BENGAL POLITICS: Standoff signals in landmark session – Bias slur on Speaker over Ray condolence

BENGAL POLITICS: Standoff signals in landmark session – Bias slur on Speaker over Ray condolence – a shining example of Bengal’s parochialism that Darjeeling & Dooars want no part of ?!!

 

Hon'ble Siddhartha Shankar Ray (TT) - discriminated against for having a different ideology by people of his 'own kind' in a democratic India, how shameful ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

 

Calcutta, Dec. 10: An Assembly condolence resolution on Siddhartha Shankar Ray was passed today without a discussion, prompting the Opposition to cry foul even as the Speaker insisted he hadn’t been informed about members wanting to speak.

Leaders of the Trinamul Congress and Congress, who had criticised the Left government for not giving Ray a state funeral while according Jyoti Basu one, suggested Speaker Hashim Abdul Halim’s action reaffirmed the bias.

“We had requested the Speaker to allow us to pay tributes. But we were surprised when he completely overlooked this and left the House after adjourning it,” leader of Opposition, Trinamul’s Partha Chatterjee said, with Congress leader Manas Bhuniya by his side.

The controversy erupted on the opening day of the winter session, the 14th Assembly’s last full sitting before the polls, and raised the prospect of a bitter standoff between the Opposition and the ruling coalition.

Halim read out the condolence resolution, asked the members to observe two minutes’ silence and then, to the amazement of the Opposition leaders, adjourned the House till December 16. Chatterjee compared the seemingly abrupt manner of the proceedings to the way tributes had been paid to Basu earlier this year.

“Government leaders as well as others had paid tributes (to Basu) soon after the resolution was read out. Why did that not take place today? Ray has been given the same trivial homage by the Left-dominated House as had been done to former chief ministers Ajoy Mukherjee (Bangla Congress) and Prafulla Sen (Congress),” Chatterjee said.

The resolution on Ray, who died of cardiac arrest on November 6, said: “This House expresses its profound sense of sorrow at the passing away of Shri Siddhartha Shankar Ray…he was a parliamentarian par excellence and a legal luminary.”

Chatterjee and Bhuniya later met the Speaker in his chamber to protest the “sudden departure” from convention. Halim is reported to have told them that they had not conveyed their request about wanting to speak in writing. Halim eventually agreed to allow a discussion when the House reconvenes on December 16, after the request was given in writing.

The chief government whip in the House, Syed Mohammad Masih, said: “Had they even raised their hands and indicated that they wanted to speak, the Speaker could have allowed it. But they did not do that. Now, they are saying this was deliberately done since Ray was not a Left Front chief minister.”

Last month, Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had hit out at the state government for not having accorded Ray a state funeral and treating him differently from Basu, who was given such an honour.

BRIEFS FROM THE REGION

BRIEFS FROM THE REGION

An elephant calf was found isolated from its herd on Huntapara Tea Estate, 60km from Alipurduar, on Friday. A kunki from Jaldapara was sent to the garden to drive the two-year-old makna back into the forest. But the calf did not allow the kunki to come close to it till Friday evening. Foresters were worried that the baby elephant would fall in the garden drains at night. (Anirban Choudhury) - domestication and training the answer ?!!

Good Morning: Hello, It’s Saturday, December 11, 2010
From The Telegraph

 

Teacher held for ‘cheating’

Balurghat, Dec. 10: A schoolteacher, whose social marriage was scheduled to be held today, was arrested from his house at Dangipara last night for allegedly cheating a college student whom he had promised to marry.

Sandip Mondal, 32, was produced in the court of the chief judicial magistrate this morning and remanded in judicial custody for 14 days. He had registered his marriage with a girl from Shanti Colony in October and the social wedding was scheduled for this evening. But when the third year student of Balurghat College, who stays in the same locality, came to know about the wedding, she lodged a complaint with the Balurghat police stating that she had been in a relationship with Mondal for almost a year and he had promised to marry her. She also told the police that she had signed on a marriage registration certificate.

Strike threat

Jalpaiguri: Bus and mini-bus owners in the Dooars have threatened to go on a strike and lock up the office of the National Highways Authority of India in Siliguri to protest the alleged delay in repairing roads. “The NHAI had promised to repair the roads by November. But that was not done. If the work does not begin in full swing by next week, then we will call an indefinite strike and lock up the NHAI’s north Bengal regional office in Siliguri,” said Debabrata Sarkar, the general secretary of the Jalpaiguri-Dooars Minibus Owners’ Association, on Friday. Project director of the NHAI’s regional office, R. K. Chowdhury, said the work could not be completed in time because of non-arrival of funds from Delhi.

