Bharatiya Janta Party’s Darjeeling candidate SS Ahluwalia through a
press release has expressed his apprehensions about strong room in
Siliguri College being compromised due to ruling government’s influence
on the state police and has demanded their removal. Currently, the
strong room is guarded by two contingents of central armed police force
and state police personnel.
Ahluwalia said, “Looking at the state
government’s past record and its usage of police against the people of
the hills, I am afraid they could try to exchange EVMs to force the
results towards their side. BJP has urged the Election Commission to
only keep the central forces and relieve the state police.” (PR)
Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh has strongly condemned the police firing on
some Gorkhas in Manipur. They were protesting against the rape of a
13-year-old girl of their community.
The accused, S Ngaopuni (65), a resident
of Paumai Colony, about 2km from Imphal, had sexually assaulted the
victim on Thursday. The incident led to an angry outburst by the Gorkhas
of the region, and when they were protesting, the police fired upon
them killing two people on the spot and injuring seven. The Gorkha
residents were demanding the immediate arrest of the accused and had
blocked the highway when the police opened fire. The BGP has termed as
“unfortunate” the decision of the Manipuri police to shoot.
BGP national spokesperson R Moktan today
held a press conference to condemn the incident. Based on reports from
the organisation’s unit in Manipur, Moktan said the heinous crime on the
minor had infuriated the Gorkhas living in the Kanglatongbi region.
“The Gorkha residents held rallies and
demonstrations to pressurise the government. The situation tensed up
when the police tried to disperse the demonstrators by resorting to
lathicharge, but this only added to the fury of the protesters. The
police then hurled tear gas shells and eventually started shooting.
While two protesters died on the spot, seven have been hospitalised and
are in serious condition,” he informed.
Expressing deep concern regarding
security of the Gorkhas in the north-eastern states, Moktan said
incidents of sexual assault, displacement and intimidation on the
community have become regular issues now. To highlight the degree of
insecurity the Gorkhas living in the north-eastern states feel, Moktan
cited a recent incident in Meghalaya where an underground militant
organisation issued a notice threatening it would evict Gorkhas from the
Moktan said the BGP has been raising its
voice against such incidents. He added, “These incidents, which are
occurring regularly in the NE states show that the Gorkha people are not
safe there. It also confirms that the governments of the states
concerned are also incapable of guaranteeing security to Gorkhas.”
He said the central government must take
the initiative to see that Nepali speaking people, a minority group in
the NE states, get to remain safe and secure. Moktan also informed the
BGP has dispatched letters to the state governments concerned on several
occasions seeking security for the Gorkha people. He added the BGP will
send a delegation to Delhi to hold talks with government
representatives on the issue of security for the Gorkhas living in the
NE states. (EOIC)
Gorkha National Liberation Front leader
Arjun Rai has accused the GJM of fooling the people in spite of knowing
quite clearly that a separate state of Gorkhaland cannot be formed at
Interacting with journalists in Mirik
town, Rai said the GJM shouts slogans demanding Gorkhaland only at times
when it gets into trouble. He also said that through their power to
vote, the people of the hills have given an apt answer to the party that
has only harassed them.
Responding to a question, Rai said the
GNLF extended support to the TMC because the latter requested it in
earnest. “It was a political decision to support the TMC, but it’s not
that the GNLF has become one with the TMC,” said the GNLF leader.
He asserted the party is resolute on its
demand for Sixth Schedule status and also claimed the GNLF will never
give up the issue of national security and identity of the Gorkha
community. At the same time, Rai said the Centre is in no position to
consider the Gorkhaland demand. He stressed Gorkhaland cannot be
achieved until the Gorkhas receive their ‘Khatiyan’, adding the Sixth
Schedule status will pave the way for statehood by granting the Gorkhas
their land rights.
GNLF to seek justice from human rights orgs
Gorkha National Liberation Front has said it will approach human rights
commissions to protest against an incident that occurred on April 17.
The episode occurred at Ward No. 2 under Kurseong Municipality and
involved a member of the GNLF’s women wing.
Talking to reporters, GNLF women’s wing
spokesperson Ratna Pradhan said they will write to the National
Commission for Women, National Human Rights Commission and the West
Bengal Human Rights Commission about the April 17 incident during which
GJM youth leader and Kurseong municipality chairman Samirdip Blon
allegedly assaulted Rufhina Lama, the Kurseong town women’s wing
president of the GNLF.
Pradhan said Lama had been deployed at a
polling booth in ward no. 2 on April 17 as a polling agent for
GNLF-supported TMC candidate Bhaichung Bhutia. She further alleged that
when Lama objected to a woman from casting her vote as she neither had
her voter’s ID nor any authentic identification proof, Blon misbehaved
with Lama and even assaulted her.
