GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Oct. 11 talks – GNLF on return home campaign by metamorphosis into ABGLF ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU
Oct. 1: The next round of official-level talks between the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the state and the central governments will take place in Delhi on October 11, Union home minister P. Chidambaram said today.
Confirming that the party has been informed about the new date, Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said in Darjeeling: “We have received a letter from the joint secretary of the ministry of home affairs, J.K. Chattopadhyay, informing us that the next round of talks will be held on October 11. We are expecting the talks to centre around the composition of the interim set-up, the election process and the transfer of the tauzi department.” The tauzi department looks after the land vested with the tea gardens.
In the Morcha rival camp, Subash Ghisingh’s silence on the politics of the Darjeeling hills has prompted more leaders and supporters from the GNLF to join the ABGL.
A former GNLF councillor from Kafer in Kalimpong subdivision Tshering Sherpa, gram panchayat pradhan of Nimbong Kamal Katwal, and retired bureaucrat Teka Khati today joined the ABGL at its office in Ladenla Road this afternoon.
They were accompanied by ABGL vice-president Rajen Mukhia, a former GNLF leader from Panighata, in a 20-car motorcade that came up to the hills.
“Since Ghisingh is choosing to remain silent and has no political programme for quite some time, we have decided to quit the GNLF and join the ABGL. The politics of revenge and the chasing out of people from the hills should come to an end immediately. Everyone must work for the development of the hills,” said Sherpa, whose house in Kafer had been vandalised allegedly by Morcha members.
Khati, who was also chased out of the hills and presently resides in Siliguri, said: “We are trying to come back and restore the democratic rights of the people.”
BENGAL’s SNIDE POLITICS: Mamata dares CM to visit Darjeeling – sad and unrighteous dare, adding insult to injury, shows Bengal’s continued political culture which can never come close to British political grace, even though colonialist when forced to quit India ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
Calcutta, Oct. 1: Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today dared chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to visit Darjeeling, where he had not gone in “the last 10 years” and accused him of neglecting the hills.
Mamata was reacting to Bhattacharjee’s accusation at a rally here this afternoon that the Trinamul leader had visited Darjeeling earlier this week “to join hands with those who want to divide this state”.
At a rally of the CPM-backed Paschimbanga Ganatantrik Mahila Samity in Calcutta, Bhattacharjee said: “The Trinamul leader is visiting the hills and waving her hand at people who want to divide the state. Why did she visit the hills? What was her intention? Actually, she went there to join hands with those who want to divide this state. They are saying it’s for railway work. But railway work is being done only through advertisements in newspapers by spending lakhs of rupees.”
In response, Mamata said this evening: “I am tired of reacting to Buddha babu’s nervous outbursts. Now, he is attacking me for visiting Darjeeling. If he had some love for the hills and the people out there, he should have visited Darjeeling. But why didn’t he go there in the past 10 years? Is Darjeeling outside India?”
Accusing the CPM government of neglecting the hills for over three decades, Mamata said: “The state government has tried to create a divide between the people of the hills and the plains. Actually, Buddha babu is jealous of the very fact that I went to the hills and got a warm reception from the people there. He cannot tolerate people of the hills, as they don’t like the CPM. They have seen through the CPM’s game.’’
Even though Mamata accused Bhattacharjee of not visiting Darjeeling in the past 10 years, the district administration said the chief minister had gone to the hill town in February 2006 to lay the foundation stone of the Balasun drinking water project as well as to meet Subash Ghisingh, the then caretaker administrator of the DGHC. This was more than one-and-a-half-years before Bimal Gurung floated the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in October 2007, bringing an end to the GNLF’s rule in the hills.
Mamata today said the hill people wanted peace to prevail there and she had got a “heart-warming reception’’ from them.
“The reception and the felicitation that I got from the hill people can never be forgotten. It was very heart-warming. I went there as railway minister and hence, didn’t hold any party rally. The hill people want peace, which the CPM doesn’t want. The party wants to create a divide between the hills and the plains. Seventy-two hours have elapsed since my visit. Have you heard of any trouble since then?” she asked.
