरूद्ध रहेको जनाए। तिनले भने-के 144 धारा विमल गुरुङलाई मात्र लाग्छ? 144 धारा लागिरहेको समयमा नै अशोक भट्टाचार्यले माल बजारमा जनसभा गर्दा मोर्चा कार्यकर्तामाथि लाठी चार्ज गर्ने प्रशासन कहॉं थियो? एउटै देशमा बस्ने, एउटै कानून मान्ने विमल गुरुङ र अशोक भट्टाचार्यलाई बङ्गालले किन बेग्लाबेग्लै कानूनी व्यवहार गर्छ? तिनले अझ भने-अशोक भट्टाचार्यलाई जनसभा गर्दा 144 धारा नलाग्नु, मैले शान्तिमय यात्रा गर्दा 144 धारा लाग्नु कहॉंको कानून हो?
विधानसभा चुनाउलाई हेरेर बङ्गालले मोर्चाको कार्यक्रम बिथोल्ने षड्यन्त्र गरिरहेको बताउँदै तिनले भने-ठीकै छ, 144 धारा कै कुरा गर्छ भने म जनतालाई लिएर पदयात्रा गर्दिनँ। म लगायत केन्द्रिय समितिका अरू दुइजना प्रतिनिधिहरूसित म पदयात्रा गर्छु तर हामी तीनजनालाई बङ्गाल सरकारले पूर्ण सुरक्षा दिएको हुनुपर्छ। हामी 144 धारा उल्लङ्घन गर्दैनौं। पॉंचजना हिँड्दा पनि 144 धारा लागू हुन्छ भन्छ भने हामी केवल तीनजना मात्र पदयात्रा गर्नेछौं तर हाम्रो सुरक्षा भएको हुनुपर्छ। यस अवधी तिनले जनता आफ्नो यात्रा अघि नै डुवर्स पुगेको हुने कि त पछि उनीहरूको निरीक्षण गर्दै जाने तिनले बताए। 
मोर्चाले कार्यक्रम स्थगित गरेको कारण जान्न चाहँदा तिनले भने-हामी कुनै हिंसा चाहँदैनौं, हामी कानूनको कदर गर्छौं, त्यही कारण गृहमन्त्रीद्वारा केन्द्रबाट कुनै निर्णय नभइञ्जेलसम्म पर्खिदिने भनेर गरेको आह्वानलाई कदर गर्दै कार्यक्रम स्थगित गरेका हौं। अरू सबै कार्यक्रम स्थगित गरिएको छैन। अनशन चल्नेछ अनि लाठी चार्जको विरोधमा युवा मोर्चाले आफ्नो कार्यक्रम जारी राख्नेछ। मोर्चाले अन्तरिम प्राधिकरण फिर्ता गरेपछि सामूहिक नेतृत्वको प्रश्न चारैतिर उठिरहेको छ। 
यस सम्बन्धमा गुरुङसित प्रश्न गर्दा मोर्चाले अघिबाट नै सामूहिक कार्यक्रमको निम्ति सबैलाई अघि लिएर हिँड़ेको बताउँदै भने-ज-जसले पनि सामूहिक आन्दोलनको कुरा गर्छ उनीहरूले पेपरमा मात्र गर्नु हुँदैन। सामूहिक आन्दोलन नै चाहन्छ भने टेबलमा आएर कुरा गर्नुपर्छ। उनीहरूको निम्ति मोर्चाको ढोका सधैँ खुल्ला छ। तिनले भारत स्वाधीन भएदेखि यता अल पार्टीको कुरा गर्ने केवल मोर्चा मात्र रहेको अनि उनीहरूलाई दिल्ली समेत लगेको कुरा गर्दै तिनले भने-अहिलेसम्म कसैले अल पार्टीको कुरा गरेको छ? छ भने देखाओस्‌। पेपरमा मात्र सामूहिक आन्दोलन हुँदैन। 
आन्दोलन सड़कमा उत्रेर गर्नुपर्छ। उनीहरू सामूहिक आन्दोलनको निम्ति मोर्चासित कुरा गर्न चाहन्छ भने उनीहरूलाई स्वागत छ। राम्रोसित चर्चा गरौं, उचित रणनीति निकालौं। तर उनीहरूले अघि गरेका सम्पूर्ण भूलहरू स्वीकार गर्नुपर्छ। यसमा 1986 को कुरा आउँछै आउँछ। सुवास घिसिङ, आर.बी. राई, दावा नर्बुला सबैको कुरा आउँछ किन भने गोर्खाल्याण्डको आन्दोलन धमिल्याउनेहरूको इतिहासमा उनीहरू नै छन्‌। उनीहरूको निम्ति ढोका खुल्लै छ तर उनीहरूले हामी जनतालाई मार्न आएका होइनौं, मारेर आन्दोलन गर्दैनौं भनेको हुनुपर्छ। तिनले अहिले पनि सामूहिक आन्दोलन नै गरिरहेको ठोकुवा गर्दै भने-हामीसित सबै समुदायका मानिसहरू छन्‌। अल्पसंख्यक कम्यूनिटीहरू पनि छन्‌, आदिवासीहरू पनि छन्‌। विद्यार्थी, युवा, बुद्धिजीवी सबै छन्‌। यही त हो सामूहिक आन्दोलन। 
अर्कोतिर क्रामाकपा अध्यक्ष आर.बी. राईले मोर्चाले प्राधिकरण थाप्नको निम्ति विभिन्न नाटक गरिरहेको भनेर लगाएको आरोपमाथि पनि तिनले कटाक्ष गरे। तिनले भने-घर बसेर नेपाल देख्नु हुँदैन। सड़कमा आऊ र आन्दोलनको अनुभव गर। सड़कमा उत्रेर मात्र आन्दोलन गरेको थाहा पाइन्छ। पेपरमा बोलेर आन्दोलन हुँदैन। हामी यहॉं भॉंड़ाकुटी खेल्न आएका होइनौं। हामी हात्ती लाग्ने जङ्गलमा छौं। हजारौंको संख्यामा जनता साथ छन्‌। उनीहरू मोज-मज्जा गर्नु आएका हुन्‌ र? आन्दोलन गर्नेलाई मात्र आन्दोलन थाहा हुन्छ। 