Pradhan added the “shameful” act on a
widow by the first citizen of Kurseong is unfortunate, but surprisingly,
even after two days of the incident, the police have failed to take any
action against Blon. Instead, Blon has filed a false complaint against
Lama, of snatching a gold chain, claimed the GNLF spokesperson.
Senior GNLF leaders including Sanjay
Chettri, Durga Pradhan, Bhusan Dewan and others today held a discussion
with the police on the matter, said Pradhan, adding TMC Kurseong
sub-divisional convener Kundan Mangrati was also present at the time.
On the other hand, Blon said he had
visited the area to take stock of the situation as the GJM youth wing
general secretary and not as the Kurseong municipality chairman. He said
all the allegations against him are false.
Blon further said a voter was being
deprived of her democratic right by Lama and that was when he intervened
along with other election officials. He said as the intervention hurt
Lama’s pride, she and other GNLF women members heckled him and even
snatched his gold chain weighing 1.5 tola.
When contacted, the police said that the matter is under investigation. (EOIC)
Teesta Bazaar, which was boiling in fury
since Friday evening after a report of rape on a three-year old child
spread, cooled down to some extent today after the accused was nabbed.
Teesta Bazaar resident Sunil Rai (35), who was missing after allegedly
raping a three-year old girl child on Friday, was today arrested by
Kalimpong police from the Hatbazaar area.
Furious over the incident, Teesta Bazaar
residents had begun demonstrating outside the local police outpost
since early morning, demanding the immediate arrest of the accused. They
also blocked NH 31A for about half an hour to pressurise the police and
As the word of Sunil Rai’s arrest
spread, Teesta residents reached the outpost in large numbers. Things
tensed up for a brief period when the people were prevented from
entering the outpost premises by the CRPF. After a deadlock that lasted
nearly two hours, the police managed to take the accused, under tight
security, to the Kalimpong sub-divisional hospital for a medical
Sources said acting on a tipoff, the
police managed to nab Sunil from the Hatbazaar area around 1:00 this
afternoon. Two others, namely Prabal Pradhan and Sambhu Subba, both
residents of Teesta Bazaar, were also arrested for providing refuge to
the accused and helping him flee. The duo was presented before court and
sent to judicial custody, while Sunil will be produced at the court on
A case under IPC section 376 (D) and
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) act section 4 has
been registered against Sunil Rai.
Kalimpong hospital official Dr. D Sonam
confirmed the victim was sexually assaulted but is now out of danger.
Teesta residents have submitted a deputation to the Kalimpong police OC
demanding speedy investigation and strong punishment to the accused.(EOIC)
Kurseong, 18 April : Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) supremo Subash Ghisingh will
announce his further strategy in connection with the party’s demand for
the reinstatement of the erstwhile Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council
(DGHC) and inclusion of the Darjeeling Hills in the Sixth Schedule,
party leaders said today.
According to a close aide to Mr Ghisingh, the former Darjeeling
strongman will soon announce the party’s programmes in this regard.
Commenting on Mr Ghisingh’s failure to cast his vote in Darjeeling
yesterday, the aide said the 78-year-old leader was “busy studying
“He may not have gone to the extent of casting his vote as he may have
thought that he has already thrown the entire party’s weight on the
Trinamul Congress candidate for the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency,
Bhaichung Bhutia,” the leader added.
“However, the truth behind the entire issue will be revealed only by him (Ghisingh) after a few days,” the aide said.
According to him, the GNLF chief has already announced that he would
chalk out further plans after the Lok Sabha polls, and that the party
leaders plan to meet the state and central government leadership on the
GNLF sources said there isn’t any major reason behind Mr Ghisingh not casting his vote.
They claimed that Mr Ghisingh was actually not well due to old age. Mr
Ghisingh’s move to personally stay away from the polls had fuelled
speculations in the Hills and the plains alike.
The GJMM leadership termed the matter as a ‘betrayal’ and alleged that
Mr Ghisingh first called on his supporters to vote for Mr Bhutia and
later, when he came to know that Mr Bhutia would not fare well, he
refrained himself from voting. On the other hand, political observers
said that Mr Ghisingh’s move to not cast his vote could be a sign of his
“souring relations” with Trinamul supremo and chief minister
Siliguri, 18 April: BJP Lok Sabha candidate for the Darjeeling parliamentary constituency,
SS Ahluwalia, today expressed hope that he would come out with flying
colours after ballots were cast yesterday.
