GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Writers’ invite for talks – govt to sound out front on set-up – at last the division is clear, ‘for or against’ the ‘separate state movement & identity issue’ ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU
July 30: The Bengal government has invited the Democratic Front and the GNLF for a meeting at Writers’ Buildings on August 3.
Dawa Sherpa, the convener of the Front, said in Darjeeling today: “I have received a verbal intimation, inviting us to the meeting and we will definitely be going to Calcutta.”
The Front is a conglomeration of six parties opposed to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the hills.
In Calcutta, minister of state for hill affairs, Asok Bhattacharya, said this was being done to get the views of the “other stakeholders in the hills” on the interim set-up for Darjeeling.
“The Morcha may be in the forefront of the statehood movement, but there are other outfits in the hills which are stake holders in the development of Darjeeling,” Bhattacharya said. “That’s why we want to take their views on what the shape and form of the interim set-up in the hills should be.”
Bhattacharya said their suggestions would be incorporated in the final observations of the state government on the interim set-up that would be sent to Delhi soon. He said both he and health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra would jointly hold the meeting with the hill opposition parties.
However, the Front also wants a discussion on ABGL leader Madan Tamang’s murder and on the restoration of democracy in the hills.
“It has been proved beyond doubt that the Morcha does not allow other parties to function in the hills. The decision to call a strike in Sukhiapokhri today when we were supposed to organise a meeting has made everything clear,” said Sherpa.
Observers in the hills said the state was holding the meeting with the hill opposition parties as it did not want a repeat of the Sixth Schedule fiasco when the government thought that discussions with only the predominant party, which was the GNLF then, would solve all issues.
“Even though the GNLF had demanded the status, the arrangement could not be implemented because of stiff resistance from others and the hills plunged into another crisis,” said an observer.
The timing of the meeting is also important as during the last tripartite talks in New Delhi on July 24, the Centre had directed the state and the Morcha to submit its final observations within two weeks. “The state perhaps does not want to make any observation without impressing on the other political parties the need to accept an interim set-up for the time being,” said the observer.
Apart from the ABGL, the Front also includes the CPRM — the second largest party in the hills — GNLF (C), BJP, Trinamul Congress and the Darjeeling-Sikkim Akikaran Manch.
GNLF MLA Shanta Chhetri said her party would not attend the meeting as Subhash Ghishing had “rejected” the idea.
GJM alone can’t speak for hills: Gorkha League – a party without consensus nor moral authority ?!!
From Indian Express
Siliguri, Sat Jul 31 2010, 02:58 hrs (PTI): The All India Gorkha League (AIGL) on Friday said the Central and state governments should not hold tripartite talks only with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), as it was not the sole outfit that represents the people of Darjeeling.
Pratap Khati, a member of AIGL’s central committee, said that apart from his own party there were other outfits as well which should be involved in the talks brokered by the Centre to resolve the statehood issue amicably. Khati, who met Darjeeling district president of Trinamool Congress, said: “It is horrible that the Centre and state government were holding talks with those who were named in the FIR for involvement in the AIGL president Madan among murder case.”
Khati accused the West Bengal government, in particular, of sailing in two boats by threatening to arrest GJM leaders named in the FIR and holding talks with them at the same time.
Centre should hold talks with other parties in Darjeeling – wants desperately in through veiled threats of destabilizing peace ?!!
From IBN Live
Siliguri, July 30 :PTI: The Centre and the West Bengal government’s move to hold tripartite talks with the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha would not solve the Darjeeling problem, as it was not the sole authority, a political party opposed to the GJM said today.
Central committee member of the All India Gorkha League Pratap Khati told reporters here that the Centre should hold talks with his party and others active in the hills if it was interested to establish peace.
Instead, the Centre and state government were holding talks with those named in the FIR in the killing of the party’s leader Madan Tamang, he alleged.
MEANWHILE BELOW THE PLAINS OF DARJEELING
CPM men get life for murders – Buddhadeb & Asok not implicated as head of CPM and just as morally responsible ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Cooch Behar, July 30: A dozen CPM workers were sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of two Congress leaders in Mathabhanga 25 years ago.
