GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL REALITY: Chances high of tribal company for Morcha – Adivasis wait for invite to join Delhi talks – interesting to make diplomatic overtures and grant some face ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Aug. 12: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha may include representatives of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad’s Terai-Dooars regional unit in the delegation for the August 17 tripartite talks in New Delhi.
A final decision will be taken at the Morcha’s central committee meeting scheduled to be held in a day or two.
“The Parishad’s letter to our president, Bimal Gurung, has been received well within the party, and their comments are being seriously considered,” said a Morcha insider. “At our central committee meeting, we will also decide whether to include Parishad members in our delegation for the Delhi talks.”
On August 7, the president of the Parishad’s Terai-Dooars regional unit, John Barla, had written to Gurung, expressing the desire to work closely with the Morcha, provided seven conditions were met. Among the conditions was a change in the nomenclature of the Morcha’s proposed Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh — the state that it wants — to one that did not include the name of any particular community.
“The central committee of our party will meet in a day or two as only five days are left before the next round of talks,” said Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the media and publicity secretary of the Morcha.
“A number of issues, including the Parishad’s letter, will be discussed in detail.”
Chhetri said as the Morcha and the Parishad had been “struggling on similar issues”, the two outfits could reach a consensus.
“There are a couple of demands like reservations and protection of interests, which we would have considered even if the Parishad had not mentioned them specifically. However, there are a few points we need to discuss before we convey our opinion to the Parishad leaders,” he said. “Nevertheless, we are positive that we can ultimately reach a consensus.”
A Morcha leader said after a consensus was reached, the party would consider whether the Parishad should be included for the next round of talks in Delhi.
“We could then inform Delhi that our delegation would include members of the Parishad as well,” the Morcha leader said.
Political observers said if Parishad leaders accompanied the Morcha, it would help the hill party prove its point on the issue of territory, one of the key stumbling blocks in the negotiation process.
The Morcha is demanding that the new state and the interim set-up should include not only the Darjeeling hills but also the Terai and the Dooars where the tribals are in a majority.
Parishad leaders said they were awaiting a reply from the Morcha. “Till date, no formal reply from their end has reached us. We are, however, optimistic that our demands would be accepted,” said Rajesh Lakra, secretary of the Dooars Terai regional unit of the Parishad.
Maken reveals CM objection to July 24 meet – a brilliant move, face saving for Bengal ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Aug. 12: Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had wanted the Centre to defer the tripartite meeting with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on July 24 because of the public resentment over the murder of ABGL chief Madan Tamang, the Rajya Sabha was informed yesterday.
Union minister of state for home affairs Ajay Maken also said the Centre would continue to hold talks with the Morcha to find a solution to the Gorkhaland issue.
“The chief minister had felt that sitting with the leaders of GJM (Morcha) would send a wrong signal to those who want peace and democracy to be restored in the hills. Subsequently, however, after discussion with Union home minister (P. Chidambaram), the government of West Bengal agreed to participate at the tripartite talks which were held in New Delhi on July 24,” Maken said in reply to a question by Jharna Das Baidya, a CPM member from Tripura.
Baidya wanted to know why the Centre had held talks with the Morcha and if there had been objection from the Bengal chief minister to the meeting.
ABGL chief Madan Tamang was murdered by a khukuri-wielding mob in Darjeeling on May 21.
With several top leaders of the Morcha being named in the FIR, the state wanted the Union government to defer the sixth round of talks.
State urban development minister and Siliguri MLA Asok Bhattacharya, who had attended the earlier talks held at the political level with his cabinet colleague Surya Kanta Mishra, openly criticised the Centre for convening a meeting with the Morcha accused of masterminding Tamang’s assassination.
He even refrained from attending the July 24 talks, and the state sent only Mishra and senior officials to the meeting.
Cops kick off soccer tournament to win hill hearts – football diplomacy the winning goal ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Darjeeling, Aug. 12: Director general of police Bhupinder Singh today kicked off a football tournament at Dali police ground, hoping there would be no hiccups in the law enforcers’ efforts to reach out to the people of the hills this year.
The Police-Public Friendship Trophy, organised by Darjeeling police, is expected to witness the participation of 15 local clubs. A similar tournament organised by the police last year had been thwarted by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
The earlier tournament, planned at all the police stations in the district, could not be completed at many places as the Morcha floated simultaneous parallel matches, accusing the police of trying to lure the youths from agitation.
