BENGAL POLITICS IN DARJEELING & DOOARS: Won’t hand over DGHC to GJM on a platter: Buddha

BENGAL POLITICS IN DARJEELING & DOOARS: Won’t hand over DGHC to GJM on a platter: Buddha – who’s asking for the DGHC which has to be dissolved anyway for its un-constitutional presence in a secular India – the GRA is what the Centre and the Buddhadeb Govt did so much diplo-talk about, was it all hot air or just a dirty CPIM lie, as usual ?!!

 

Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at the rally in Calcutta on Tuesday. (Pradip Sanyal) - how much more naive and befuddled can Buddhadeb get ?!!

From The Times of India

 

KOLKATA, Dec 1, 2010, 04.58am IST (TNN): The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government will not succumb to the threat by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) to renew the government office boycott programme in Darjeeling from December 6, the day on which the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), the state and the Centre had entered into an agreement on the Sixth Schedule proposal in 2005.

In a terse message to Delhi, the chief minister said his government is not going to allow the GJM-led interim committee to run DGHC without a test of democracy. The state government wants to hold the long-pending panchayat and municipal elections in the Hills and hand over DGHC to the party that wins the polls. The CM said this on Tuesday, a day after a four-member GJM team, led by its general secretary Roshan Giri, went to Delhi to press for the interim arrangement.

Addressing a Left Front gathering at the Metro corridor in Kolkata on Tuesday, the CM said: “We have been telling GJM several times that the people of the Hills and the plains can stay together. A separate state that it has been demanding wouldn’t be to their benefit. The GJM leaders then wanted an interim committee to run DGHC. How is that possible, when Bimal Gurung’s party has never faced any election? The GJM wants us to give them DGHC on a platter. I told Delhi we can’t allow such things without holding elections. For, there are other parties in the Hills as well. Let the long-pending panchayat and the municipal elections happen first,” the CM said, calling GJM’s tactic a “ploy to divide Bengal”.

Nursing the sentiments of the majority Bengali in the plains, Bhattacharjee reminded that GJM even wanted to include Siliguri under DGHC. “Is Bengal on the verge of yet another division? They want Siliguri within DGHC,” the CM said.

Prior to this, the Bengal government had been toying with several proposals over giving more powers to the DGHC, in a bid to buy peace with GJM president Bimal Gurung. It possibly dropped the idea after witnessing the spontaneous reaction among the Hill people after the murder of Akhil Bhartiya Gorkha League (ABGL) president Madan Tamang.

Bhattacharjee took to this tactic hoping that it would have a double advantage.  The government’s tough stance would sound reassuring to Bengali voters in the plains who have been feeling insecure since GJM wanted Siliguri under DGHC. Secondly, the ruling CPM wants to tomtom its stand to take a dig at Trinamool Congress, which had entered into an informal understanding with “divisive forces” during the Rajganj bypolls in Jalpaiguri.

“The Trinamool chief went to the Hills but did not utter a word against GJM. Why did she go silent? She wants the unrest to continue and is even ready to join hands with them. The danger is that these forces are trying to split north Bengal by driving a wedge into the diverse demography represented by the Nepalese, Adivasis, Rajbanshis and Bengalis,” the CM said.

The CM said mentioned that Trinamool was “hand in glove with Maoist-led People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA) in Jangalmahal” to drive home the point.

“Hundreds of innocent people are being killed by Maoists in Jangalmahal innocent Adivasis, school teachers and poor people. They have set up a team of marauders hiding in the forests. These cowards do not have the courage to face the people. They come down to the plains, kill people and disappear into the forests. What is the Trinamool’s role? Trinamool and Maoist-led PCPA leaders are holding open meetings at Jhargram, taking a cue from the Trinamool chief’s meeting with Chhatradhar Mahato. We have been able to confine their activities in the areas bordering Orissa and Bihar while the Trinamool Congress is passing on information to Maoists,” the CM said.

Bhattacharjee reminded his listeners that some individuals with Trinamool leanings had held a press meet a day before the civic elections, blaming CPM for the Jnaneswari Express subversion in which 149 people were killed. “CBI has submitted a chargesheet against 17 PCPA men. Let Trinamool Congress now find out the six of them who are absconding,” the the CM said.

Polls before interim set-up, says CM – Votes will show party strengths – but won’t level the playing field by holding the ‘constitutional’ 3 tier system in Darjeeling District, the dirty little political liar and illegal land grabber, will he ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Calcutta, Nov. 30: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today ruled out the formation of the “interim committee” in the Darjeeling hills before local body elections in the region, declaring that only polls could show the strength of the political parties.

The chief minister urged the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha to first agree to the elections to the panchayats and the municipalities in the hills. “We have already made it clear to Delhi that we are not going to accept any interim committee in Darjeeling. They (Morcha) should first agree to the elections to the panchayats and municipalities. In such a case, the verdict will make it clear whose strength lies where,” Bhattacharjee said at a public meeting at the Metro Channel here this evening.

“How do we know whether the people want them (Morcha)? Besides, we want to hear out all the organisations in the hills. That only you (Morcha) will form a committee and run the hills is unacceptable to us.