Mahesh Roy Basunia and Gorachand Roy were hacked to death on August 7, 1985, when they were going to Bhogramguri to organise a peace rally.
Roy Basunia’s wife Anjali and son Mriganka were relieved to hear the sentence. “I am relieved that the verdict has finally come. However, I am not happy that front-ranking leaders of the CPM in the district, who were directly linked to my husband’s murder, are still roaming around,” Anjali said.
She remembered that following the murder, senior Congress leaders, including Pranab Mukherjee, had visited her home.
The verdict was read out by additional district sessions judge (special), Bibek Chowdhury.
“My husband was an MA in political science and a brilliant student of ABN Seal College. He had sat for the IAS examination and qualified twice, in 1968 and 1969. But he could not join both the times as police verifications were not sent on time because of the CPM’s intervention,” said Anjali.
She said Basunia had left a teaching job in 1970 and joined the Congress as a full-time worker. “He was a member of the railway board when Ghani Khan Chowdhury was the railway minister. He would have been 66 today,” she said.
Arun Chowdhury, a district secretariat member of the CPM, said an appeal would be made to the higher court against today’s verdict.
Rape victim extends help – CPM crimes against humanity ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Cooch Behar, July 30: A 36-year-old housewife was raped allegedly by a CPM member at Ghoksadanga last night, seven years after six members of the party had gangraped a woman in a nearby village.
The rape victim of 2003, Runu Das, today stood by the housewife and said she would help her get justice.
“I myself was raped by local CPM leaders and workers. When I heard of yesterday’s incident, I took her to the police station and lodged a complaint. I will fight for her so that Ananda Dey is put behind bars. We will also gherao Mathabhanga police station on August 1 to demand his arrest,” said Runu, who is now a Trinamul Congress member.
The housewife alleged that Ananda Dey had raped her at her home in the Mathabhanga subdivision around 9.30pm.
The Cooch Behar district president of Trinamul, Rabindranath Ghosh, said the party was behind the housewife in her fight for justice. “We will gherao the police station if the culprit is not arrested. We are also keeping a close watch on yesterday’s victim who has been sent for a medical examination.”
Additional superintendent of police Amit Javalgi said the accused was absconding and efforts were on to arrest him.
According to the police, the woman stays alone and her husband works as a carpenter in Jaigaon. Taking advantage of the situation, the accused raped her and fled the area. Her two-year-old daughter was in the house next door. Ghoksadanga is 30km from here.
CPM leader of Mathabhanga Arun Chowdhury said he was not aware of the incident and would refrain from commenting.
Runu was firm in her resolve. “I had come out in the open and fought for justice. The woman who was raped last night needs my help. People in the state know that I am a rape victim and how I fought the CPM. I am not afraid of anything.”
Runu was gangraped by the six CPM members on February 22, 2003 at the house of her in-laws. After the incident, she was driven out of her in-laws’ house in Chheramari. Since then, she and her three children have been living in a neighbouring village with her parents.
The six are serving a 10-year jail term.
Members of the National Commission for Women and Mamata Banerjee had visited Runu after the incident. Trinamul made the rape a major issue and won six gram panchayats in rural body elections.
Bullet fury spills over on second day Blaze, bandh and benched cops – the dilemma of political impartiality ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Islampur, July 30: Violence renewed this morning and torched buses were set ablaze again as a mob went on the rampage during a bandh in Srikrishnapur where a police firing on a school campus killed a guardian yesterday.
Islampur town and adjoining Srikrishnapur were shut and traffic on the busy NH31 was held up for 10 hours because of the bandh called by the SUCI, which was supported by all the parties. Seven policemen have been suspended for their role in the firing on the Srikrishnapur High School campus.
Ganesh Gayen, the purported owner of the land adjacent to the school over which the violence and firing took place, was also arrested.
Bandh supporters set up road blockades in Islampur and Srikrishnapur from 6am, despite requests from the subdivisional administration to keep the national highway out of the purview of the protest.