ती लाखौंलाख जनताहरू गोर्खाल्याण्डको निम्ति सङ्घर्ष गरिरहेका छन्‌। तिनले अन्तरिम प्राधिकरण पनि मोर्चाले बनाएको कार्यनीति बताउँदै भने-हामी आन्दोलन सफल गर्छौं। चारैतिरबाट छेकथुन गर्दै कार्यक्रम गरिरहेका छौं। हामीले हाम्रो गोरूको बाह्रै टक्का भनेका छैनौं। हामीले कसैलाई पनि असुविधामा पार्न चाहेका छैनौं। गोर्खाल्याण्डको निम्ति सरकारलाई बारम्बार चाप दिइरहेका छौं। आर.बी. राईले कोठामा बसेर केटाकेटी जस्तो टिप्पणी गर्नु हुँदैन। उनलाई थाहा हुनुपर्छ उनी सांसद हुँदा 1200 को हत्या भएको छ। किनभने उनी गोर्खाल्याण्डको विरूद्धमा थिए। 
तिनले आर्.बी. राईलाई लक्ष्य गर्दै भने-यदि मोर्चासित कुनै कुरा गर्नु छ टेबलमा आएर कुरा गरून्‌। कुन-कुन कुरामा मन-मुटाव छ हामीलाई राखून्‌। तर केटाकेटी जस्तो अनावश्यक टिप्पणीहरू नगरून्‌। तिनले भने मोर्चाको 70-80 जनाको केन्द्रिय समिति छ। त्यही समितिले यो मुद्दा खारेज गरिसकेको छ। अबको आन्दोलन एउटै मात्र मुद्दा गोर्खाल्याण्डको निम्ति हुनेछ
Protest Day observed by youth wing of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in Kalimpong town

Suspended animation for 25 years
Editorial, SNS, Feb 2: THE Union home minister’s trial balloon appears to have been pricked above the snow-clad hills of Darjeeling. Mr P Chidambaram’s plan for an interim set-up ~ pending whatever ~ has promptly been rejected by the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha. It was primarily intended to take the wind out of the morcha sails ~ even to mollify its leaders ~ ahead of the Assembly elections. And in the process, to notch up a brownie point over the state government. The Centre’s strategy has gone awry at the threshold. It appears to have floundered not least because the details regarding a “fresh proposal” were left delightfully vague. The Home ministry may even have tripped on the basics as neither the state government nor the morcha were taken into confidence regarding the interim arrangement. Will it entail devolution of certain functions? What exactly are the territorial parameters of the revised interim arrangement? What precisely is the formula short of statehood? Both the Centre and the state are in favour of such a formula, but consider the issue much too sensitive for a thorough enunciation in the months before the elections. Which arguably explains the hedging on the part of Mr Chidambaram. He has stopped short of spelling out whether the interim set-up is a step towards Gorkhaland. Small wonder the morcha has refused even to give the proposal a try. There is no scope for a quick-fix formula, as Mamata Banerjee would like the Hills people to imagine. While the political stalemate may persist for sometime yet, the morcha has had the good sense to suspend the current strike in the Hills till 7 February. Unfortunately enough for Darjeeling, the agitation coincided with the first snowfall and considerable has been the loss to winter tourism. More than suspension, the strike needs to be called off if only to protect the primary revenue-earner. Interim or permanent, a way out will have to be found and the responsibility devolves equally on the Centre, the State, Parliament and no less crucially the morcha. Darjeeling has been in a state of suspended animation for the past 25 years.