“We will never let them (Morcha) occupy the seat of power in Darjeeling without an election. They must face the verdict of the people,” he added, stressing that he would not allow Darjeeling district to be divided.

The chief minister also appealed to the Morcha not to stall work in government offices and bring life to a standstill in the hills. “They have threatened to shut down government offices from December 6 and bring everything to a halt from December 20. I am pleading you: Please don’t do this. Who will suffer? The hill people.”

The Morcha has set a deadline of December 20 for the Centre and the state to establish the interim set-up in the hills, failing which it will shut down the region for 48 hours from the next day. To keep the momentum going till then, the party has also decided to organise rallies and meetings across the hills from December 5 and shut down all government offices from December 6.

The chief minister reminded that, in the event of a shutdown, tourism, hotel and transport businesses would be severely hit, leading to revenue loss for the hills.

Bhattacharjee also hauled up the Morcha for demanding Siliguri. “Mamarbarir abdar! (a phrase indicating audacity, which is allowed only in the maternal uncle’s house). This (inclusion of Siliguri) will never happen. In north Bengal, there is an effort to create a rift between the Nepalis and the Adivasis. Similar things are happening in Cooch Behar as well. What will happen to Bengal if everybody separates? We will not allow the division of Bengal.”

Bhattacharjee also criticised Mamata Banerjee without taking her name. “That person, she suddenly went off to Darjeeling but till now she had not made her stand clear: whether or not she wants Darjeeling to be divided. She has never said she did not want Gorkhaland to happen. The Trinamul Congress wants the hills to be in flames. And that is why she held secret talks with that hill party.”

On the situation in Jungle Mahal, the chief minister said the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA) does not require it to be banned. “We can tackle them politically and drive them out of Bengal into Orissa and Jharkhand,” he said.

Bhattacharjee said the Jnaneswari Express probe by the CBI and the subsequent chargesheet against 23 persons had revealed their identity and corroborated the Left Front version that Maoists were behind the attack.

“Just take a look at the chargesheet against these 23 persons. What will the Trinamul leader say now? She is not saying anything today because she had been lying earlier.”

Cops axed for custody death – axing enough, no criminal charges ?!! Hence the urgent need for a separate police commisionerate for the GRA ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Siliguri, Nov. 30: An assistant sub-inspector of police and a constable have been suspended for dereliction of duty in connection with the custodial death at the Pradhannagar lock-up yesterday.

The role of two others, a constable and a member of the National Volunteer Force, are under the scanner, police sources said. Those suspended are ASI Yukta Sarkar and constable Kameshwar Prasad Singh. “Based on preliminary investigations, two policemen have been suspended for dereliction of duty,” said D.P. Singh, the superintendent of police of Darjeeling.

The district police chief also said the post-mortem reports have confirmed suicide. “We have received post- mortem reports from the NBMCH wherein it has been suggested that he has committed suicide.”

Yesterday morning, Gautam Pal, a 30-year-old youth and a resident of Prakashnagar, was found dead at the lock-up of Pradhannagar police station. He had been in the police custody for three days and had reportedly hanged himself from the ventilator of the bathroom in the lock-up.

The death had led to daylong protests, demonstrations and road blockades, which were withdrawn after police and administration officials promised the agitators that action would be taken against the guilty cops.

Jiten Pal, Gautam’s brother, had filed a police complaint alleging that his brother had been tortured to death in custody. Gautam and two of his friends, Jaswant and Rajkumar, had been in custody since Friday when they were produced in court. They had been accused of motorcycle theft.

Yesterday, the additional chief judicial magistrate’s court here ordered a probe after Gautam’s custodial death was brought to its notice. “Bibhuti Khesang, the ACJM, has ordered Santanu Dutta, the judicial magistrate, first court, to carry out an investigation,” a court source said.

The protests over the custodial death continued even today. A delegation of the CPI-ML (New Democracy) submitted a memorandum to the SDO, demanding investigation and action against the policemen found guilty. Congress leaders, who had demonstrated throughout yesterday and had set a 24-hour deadline for the police to act, today said they would watch out for more developments.

“He was not a criminal or a thief. The police could have easily sorted out the issue but instead brought him under remand and resorted to torture,” said Shankar Malakar, an AICC member and former Darjeeling district Congress president.

WHILE JUST BELOW THE PLAINS OF DARJEELING

Brothers beaten up – Gadget Day: Assault over laptop safety, ransom texts reach wife for trader’s release – ganging up Bengal style over what they know is immorally wrong ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Durgapur, Nov. 30: Two men were beaten up for objecting to a co-passenger keeping his bag on their laptop on a Durgapur-bound bus yesterday.

Suman Sarkar, a doctor, and his brother Ayan were kicked and punched by the man and his four aides when they got off the bus at Durgapur’s City Centre terminus.

Suman, 32, who is attached to a Bankura hospital, and Ayan, 28, had boarded the bus yesterday from Calcutta to return home to Durgapur. Trouble started after a couple boarded the bus from Santragachhi.