After the death of Dipak Mirdha on the school premises yesterday, sub-inspector B.N. Ghosh and four constables had been placed under suspension pending departmental inquiry and block land reforms officer B. Banerjee was asked to go on leave by Islampur subdivisional officer Partha Ghosh. Three other policemen were suspended today.
The firing was provoked after the BLRO, accompanied by the policemen had come with Gayen, to take possession of an acre of land adjacent to the school. They were armed with an order issued by the additional district magistrate The teachers, students and guardians had protested the land take-over, leading to the violence and firing.
The school will remain shut till the situation calms down. “We have decided to keep the school closed till the situation normalises,” said headmaster Swapan Pal.
Echoing yesterday’s demand, CPM state committee member Sudhir Biswas said the local people want the suspended policemen, the BLRO, and Gayen to be booked for murder. “If this demand is not met, we will launch an intense agitation,” Biswas threatened.
Additional superintendent of police Annappa E said a case had been started against the policemen on the basis of a complaint filed by the headmaster of the school.
The subdivisional officer held an all-party meeting in the afternoon. He said a proposal has been sent to the government to compensate the next of kin of the dead and free treatment for the injured.
On NH31, the highway connecting Siliguri to Purnea More hundreds of passengers were stranded in their buses for almost over 10 hours till 4pm when traffic resumed.
Kalyan Das, who was travelling to Siliguri from Calcutta, was among those who got stuck. “We did not know about the bandh and with all shops closed, we had nothing to eat or drink. Such bandhs should not be called,” he said.
The secretary of the CPM’s zonal committee, Swapan Guha Neogy, blamed the Congress and the Trinamul Congress for blocking the highway, although The Telegraph saw his party supporters set up a picket too (see picture).
The Congress chairman of the Islampur municipality, Kanhaialal Agarwal, said the blockades had been set up by the “enraged public”.
Air of revolt against axe order – police looking for political patronage ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Raiganj, July 30: A section of policemen in North Dinajpur has threatened not to carry arms while going for law and order duties because of the spate of suspensions.
Eleven policemen have been suspended in five days in the district. Official sources said four policemen were suspended on July 25 for allegedly torturing to death a high school employee at Kotar police camp the previous night, while seven were punished after a guardian was shot dead in Srikrishnapur high school yesterday.
Himanshu Saha, the district secretary of the Non-gazetted Police Karmachari Samiti, said: “We shall not carry arms while on law and order duty. Let senior officials including the district superintendent of police carry arms till the suspension orders are withdrawn.” The policemen would not take any further risk while on law and order duty. They would go unarmed and with folded hands to control a mob, Saha said.
“If we take any firm step to deal with a mob involved in destroying government properties, we are taken to task. Even if we fail to control any rampaging crowd, we are punished. Things cannot go like that,” Saha said.
The association leader claimed that yesterday four policemen were on duty when thousands of people started throwing stones targeting them. The crowd had set fire to a number of police vehicles. The four had to resort to firing in self-defence and also to protect government properties.
But the additional district superintendent of police and other senior officials who arrived there later announced that they had suspended the four policemen “to please the crowd,” Saha said.
In deference to the demand of the local people, the additional SP also announced that a murder case under Section 302 would be initiated against the suspended policemen after receiving the post-mortem report, Saha said. “We have voiced our resentment to the officer against this.”
Recalling that four constables had been benched after they picked up a high school employee from a gambling den, Saha claimed that the person had died on way to hospital but the men in khaki were blamed for the death.
The Congress-affiliated Paschim Banga Police Association state president Bijitaswa Rout also voiced concern about the district police authorities’ attitude towards the lower rung personnel.
“This has a direct bearing on the morale of the policemen. We shall take up the matter with the director-general of police.” Rout said. “If required, my organisation is ready to sit with the district police authorities to seek redress.”
Additional district superintendent of police Annapa E. admitted that the policemen were faced public wrath if they took any stern action against a mob.
“It has really been creating a problem for the policemen. But I cannot comment on the department’s decision against the policemen,” Annapa E said.