GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Tribals to ask hills to back autonomy – DOOARS ADIVASIS TO MEET MORCHA LEADERS – Bengal disturbed and under pressure ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, June 28: The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad’s north Bengal unit today said it would ask the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha to support its demand for Sixth Schedule status for the Terai and the Dooars where the tribals are in a majority.
The Adivasi leaders have also decided to sit with the Morcha for a discussion but no date has been finalised yet for the meeting.
On the larger question of a joint movement with the hill party for Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh, Parishad leaders said they would have to find out first how the tribals could benefit from the creation of such a state. On May 30, Morcha chief Bimal Gurung had for the first time re-christened Gorkhaland as Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh and invited the tribals to join the statehood movement.
“When we sit for discussions with the Morcha, we will ask them how exactly the tribals will benefit by joining the movement for a state,” said John Barla, the president of the Dooars-Terai regional unit of the Parishad. “But our main agenda will be to seek their support for our demand for Sixth Schedule status for the Terai and the Dooars.”
Barla claimed that the 350-odd tribals present at a three-hour long meeting in Banarhat in Jalpaiguri this afternoon supported the proposal to discuss with the Morcha the statehood and other issues related to socio-economic development in this part of the state.
However, the state leadership of the Parishad is opposed to any meeting with Gurung’s party and has maintained that it is ready to talk only with the government on the development of tribal areas in Bengal.
“We are aware of the stand of our state leaders but we find no harm in discussing with the Morcha areas that are of common interest. And, depending on the outcome, join the Morcha movement in the future,” Barla said.
He said the date for a meeting with the Morcha would be decided after the Parishad leadership meets state chief secretary Ardhendu Sen on Wednesday.
“Other than the date, we will also decide on the composition of the delegation after our return from Calcutta,” Barla said. “After today’s meeting, we will once again tell the Morcha about the consensus that has been reached about meeting with them.”
The Parishad leaders of the Terai and the Dooars believe that if they place the demands before the government jointly with the Morcha, they will have stronger bargaining power.
“We have been bargaining over several issues like the establishment of a 500-bed hospital in the Dooars, setting up of Hindi-medium schools and colleges in the Terai and the Dooars and the launch of vocational training courses for the past two years,” Barla said. “However, till today, none of these demands have been met and we feel that a joint movement will boost our bargaining power.”
Morcha leaders have welcomed the Parishad’s decision to hold a meeting with them.
“We will sit across the table with the Adivasis with an open mind,” said Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the media secretary of the Morcha.
“The Parishad, however, must understand that the state will adopt a carrot-and-stick policy to alienate them from us. The government is desperate to ensure that Parishad does not join us.”
Adivasis to hold talks with GJMM – Bengal avoiding the inevitable creation of a new state and should have handled the “territory issue” earlier in a Statesmanlike manner, now to loose much more ?!!
From The Statesman
SILIGURI, 28 JUNE, 2010: Ending all speculation, the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikash Parishad (ABAVP) has announced to sit across the table from the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) over the latter’s proposed state of Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh by incorporating the Darjeeling Hills, Terai and the
The Adivasi body ~ a reckoning force in the Dooars ~ has however, refrained from announcing the date and venue for the proposed meet.
In a meeting of its Dooars-Terai regional unit held at Banarhat in the Dooars today, the ABAVP “unanimously” gave its nod for the meeting with the GJMM.
“Following a thorough discussion that ran for three-hours, we have unanimously decided to sit with the GJMM over its proposal. But the venue and date for the bi-partite parleys would be fixed only after we had returned from the meeting with the state chief secretary in Kolkata on 30 June,” the ABAVP Dooars regional committee president Mr John Barla said over the phone.
After floating the concept of Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh (GAP) in a public meeting at Darjeeling on 30 May, the GJMM president Mr Bimal Gurung had written to the ABAVP on 3 June, proposing a joint movement for realising the demanded statehood.
Yesterday, the GJMM supremo had also served a veiled ultimatum to the Adivasi leaders to take a decision on this soon; failing which “the chapter would be deemed closed for once and all”, he had warned.
Within 24 hours of the ultimatum, the ABAVP in its pre-scheduled meeting at Banarhat today came out in favour of a dialogue with the GJMM.
According to sources in the ABAVP, of the 11 block units from the Terai and Dooars that took part in the discussions today: a majority nine favoured a meeting with the GJMM, one unit remained undecided and the remaining one opposed the move.
MEANWHILE FROM THE PLAINS OF DARJEELING
Rift widens after walkout – March 30 bonding on verge of break-up at SMC – Mamata choice for Cooch Behar – commie-congie nexus not highlighted ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, June 28: The relationship between anti-Left allies in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation soured further today with the Trinamul Congress accusing the Congress- run board of failing to upgrade the civic services.
The district president of Trinamul, Gautam Deb, said the mayor had been told that the board had not functioned according to the people’s expectations. “We told her that the new board has not been able to fulfil the expectations of the people. Wards held by the Congress councillors and, in some cases, those of the CPM have been getting more funds than the ones held by us,” said Deb, who is the leader of the party in the SMC, after a two-hour meeting with Congress mayor Gangotri Dutta. He was accompanied by nine of his party councillors.
