GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Morcha off the roads – peaceful consensus clear, now a patient wait for Bengal’s next move ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY VIVEK CHHETRI
Darjeeling, June 19: The hills shut down on the first day of the indefinite bandh called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha but its supporters did not put up pickets on the streets to flaunt their might as in the past.
Instead, CRPF jawans, posted after Morcha rival Madan Tamang’s daylight murder, patrolled the town. Also, unlike in the past, the highway to Sikkim was left free for traffic.
“Although we had kept NH31A out of the strike’s purview, very few vehicles plied today,” said Morcha assistant secretary Binay Tamang.
Explaining the reason for not putting up pickets, treasurer Dawa Lama said: “There is no need to post pickets as the entire hill people are with us.”
But on all occasions the Morcha had called bandhs in the past, it had put up pickets.
A leader said the “change in stance” was because the party did not want to do anything that could “precipitate” the situation, especially now that the CRPF was out on the streets. “We have been able to contain the backlash of Tamang’s killing to a significant extent,” a Morcha leader said. “We do not want to provoke any violence in the hills. Everyone can see the bandh has been totally peaceful as well as complete, though we did not come out.”
The leader said the Morcha wanted to convey to the people that it wanted peace.
The Morcha also allowed people with important work or travel plans in the plains to leave the hills.
There are few tourists now. But some of the few here availed of vehicles arranged by the Morcha to leave the hills.
Shutdown by Gorkhas paralyses West Bengal’s Darjeeling – and still no political solution in sight, Bengal’s sabotage ruse perfect ?!!
From ThaIndia News
Darjeeling, June 19 (IANS): Most shops downed shutters and vehicular traffic was sparse as normal life came to a standstill in West Bengal’s Darjeeling Hills Saturday on day one of the indefinite shutdown called by the pro-Gorkhaland Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM).
The GJM is on the agitation path in support of a host of demands, including a halt to the harassment of the members of the frontal organisation Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP) by the police.
Few people ventured out on the roads in the three hill sub-divisions – Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong – of Darjeeling district, authorities said.
Following a complaint, the police have asked the GLP – a virtual police force raised by the Bimal Gurung led GJM leadership – to vacate several offices of the hill development body, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).
“No untoward incident has happened till now,” said D.P Singh, Darjeeling police superintendent said Saturday afternoon.
In the morning, the GJM activists tried to block the Sevok Bazar area, which leads to National Highway 31A, considered the lifeline of the Himalayan state of Sikkim. However, police quickly swung into action, removed the blockade and arrested the GJM workers.
The GJM, agitating for creation of a separate Gorkhaland state out of Darjeeling and parts of Jalpaiguri districts, had earlier given an ultimatum to the state government that its demands, including transfer of Inspector General of Police North Bengal K.L. Tamta and Kurseong sub-divisional police officer Rakesh Sinha, be fulfilled by 6 p.m. Friday.
The state government has already transferred Tamta, but said it was routine and not linked to the GJM demand.
With Tamta’s Transfer, GJM scores one out of four – accused of behaving like a classic CPM cadre ?!!
From Indian Express
Kolkata, Sat Jun 19 2010, 05:16 hrs: On a day the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) announced the launch of an indefinite bandh in the hills from Saturday with its four demands, the Bengal government acceded to one of their demands — transfer of K L Tamta from the post of IG (north Bengal).
Tamta was shifted from his incumbent post despite severe lobbying by the Darjeeling unit of the CPM led by minister for urban development Ashok Bhattacharya for retaining the officer.
A week ago, Bhattacharya had even described the officer as “efficient who understands the sentiments of the people in the hills”.
However, all these requests it seems failed to impress Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee as Tamta has been posted to IG, planning. In his place, the government has appointed Ranvir Kumar, the Special Additional Commissioner with Kolkata Police.
Reacting to Tamta’s transfer, Bhattacharya today said, “People wanted Tamta to remain there and I had conveyed the people’s sentiment to the CM.” He also slammed the GJM for “indulging in extortion” through its own police force.
“The police are trying to establish the rule of law in the hills and what they are doing is absolutely right. We want the dismantling and banning of Morcha’s police GLP,” he added.
Darjeeling shutdown relaxed, tourists get reprieve – care and concern that Bengal cannot show ?!!
Kolkata, June 11 (IANS): The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), which called an indefinite shutdown in the Darjeeling hills to press for a separate Gorkhaland state, Wednesday relaxed its blockade for 60 hours, though normal life came to a halt for two consecutive days.
“We have relaxed the shutdown for the next 60 hours, from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Saturday. The decision has been taken to facilitate tourists who were stranded in the hills because of the shutdown,” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told IANS over telephone.
Asked if GJM supporters were facilitating tourists who were left in the lurch, he said: “Our partymen are trying their best to help them out.”
Shops, markets and government offices remained closed and normal life came to a standstill as the three hill sub-divisions – Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong – and some portions of Dooars observed the indefinite shutdown.
Tourists had a harrowing time as transport kept off the roads and food became scarce.The state government opened several guest houses to provide shelter to tourists in the hills, which saw heavy rains.
Tea gardens too were hit after the indefinite shutdown began Tuesday.
Thousands of tourists were stranded in Sikkim as the National Highway No. 31-A, linking the state with Siliguri railhead, remained cut off because of a blockade by GJM activists.
“We expect now tourists would be able to come down from the hills easily. We are open for bilateral talks and the state government wants to sort this issue out at the earliest,” West Bengal home secretary Ashok Mohon Chakraborty told reporters here.
Darjeeling was the summer capital of British India till 1911, when the capital was shifted to Delhi from Kolkata. The verdant hills and the Himalayan toy train service are a prime tourist attraction, particularly during the summer.
