GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: When in doubt, call a bandh

GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: When in doubt, call a bandh – any ‘doubts’ about the need for separation from Bengal’s Political Shackles, probably not ?!!

A shopping-and-loading 'stocks' spree in a Darjeeling market before the bandh - Siliguri traders least affected, probably not ?!! (Photo by Suman Tamang)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Darjeeling, June 18: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today called an “indefinite” strike in the Darjeeling hills from tomorrow, falling back on a time-tested tactic after being forced on the backfoot since the murder of Madan Tamang.

The Morcha, which had been hunting for a pretext to re-assert its strength, said the bandh had been called to protest the government’s failure to reply why police lathicharged its party supporters on Wednesday night in Kurseong.

THE TIMING – OF THE TERRITORY ISSUE FORGOTTEN ?!!

The government has been stepping up heat on Bimal Gurung’s party since Tamang’s murder on May 21.

The state has not only implicated the Morcha in the killing, but has also started asserting the writ of administration in the hills after almost 32 months. (So a stunned Morcha should have filed FIR’s against Bengal first ?!! on murder most foul ?!!)

As a first step, DGHC administrator B.L. Meena filed FIRs against Gorkhaland Personnel — a Morcha squad of lathi-wielding volunteers — occupying government properties for the past two years. (so why now ?!!)

In fact, on Wednesday evening the police even visited the GLP headquarters at Jamuni, about 35km from Darjeeling, which was unthinkable a couple of months ago, given the state’s non-confrontation policy.

Following Tamang’s daylight murder, three companies of the CRPF were deployed in Darjeeling town for the first time after the Morcha was formed on October 7, 2007.

Meena has also started a probe into the development projects undertaken in the hills following last year’s devastation caused by Cyclone Aila.

Under the circumstances, the Morcha was looking for an opportunity to put the pressure back on the government and Wednesday’s lathicharge provided the spark.

“The indefinite strike will continue unless the administration gives us a written explanation on the decision to lathicharge a peaceful gathering in front of the Kurseong police station where 17 of our supporters were injured,” said Binay Tamang, assistant secretary of the Morcha.

But faced with a Supreme Court notice, the Morcha has decided to keep NH31A, the lifeline of Sikkim, out of the strike’s purview and has also exempted the tea gardens and cinchona plantations, the backbone of the hill economy, and schools with mid-term exams.

The Morcha has also decided to demonstrate in front of police stations across the hills from tomorrow. “The demonstrations will take place for two hours everyday from 11am onwards,” said R.P. Waiba, the vice-president of the Morcha.

The outfit also demanded the immediate transfer of K.L. Tamta, inspector-general of police, north Bengal, along with the subdivisional police officer of Kurseong, Rakesh Singh. But when the government announced Tamta’s transfer in the afternoon, the Morcha described it as “routine”.

“The tenure of B.L. Meena comes to an end on June 30 and we don’t want the government to give him an extension,” said Tamang. The Morcha today wrote to the chief minister demanding Meena’s removal “in the interest of the public”.

The Democratic Front, an anti-Morcha conglomeration of seven parties, said it would go ahead with its June 20 public meeting.

Ishamani Pakhrin, a central committee member of the Morcha, said his party had no intentions of disrupting the meeting.

IPS reshuffle – Tamta promoted to Planning and Ranvir Kumar in from Traffic – all strings still in Bengal’s hands – any Police in Darjeeling and Dooars with a clean conscience and record ?!!

KL Tamta - rewarded and smiling to plot yet more MT eliminations ?!!

From The Statesman

KOLKATA, 18 JUNE, 2010 (SNS): The state government today made a major reshuffle in the police administration by transferring 30 IPS officers including Inspector General (North) Mr KL Tamta.

The Darjeeling district Left Front was against Mr Tamta’s transfer.

The joint commissioner of traffic, Kolkata Police, Mr Ranvir Kumar has been promoted to the post of IG (North).

Mr Tamta, as per the new order, will be inspector general (planning).

New IG for Darjeeling and Dooars, Ranvir Kumar - the unknown factor to follow his unbiased conscience or just snide orders from Bengal ?!!

Two important posts in the city police ~ deputy commissioner (detective department) and deputy commissioner (special branch) ~ have been upgraded to joint commissioner (crime) and joint commissioner (Intelligence), according to the order issued today.

Mrs Damayanti Sen, DC (DD) and Mr Partha Sarathi Ghosh, DC (SB) would be the joint commissioner (crime) and joint commissioner (Intelligence). The joint commissioner of (special task force) Mr Vinit Goyal has been transferred to the traffic department and he has become the joint commissioner (traffic).

The special superintendent of Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Mr Bastav Baidya will be the deputy commissioner of the city police’s special task force. Mr K Harirajan, additional commissioner (I) of Kolkata police has been made the inspector general (telecom).

Mr Sudhir Mishra, additional commissioner (II) of Kolkata police has become the additional commissioner (I) in place of Mr Rajiv Kumar who will be the additional commissioner (III) of Kolkata police.

