SCENES FROM THE 2ND DAY OF THE BANDH IN DARJEELING: (Photos from Himalaya Darpan…. a photo speaks more than a thousand words, peaceful personified ?!! )
MEANWHILE IN SIKKIM
WHILE THE TELEGRAPH REPORTS ONLY BENGAL’s OWN ABJECT VIEWS:
GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Hope fades, time to leave – for the tourists and the economy, but not for the Bengal administration ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Darjeeling, June 20: The last group of tourists who were hoping for the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha-sponsored indefinite general strike to end started leaving the hill town today fearing that a delay could cause inconvenience.
Darjeeling police today arranged for two police buses and three cars to transport around 70-odd visitors down to Siliguri.
“The tourists came to us in the morning and we arranged for their transport. A number of local people also came to us as there is a recruitment examination for the Eastern Frontier Rifles in Siliguri tomorrow,” said Azhar Tausef, the deputy superintendent of police (traffic). He added that some tourists had also come to confirm tomorrow’s trip.
Imran Shishga, who had come from Delhi and left town today, said he could not afford to take risks anymore. “I had stayed on, as many people whom I spoke to were of the opinion that the strike would not stretch beyond three days. I have a railway ticket for Tuesday. But then I realised that staying here for another day and waiting for the bandh to lift was not worth the risk.”
The Shishgas plan to spend the next two days in a Siliguri hotel.
For Akash Jobanputra, a resident of Ahmedabad, there was no option but to approach the police. “I have a ticket for this evening from New Jalpaiguri and I had to leave town. I am thankful to Darjeeling police for making the arrangements,” he said.
The Morcha has been on strike since Saturday, falling back on a time-tested tactic to mount pressure on the government after being forced on the backfoot since ABGL chief’s Madan Tamang’s murder on May 21.
Bimal Gurung’s party, on the lookout for any pretext that would help it reassert its strength, had said the bandh had been called to protest the government’s failure to reply why police had lathicharged its supporters in Kurseong on Wednesday.
With the government offices also shut, including the Darjeeling district magistrate’s office and the Foreigners’ Registration Office, no permits could be issued to foreigners wanting to visit Sikkim.
A Spanish couple left for the Himalayan state without permits. “We are banking on the office at Rangpo (border town in Sikkim) where I can get the necessary documents. I need to reach Gangtok today,” said the Spanish man. The couple had arranged for a private vehicle to take them to Gangtok.
The All Transport Joint Action Committee, a Morcha affiliated union, claimed that it had made vehicle arrangements for tourists wanting to leave and local people who had urgent work in the plains.
The Morcha has not indicated how long the strike will continue.
“There is no new development today,” said Binay Tamang, the assistant secretary of the Morcha. “The indefinite strike will continue till the administration gives us a written explanation on the lathicharge.”
MEANWHILE IN THE PLAINS OF DARJEELING
Rebels’ bid for revival – KLO militant held – the Siliguri Corridor safe for India’s National Security with the rising number of illegal immigrants of Bengali speaking, Muslim origin, from Bangladesh blending in with the population from the Siliguri areas ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, June 20: A KLO militant arrested from the outskirts of Siliguri on Friday has given police information on the outfit’s renewed efforts to raise money from businessmen in north Bengal to regroup and revive its activities.
Tirtha Burman, a resident of Habibpur in Malda district, was arrested from Indrajeet Roy’s house at Patiramjote in Matigara.
An improvised 9mm pistol, two magazines and 13 rounds of live cartridges were recovered from him. The police also arrested Pratap Burman from the house on the suspicion that he was a KLO linkman. He is a rickshaw puller from Tapan in South Dinajpur. Indrajeet was charged with harbouring criminals.
The KLO, formed in 1998, had resorted to political killings, abductions and extortion till 2003, when its training camps in the forested hills of Bhutan were successfully dismantled in the Operation Flushout by the Royal Bhutan Army.
Self-styled KLO chief Jeevan Singha, alias Tamir Das was forced to escape to Bangladesh. Several KLO leaders were picked up and handed over to India by Bhutan, dealing a severe blow to the outfit.
“However, over the past few months, we have been receiving specific inputs that the KLO is trying to regroup and has recruited a number of people for training in Bangladesh,” said a police officer.
“Our apprehensions were confirmed when the militants tried to abduct a tractor dealer from Gajole in Malda on April 22. One of the kidnappers was arrested when the vehicle overturned during their bid to flee with the businessman. Within a fortnight, we picked up a couple of linkmen from Malda for providing the KLO with information on businessmen living in the region,” he added.
“During interrogation, the trio revealed the names of some other linkmen who are collecting information on businessmen in north Bengal. We have also come to know that some abductions have taken place recently and the families of the persons concerned have paid ransom to the KLO without informing the police,” said the officer.
D.P. Singh, the superintendent of police of Darjeeling, said Tirtha — who had undergone training in handling arms and explosives in Bangladesh — had been involved in the April 22 abduction attempt also.
The police and intelligence branch said the KLO might even attempt an attack on vital installations in north Bengal to make its presence felt again.
“This is a common tactic adopted by militant groups to create terror and panic. Our intelligence officers are working in tandem with other security agencies and are trying to find out the number of youths who have joined the outfit after 2003,” said another officer. “There is information that the KLO is carrying out recruitments from certain districts of Assam also.”
Tirtha was remanded in police custody for seven days along with Indrajeet and Pratap.
3 KLO activists held, cops say outfit was planning terror strike – Bengal to be trusted for ripening terrorism in the sensitive National Security areas of the Siliguri Corridor as well ?!!
From Indian Express
Kolkata, Sunday, June 20, 2010, 04:47 hrs (ENS): The Darjeeling district police arrested three alleged activists of the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), from Matigara in Siliguri on Friday night.
The arrested men have been identified as Chila Roy (26), Indrajit Roy (30) and Subash Burman (28), said Darjeeling Superintendent of Police D P Singh, adding that on raiding the Mathigara residence of Indrajit last night, the police arrested the trio and recovered a 9 mm pistol with 13 rounds ammunition from Chila.
Photographs of bridges and dams in Malda and Sevoke were found on their mobile phones. The outfit was mobilising its cadres in North Bengal and looking to carry out a major terror strike, said Singh.
Singh added that Chila was a member of the sixth batch of the KLO outfit, while the other two arrested were active KLO members.
Indrajit, a resident of Habbibpur in Malda district, was reportedly involved in the abduction of a local businessman last month, said Singh. On several occasions, KLO activists carried out abduction and took businessmen to Assam for ransom, said Singh.