An exodus of an estimated 40,000 tourists started as the indefinite shutdown began Tuesday morning in Darjeeling.
“All developmental activities in Darjeeling came to a halt in Darjeeling. Our Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee already expressed interest to exchange dialogue with the GJM leaders,” Chakraborty said.
Bhattacharjee earlier offered more financial assistance and administrative control to the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) but clearly rejected the GJM’s demand for a separate Gorkhaland state in the region.
West Bengal Pradesh Congress president Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi also opposed the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state, but asked the state government to convene an all-party meet to arrive at a consensus on the issue.
The GJM, led by its president Bimal Gurung, has been spearheading a movement in the hills for a separate state, besides opposing the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling district.
The central government in 2005 conferred the Sixth Schedule status on the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)-led DGHC that ensures greater autonomy to the district’s governing body.
The DGHC was formed in 1988 through an agreement between the central and state governments and the GNLF after the hills witnessed violence for about two years.
Three suspected terrorists held in West Bengal – Siliguri Corridor safe in the hands of Bengal, probably not ?!!
Siliguri, June 19 (IANS): Three suspected terrorists of the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) have been arrested from this West Bengal town, police said Saturday.
The police raided the house of Indrajit Roy, one of the militants, in Patiramjote area of Matigara here Friday night and arrested him along with two other insurgents.
One of those arrested, Tirtha Burman, was a hardcore militant. He had been trained in Chittagong of neighbouring Bangladesh, Darjeeling district police superintendent D.P. Singh told reporters.
Tirtha Burman was the north Bengal in-charge of the KLO, which has been demanding creation of Kamtapur state comprising six districts in the northern part of the state and nine others in Assam.
While Tirtha Burman hails from Habibpur in Malda district, the other arrested Pratap Burman has two houses in Malda and South Dinajpur districts of north Bengal.
Thirteen rounds of bullets, a 9 mm pistol and mobile SIM cards of north Bengal and Assam were seized from them.
The KLO had been weakened after the Bhutanese army demolished its camps on its soil in 2004. However, it was now trying to regroup and the three were involved in abduction and extortion to raise money for reorganising the group.
Sabotage cuffs on literature graduate – Bengal still obdurate on CBI investigation of Madan Tamang’s assassination, fear self exposure or have tampered with the evidence enough to feel safe now ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Midnapore, June 19: The CBI today arrested a paper mill supervisor who was allegedly part of the gang that had removed clips from railway tracks and got the Jnaneswari Express derailed.
Bholanath Mahato, 27, is a Bengali honours graduate and an activist of the Maoist-backed People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities, sources said.
CBI sleuths got him from his friend’s house at Khemasuli, barely 3km from the train crash site at Rajabandh.
“Bholanath was directly involved in the sabotage. He went to Rajabandh with Bapi Mahato, the prime suspect, and joined the Maoists in removing the Pandrol clips,” a CBI officer said.
Bholanath is said to have confessed to his involvement in the sabotage. The Jhargram court sent him to police custody till June 28.
The young man hails from Lalgeria, about 20km from Rajabandh. But his workplace, the mill at Manikpara where he was a supervisor under a contractor, is only 6km from the crash site.
Bholanath had allegedly joined the Maoists six months ago and proved an asset because of his education. “He has done Bengali honours from Manikpara Vivekananda Satabarshiki College under Vidyasagar University. He was one of the few educated people in the rebel ranks here and proved very competent,” an officer said.
One of his jobs in the People’s Committee was to write Maoist posters, which were couriered to guerrillas across Jungle Mahal.
His day job — in the mill — helped him keep his other identity under wraps, an officer said.
“Unlike other suspects, he didn’t run away immediately after the May 28 train tragedy. Bholanath thought no one would suspect him. We started looking for him after going through the call lists of the two prime suspects. Bholanath used to talk frequently to Bapi and Umakanta Mahato,” the officer said.
The young man apparently realised he was under watch after local policemen visited his house several times before the CBI was handed charge of the investigation. “He left home on June 14 and kept changing his hideouts,” a CBI officer said.
Today’s was the fourth arrest in connection with the sabotage that killed 150 people. Earlier this week, the CBI had arrested a People’s Committee member who worked as a supervisor for railway contractors.
Before that, the state police had arrested two men, including one who allegedly drove some of the Maoists to and from the sabotage site.
Graffiti of Pope, politicians on Shillong buildings – a malicious wake-up call against a crossed religion ?!!
FROM MSN NEWS
Shillong, June 18: The police Friday registered two complaints after allegedly blasphemous graffiti featuring the Pope, among others, appeared on key buildings in this Meghalaya capital.
The pictures had uncanny resemblances to state politicians and Governor R.S. Mooshahary, while others depicted Jesus Christ and the Pope with blasphemous remarks, the complainants said.
Two complaints have been filed, one by the Rector of Don Bosco Technical School, Father L.B. Anthony and the other by the Principal of St. Anthony’s College, Father I. Warpakma.
The police also registered a case under section 295 (A) of the Indian Penal Code for deliberate and malicious act intended to hurt the religious feeling of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.
“Preliminary investigation suggests this could be the work of mischief mongers but the matter is a serious one and we are investigating it,” Superintendent of Police (East Khasi Hills District) A.R. Mawthoh told IANS.
The graffiti were found on the walls of the Raj Bhavan, the main and additional secretariat buildings and Roman Catholic Church-run educational institutions.
Condemning the acts, the Archbishop of Shillong, Dominic Jala, said that the church was surprised by this act.
“We are unsure about the motive behind this,” Jala told IANS