Spiderman held for cop attack - Robbery after dagger blow

TT, Siliguri, Feb. 1: Saroj Thapa alias Spiderman was arrested today for attacking a constable on duty and almost chopping off two of his fingers with a dagger.
The 25-year-old Thapa, who has confessed to his crime, was picked up from Jalpai More with 22kg of ganja. Although constable Ganesh Burman had yesterday said he could not see the face of his attacker in the dark, his colleague who was on patrol with him had told the police bosses that Spiderman could have perpetrated the crime.
Based on Manoj Sharma’s description and the ease with which Thapa had brought out the dagger, the police had sent out alerts for Spiderman, who is known to scale walls with ease to rob homes and hotels.
Darjeeling police chief D.P. Singh said Thapa was part of a seven-member gang that robs homes and hotels.
“This miscreant along with three of his cohorts had gathered in the Hakimpara area to commit a crime. When he was asked by the police why he was out at such an hour, he immediately attacked him (with a dagger) before fleeing the spot with his gang members,” Singh told reporters.
Burman had raised his hand to fend off the dagger attack. The hand took the blow and almost two fingers were left hanging from the skin.
Thapa then fled to Kalimpong, where he robbed a house before coming back to Siliguri. “Since the police stations were alerted after the attack on the constable, we were conducting search operations. Finally we arrested him from Jalpai More here. We are also trying to nab his cohorts,” Singh said.
Singh said Thapa had “confessed his crime and admitted that he operated a gang of six-seven members”. The gang members, known to be armed with daggers often targets homes and hotels in the region. They are known to use daggers whenever they meet with any resistance. “Thapa got the name (of Spiderman) as he is known to enter high rises through windows after scaling water pipes.”
The last time Thapa was arrested in Siliguri was in 2009 for stealing cellphones from a hotel on Hill Cart Road. After that he had been out on bail. “We came to know of his involvement in the recent attack on tourists at a hotel in Mirik on November 31 last year. He also attacked one of the tourists, who had spotted him and had tried to stop him,” Singh said.
In the past five years, Singh said, Thapa had committed crimes under Phuentsholling and Thimpu police stations in Bhutan, Bhaktinagar and Jaigaon police stations in Jalpaiguri district and in Mirik, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and in Sikkim.
“We are tracking his crime records after contacting other police stations as well,” Singh said. Thapa has been remanded in police custody for two days. 
Two arrested for staging robbery
TT, Raiganj, Feb. 1: Arindam Sarkar ultimately could not pull it off.
The 21-year-old and his accomplice were arrested last night with a major portion of the Rs 8 lakh that he had claimed was stolen from him in December when he was waylaid by a gang while going to the bank.
On December 23 last year, Arindam had filed a complaint with Raiganj police saying he was attacked and beaten up by two criminals, who also snatched the Rs 8 lakh that he was carrying in a bag, near Dehasree More .
A resident of Bogram, Arindam used to work with Radiant Cash Management, a firm that collects money from micro-credit groups and deposits them in the bank.
North Dinajpur superintendent of police Milan Das said: “At the time the complaint was lodged, Arindam was in the hospital. The investigating officers learnt from the doctors attending on him that he was not beaten up at all because there were no injuries. From that day we became suspicious.”
He added that Arindam had mentioned in his complaint that the incident took place outside the office of a micro-finance company where he had gone to collect money.
But the manager of the firm at Dehasree More near here and other witnesses told the police that though Arindam was found sprawled out on the road squirming in pain, he never lost consciousness as he had claimed in his complaint.
“Arindam had alleged that the incident had taken place around noon and the complaint was filed on the same day at 4pm. But the youth never showed any eagerness to find out if the snatchers had been apprehended and the cash recovered. We smelt a rat and we were more or less sure that the complaint was a trumped-up one,” Das said.