Reacting to Mamata’s comment, CPM’s Darjeeling district secretary Jibesh Sarkar said: “The chief minister can always visit the hills if he wants to. Police are there to ensure his visit. But he doesn’t want to make the condition of the hill people difficult by going there as the Morcha is against our party and will create problems.”
AND FROM THE NATION PAGE
Mamata dares CM to visit hills – no question of division, as Darjeeling & Dooars were never historically Bengal’s except for the ungrateful folly of the British, who didn’t quite understand colonialist the Bengal psyche – now playing to Bengal sentiments to the very hilt ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
Calcutta, Oct. 1: Mamata Banerjee today accused Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee of “neglecting” the hills and dared him to visit Darjeeling, hours after the chief minister alleged that the Trinamul Congress chief had gone to Darjeeling to “join hands with those who want to divide the state”.
Mamata, who had gone on a two-day trip to the hills earlier this week, alleged Bhattacharjee had “not visited Darjeeling in the past 10 years”.
At a rally in Calcutta today, Bhattacharjee said: “The Trinamul Congress leader visited the hills and waved her hand at people who want to divide the state. She went there to join hands with those who want to divide the state.”
Mamata had met Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders, including Bimal Gurung, during her visit.
“They are saying she had gone there on railway business. But railway work is being done only through advertisements in papers by spending lakhs of rupees,” the chief minister alleged.
When told about Bhattacharjee’s remarks, Mamata said: “I am tired of reacting to Buddhababu’s nervous outbursts. Now he is attacking me for visiting Darjeeling. If he had any love for the hills and the people there, he would have visited Darjeeling. But why didn’t he go there in the past 10 years? Is Darjeeling outside India?”
Accusing the Left Front government of neglecting the hills for over three decades, Mamata said: “The state government is trying to create a divide between the people of the hills and the plains. Buddhababu is jealous because I got a warm reception from the people of the hills. He cannot tolerate the people there as they don’t like the CPM.’’
However, the district administration said the chief minister had visited Darjeeling in February 2006 to lay the foundation stone for the Balasun drinking water project. He had met Subash Ghisingh, the then caretaker administrator of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, during the trip, the officials said.
Mamata said the people of the hills wanted peace. “I will not forget the reception I got from them. It was heart-warming. The hill people want peace, which the CPM doesn’t.”
Jibesh Sarkar, the CPM Darjeeling district secretary, said: “The chief minister can always visit the hills if he wants to. But he doesn’t want to create problems by coming here as the Morcha will create problems.”
PCPA cloud on rally
People’s Committee activists are going from door to door in Jungle Mahal, warning villagers against attending the chief minister’s rally in Midnapore town tomorrow. The local CPM leadership is, however, eager to marshal as many villagers as possible for the meeting.
BENGAL’s SILIGURI POLITICS: Exit blot on SMC anniversary – fingering the commie-congie nexus ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Oct. 1: Trinamul Congress councillors resigned from all the committees of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation today, the day the civic board completed a year in office.
While Trinamul leader Gautam Deb announced that they would no longer be part of the board any more, Congress mayor Gangotri Datta alleged that the Trinamul councillors seemed to have joined hands with the CPM to malign the board. She also ruled out her resigning from the post and dissolving the board.
Sources said the resignation of 14 Trinamul councillors from various civic committees would not have any impact on the functioning of the 47-ward SMC.
Deb said it was clear from the last meeting that the mayor wanted to run the board with the help of the Left Front. “When we wanted to expose the irregularities and corruption of the previous board run by the CPM, the mayor, instead of cooperating with us, was trying to protect the Left party. After completion of one year in office, the board, it seems, has deviated from its goal. If we continue with it, we will betray the common people of Siliguri who elected us. Keeping this in view, we have decided not to participate in the functioning of the board, unless they (the Congress) severed all ties with the CPM,” the Trinamul leader said.
Yesterday, the CPM leader of the Opposition in the SMC Nurul Islam said they were exploring the possibilities of tabling a no-confidence motion against the present board. Deb refused comment on the Left plan. “We don’t have any liability to rescue the board and we are not going to comment on what the CPM will do. Unless the present board is dissolved, there is no question of joining it,” Deb said.
Mayor Datta, who arrived from Calcutta this morning, ruled out the possibility of dissolving the board or her resigning from the post.