Mr Debashis Roy, joint commissioner of Kolkata armed police has become the additional commissioner (III). Mr Roy will be replaced by special inspector general (training) Mr Sanjoy Singh. SNS

THE HINDU ADDS

GJM calls for indefinite strike from today – no bias like Bengal’s Telegraph ?!!

By The Hindu Special Correspondent

KOLKATA, Saturday, Jun 19, 2010: The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) leadership on Friday called for an indefinite strike in the Darjeeling hills from Saturday.

The GJM said the decision was taken as the authorities concerned had failed to give an explanation for the baton-charge on party supporters in Kurseong on Wednesday.

The fresh spell of agitation was also “in protest against the high-handedness of the police in the name of arresting those responsible for the murder of Madan Tamang,” GJM assistant general secretary Benoy Tamang told TheHindu over telephone.

A government order, transferring the Inspector-General of Police, North Bengal, K.L. Tamta, — a long-standing demand of the GJM — would not change the decision of going ahead with the strike, he added.

Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League president Madan Tamang, a vociferous critic of the GJM, was fatally stabbed in broad daylight in the heart of Darjeeling town on May 21.

The killing caused a public outcry and apparently put the GJM, whose supporters were suspected to have committed the murder, on the back-foot. But the GJM reasserted itself as the principal political force in the hills by organising a massive rally a few days later where it reiterated its claim that it had no hand in the killing.

Four persons, believed to be close to certain GJM leaders, were arrested in connection with the murder.

By calling the strike, the GJM has also expressed its defiance of the police orders to vacate those bungalows from where the Gorkhaland Police Personnel (GLP) — a unit raised by the GJM consisting of its volunteers — is operating. GJM leaders have cautioned against any move to evict the GLP.

ALSO

North Bengal IG shifted in reshuffle – good riddance to bad rubbish, what or rather who next ?!! Bihari Lal Meena ?!!

By The Hindu Special Correspondent

Kolkata, Saturday, Jun 19, 2010: Inspector-General of Police (North Bengal) Kundan Lal Tamta was among over 26 Indian Police Service transferred by the West Bengal government on Friday.

No district police chief is included in the list which will usher in new faces in railway security, city crime and intelligence, armed police and city traffic police.

At a time when Darjeeling is facing a fresh spell of agitation, Ranvir Kumar, Commissioner of Police (Traffic), will take over from Mr. Tamta who becomes Inspector-General (Planning). It may be mentioned here that the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has been demanding his removal for some time now.

There would also be a new face in the armed police force at Siliguri in North Bengal with Subrata Sarkar being posted as DIG, Armed Police. He moves from the city traffic police.

M. S. Punia becomes the DIG Railways, a post which had fallen vacant following retirement of the previous incumbent.

Another significant decision is upgrading the post of Deputy Commissioner of the City’s Detective Department to that of a Joint Police Commissioner. Damayanti Sen, who holds the rank of DC-DD, will become a Joint CP following the upgradation of her post. A number of changes have also been made in the city’s traffic police and in the posting of the various battalions of Eastern Frontier Rifles.

MEANWHILE FROM THE PLAINS OF DARJEELING

Cong bags civic post, courtesy Trinamul

Biren Kundu of the Congress in Cooch Behar - a technical wiz leaning on Trinamool crutches for a 4th term ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Cooch Behar, June 18: Biren Kundu of the Congress today began his fourth term in a row as the chairperson of the Cooch Behar municipality, leaning on Trinamul Congress crutches.

The Congress had formed the civic board in the past three terms on its own in the 20-ward municipality. However this time, the party, having won in eight wards, had to take the support of the three Trinamul councillors to reach the majority figure.

Trinamul is, however, yet to decide on the vice-chairperson, the post left to them by the Congress.

After being sworn in by subdivisional officer Rumela Dey at the Lansdowne Hall at the district collectorate, Kundu said: “We will follow the laws governing the municipalities and try to provide concessions in water and conservancy taxes. We will try to provide improved urban services for the residents. Let Trinamul decide on a vice-chairman and and we will begin our work in close cooperation.”

Unlike Englishbazar, where the Congress’s Krishnendu Chowdhury was selected the civic chief unanimously by the 10 Congress and the four Trinamul councillors, a voting took place to elect Kundu as the head of the civic board. Kundu won 11 votes against the Opposition Left Front’s nine.

In the 12-ward Toofanganj municipality, it was a smooth transition back to power for the front. The CPM that captured eight wards formed the municipal board, with the four Trinamul councillors having to sit in the Opposition.

CPM’s Subhas Chandra Bhawal was sworn in as the chairperson for the third consecutive term, while the vice-chairperson’s post went to Ramesh Chandra Sarkar.

While the swearing-in ceremony in Toofanganj was lacklustre, there was a huge police bandobast at the district collectorate in Cooch Behar. However, no untoward incident was reported.

In the Mathabhanga municipality, where the verdict is tied at six each for the CPM and Trinamul, the subdivisional officer will decide on who will run the civic body with the toss of a coin tomorrow.

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