The first sign of the relationship taking a beating in recent times came on Friday when Deb walked out of a board meeting alleging misbehaviour by Congress chairperson Sabita Devi Agarwal.
Last year, the Trinamul-Congress combine had captured the SMC, dislodging the Left from the civic body for the first time since 1981. However, problems emerged when Trinamul, which like the Congress bagged 15 of the 47 seats, demanded the mayor’s post and refused to join the board. The Congress, which stood its ground, won the mayor’s post with Left support. The Left had won in 17 wards.
But on March 30, the rift seemed to disappear with Trinamul announcing that it would join the Congress soon to run the board.
Today, hinting that all was not well with the board, the Trinamul councillors told the mayor to improve services, take necessary steps against persons involved in corruption and make transparent the use of the funds that the board had received in the past eight months.
Reacting to the Trinamul’s allegations, the mayor said: “We have allotted funds for all the wards impartially. I must say that he (Deb) should keep his flock together first before trying to find fault with us.” The mayor was referring to the resignation of a Trinamul councillor, indicating that there was infighting in the party.
Immediately after Deb’s media conference, Trinamul councillor Chaitali Sen Sharma of Ward 31 submitted her resignation to the chairperson, citing ill health. Deb feigned ignorance about the resignation. “I have not received any such letter,” he said.
The chairperson confirmed receiving the resignation letter and said she was yet to take any decision. “I am looking into it,” Agarwal said.
Trinamul & Cong spar in Siliguri – while CPM backers look on and the hills bypassed ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, June 28: A Trinamul Congress delegation called on the Congress mayor of Siliguri today and accused her of failing to fulfil people’s expectations.
“We told her that the new board has not been able to fulfil the expectations of the people. Wards held by the Congress councillors and, in some cases, those of the CPM have been getting more funds than the ones held by us,” Darjeeling district Trinamul president Gautam Deb alleged.
He led a team of nine party councillors to Gangotri Dutta’s office in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation and spent almost two hours there.
Last year, the Trinamul-Congress combine had captured the 47-ward civic body, dislodging the Left for the first time since 1981. Trouble erupted when Trinamul, which had 14 councillors and the support of an Independent, demanded the mayor’s post. The Congress, which had 15 councillors, went one up, bagging the chair with Left support.
But the rift appeared to have disappeared this March when Trinamul announced it would join the Congress to run the board, creating a curious case of a Congress mayor propped up by the CPM as well as Mamata Banerjee’s party.
The first sign of the Congress-Trinamul relationship taking a beating here came on Friday when Deb walked out of a board meeting alleging misbehaviour by Congress chairperson Sabita Devi Agarwal.
Today, again hinting that all was not well, the Trinamul councillors told the mayor to improve services, take steps against the corrupt and make the use of funds transparent.
Reacting to the allegations, mayor Dutta said: “We have allotted funds for all the wards impartially. He (Deb) should keep his flock together before trying to find fault with us.”
She was referring to the resignation of a Trinamul councillor, indicating that there was infighting in the party.
Trinamul’s Chaitali Sen Sharma submitted her resignation to the chairperson, citing ill health.
Her leader, Deb, said he did not know about it.
Calcutta model for civic deputy – typically Bengal ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Cooch Behar, June 28: The vice-chairperson of the Cooch Behar municipality has been selected by the state leadership of the Trinamul Congress after the district leaders failed to choose Biren Kundu’s deputy.
Amina Ahmed’s name was faxed to district Trinamul president Rabindranath Ghosh by the state committee this morning. Mamata Banerjee’s choice of a woman member from the minority community for the post is a replica of her Calcutta model where Farzana Alam is the deputy mayor.
In the civic polls in May, the Congress won in eight and Trinamul in three seats of the 20 wards of the town. The Left Front had captured nine wards.
The Congress’s Kundu was sworn in as the chairperson of the municipality on June 18 for the fourth term running. Since there was disagreement within Trinamul over the choice of the vice-chairperson, the matter had been referred to the state committee.
Even though there was no electoral alliance between Trinamul and the Congress, the two parties joined hands to keep the anti-Left board intact in Cooch Behar.
Party insiders said both Amina and her husband Abdul Jalil Ahmed, one of the state general secretaries, were very close to Mamata. Even though this is her first foray in electoral politics, Amina was an active campaigner for her husband in the past three Assembly elections.
“She won the elections by contesting from a general ward, and that is a very good achievement,” said district president Ghosh.
Amina said she was very excited. “I cannot express in words how happy I am. My party has given me a very big responsibility and I will discharge my duties keeping in mind the ideals and policies of Mamata Banerjee,” she said.
KLO planned abduction blitz to raise funds – Siliguri Corridor under threat now, Bengal perplexed ?!!
From Express India
By Madhuparna Das
Kolkata, Jun 29, 2010 at 0258 hrs IST: Interrogation of three arrested leaders of Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) revealed a blueprint for the abduction of six businessmen in Darjeeling.