He added that policemen in mufti were deployed from the first week of January around Arindam’s house in Bogram, 1.5km from here, to keep a watch.
The police found out from local sources that ever since the incident, Arindam used to stay put at home.
In the evenings he used to enter a shed adjacent to his house where firewood was stored, the money was recovered from this shed.
“We also came to know that he had been wanting to purchase property. His father works as a night guard at a spinning mill here and they were not at all well off to buy property. We raided his house last evening and arrested him from there,” Das said.
During interrogation, Arindam confessed that he had staged the snatching. He said Gobinda Barman, his accomplice, an employee of Golden Trust Finance Services, a micro-credit firm at Dehasree More, had fled with the money while he pretended to have been waylaid.
According to Das, Rs 6 lakh have been recovered from the firewood shed near Arindam’s house and Gobinda, also a resident of Bogram, has been picked up from his house.
The district police chief said he will ask the micro-credit companies here to tighten their security and method of depositing cash in banks. Both Arindam and Gobinda were produced before the chief judicial magistrate’s court here today and remanded in police custody for five days.

3 workers die in 72hrs

TT, Alipurduar, Feb. 1: Three persons have died in the past 72 hours in an abandoned Dooars estate where healthcare is elusive and workers have been going without food for days at a stretch.

While two persons, one of them a 26-year-old woman, died on Sunday, the third death occurred early this morning. Bandha Oraon, 35, who had been complaining of fever and headache for the past three days died at his home in Mujnai tea estate today.
Panah Oraon, 60, too, could not afford treatment and died after a “severe spell of cough and cold” at his home in the garden owned by the Calcutta-based Kanoi Udyog Limited.
Bandha’s widow said the family of seven used to depend on the Rs 60 a day that she earned breaking boulders.
“My husband had been suffering from headache and fever for the past three days. I could not afford a doctor for him. How could I? I have five children and earn Rs 50 to Rs 60 a day breaking boulders,” said Mini Oraon, Bandha’s wife. Mini was a worker of the garden while her husband used to do odd jobs.
The garden, which had shut down 10 times in the past decade, had been functioning without any problem since 2008. But trouble cropped up in November last year.
“We were not paid wages for November and following demonstrations by us, the management left the garden on December 25,” said Dabu Roy, the president of the garden unit of the Citu-affiliated Cha Bagan Majdoor Union. Since the garden has been abandoned and not declared shut, the workers are not covered by the state government’s scheme for locked-out industries. Under this scheme, each worker of a locked industry is paid Rs 500 a month as aid.
The block medical officer of health of Madarihat, Biplab Mullick, said Salmi had been suffering from pneumonia and admitted to the block primary health centre on Saturday. “She died at the district hospital in Jalpaiguri where she had been referred for better treatment,” said Mullick.
A doctor of a government hospital in Alipurduar said pneumonia was a bacterial infection. “For those who have less immunity, it can be fatal,” he said. Most of the workers in Mujnai go without one square meal a day for weeks. “Malnutrition resulting from lack of proper diet is one of the reasons for immunity loss. There are other reasons also. Some drugs too suppress immunity,” said Abhijit Roy, a Siliguri based doctor.
The BMOH said he was not aware of the other two deaths in the garden, 60km from here.
Citu leader Roy said Panah was suffering from “fever and cough” and did not visit a doctor. “How could he? He could not even afford a proper meal. Many labourers have gone outside the estate for work. We had been distributed 12kg of rice last month and that is all what we received from the administration. Those who are ailing cannot go for treatment and parents do not have enough money to send their children to schools. Three persons have already died in the garden. If the administration does not do something quickly to reopen the garden, more deaths will follow,” said Roy.
The block development officer of Madarihat, Hirak Mondol, said he was aware of Salmi’s death but not of the other two. “I have already asked the BMOH to organise health camps at least once a week in the garden. Directions have also been given to send more rations to the garden. All my attempts to make the management sit for a meeting with unions have failed,” said Mondol.
Schools seek cover from education act
Mrinalini Sharma, T, Siliguri, Feb. 1: The management of Dow Hill School and Victoria Boys School have appealed to the Bengal government to reconsider its decision to implement the Right to Education (RTE) Act from the next academic session.
The appeal was made as the two schools fear that the law might do away with the “basic character of English-medium residential schools” that these institutions have been maintaining for over 130 years.
The Kurseong-based DHS and VBS, the only government-run ICSE schools in the state, have fixed quotas for the students from the Darjeeling hills and admit children based on the marks they score in entrance tests.