Road mishap

Balurghat: Dhala Mondal, 60, a resident of Sewai, was killed when he was hit by a pick-up van on Friday. Police said he was crossing the state highway near Patiram when the vehicle knocked him down. The van has been seized but the driver managed to escape.

Turtles seized

Balurghat: One person was arrested from Malancha near here on Friday and six turtles were recovered from him. The reptiles were later handed over to forest officials in Balurghat.

Northeast Briefs

BSNL service

Dibrugarh, Dec. 10: Mobile phone and Internet users of BSNL in Dibrugarh are having a tough time because of erratic service by the telecom service provider during the past 48 hours.

Dinner

Kohima: Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio hosted the dinner in honour of Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court, Justice Madan B. Lokur, on Thursday at the Heritage old deputy commissioner’s bungalow at Officers’ Hill, Kohima.

Compensation

Jorhat: The forest department has released Rs 26.09 lakh to be paid as compensation to those affected by elephant depredation in Jorhat forest division comprising the Jorhat and Mariani ranges in the past two years.

Seized

Dibrugarh: The DTO seized 36 vehicles, including mini buses and autos, for violating traffic rules in the Assam Medical College area in Dibrugarh town on Friday.

Burgled

Jorhat: The house of a businessman in the Malow-Ali area bypass, Pramath Baruah, was burgled on Thursday night. 

National seminar

National seminar on Terrorism and Northeast Development at Devi Charan Barua Girls’ College, Jorhat, from 9.30am.

Festival

Assam Mahotsav at JDSA grounds, Jorhat. Cherrapunjee Indigenous Festival at Sohra from 10am.

Celebration

Garo Baptist church will celebrate its centenary at Eralibill, Dimapur, at 9am.

Meetings

Dimapur Timber Contractors’ Union meeting at 10am at Purana Bazaar, Dimapur. Chakhesang Christian Revival Church Women Organisation’s annual meeting at Khezhakeno Lower village from 9am.

Debate

The 5th Jeebon Roy Memorial Debate at the seminar hall of Jeebon Roy Memorial Welfare Institute from 10am.

Drama

The 30th All Assam Jogeswar Barua Memorial one-act play at JB Memorial Hall at Bihpuria, Lakhimpur, from 10am.

Handloom

Annual National Handloom Expo at Naga Shopping Arcade, Dimapur, from 10am.

 

NATIONAL BRIEFS

Aussie attacks

Melbourne, Dec. 10 (PTI): An Australian court has sentenced two teenagers for terrorising and robbing six Indian men over four days last year in a racist rampage they codenamed “Punji hunting”.

Judge Liz Gaynor sentenced Julius Medina to three years detention in a youth justice centre and Peter Salapura to perform 624 hours of unpaid community work. Gaynor stressed that the attacks were not motivated by a hatred of Indians.

Polio cases

New Delhi (PTI): The country has reported more than 90 per cent decline in polio cases this year, Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Friday. Till December 3 this year, there have been 40 polio cases compared to 741 last year.

Thapar award

New Delhi: Karan Thapar has won the Asian Television Award for best current affairs presenter for Devil’s Advocate, an interview-based programme on CNN-IBN. The winning interview featured Ram Jethmalani, who walked out in anger over some of the questions.

Posts vacant

New Delhi (PTI): More than 450 posts under the reserved category were lying vacant at Dr Ram Manohar Lohia hospital and Lady Hardinge Medical College and associated hospitals in the national capital owing to various reasons, Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told the Lok Sabha on Friday.

Attack

Surat (PTI): A city-based land broker escaped unhurt on Friday after two unidentified men shot at him twice at Katargam area of the city, police said. The incident took place when Hasmukh Moradia was going towards his house in his car. Police said the attack could be because of some professional rivalry.

Business Briefs

Severstal, NMDC deal

New Delhi, Dec. 10: Iron ore miner NMDC and Russia’s steel maker OJSC Severstal will jointly set up a 5 million tonne steel plant in Karnataka, which will go on stream within five years. Although the companies did not give the project cost, sources said it could be around Rs 25,000 crore, with the Russian company initially putting in about Rs 4,500 crore.

China policy

Beijing, Dec. 10: China’s central bank has raised the amount of money the country’s lenders must keep on reserve for the third time in a month. The step to raise the reserve requirement ratio was aimed to mop up excess cash in the economy.

