BENGAL POLITICS IN THE NORTH: Bungalow turns road protest site – ‘Luxury’ tag for PWD building – blatant examples of what Bengal has done critically wrong, days in office now numbered ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Oct. 21: A “luxurious” bungalow being built by the public works department in Jalpaiguri was today turned into a scene of protest by people venting their ire on the state government for its failure to repair roads in north Bengal
Members of the Jalpaiguri district committee of the West Bengal Government Employees’ Federation (Unified) today demonstrated in front of the bungalow, accusing public works minister Kshiti Goswami and PWD officials for not meeting the deadlines they themselves had set for the repair of the bumpy roads.
“It is a shame that instead of taking initiative for the early completion of road repairs, the minister and his officials are busy making luxurious arrangements for them,” said Sanjib Chatterjee, the Jalpaiguri district secretary of the federation which is allegiant to the Congress. “When common people are dying or suffering injuries on the roads, the PWD is finishing posh bungalows in Jalpaiguri and Madarihat by spending more than Rs 1 crore,” he said during the demonstration.
The bungalows are scheduled to be inaugurated by Goswami in the last week of October, said PWD sources.
“Public money has been used to build these luxurious buildings where the minister and his sycophants would relax and pamper themselves. The funds could have been spent to repair substantial stretches of the bad roads where thousands of people have been encountering problems every hour for the past seven-eight months,” Chatterjee said.
The sources said the PWD had constructed the two-storied bungalow on the bank of the Karala with Rs 75 lakh. Unlike the other rest houses owned by the department, the Jalpaiguri property is considered swanky as it has two suits, three deluxe rooms, lounge and dining and conference halls. A garden and dome will be added attractions of the bungalow.
The protesters numbering around 20 also observed a minute’s silence in memory of those who had died in road accidents in the past few months.
The PWD is in charge of NH31, NH55 and five state highways passing through Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts.
Chatterjee said a similar protest would be held on the day of the bungalow’s inauguration (probably on October 26) also. “We plan to hang a photo of the PWD minister in front of the bungalow with a writing that he has the habit of speaking lies,” he said.
Goswami had convened several meeting to discuss the condition of the highways and promised speedy completion of the repair at least two times. He said craters would be filled and the roads would be made suitable for travel before Puja. As the roads continue to be in a dilapidated state, bus owners have threatened to launch a strike after Diwali.
Trinamul leader killed in Malda -Turf wars claim four lives in 15 days, finger at CPM – the blatant lust for power without any manifestation of the least responsibility ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Malda, Oct. 21: The bullet-ridden body of a Trinamul Congress leader was found in a mango orchard in Sujapur this morning, the fourth person to fall to political rivalry in the constituency in the past 15 days.
With Trinamul Congress making inroads into north Bengal, bitter turf wars have broken out in recent times between the CPM and Mamata Banerjee’s party in many pockets of Malda. Clashes between the Congress, a Trinamul ally, and the CPM is a regular feature in the district.
The death of Rinzu Biswas, a resident of Biswaspara in Sujapur who had been abducted yesterday, is suspected to be a fallout of the turf battle especially at a time many CPM supporters are switching sides to join Trinamul.
Trinamul and the Congress that has lost three members have accused the CPM of masterminding the murders. The Congress members were killed in adjoining Kaliachak that is part of Sujapur constituency.
With the exchange of charges and the palpable tension in the area, a police picket has been posted in Sujapur.
The 26-year-old Trinamul branch committee president had gone to visit his in-laws’ house at Jadupur, 10km away. Around 5.30pm yesterday, he started for his home on a motorcycle and was soon stopped by eight-nine persons at Hatimari, only half a kilometre from his house and part of the Sujapur gram panchayat that had been grabbed by the CPM in 2008 from the Congress. The Assembly constituency of Sujapur though still remains with the Congress.
Witnesses to the abduction had informed the Biswas family who filed a police complaint. Despite the police launching a search operation Rinzu could not be traced.
“But this morning, his body with bullet injuries on the chest, abdomen and shoulder, was found in a mango orchard near Nazirpur-Chamagram, nearly 2km from Sujapur,” a police officer said. The body was sent to Malda District Hospital for post-mortem. Rinzu was a mango merchant and a labour contractor.
“The murder is a handiwork of CPM-backed goons. Over the past few months, the strength of Trinamul has been increasing in Sujapur and many CPM workers and leaders are enrolling with us. This has become a cause of concern for the CPM which is why they have resorted to violence,” said Mojahar Hossain, the Kaliachak block Trinamul president.
Sabitri Mitra, the Malda district Trinamul president, blamed the CPM and the Congress for harbouring “anti-socials” to create panic.
