GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Madan murder charge on four more – Fresh case slapped on arms act accused – Bengal to continue fomenting trouble in these areas to bring about a lasting and just peace or further digging its own grave ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY VIVEK CHHETRI
(Syntax re-mixed for clarity and understanding, along with reports from our Special News Correspondents from Darjeeling and Kalimpong).
Darjeeling, June 16: The criminal investigation department today arrested four persons and booked them for their alleged role in the murder of ABGL leader Madan Tamang last month after a court here issued a production warrant.
All the four, suspected to be Gorkha Janmukti Morcha activists, had been arrested three days after the murder in a different case — for possessing sharp weapons — and had been in judicial custody since May 25.
D.P. Singh, the superintendent of police, Darjeeling, said: “The CID has informed us that four people have been arrested.”
The four — Puran Rai, 35, Ashish Tamang, 26, Sunil Rai, 33 and Tilak Sotang, 33 — were among the 19 who had been picked up on May 25.
On that day, Morcha president Bimal Gurung led a 100-car cavalcade to Darjeeling from Kalimpong in a show of strength to challenge the new found defiance of his rivals, who had shouted for his ouster during Tamang’s funeral three days earlier.
Sources said the 19 had been arrested from various places in Darjeeling while waiting for Gurung’s cavalcade to reach the hill town.
Manik Saha, the assistant public prosecutor, told The Telegraph: “Following investigations, police wanted to tag these four accused to the case related to Madan Tamang’s murder on May 21. The police (CID) yesterday sought a production warrant from the chief judicial magistrate’s court. The court issued the warrant yesterday following which the four were arrested in connection with the murder and produced before the court today.”
A production warrant is necessary to tag those, who have already been arrested, to a new case.
The 19 accused had been booked under sections 25 and 27 of the arms act. The CID has now booked Puran, Ashish, Sunil, and Tilak under sections 143, 186, 506 (unlawful assembly and restraining public servant from discharging duties) along with sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 302 (murder) of the IPC.
While Puran is a resident of Phoobshering garden, Ashish stays in Badamtam tea estate. Both Sunil and Tilak are residents of Tukvar tea garden.
“The CID had requested a remand of 14 days. The court has remanded them in police custody for 10 days,” said Saha.
The next date of hearing for the remaining 15 accused, not tagged to Tamang’s murder, will take place on June 23.
The total number of arrests made by the CID in the murder case now stands at seven.
The agency had arrested Subash Tamang and Prashant Chhetri from the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital on June 4. On the same day, the sleuths had also picked up Sudesh Raimaji, a contractor from Darjeeling. All three are facing murder charges. Subash and Prashant had suffered bullet injuries after Tamang’s bodyguard fired at them on May 21 at the Clubside motor stand where he was hacked to death.
The chief judicial magistrate’s court has sent Raimaji to judicial custody and the next date for hearing has been fixed on June 28. Raimaji had been sent to a 10-day police remand after his arrest.
MEANWHILE – THE REAL INTENT OF THE BENGAL GOVERNMENT ?!!
GLP asked to vacate DGHC bungalows – and now the use of force on a Peaceful and Justified movement ?!!
FROM THE PRESS TRUST OF INDIA STAFF WRITER (FROM SILIGURI)
Siliguri, Jun 16 (PTI) 14:47 HRS IST: Gorkhaland Personnel, the ‘police’ wing of GJM, has been asked to vacate by Saturday all seven bungalows of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council spread over three hill sub-divisions, police said today.
Besides seven DGHC bungalows, a strong 15,000 Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP) force led by self-styled commander Ramesh Ale has occupied many buildings where it runs camps and offices.
Bihari Lal Meena, the caretaker secretary of the Council, had complained to the police over GJM’s occupation of their bungalows, Inspector General of Police (North Bengal) K L Tamta said.
Ramesh Ale, who was arrested by CID in connection with the Madan Tamang murder case, was sent in police remand till June 28 after his bail petition was rejected on June 14.
Meanwhile, GJM assistant general secretary Benoy Tamang today said they would not vacate the bungalows.