Trade with EU

Brussels, Dec. 10: India and the EU have reached the final stage of a trade and investment opening pact. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the Broad Based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement would have enough safeguards to protect the interests of Indian farmers and traders.

Companies bill

New Delhi, Dec. 10: The government today said it expected the new companies bill to come into force by the end of this fiscal, replacing the existing five-and-a-half-decade-old act.

Reva car

Pune, Dec. 10: Electric vehicle maker Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles today launched its Revai priced at Rs 3.10 lakh (ex-showroom Pune).

 

Sports Briefs

Saurav and Joshna retain titles

Mumbai: Top seeds Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa fashioned impressive wins to retain the men’s and women’s titles, respectively, in the 58th Senior National squash championship on Friday. While, world No. 22 Ghosal registered a 10-12, 12-10, 11-4, 11-2 win over Harinderpal Singh Sandhu, Joshna overcame second seed Saumya Karki of Maharasthra 11-6, 11-4, 11-7.

Jeev decision

New Delhi: Nursing a back injury but part of the Asian team for next month’s Royal Trophy, Jeev Milkha Singh on Friday said he would decide on his participation only at the end of this month.

Lahiri tied 23rd

Siem Reap: Anirban Lahiri returned a blemish-free five-under 67 to make the cut at tied 23rd even as Himmat Rai slipped to tied 40th, with a modest one-under 71, in the second round of the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open here.

Sarita best

Thrissur: Former world champion L Sarita Devi of Manipur won the 51kg title after defeating Rebeeca Lali Mawii of Mizoram, 15-1, in the National Women’s Boxing championship, here Friday. In the 48 kg category final, Vanlal Duati of Tripura defeated Monita of Arunachal Pradesh to win 3-1.

Record deal

Madrid: Barcelona have agreed a record shirt sponsorship deal with the Qatar Foundation worth 30 million euros ($40 million) a season through to the end of the 2015-16 campaign, the La Liga champions said, on Friday.

Snoods ban

Manchester: Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has reportedly banned his players from wearing snoods, the latest fashion statement to hit the Premier League.

Strike off

Milan: This weekend’s Serie A players’ strike has been cancelled after a deal was reached with the league over a new collective contract, the Italian footballers’ union said.

Ramiz view

Karachi: Pakistan’s former captain Ramiz Raja Friday said that it is time for the Pakistan Cricket Board to decide how they want to save the integrity of the national team. “The year 2010 has been a terrible one for Pakistan . The Board has to decide whether they want talented but chor players or those with less talent but more integrity and honesty,” he said.

CA celebrations

Calcutta: Cricket Australia will mark 40 years of ODI cricket this season, with fans encouraged to join the celebrations with a new campaign. The campaign will pay homage to the great moments of ODI cricket and reward fans who dress in 1970s gear at matches.

Abandoned

Chittagong: The fourth ODI between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe has been abandoned after rain made conditions unplayable in Chittagong, on Friday.

EDUCATION & APATHY: Test at door, no sign of permits

EDUCATION & APATHY: Test at door, no sign of permits – Bengal standards of neglect to details, nothing surprising ?!!

 

NBU in Siliguri - setting wrong standards for the future generations of this region ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

 

Siliguri, Dec. 7: Ten students of Siliguri College have not received their admit cards from North Bengal University, less than a week before the scheduled start of their semester exams.

The students of bachelor of computer application (BCA) blamed the “negligence” of the college and the university for non-receipt of the admit cards. Some of the students who went to the college to collect the admit cards today were told that the cards had not been issued by the varsity.

“We had filled up the university exam form in the beginning of October and submitted it to the college. The admit cards were to be collected today. But when we approached the college office today, we were told that the varsity had not sent the admit cards. On checking the register that was sent from NBU with the admit cards, we found that the names of 10 students did not figure there. Not even five days are left for our exams to begin and our admit cards have not been issued. This is total negligence on the part of the college and the varsity,” said a second-year BCA student who had not received his admit card.

Nearly 50 students of first, second and third years of the BCA department are to appear for their first, third and fifth semester exams that are scheduled from December 13.

“We are worried that the 10 of us will not be allowed to sit for the exams if the varsity does not issue our admit cards. We met the principal, who said he has informed the problem to the controller’s office,” said a first-year student.

The Trinamul Chatra Parishad and the SFI met college principal Malay Karanjai and threatened to launch agitation if the authorities did not get the admit cards by tomorrow.