“Since the formation of the present board, all decisions have been taken after discussing them with Trinamul councillors. But it is unfortunate that the Trinamul leaders, instead of giving any constructive suggestions, criticised the board always. If the Trinamul councillors continue to blame us, I must say that they are with the CPM and are trying to malign our image. During the past one year, whatever we have achieved will be shared in a civic convention here on October 6,” she said.
EDUCATION: GJVM strike leaves IGNOU students in a lurch – no big issue, just for the Principal or any authorised official of the Darjeeling Government College to take a taxi ride down to Silla and pick up the said documents ?!! Unless of’course there is another hidden agenda behind the blockade ?!!
From The Himalayan Beacon
By Barun Roy
“IGNOU which had come as a boon for them has now become a nightmare”
DARJEELING, October 1, 2010: The strike called by the Gorkha Janmukti Vidyarthi Morcha in all the colleges in the hills have particularly left the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) students in a lurch. The IGNOU Study Centre based at Darjeeling Government College was to hold the ‘Induction Meeting’ for the new students but the same was postponed to 15th of November owing to the strike.
A number of students particularly registered with the Darjeeling Government College Study Centre have complained that after applying for admission they have neither received their identity cards, acknowledgement slips nor any other correspondence from either the IGNOU Siliguri Regional Centre or the Darjeeling Government College Study Centre. Those of the few who have received their Identity Cards, Acknowledgement Cards and an intimation for ‘Induction Meeting’ at Darjeeling Government College have been told to travel to Siliguri to collect their Study Materials when the University rules clearly state that the study materials including the assignments are dispatched directly through the Registered Post. The Regional Director of the IGNOU Siliguri Regional Centre, Dr. Yonah Bhutia upon being contacted by ‘The Himalayan Beacon’ said, “We have dispatched study materials to the respected Study Centres and the students of the said Study Centres can collect their study materials from their respective Study Centre. However, with reference to Darjeeling Government College Study Centre, we have been receiving complaints that the students are not collecting the study materials from the Study Centre leading to the same being returned to us. Hence, we have decided to make the study materials available for the students attached with the Darjeeling Government College Study Centre at the Regional Centre here in Siliguri.” Upon inquiring whether this kind of decision had effected the students, Dr. Bhutia, replied, “There was nothing that could be done. Thee students must travel to Siliguri to collect their study materials from the Regional Centre.”
Dr. Bhutia also acknowledged that there had been a delay in the dispatching of the identity cards and acknowledgement slips due to the extension of the admission date. He expressed regret especially to the Bachelor’s Preparatory Programme (BPP) students, a majority of whom though slated to appear for their exams in December this year have not yet received study materials and are yet to submit their assignments. When inquired about the non availability of the study materials at the Darjeeling College Study Centre, an official, who refused to be named, put the blame entirely upon the Siliguri Regional Centre for not sending identity cards, study materials and assignments in time.
Abhishek Tamang, a student of the University, speaking to ‘The Himalayan Beacon’ said, “I was supposed to sit for BPP examinations this December but I have neither received my study materials nor am now able to submit my assignments. I am not even able to fill up the examination form so that I could sit for the exams. Now I am told that I have to go to Siliguri to get my study materials. I don’t know when will I be able to study, then prepare my assignments, submit them then submit the examination form and then sit for the exams in December? The way I see it, it is never going to happen. But is there anyone to even hear our grievances?”
Nilendra Rai said, “How can the authorities especially at the Siliguri Regional Centre simply shrug off their responsibilities by saying that they regret the delay. We, the students should have received our identity cards, acknowledgement slips and study materials and assignments in time. It is only then that we can study and prepare the assignments and then submit them. When I called to inquire at the Siliguri Regional Centre, a lady who refused to identify herself said, you will get enough time to study. When the University states that the BPP Course is of 6 months duration and the BDP course that of 3 years with exams being held every annually, how can the Siliguri Regional Centre imply that the two months that the BPP students now have in their hands to study, submit their assignments and prepare for their exams or the BDP students who now have seven months to study, submit their assignments and prepare for their exams as ‘enough time’. This is definitely a callous attitude maintained by the officials of the IGNOU Siliguri Regional Centre towards the students of the University especially attached with the Darjeeling Government Regional Centre.”