Although the Morcha had not officially boycotted the police matches, the message was clear when the party announced its own tourney. Most of the teams, which had already started playing in the police tournament, did not turn up later and instead, rolled the ball in the Morcha matches.
However, things appear to be moving smoothly this time with tripartite talks involving the Morcha and the central and state governments scheduled for August 17.
The Morcha has not yet announced any parallel tournament and the police, too, have acted smartly by organising the tournament only at Dali and not all the police stations.
Singh hoped that the tournament would provide an opportunity for the police to interact with the local population.
“We had started a similar tournament at Lalgarh and two players were selected for training with Bayern Munich in Germany. One player is slated to leave the country in August, while the other will go to Germany after three-four months,” said Singh.
However, there would be no Lalgarh type opportunities for outstanding players in the hills.
Bengal’s top cop also reminisced his stay in Darjeeling as a young police officer in 1976 by talking about “the great history and tradition of Darjeeling’s Gold Cup”.
ABGL delegation – assurances galore, but who exactly to be caught ?!!
The DG today assured a three-member ABGL delegation led by party president Bharati Tamang that police would not allow the people involved in the murder of Madan Tamang to go scot-free.
Football and friendship in Hills – with a level playing field ?!!
From The Times of India
By Deep Gazmer,
DARJEELING, Aug 13, 2010, 01.15am IST (TNN): It’s a PR model that worked well in troubled Lalgarh. Now, the government is replicating it in the Hills. All it requires is a ball and a level playing field.
“Such tournaments will give police a great opportunity to interact and build relations with the Hills citizens
especially the younger generation,” said Bhupinder Singh, the state director general of police, while throwing open the tournament at the Dali police ground in Darjeeling.
The police-public relationship in the Hills has touched a nadir ever since GJM took charge of the Gorkhaland movement. It hasn’t helped that police have played a minimal role, doing little to make their presence felt at a time of escalating tension and uncertainty. The district police had organized a tournament last year as well, but it proved to be a flop. For, GJM had kicked off a parallel tournament, which saw huge participation.
Speaking at the inauguration on Thursday, Singh said: “The Hills have an amazing history of organizing such events. I was in Darjeeling as the assistant superintendent of police during the 1996 Gold Cup. I know this tournament, too, will be a success,” said Singh.
Called the Police and Public Friendship Football Tournament, the authorities believe that apart from building bridges with the people, it will also provide an opportunity to hunt for football talent.
“We know there is plenty of talent in the Hills. We’ve organized this tournament to spot them,” said Indrajit Thapa, officer-in-charge of Darjeeling Sadar police station.
Sixteen teams from schools and local clubs are participating in the event. The winning team will receive Rs 10,000 while the runners-up will get half the amount.
But the biggest incentive for youngsters is that the most promising among them will find a place in football academies with the help of police.
“We will scout for deserving and talented players and help them get admission and training in football academies in the state. We hope this will provide the youths with a better future,” said Thapa.
Protest garland for teacher – fed up with corruption in education ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Aug. 12: Youth Congress workers today tried to garland the daughter of a CPM-dominated teachers’ union leader to protest alleged corruption and nepotism in the recruitment of primary school teachers in Jalpaiguri district.
The protesters also removed the chair of the Jalpaiguri District Primary School Council’s head from his chamber and placed it in the middle of the road.
Around 12.30pm, the Youth Congress members, including women, reached Hargilapukuri BFP School where Soumita, the daughter of district president of the All Bengal Teachers’ Association Monoranjan Bhadra, had joined as a teacher on August 3.
“Initially, we requested her to resign from the job as there were malpractices in the recruitment process,” said Saikat Chatterjee, the Jalpaiguri district Youth Congress president. “But she insisted that she got the job on merit and our workers became angry. One of our woman supporters tried to put a garland around her neck to congratulate her. She tore the garland and abused us.”
Chatterjee said Soumita’s appointment was an instance of favouritism in the selection drive. “She scored only 61.02 per cent in Madhyamik exams. But many candidates, who had secured over 80 per cent marks, did not find a place on the final list of applicants chosen for teacher jobs. The recruitment was supposed to be made on the basis of marks the candidates had secured in Class X exams, along with the scores in written tests and viva-voce,” he added.