Our Darjeeling Special News Correspondent adds:
Darjeeling, Jun 16: Police with CRPF raided the main GLP Jamuni Camp below Singamari (North Point). Bimal Gurung, meanwhile reacting to the news, condemned the raid and said that from tomorrow (Jun 17, 2010) the GJM will gherao all police stations.
Our Kalimpong Special News Correspondent adds:
Kalimpong, Jun 17: When contacted on telephone this morning, GLP Chief Ramesh Allay, condemned the PTI news from Siliguri as being a blatant lie and a clear conspiracy of the West Bengal Government to malign the peaceful movement of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
Col Allay also hinted that “the GLP had already moved from two empty lodgings at Pedong and Kafer and that in order to keep the movement strictly peaceful and non-confrontational, the GLP cadres may consider moving to tented camps throughout the region.”
He however, cautioned that no one should misconstrue the moves as “a weakness of the movement in any manner” and stated that “all further developments will happen upon the strict directives of our Chief (GJM) Bimal Gurung”.
Meanwhile, GJM Supremo, Bimal Gurung went on local television last night and spoke about the Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh, saying that proposals had been sent to the various Adivasi factions – those of the CPM, Congress, BJP and Tiranamool to consider the New Joint Statehood idea.
He added that the various Adivasi factions were now considering the GJM proposal and would hold their (the Adivasi) committee meetings by the mid-end of this month (after the 22nd of June) and that after the 25th of June a clearer picture would be available for the GJM to take the wishes of the Dooars Adivasis forward to Delhi.
When questioned if the Adivasi factions replied negatively to the GJM proposals, Bimal Gurung said, he though the Adivasis would not react negatively and added that if this is the case then, then the only alternative would be to say “Bye-Bye” to the Adivasis, depending on their reaction.
He further added that the among the various programs put forward to the various wings of the GJM the GJM Youth Wing would go forward with their swearing ceremonies as well as beginning the “Raankey Julus” (Open Fire Torch Processions) from this evening.
Reacting to this development, members of the Citizen’s Forum of Kalimpong (for Peace and Tranquility in the region), who requested not to be named, said that “the entire movement was now on the brink of confrontation and hoped good sense would prevail all around and that both the people in the administration and the GJM cadres would not resort to any form of violence that would make the whole region unstable”.
”These developments”, the source said, “is very ominous and a stark reminder of the events leading upto the July 1987 massacre here. It will just take a small spark to ignite the hills once again,” he opined.
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
(WITH NO BYLINE)
Darjeeling, June 16: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today called a 12-hour bandh in Kurseong subdivision to protest an alleged lathicharge on a rally the party had brought out late this evening.
“We want an answer from the administration as to why they resorted to the lathicharge. If we don’t get a reply by tomorrow evening, we will call an indefinite strike across the hills from Friday,” said Bimay Tamang, the assistant secretary of the Morcha. The party also announced that it would gherao all police stations in the Darjeeling hills.
The gherao was announced after the police accompanied by the CRPF visited Jamuni, where the Gorkhaland Personnel is headquartered to look for Tamang’s killers.
“If there is a law and order problem in the hills tomorrow, K.L. Tamta (IG north Bengal) and the district administration will be held responsible,” said Tamang.
Jaswant loyalty test for BJP – or rather for Dawa Sherpa to resign from BJP or as convenor of Democratic Front ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, June 16: Speculation about Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh’s return to the BJP has forced the CPRM to ask the national party to come clear on its position on the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
“At this juncture, it is important that state BJP leaders who had initiated the formation of the Democratic Front to restore democracy and peace in Darjeeling reassert their stance on the Morcha. The MP has remained close to the Morcha right from his first visit to Darjeeling. Even at the last public meeting held by the Morcha, he was one of the key speakers,” said R.B. Rai, the CPRM general secretary, today.
“Once Singh is brought back to the BJP, it is unbecoming to a national party to maintain double standards. So, BJP leaders here must specify whether they are with or against the Morcha.”
Jaswant had won the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat last year with the backing of the Morcha. He was expelled from the BJP in the wake of the controversy generated by his book Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence.