“Both the college and varsity authorities are responsible for this lapse because of which the students are suffering. We have given the college authorities a day’s time to get the admit cards, failing which we will organise an indefinite dharna on the campus,” said Kanishka Rudra, the TMCP unit president at the college.

Subhrodeep Mukherjee, the SFI unit secretary at the college, said the authorities should ensure that the students receive their admit cards within a day.

The principal said he had informed the varsity authorities about the problem. “We had sent the exam forms of all BCA students to the varsity but because of some reasons, 10 admit cards were not issued. We have requested the controller’s office to issue the admit cards as soon as possible since the students have to sit for the exams on Monday,” Karanjai said.

Sushanta Das, the controller of examinations of NBU, said his office had issued admit cards to all students, whose examination forms had been received.

“We have not received the forms of the 10 students so their admit cards had not been issued,” Das said.

 

CRIME WATCH: Pay-up calls land mall guards in jail

CRIME WATCH: Pay-up calls land mall guards in jail – abusing power without thought for consequences ?!!

Bulbul Ahmed being taken to court on Tuesday. (Kundan Yolmo) - a life destroyed by the lust for crime ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Siliguri, Dec. 7: Three security guards of a shopping mall here were arrested last night for allegedly making extortion calls to a hardware merchant for the past few days.

The trio — Bulbul Ahmed, Rezaul Islam and Mohesin Reza, all residents of Buniadpur in South Dinajpur — had hatched a plan to extort money from the businessman by making threat calls to him, police said.

“For the past three-four days, the three were making calls to the residential telephone of Mahadeblal Goyal, who stays in Khalpara and owns a hardware shop on Sevoke Road,” an officer of Siliguri police station said. “The callers demanded Rs 3 lakh and threatened to plant a bomb in his house to kill him and his family.”

The businessman informed the police and sought security for his family.

“We tapped the telephone for the past two days and waited for the calls. When the extortionists rang up, the calls were traced to a cellphone and a PCO booth in Haiderpara,” a police officer who was investigating the case said. “After verifying the facts, we came to the conclusion that Bulbul, who works as a security guard at a shopping mall on Sevoke Road, had made the calls. He had repeatedly asked Goyal to bring the money to Haiderpara.”

Investigations revealed that Bulbul stayed in a private boarding with Islam and Reza and the three were caught in a raid last night. “During interrogation Bulbul confessed to the crime. The other two, who are also security guards of the same shopping mall where Bulbul works, are suspected to have been involved in the plot to extort money from the businessman. The trio were arrested,” the officer said.

Bulbul, before being appointed the guard at the mall, used to work at a shop next to Goyal’s on Sevoke Road. “He had managed to get the businessman’s residential telephone number and the trio planned to make some fast bucks by extorting him,” he said.

Hardware merchants appeared relieved after the arrest. “It is good that the police acted promptly,” said Sandeep Sinhal, the secretary of the Hardware Merchants’ Association, Siliguri. “We have asked our members to be on alert.”

The trio, booked under Section 387 of the IPC (putting a person in fear of death or of grievous hurt to commit extortion), were remanded in judicial custody for 14 days by additional chief judicial magistrate Bibhuti Khesang.

Trio with fake lakhs arrested – so much fake money coming in from Bangladesh to create chaos in India ?!! Siliguri Corridor at stake while Central Government sits idle ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Malda, Dec. 7: Three armed men carrying fake currency over Rs 2 lakh were arrested from a bus terminus located a stone’s throw from a police station last night, the crackdown the latest in Malda town where there have been 43 such arrests this year.

Acting on a tip-off, a force from the Englishbazar police station arrived at North Bengal State Transport Corporation depot, a few metres away, around 9.30pm. They surrounded a Calcutta-bound bus and arrested Asiul Sheikh, Rintu Sheikh and Matiur Rehman who were on it.

While Matiur is a resident of a village in Baishnabnagar, the other two are from Kaliachak, police said. Fake notes with a face value of Rs 2.5 lakh, two 9mm pistols and 10 rounds of live ammunition were found in a bag they were carrying.

Malda police chief Bhuban Mondal said till last night this year the Englishbazar force has seized counterfeit notes with a face value of Rs 37.14 lakh and arrested 46 persons. The total amount of fake notes seized in the district so far is over Rs 66 lakh (face value) and the number of arrests, 78.

The trio have confessed during interrogation that the notes and the firearms were to have been handed over to a person in Esplanade in Calcutta.