Ayan, a WBCS aspirant, said: “The man put his bag on my brother’s laptop, which was kept on the luggage rack above our seat. There was enough empty space on the rack and we requested him to shift his bag. The bag looked quite heavy and it could damage the laptop.”

Ayan, who had accompanied Suman to Calcutta’s SSKM hospital yesterday, alleged the man started arguing and refused to move his bag.

He added: “We called the conductor. After some persuasion, the man removed his bag reluctantly but threatened to teach us a lesson once the bus reached Durgapur.”

As soon as the two brothers got off the bus at the City Centre terminus around 5.30pm, the man, in his 40s, and four of his aides surrounded them. “We asked them to let us go but suddenly, on of them hit me on my shoulder with an iron rod,” Ayan said.

He said as soon as he fell on the road, “another youth kicked me in the face”. Suman was also roughed up when he tried to save Ayan. Police from a nearby outpost rushed to the spot. But the attackers had fled by then.

Ayan was taken to Durgapur subdivisional hospital, where doctors advised him to consult an eye specialist. “My eyes and jaws are paining. My brother has suffered an injury in his right hand after being hit with a rod,” Ayan said.

Jeweller ‘abducted’ – criminal activity on a rapid rise ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Behrampore, Nov. 30: A Murshidabad jeweller was allegedly kidnapped on Sunday, with the abductors sending a text message from the trader’s mobile to his wife, demanding a ransom of Rs 10 lakh.

Sukdeb Dutta, 37, who is missing since Sunday, had told his wife Arpita over the phone early yesterday morning that he had been kept confined “to a dark room in Lalgola”.

Although Lalgola, in Murshidabad, is 45km from Behrampore, police said they had traced Dutta’s phone to Orissa, prompting the cops to suspect the jeweller had “staged his own kidnap”.

Arpita said her husband had left home for his shop at 10am on Sunday. The shop, located at Bandob Press More, is a five-minute walk from the Duttas’ Khagra home.

Arpita said at 2.42pm, she received a text message purportedly sent from her husband’s cellphone by the abductors, saying Dutta had been kidnapped and would be “released unharmed” if a ransom of Rs 10 lakh was paid to them at “Kastopur” station.

“Kastopur” could be a reference to Krishnapur railway station, which is called Keshtopur station by local residents. Krishnapur is 40km from Behrampore. The text message also warned the family against informing the police.

Arpita, who has a five-year-old daughter, said she called up her husband’s cellphone several times throughout the day after receiving the message but they went unanswered.

Sanjib De, the inspector in charge of the police station, said after tapping Dutta’s cellphone, it had been found that the messages had been sent from somewhere in Orissa.

Murshidabad chamber of commerce secretary Kalyan Saha said: “The kidnap episode could be a ploy by Dutta to extract money from his in-laws. Dutta is not that big a businessman that he would be kidnapped for a Rs 10 lakh ransom.”

Chargesheets stuck in autopsy report delay – so conveniently a Bengal style of mismanagement ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Malda, Nov. 30: The Malda district police are unable to file chargesheets in murder cases within the stipulated 90 days because of inordinate delay in obtaining post-mortem reports from the health department.

The health authorities said the reports could not be submitted on time because of shortage of doctors at the Malda district hospital and absence of a forensic laboratory to conduct viscera tests.

“The police are finding it difficult to submit charge-sheet in court within 90 days of starting a case. I don’t understand why the health department waits for viscera reports even in simple cases of persons being beaten or stabbed to death,” said district superintendent of police Bhuban Mondal.

“Obtaining viscera report is a very time consuming process. It often takes two to three years,” he said.

Senior police officers have pointed out two cases, where the health department has delayed the submission of post-mortem reports.

Rajen Mondal, 35, was beaten to death at Talgram in Harishchandrapur on August 2. The body was sent to the Malda district hospital for post-mortem and a case was registered. But the police have not yet received the autopsy report.

Sources said the hospital had sent the viscera to Calcutta for test.

In another case, the police have been awaiting a post-mortem report on the murder of a housewife at Rajnagar in Kaliachak on September 3, 2009. She was allegedly killed by her husband.

“As many as 120 cases are pending in courts in the district because of non-availability of post-mortem reports. Even if we get the reports, doctors do not even mention whether one’s death was suicidal, homicidal or accidental by nature,” said a police officer.

Mondal regretted that everyone was blaming the police for their failure to submit chargesheets in 90 days. He said the matter had been taken up with the district chief medical officer of health, Srikanta Roy.

Roy attributed the delays in the submission of the post-mortem reports to shortage of doctors at the district hospital. “I have asked the superintendent of the district hospital Himadri Kunri to look into the problem,” he said.

Kunri has said the district hospital has only two doctors to carry out post-mortems.

“While one is a specialist, the other is a general physician. They conduct autopsies outside the district hospital also. We depend on forensic laboratories in Calcutta for viscera tests. We have been demanding the setting up of a forensic laboratory in the district hospital for a long time. Once such a facility is put in place, most of our problems will be solved,” said the hospital superintendent.

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