“We have no confusion over the BJP’s stand on Gorkhaland, which is the demand of all the constituents of the front. But the key question is whether the BJP supports the Morcha or not. We are fed up with the Morcha’s dictatorship,” said Rai, a former Darjeeling MP.
The front comprising the ABGL, CPRM, BJP, GNLF (C) and three other outfits was formed to protest the atrocities of the Morcha and to demand the restoration of democracy in the hills. BJP state secretary Dawa Sherpa had taken the initiative to form the front.
Asked about the CPRM’s demand, Sherpa said: “It is too early to say as he (Jaswant) has not yet been included in the BJP. The entire issue is speculative. We have been sending feedback about the situation in the Darjeeling hills to state and central leaders on a regular basis.”
“We joined the front as we are in favour of democracy and peace. Other parties can interpret our stand based on the BJP’s role in the front and the statements made by us in public,” he added.
Sources said BJP leaders were concerned about Jaswant’s likely return to the party. “Once he (Singh) is back in the BJP, he is expected to be counted among top leaders of the party. As the MP is inclined towards the Morcha and strongly supports its movement, BJP leaders here doubt if they will succeed in convincing the central leaders of their current anti-Morcha position,” said a source.
While leaders of the BJP and other constituents of the Democratic Front sounded confused, the Morcha is eagerly waiting for the MP’s re-inclusion in the BJP.
“We feel that once Jaswant Singh returns to the BJP, the stand taken by the local leaders, who hardly have support base in the hills, will be insignificant,” said Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the media and publicity secretary of the Morcha. “We want to see that good sense prevails among the local leaders and they follow the BJP central leadership’s line of supporting us.”
Dawa Sherpa, the convener of the Democratic Front — a conglomeration of seven anti-Morcha outfits in the hills — today said the front had decided to hold its first public meeting in Darjeeling on June 20.
“The meeting will be held at Chowk Bazar,” he said. The front stressed the need to restore democracy in the hills and demanded speedy arrest of Tamang’s murderers.
MEANWHILE FROM BELOW THE PLAINS OF DARJEELING
Cong to name civic chief today
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Malda, June 16: The Congress today said it would announce the name of the chairperson for the Englishbazar civic body half an hour before tomorrow’s meeting even as the district administration tightened security around the municipal building.
According to party insiders, Abu Hashem Khan Chowdhury has made the councillors sign a declaration, saying that they will support his choice and that all decisions will be taken by him. The district president has been given a free hand by the state leadership to choose the Englishbazar civic chief.
After a closed door session with the 10 elected councillors at the party office at Hyat Bhavan here, Abu Hashem, the MP from Malda South, told reporters that the name of the chairperson would be announced half an hour before tomorrow’s meeting. “The elected councillors have left it to me to name the chairman and they will accept whoever I choose.”
He said his decision had been endorsed by the party’s state working president Pradip Bhattacharya. “We are going to form the board jointly with the Trinamul Congress and we have already had discussions with their leaders.”
Trinamul district president Gautam Chakrabarty said his party had been claiming the top post following lack of consensus on the civic chief election within the Congress.
“The Congress leaders told us at a meeting yesterday that they would tell us the chairman’s name today, but till late this afternoon they had not contacted us,” Chakrabarty said.
He said he had heard that the Congress leadership had finalised a name for the post of chairperson. “Once we know their decision, we will get back to our state leadership. We will await their response and act accordingly.”
The administration will clamp prohibitory orders under Section 144 around a radius of 200 metres from the municipality building from 9am tomorrow. The meeting will begin at 11am.
“We have already deployed extra force in all 25 wards in town and the prohibitory orders will be strictly enforced,” said Malda police chief Bhuban Mondol.
The two civic boards at Old Malda and Dinhata were formed today with the Left Front bagging the top posts in both the towns.
The CPM’s Biswanath Sukul was sworn in as the chairperson of Old Malda while in Dinhata, four-time Forward Bloc councillor Chandan Ghosh took oath to head the new civic board. Of the 18 wards in Old Malda, the front had won 12 and the rest were captured by the Congress.
Of the 15 wards in Dinhata, Trinamul bagged two with the rest going to the front.