The inspector-in-charge of Englishbazar police station, Bipul Chakrabarty, said the accused had collected the notes from a man named Zulfikar Ali in a village near the Bangladesh border in Baishnabnagar, 35km from here.

The district police chief said the name and address of the receiver in Calcutta were now with the cops.

“The men ferrying fake notes stopped using the railways after a severe crackdown on trains passing through Malda. Instead they have turned to road links. These people have been finding the bus route safe,” police chief Mondal said.

He said the maximum number of arrests and seizures had taken place in Englishbazar this year with the police registering 25 cases followed by 22 in Kaliachak and 10 in Baishnabnagar.

“The police had filed 22 chargesheets but not a single conviction was made despite the chargesheets being filed in court within 60 days. We have also seen in many cases that those released have rejoined the racket,” Mondal said.

In another incident, Mondal said, an arms manufacturer was arrested with an improvised double barrelled gun from the Jadupur bus stand in Kaliachak, 20km from here, this afternoon.

“The arrested man has been identified as Munna Kumar Pandey, a resident of Bihar’s Bhagalpur. The police are investigating why he had come to Jadupur with the firearm,” Mondal said.

GORKHA LASHBACK: Morcha hits out at rival revival plan – Ghisingh effigy burnt, tension at risheehat

GORKHA LASHBACK: Morcha hits out at rival revival plan – Ghisingh effigy burnt, tension at risheehat – Ghising went from Hero to Zero, and now down to Nero – just too proud, arrogant and stubborn to consult or take the advice of his intellectual superiors ?!!

 

Morcha supporters burn the effigy of Subash Ghisingh at Chowk Bazar in Darjeeling on Tuesday. (Suman Tamang) - the price of the Great Gorkha Betrayal betrayal the legacy of this sad politician, father of the Gorkhaland movement ?!! le

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

 

Darjeeling, Dec. 7: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today hit back at the GNLF for its revival efforts by mobilising supporters for a public meeting in Darjeeling where the effigy of Subash Ghisingh was burnt.

Also, as part of the pressure tactics before December 20, the last date the party had set for the government to ink an agreement for the set-up, most offices in the hills were shut for the second day. The Morcha has told the government that the interim set-up for the hills must be in place by December 20, failing which it will call a 48-hour shutdown in the region.

Till then all government offices, barring a few like that of census, election and food and supplies, would not be allowed to function. Attendance was thin in all offices that were open today. Yesterday, for the first time in three years, the GNLF had held simultaneous meetings in nearly 16 places to celebrate the signing of the memorandum of settlement for Sixth Schedule status between the Centre, state and Ghisingh in 2005.

Today, hundreds of Morcha supporters took part in a public meeting at Chowk Bazar in Darjeeling. Although the rally was part of a series of agitation announced by the Morcha in November to press for the inclusion of the tauzi department — that keeps record of land — in the interim set-up, it assumed significance given yesterday’s development.

Members of the Morcha youth wing burnt the effigy of GNLF chief Ghisingh during the course of the meeting.

Sudeep Gurung, secretary of the Yuva Morcha, Darjeeling town committee, said: “People will never accept Subash Ghisingh. He was solely responsible for spoiling the future of an entire generation. And just when we are trying to give the generation a better future, he is again trying to destroy it.” Sudeep said there would be no stopping the interim set-up from being established in the hills. “Nothing can stall the implementation of the interim set-up.”

The GNLF in recent times has been clamouring for Sixth Schedule for the hills instead of the interim set-up. The GNLF chief was hounded out of the hills in June 2008. Since then, Ghisingh and other GNLF leaders have been staying in the plains of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri district.

Given the Morcha’s posturing today, observers believe that there could still be unrest in the hills if Ghisingh decides to return immediately.

In fact, there was palpable tension yesterday after the GNLF hoisted its flags in more than a dozen places. Even though no major incidents of clashes were reported, police said a GNLF supporter from Risheehat, Kalu Singh, had to be rescued.

“Supporters of both the parties were in a state of panic and filed complaints against each other alleging intimidation. We did rescue one GNLF supporter from Risheehat who had been gheraoed as the Morcha alleged that he had firearms. The police team, however, did not find any firearms on him but we rescued him from the village to avoid any untoward incident,” said D.P. Singh, the superintendent of police of Darjeeling. The police chief was in Risheehat, 15km from here, the entire night because of tension.

Shivraj Thapa, the media and publicity secretary of the GNLF’s Darjeeling sub-divisional committee, alleged that the Morcha had run out of ideas. “Burning the effigy of our leader is laughable as in the past the Morcha had performed the last rites of our leader in Darjeeling. After performing last rites, they are burning the effigy,” said Thapa.