Soumita, on the other hand, alleged that the Youth Congress workers had misbehaved with her. “They were shouting slogans and demanding that I quit the job. I felt insulted when they tried to garland me. I have got the job on merit and there is no question of any favouritism,” she said.
The school is located at Konpakhri in Sadar Block, 15km from Jalpaiguri.
The Youth Congress workers returned from the school around 2pm and their next destination was the council office in Jalpaiguri town.
“We entered council chairman Mrinal Pal’s chamber and brought down his nameplate, as he no longer deserves to be in the post. We took his chair outside and placed it in the middle of DBC Road,” said Chatterjee. “He is the main man behind the corruption and does not have the right to remain as chairman. That is why we expressed our protest in this manner.”
Law enforcers from Kotwali police station reached the spot and took back the chair to the chamber.
Several candidates, whose results had been withheld, launched a demonstration outside the council office yesterday. “After the publication of the final list, we found that our results had been put on hold. We approached the state school education department and came to know that there are 295 such candidates, whose results have been withheld,” said Jayanta Roy, a job applicant.
“There is utter confusion as the council chairman is not attending his office and nobody else is in a position to say what our exact status is.”
Bangla boys plead for release – better of at home, fed-up with Bengal so soon ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Raiganj, Aug. 12: Seven Bangladeshi boys lodged in the social welfare department’s home here petitioned the principal of the facility yesterday to make arrangements for their return home.
The minors have already served their sentences for infiltrating into India.
The request comes after the Juvenile Justice Board recommended the release of four boys and a girl. All five children, including siblings Krishna and Anima Barman, were sent back to Bangladesh on August 9.
One of the children Ratan Chandra Roy said he and his friends, Kanto Roy and Gobindo Roy, had entered India through the border at Goalpokhar in July last year. They were caught by the BSF.
“My uncle lives in Goalpokhar. I and my friends had come to attend his wedding. Our sentence expired on May 28. We have been asking the authorities of the home to allow us to return to our village in Songaon,” said the 19-year-old.
Fifteen-year-old Dilbar Hussain said he used to study in Class IX in a school in Haripur village and he has lost a year because of his confinement here. “I completed my term in May last year but I am still here. The authorities should arrange for our return within two weeks,” he said.
Partha Sarathi Das, the principal of the home Suryodaya, said: “I have read their appeal and I have sent a detailed report to the district magistrate today.” District magistrate Sunil Dandapat said he would see to it that the boys returned to their homes soon.
The deputy inspector-general of the BSF’s Raiganj sector, Jashwant Singh, said he would get in touch with the Bangladesh Rifles the moment he got information from the district administration. “Then we will fix a date for their return,” he said.
MEANWHILE: IN BRIEFS FROM THE TELEGRAPH
Woman held for kidnap
Alipurduar, Aug. 12: A woman has been arrested for allegedly kidnapping a minor girl from Kalchini Tea Estate. The girl has been rescued.
The girl’s mother Pampa Sarki had lodged an FIR on July 31, saying her 17-year-old daughter was kidnapped by Heera Lama of Chinchula Tea Estate on the afternoon of July 29. Yesterday police received information that Heera had been spotted in the Kalchini area with the girl. The tip-off prompted the police to conduct a raid and arrest Heera. The girl, too, was rescued. During interrogation, the police came to know that Heera had taken the girl to Kashmir. Yan David Lepcha, SDPO, Alipurduar, said: “Both will be produced in the court of the ACJM of Alipurduar tomorrow and the girl will be handed over to her guardians.”
Siliguri: Running of night trains in Assam, except the Lumding-Badarpur-Silchar-Agartala section, would remain suspended from August 14 to 17, the Northeast Frontier Railway said on Thursday. According to the authorities, 26 trains, mostly local passenger trains and intercity expresses, have been cancelled for three days. Five long distance trains including the Kanchanjunga Express will be terminated before entering Assam. Nine long distance trains have been rescheduled and the services of 12 trains would be regulated throughout the routes. Four pairs of special trains would run in different routes of north Bengal and Assam during these days to mitigate the inconvenience of passengers.
Siliguri: Pulak Ghosh, Bipul Sarkar, Samir Das and N.T. Sherpa, were arrested from Debidanga on Thursday for allegedly assaulting a woman who runs an eatery in the area. Umesh Singh, the woman’s husband, had filed a complaint with the Pradhannagar police on the basis of which the arrests were made.