The militants had planned to earn a ransom of about Rs 25 crore from them. The money was meant to be used to revamp the North-Bengal based terror outfit which has links with Assam’s ULFA and the NSCN(IM) of Nagaland.
“The outfit is going through a financial crisis which made them hatch the plans of abduction,”said D P Singh, Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling.
One of the three leaders of the KLO arrested on 19 June was Chila Roy (26), who is active in North Bengal and Darjeeling.
During questioning, he reportedly admitted the organisation, which was getting weak in terms of insurgency activities, planned to join hands with Maoists and spread terror in the region once again.
According to Chila, a meeting was held between KLO chief Jiban Singh and Maoist leader Kishenji in Assam, an officer said. He has divulged the name of the place and the date of the meeting, the officer said.
“In the first week of June, we received a note from the SP of Kokrajhar,” the officer said. “The note gave specific inputs about the meeting which Chila confirmed.”
Jiban Singh is currently roaming in border areas of Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon and Dhubri districts of lower Assam keeping nexus with ULFA and senior Maoists leaders.
“Chila has also named several KLO leaders and admitted that they have roped in several criminals to execute the plan of a terror attack in the area,” said Singh.
There are cases against Chila in Darjeeling, Coochbehar and Malda. “He was a mastermind assigned to strengthen links with the CPI-Maoists and to collect funds for terrorist activities in the area,” Singh said.
He was also in charge of preparing a core area in the region for the Kamtapuri Communist Party (KCP) in association with CPI-Maoists.
The KCP was formed in 2009 by Ratan Roy, Maoist and KLO linkman. But after he was arrested from Bakshirhat, Malda, the party remained almost defunct for several months, said a senior police officer of north-Bengal.
A few days ago, Ratan was granted bail and has become active again. “Chila told us that Ratan is working to set up a core area for KCP in the region and the group’s presence will be felt soon,” he said.
Chila will soon be taken to Assam by the Coochbehar police for the reconstruction of some crime scenes related to cases against him.
Father’s query on slain jawan’s battle gear – Bengal unaware that it is somehow alienating consensus against itself ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Malda, June 28: A gun salute was accorded to Mohammad Etaharul Islam, the Straco constable killed by Maoists in West Midnapore, at the Manikchak police station this morning before the body was handed over to his family for the last rites.
Before setting off for the burial, a grim Rabinul Momin said no one could tell him if his son was wearing a bullet-proof jacket during the encounter with Maoists. “Why were he and other brave young men fighting the Maoists not given proper equipment in these operations. I have not received the answer from any one,” he said.
One of Etaharul’s close friends, Rizaul Haque, said the state government should look into the quality of the equipment police were using. “More and more young men will fall to Maoist bullets if they are not given proper fighting equipment,” he said.
The commandant of the 4th Battalion of the state armed police posted in Raiganj, T.F. Lepcha, said he had no idea if the slain constable was wearing a bullet-proof jacket during the attack. “What I know is that a group of about 30 Maoists attacked 20 policemen early Sunday morning. Etaharul fired and the bullet hit one of the rebels. Then, the Maoists targeted him,” he said.
The secretary of the Non-gazetted Police Workers’ Association, Pritimoy Guha, said they had already drawn the attention of the state government to the fact that there was not enough equipment for the police to tackle the Maoists. “I will not say anything further on the matter,” he said.
Superintendent of police of Malda Bhuban Mondol, who along with other senior officers of the force was present during the gun salute, said Etaharul’s family would get a compensation of Rs 15 lakh from the government. “Besides, a member of his family will get a job in the police,” he said.
Thousands of people gathered at Etaharul’s home at Shyampurchowki-Momintola, 40km from Malda, to pay their last respects to the jawan. The body had arrived in a police vehicle around 6.30pm from West Midnapore.
Etaharul’s body was taken in a huge procession at 11am to the burial ground at Momintola, 1.5km from his home.
IN BRIEFS FROM THE TELEGRAPH
Guests beat up driver
Alipurduar, June 28: A driver of a North Bengal State Transport Corporation bus was beaten up allegedly by guests headed home from a wedding last night after he reportedly refused to take the vehicle down a narrow kutcha road on the outskirts of the town.
Subhash Ghosh, the driver, has been admitted to the Alipurduar hospital after he was found unconscious on the roadside, where he had been lying for two hours. NBSTC authorities have lodged a police complaint against the accused. Police said the two accused were missing.
Islampur: A Class VIII student of Milanpally High School near here is missing since Sunday evening. The 13-year-old girl had left home for tuition classes on Sunday but did not return. The girl’s father Abdul Bashid filed a missing person’s diary with the Islampur police on Monday.
Kokrajhar: Two cadres of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (anti-talks faction) — Sunil Mochahari, 23, and Kanen Daimari, 25 — were apprehended by security forces from near the Mazbat railway station in Udalguri district of Assam at 6am on Monday.
Islampur: Md Akhtar, 25, a resident of Balipur near Chakulia, committed suicide by consuming poison at his house on Sunday night.