BRIEFS FROM THE REGION

BRIEFS FROM THE REGION

Fully-fledged Asian openbill storks get ready to fly off from their nests at Kulik bird sanctuary near Raiganj, North Dinajpur, on Tuesday. The birds were born at the rookery during August-September, the breeding season for the species. (Nantu Dey) - A bird watchers paradise, yet to be ?!!

Good Morning: Hello, It’s Wednesday, December 8, 2010
From The Telegraph

 

Missing girls rescued

Malda, Dec. 7: Police rescued two minor girls who had been missing since November 30 from a house in Noida near Delhi yesterday and handed them over to their parents today.

Malda police chief Bhuban Mondal said the girls, aged 14 and 15, were students of a high school in Habibpur. They did not return home after they left home for tuition on November 30.

“We came to know about the girls’ whereabouts after arresting one Brojen Haldar, also a resident of Habibpur. The girls told us that they had been taken to Delhi by a man who had promised them jobs,” said Mondal.

Panel scrap

Balurghat: South Dinajpur district child development project officer Brindaban Das on Tuesday cancelled a panel published on Monday to recruit 20 anganwadi workers in the Kusumundi block following allegations that graduates had made it to the list. According to rules, graduates are disallowed from applying for the posts of anganwadi workers.

Dowry murder

Islampur: Nazneen Begum was murdered allegedly by her husband and parents-in-law at Sonakhoda near here on Monday night. Police said the 24-year-old woman had been strangled to death by her husband and his family for refusing to give dowry. Nakibul Rehman married Begum one and a half years ago. Rehman is missing but his parents have been arrested.

School gifts

Jaigaon: The 17th battalion of the Sashastra Seema Bal posted on the India-Bhutan border presented school bags and pencils to 100 children studying at an sishu siksha kendra in Luksan under Nagrakata block on Tuesday.

Jogen honour

Siliguri: Painter Jogen Chowdhury was felicitated by Siliguri Municipal Corporation here on Tuesday. He was here to inaugurate a book fair that began on Sunday. Congress councillors and SMC employees were present at the function.

Northeast Briefs

Engineer released

Imphal, Dec. 7: The abducted assistant engineer of PWD, N.Biren Singh, was released unharmed by his captors, at Churchandpur bazar this morning. Biren was kidnapped by undentified men from his Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai residence on Saturday morning and was in captivity for three days.

Condemned

Imphal: The United Tribal Liberation Army had come out strongly against the kidnapping of S.Singsit, the principal chief conservator f forest, by UKNLF (MC) cadres on Wednesday.

Sohidi Divas

Dhubri: The 335 th Sohidi Divas of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib Ji will be celebrated at Dhubri Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib Ji Gurudwara in a three-day programme under the auspices of Sikh Pratinidhi Board, eastern zone, from Wednesday.

Road mishap

Guwahati: A woman died and 44 others injured, six of them critically, in a road mishap at Goroimari in Kamrup district on Tuesday. The victim has been identified as Kulsum Begum. Police said the accident occurred when the driver lost control of the bus.

National seminar

National Seminar on Policy Perspectives in Education at department of education, Dibrugarh University, from 10am.

Handloom

Annual National Handloom Expo, 2010, at Naga Shopping Arcade, Dimapur, from 10am.

Launch

Oxford University Press, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Social Science Research, North Eastern Regional Centre, will launch The Oxford Anthology of writings from North-East India at the ICSSR-NERC complex, Shillong, at 2pm. Central Ground Water Board, Meghalaya unit office, in association with Soil and Water Conservation Training Institute, Byrnihat, will conduct awareness programme on Roof Top Rain Water Harvesting and Ground Water Recharge at 11.30am at Conference Hall, Shillong.

NATIONAL BRIEFS

Graft whip

Dewas, Dec. 7 (PTI): A Madhya Pradesh government official faces up to three years in prison and a fine of Rs 5 crore after a court found him guilty of corruption on Monday.

Police had found unaccounted income of Rs 50 lakh in the house of Preetam Singh, a sub-engineer at Shajapur’s public works department. Singh had also acquired property worth crores in Dewas district.

Adarsh row

Nagpur (PTI): The Maharashtra legislature has been stalled by the Opposition’s demands for a Joint Legislative Committee probe into the Adarsh housing society scandal in Mumbai. The Opposition has also called for a full discussion of the scam, which has stopped proceedings in the Lok Sabha’s winter session.