However, certain clauses in the act stipulate that schools should abolish entrance tests and give preference to local students, especially from under-privileged families, during admissions.
“There are two clauses in the RTE Act, which pose problems to us. One is that merit-based selection should be done away with and lottery system should be introduced wherein students will be admitted to Class I based on intake capacity. Another clause says that children from economically backward families in the vicinity of schools should be admitted. But it is not possible for us to enrol only local students as we fear that the institutions will lose their basic character of English-medium residential schools,” Jayant Pal, the headmaster of the VBS.
“Like in all other ICSE schools in the country, we also conduct admission tests. There is no doubt that the two schools are run by the state government. But the conditions mentioned in the act are difficult to be implemented. So, we requested the state government on January 7 to reconsider the decision to implement the act in the two schools,” he added.
The two schools have a combined governing body which has Darjeeling district magistrate as its chairman and subdivisional magistrate of Kurseong as the vice-chairman. The local MLA, principals of both the schools and representatives of parents are members of the governing body.
Among the oldest institutions in the hills, the DHS and the VBS have crossed 130 years and are managed by the directorate of schools (Anglo Indian schools) of the state school education department. The VBS has classes from IV to X and 30 per cent of the seats are reserved for students from three hill subdivisions at the entry level. Hill students are allocated 50 per cent of seats at the DHS. The institution has classes from Kindergarten to Class X but boys are admitted only till Class III.
“There is no such reservation system in other ICSE schools in the hills and most of the students belong to local families. The quota system keeps us apart from the rest. It is up to the state government to decide whether to maintain the two institutions as English-medium residential schools or simply day schools,” said a representative of the DHS.
Although the RTE Act came into force at all government schools on April 1 last year, the DHS and the VBS were allowed to maintain status quo till 2012 considering the peculiar nature of the two institutions.
Officials in the state school education department said they were “pondering over” the appeal made by the schools to reconsider the implementation act.
“The school authorities had met the secretary of state school education department in November after which the secretary was of the opinion that considering their uniqueness, the two institutions be allowed to maintain status quo for the 2011-12 academic session. As far as their recent appeal is considered, the state government is pondering over the issue but no decision has been taken yet,” Amiya Ranjan Sanyal, the deputy director of Anglo-Indian Schools told The Telegraph over the phone from Calcutta.
Trader held for wife murder
TT, Siliguri, Feb.1: A trader was arrested last night for allegedly getting his wife murdered and dumping her body in a forest near Sevoke almost two years ago so that he could continue his relationship with another woman.
Police said Geeta Pal, 38, a resident of Ganesh Ghosh Colony, had been murdered by Lachhu Biswakarma, an alleged contract killer engaged by her husband Sanjay Pal in May 2009.
“Sanjay had a strained relation with his wife Geeta, whom he had married 15 years back. Sanjay, a ginger merchant by profession, took the help of Arjun Rai, who is also into the same business. Rai contacted Biswakarma, who agreed to finish off Geeta against a payment of Rs 50,000,” D.P. Singh, the superintendent of police of Darjeeling, said here today.
“On May 15, 2009, Sanjay took Geeta to Sevoke (20km from Siliguri) on a day’s trip. During the stay, they met Rai and Biswakarma, who took them to a nearby forest. Biswakarma murdered her there and as per a plan, Sanjay lodged a missing diary with Pradhannagar police station the next day. Her body was abandoned at the same place.”
However, things changed when the deceased’s brother Nilratan Biswas filed a complaint with police yesterday. Biswas told the law enforcers that his sister had been missing for the past two years and he suspected that Sanjay had done something harmful to her especially since he seemed no longer interested in the case. “We picked up Sanjay and during interrogation, he confessed to the crime and narrated the entire incident,” said the police chief.
According to police sources, Sanjay had an illicit relationship with a woman, who was also his tenant, after the death of her husband in a road accident in 2007. “He wanted to continue the relationship and wanted to get rid of his wife,” said a source
After Sanjay’s confession, the police reached Sevoke Bazar and arrested Biswakarma and Arjun. They took the police to the forest area where the woman’s body was dumped. Skeletal parts, including a skull, and a dupatta were recovered from the spot.
“We found a skull and bones, along with some clothes, which we suspect belonged to the deceased. We are sending the body parts for DNA analysis to ascertain the identity,” said Singh.
The trio were produced in the court of additional chief judicial magistrate here this afternoon and remanded in two days’ police custody.

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