Rabin Pradhan said, “Why do we have to travel to Siliguri to collect our study materials from the Siliguri Regional Centre when the University rules clearly specifies that the study materials along with assignments will be dispatched to the students at the address offered by them? When I was told to collect my study materials from the Siliguri Regional Centre I called them and asked why and they said, what do you mean why, aren’t you the student. I tried to explain to them that the University specified that the study materials will be dispatched through registered post then why was it that we particularly the students attached with the Darjeeling Government College were being forced to travel to Siliguri to collect our study materials, the officials at the Regional Centre had no answers.”
Sonam Sherpa a guardian of a student said, “Most of the students that apply for IGNOU from the Darjeeling Government Centre are young especially the girls. They cannot travel to Siliguri alone and have to be accompanied by a guardian. This involves a size-able expenditure of up to 1000 Rupees when in reality the students are not needed to either make such expenditure nor to travel to the Regional Centre to collect their study materials and the assignments. The harassment that they are receiving at the hands of Siliguri Regional Centre is tremendous. IGNOU which had come as a boon for them have now become a nightmare. I really don’t know how long will they have to suffer this kind of harassment at the hands of the Siliguri Regional Centre?”
ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES & POLITICALLY MOTIVATED MOBS: Mob torches forest barracks – rampage after villager’s death in encounter – ABAVP still instigating the Adivasis into crimes against the environment after dragging them into penury ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Alipurduar, Oct. 1: A forest barracks and a jeep were torched at the Gosaihat beat office this morning by villagers who were protesting the death of an alleged timber smuggler in an encounter with guards. The mob also set on fire a two-wheeler and ransacked the beat officer’s house.
The divisional forest officer of Jalpaiguri forest division, Kalyan Das, said guards patrolling the Khuttimari forest had spotted a group of men illegally carrying timber in a cart about 1.30am today.
“They were asked to stop and surrender, but they did not. When the foresters fired two rounds in the air, they were attacked by the timber smugglers with bows and arrows, daggers and stones. The guards fired back in self defence and one person was injured,” he said.
Das said the injured man and the cart-load of timber had been left behind by the gang.
The injured man, identified as 29-year-old Shyam Oraon from Khoklung forest village, was taken to the Dhupguri health centre, 14km from Gosaihat, where he breathed his last.
According to sources, a guard, Tiku Suri, and a banshramik, Mujiber Rehman, were injured in the stone throwing.
Both of them were admitted to Dhupguri primary health centre.
Incensed by the death of a fellow villager, a large number of people from Khoklung and Mela gathered in front of the beta office at Gosaihat, 85km from Alipurduar, about 9.45am.
“We were surrounded by hundreds of villagers. They were shouting and abusing us as they went on the rampage. We panicked and ran away as they were far more in numbers,” said a guard at the beat office.
Das said the mob had ransacked the beat officer’s quarters and set his motorbike on fire. “They torched the four-roomed barracks and a jeep as well. The forest staff could not resist as they were outnumbered. A large police force was sent to the spot from Banarhat police station, but no one could be arrested,” he said.
The villagers also turned a forest department’s mini lorry on its side. A guard, who was injured in the attack, was admitted to the Dhupguri health centre.
After the buildings were torched, the additional divisional forest officer, Dipanjan Dutta, reached the spot around 10.30am.
When Das and additional superintendent of police D. Mangalam reached Gosaihat from Jalpaiguri around 12.30pm, all able-bodied men had fled the villages.
“There were only women and elderly people present there. But we will conduct raids to arrest the arsonists. A police force will be posted at the beat office tonight,” said Das. He added that the forest employees whose barracks had been torched were now staying in a nearby forest rest house and vacant quarters. He also said an FIR had been lodged with the Banarhat police
According to Das, the timber smugglers were from Khoklung and Mela. “Since the encounter took place at night, our staff could not identify the gang members who numbered around 15. We have told the police to help us locate the gang,” he said.
Senior forest officers said there were a number of forest protection committees around the Khuttimari forest and they would be contacted to collect more details about the gang. “We will make an effort to convince the villagers to help us protect the forest more effectively and report to us any activities like timber smuggling and poaching,” said an officer.