Fatal slip

Namakkal (PTI): A 26-year-old vet drowned in the Cauvery river after he jumped for joy on seeing his friends catch a fish and lost his balance, on a fishing trip near Pallipalayam, Tamil Nadu. Sadasivam’s body was found on Monday night, police said.

Tortoise haul

Fatehpur (PTI): Five people trying to smuggle over 350 tortoises to Bengal have been arrested on a tip-off outside a railway station in Uttar Pradesh. Police said they would investigate the matter further.

Business Briefs

GapCon unit in Bengal

Calcutta, Dec. 7: German engineering firm GapCon plans to set up a paper equipment manufacturing unit in Bengal, managing director Wolfgang Wiertz said today. The West Bengal Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation has given a lease for a two-acre plot at Kalyani industrial estate for the plant.

Direct tax

New Delhi, Dec. 7: Net direct tax collection has surged 17.85 per cent to Rs 2.16 lakh crore during the April-November period this year compared with the same period last fiscal, thereby crossing 50 per cent of the full-year target.

ONGC shares

New Delhi, Dec. 7: The board of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation will meet on December 16 to consider issuing a special dividend to its shareholders, a stock split and a bonus issue.

Spectrum issue

New Delhi, Dec. 7: Former telecom entrepreneur Rajeev Chandrasekhar has questioned the spectrum issues raised by Ratan Tata, while reminding him that his group company was a major beneficiary of the same.

Home loan fine

New Delhi, Dec. 7: The levy of a penalty by banks and housing finance firms for foreclosure of home loans does not amount to abuse of dominant position, the Competition Commission of India ruled today.

 

Sports Briefs

Viru to leave for SA today

Mumbai: Virender Sehwag changed his original plan to leave for South Africa with four other Indian cricketers on Monday due to viral infection and he will depart on Wednesday, BCCI sources said Tuesday. “Sehwag pulled out late as he was not well and was down with viral infection. He will be leaving tomorrow (Wednesday) morning with eight other cricketers and manager Ranjib Biswal,” a BCCI source said.

ICC move

Karachi: The ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit has recorded the statements of Pakistan coach Waqar Younis, ODI captain Shahid Afridi and team security manager Colonel Khawaja Najam as part of its evidence building process in the spot-fixing case.

No permission

Karachi: The PCB has apparently refused permission to five leading players — Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar and Abdul Razzaq — to fly to Malaysia for a commercial shoot for the 2011 World Cup as their trip clashes with the national camp to be held from Wednesday, in Lahore, for the New Zealand tour.

Miandad role

Karachi: Javed Miandad Tuesday agreed to work as a batting consultant in the Pakistan training camp, in Lahore, but has deferred a decision on whether he will accompany the national team to New Zealand. According to reports, Miandad had earlier refused to work under Pakistan coach Waqar Younis.

Gibbs job

Johannesburg: Herschelle Gibbs may be seen in a different role during the 2011 World Cup in the subcontinent. Gibbs’s agent, Donne Commins said that the controversial South African opener is in talks with several international broadcasters, including an Indian channel for a commentator’s job.

Rajpal call

New Delhi: His unsavoury relationship with Jose Brasa, notwithstanding, India hockey captain Rajpal Singh is still in favour of a foreign coach but advised Hockey India (HI) to take cue from the BCCI while selecting the coaching staff of the national team. “HI should invite applications for the post of chief coach just like the BCCI,” Rajpal said.

Dempo chance

New Delhi: I-League champions Dempo will play against the winner of West Asian sides Al Ittihad and Al Saad on February 19 for a place in the top-flight AFC Champions League play-offs after they were Tuesday handed a first round-bye in the play-offs.

Ronaldo test

Sao Paulo: Brazilian footballer Ronaldo said on his Twitter feed that he is undergoing a DNA test to determine whether he is the father of a five-year-old boy living in Singapore.

Saurav wins

Mumbai: Saurav Ghosal kicked off his campaign with a comfortable first round win in the 58th Senior National Squash Championships, on Tuesday. He warmed up with a 11-8, 11-2, 11-8 win over qualifier Rushabh Vora of Maharashtra.

 

GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Hill set-up delay spurs GNLF revival – Morcha peace plea at flashpoint

GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Hill set-up delay spurs GNLF revival – Morcha peace plea at flashpoint – first Bengal cries that there is no democracy in the hills, then creates pockets of resistance for Gorkhas to fight Gorkhas … so Bengal can continue ruling from Siliguri ?!!