“Since these parties have failed to stop people from joining Trinamul, they are abducting and killing people now. We will soon organise a movement to protest such murders and atrocities and demand stern police action,” Mitra said. Mazkura Biwi, Rinzu’s mother, has filed a complaint at Kaliachak police station, naming nine persons. The list of accused includes Meheru Sheikh, Lassu Khan, Zahirul Sheikh, Ekap Sheikh and Tinku Khan, all of them local criminals.
Abu Hashem Khan Choudhury, the Malda district Congress president and MP, has accused the police of inaction. “Over the past 15 days, four persons have been murdered in Kaliachak. On October 6, miscreants gunned down Rabeka Biwi, the 55-year-old wife of a Congress leader at Bamangram. Piyari Sheikh, another Congress worker, suffered bullet injuries the same day. Malek Sheikh, another from our party, was also murdered,” he said.
On October 9, CPM-backed criminals murdered Nitu Sheikh, a Congress worker from Sujapur, the MP alleged. “The police have badly failed. They could not arrest the culprits who had committed the murder and we suspect a section of them is backing the CPM.
“The superintendent of police is incompetent and has failed to uphold law and order in Malda district. We will write to the chief minister, the DGP and IGP (north Bengal), demanding his immediate transfer. Also, our PCC leaders will be intimated,” he added.
Jiban Moitra, the CPM district secretary of Malda, has brushed aside the allegations. “These murders are consequences of clashes between mafia members. There is no politics in it. The youth’s death was a result of a gang war,” Moitra said.
Malda police chief Bhuban Mondal said the culprits in two of the four murder cases have been arrested. “Some of them are absconding. We are conducting raids to catch them.”
MADAN TAMANG MURDER INVESTIGATION: Attached: trunks, clothes – Police seize movable properties of Madan murder accused – a desperate move of a desperate regime, winning the hearts and minds to further separation from Bengal ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY VIVEK CHHETRI
Darjeeling, Oct. 21: Darjeeling police have started attaching properties of absconders in the Madan Tamang murder case following a court order but so far all they have managed to attach are trunks and clothes of the accused who do not have assets like houses in their names.
The ABGL has dubbed the attachment exercise an “eye wash” and “a big drama”.
Police sources said properties of three absconders had been confiscated till late this evening. All three — Tenzing Khambachay, Kamal Sinha and Arun Moktan — are supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
An advocate based in Darjeeling said: “Immovable properties are not seized usually if they are used by family members. If the house is in the name of the absconder, then it cannot be sold to anyone in future.”
The police swooped down on the houses of Khambachay at Jawahar Busty, Sinha at MP Road and Moktan at Gandhi Road in Darjeeling last night.
Kamal’s father Kumar Sinha told The Telegraph: “We clearly told the police that my son was an unemployed youth and he had contributed nothing for the house. I worked in Delhi for 22 years and this flat has been made with my hard earned money.”
An officer said two trunks (boxes) and some clothes were attached at Sinha’s house, while the police seized a suitcase and “few chairs” from Moktan’s residence.
The properties attached from Khambachay’s house include a trunk and clothes.
Thirty Morcha activists were named in the chargesheet filed by the CID on August 30 for their alleged involvement in the murder of ABGL president Madan Tamang. Of the 30, only seven have been arrested so far. Tamang was hacked to death by a khukuri-wielding mob in Darjeeling on May 21 morning.
The attachment process has come under attack from the ABGL.
“It is merely an eyewash and part of a big drama. The police have been making noises for the past two months that the properties would be attached and there was speculation that the absconders would remove the valuables from their houses. Let us wait and see how this drama unfolds in the days to come,” said Dawa Sherpa, the working president of the ABGL.
The police started attaching the properties after the court of the chief judicial magistrate in Darjeeling rejected an application filed by the CID to start the process for the trial of the seven arrested persons.
S.P. Rajak, the chief judicial magistrate, rejected the plea on October 11 saying the police had not submitted an execution report on the Warrant of Proclamation and Attachment (WPA) issued against the absconders. This essentially meant that the court wanted to know whether adequate measures had been taken to force the absconders to surrender before the court by attaching their properties. The WPA against the 23 named in the CID’s chargesheet had been issued by the court between September 4 and 8.
According to the lawyers, once the execution report is submitted by the police, the chief judicial magistrate will split the case between those who have been arrested and those who are absconding. After that, the case of the arrested persons will be committed (referred) to the session court for trial as the offence can only be tried there.
The absconders, including two women, have been booked under Sections 147/148 (rioting/rioting with deadly weapons), 149 (unlawful assembly), 427 (mischief causing damage), 506 (criminal intimidation), 302 (murder) and 120 (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
The trial will involve examining 61 witnesses, including Bharati Tamang and Sanjog Tamang, wife and son of Madan Tamang.