 

A rally taken out by GNLF supporters at Senchel Dairy near Jorebunglow on Monday. (Suman Tamang) - just a handful after two decades of misrule under Bengal ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY VIVEK CHHETRI

 

Darjeeling, Dec. 6: For the first time in three years, the GNLF today held meetings in more than a dozen venues across the hills to revive its political fortunes while there is a delay in setting up the interim authority.

At all the meetings today, the demand for the inclusion of the hills in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution was once again raised.

The party went on revival mode by deciding to celebrate the signing of the memorandum of settlement on this day in 2005 between the Centre, state and GNLF president Subash Ghisingh to confer the Sixth Schedule status on the hills.

The GNLF managed to raise the party flags and organise feasts for supporters at nearly 16 places in Darjeeling, Kurseong and the Terai region.

 

Scenes of the palpable tension in Darjeeling Hills (Darpan) - Bengal's objectives of creating tension in the hills and giving the anti-GJM protestors a lift when they had absolutely no mandate now met after the disgusting & sly murder of MT by a CPIM mole, so now, Bengal's objectives all met with such a disgusting political assassination ?!! - Not quite, we foretell, for the aspiration of every Gorkha heart remains "yet to be fulfilled" ?!!

Although no untoward incident was reported, there was palpable tension across the hills today.

 

“There was a possibility of a confrontation between the supporters of two political parties in various places but police managed to cover all the areas and there have been no untoward incidents. So far there has only been one complaint with the Mirik police station where a GNLF supporter has alleged that his house was targeted by the Morcha,” said D.P. Singh, Darjeeling superintendent of police.

The GNLF’s programmes were mostly confined to the rural areas of the hills, which had once been its stronghold before the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha was formed in 2007.

Ghisingh’s party went on revival mode after it became clear that the Morcha was going to the people with an interim set-up and not Gorkhaland. Besides, the delay in establishing the set-up because of contentious issues also spurred the GNLF activity.

In such a situation, the Morcha is worried any effort to stop rival outfits may lead to violence, something that Bimal Gurung cannot afford now. For it would mean a further delay in the establishment of the set-up as the government would cite law and order problem to defer the talks on the interim authority.

“The GNLF is also going to the people saying that even the Sixth Schedule is only a stepping stone towards Gorkhaland just as the Morcha is claiming about the interim set-up. The Morcha cannot indulge in any form of violence, least it hampers the negotiations,” said an observer.

Shivraj Thapa, the media and publicity secretary of the GNLF’s Darjeeling subdivision committee, said programmes were held in Pubung Phatak, Borobatey, Risheehat, 86 Division, Chungtung, Liza Hill, Rimbick, Maneybhanjyan, Lodhama, Tamsong, Runglee-Rungliot, Bahunpokhri (Garidhura), Naxalbari, Monteviot and Panighatta, to name a few.

At Senchel Dairy Line on the outskirts of Darjeeling town, GNLF members planted the green party flag early in the morning even as a section of supporters occupied vantage points to pre-empt any political attack.

Around 11am, a large number of Morcha supporters brought out a rally and decided to head towards the Senchel Dairy from Jorebunglow — a distance of about 3km — and a clash seemed imminent.

But Morcha assistant secretary Raju Pradhan urged the crowd to refrain from indulging in any act of violence.

“This is nothing but a ploy of the state government to create unrest in the hills so that the interim set-up is derailed. We appeal to all our supporters to refrain from indulging in violence which will only delay the signing of the set-up,” he told the crowd. The mob then dispersed.

The scene was similar in many places across the hills. The Morcha supporters gathered near the GNLF meeting venues but clashes were avoided at all the places.

Shanta Chhetri, the GNLF MLA from Kurseong who had been hounded out of the hills by the Morcha two years back, said party supporters had only been lying low till now.

“They had said Gorkhaland would be achieved by March 10, 2010, and that was why we were keeping low. Now they are talking about an interim set-up but there is already an interim authority in place as an administrator has been running the DGHC since March 2008,” she said.

In Kurseong, a bandh called by a drivers’ union affiliated to the Morcha to protest bad condition of the roads and alleged police harassment coincided with the GNLF meeting. Earlier too, the Morcha called for shutdowns on days when rival outfits arranged for public meetings.

Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri refused to read much into the GNLF political activity. “It was like celebrating a dead man’s birthday. The Sixth Schedule has been rejected by the hills and organising a political activity with a handful of people in pocket areas does not bother us much.”