Mr Ahluwalia also said he was satisfied with the polling across the constituency.
"I am hopeful of winning the seat, and if elected, development of the
constituency will be my key area. There are a lot of areas which need to
be developed. I contested the elections for the development of the
region," Mr Ahluwalia told reporters in Matigara.
The BJP vice-president also wondered why polling was under way in some
booths in the plains until late in the evening and into the night.
"Polling was supposed to end at 6 pm, but in some places in the plains,
people had been voting till night. I want to know from the district
election officer why such a situation arose," he said.
On the other hand, north Bengal development minister and Trinamul
Congress leader, Gautam Deb, said yesterday that the Trinamul would
comfortably win the four constituencies of Darjeeling,
Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar and Alipurduar, which went to the polls
BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is facing hostility across the political spectrum at the moment. Besides traditional rivals like the Congress, Samajwadi Party and the Left, even past allies of the BJP like Mamata Banerjee and Jayalalithaa are launching scathing attacks on him. Are the twin attacks by the two women leaders around the same time a con-incidence or is there a definite purpose in this offensive? For none of these two leaders were as attacking as their counterparts in the Congress, SP, BSP or JD(U) and neither Modi had targetted them as he did against some other parties and their leaders. Are Mamata and Jayalalithaa, expected to emerge as two powerful leaders after the ongoing Lok Sabha election, ganging up against Modi to convey a strong message that they two are also going to be determining factors in the national politics soon? Such suspision has more than one sound basis and here is an analysis on why these two women have begun to target Modi, even though lately.
Mamata & Jaya won't accept Modi's 'superiority' now for they too have national ambitions
First, both these two regional leaders have a lot to gain in national politics, unlike some of the others. Both Mamata and Jayalalithaa are certain to emerge stronger in their respective states mainly because the main opposition in both West Bengal and Tamil Nadu are in a disarray at the moment. The CPI(M) in Bengal and DMK in Tamil Nadu have been hit badly of late and the Congress is of little significance in both these states. This means that Narendra Modi, also a chief minister till now, is the biggest competitor that these women chief ministers have on the national stage at the moment and given their high degree of ambition, they are not going to give an easy way to Modi to march towards the throne in Delhi.
Time will tell whatever happens after the polls, but as of now, neither Mamata nor Jayalalithaa are ready to project themselves as secondary to another regional leader, no matter how much popular he is. Hence all the attack and counter-attack. Jayalalithaa has already presented her vision as a prime minister while Mamata has been backed by national figures like Anna Hazare and Shahi Imam. This makes it necessary for the AIADMK and Trinamool chiefs to show to the country they have also something to offer.
Keeping quiet on Modi in a polarised environment could harm both women leaders
Secondly, the opositions in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu have been accusing Mamata and Jayalalithaa of making a secret deal with Modi and hence were not targetting him like other parties. Ignoring this for too long could prove to be counter-productive for the two leaders for a) they are not known for their silence and b) they have a stake in the minority vote-bank. The two anbitious leaders can't afford to lose base in their own stronghold and end up being dependent on Modi after the elections. Thus, all the firing to convince the layman and minority supporters.
Both CMs are worried about the Modi wave making inroads in their states
Thirdly, both Mamata and Jayalalithaa are worried about the Narendra Modi wave making inroads in their respective states where the BJP is traditionally not a strong force. While Mamata is apprehensive about the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha backing the BJP in Darjeeling, the alliance that the saffron party has made with a number of small parties in Tamil Nadu will not leave the AIADMK chief in a peaceful mind. Moreover, the recent meeting between Modi and Tamil superstar Rajnikanth has also not gone down well in the AIADMK circles. Jayalalithaa is desperate to increase her rally from nine in 2009 and can't afford to see Modi and his party making heavy gains at the expense of the DMK in Tamil Nadu. Hence she went after the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, despite having a cordial relation with him.
After the polls, Jaya & Mamata will require assistance, whether political or economic
But whatever be the reasons of anger and frustration, there is no doubt that both these women will need a backing after the polls to see their national ambitions getting a realistic shape. While Jayalalithaa will require a more political shelter (in terms of alliance) after the polls and can not remain a southern satrap if she wants to call the shots at the Centre, Mamata will need an economic assistance for her state's economy is in a poor shape.
After May 16, these two women could speak a different language
The debate whether Gujarat is more developed than Tamil Nadu or whether Modi is a communal leader will be irrelevant for the Bengal and Tamil Nadu chief ministers once May 16 is behind us. However, till then, it is all about using the Narendra Modi factor to their own benefit. While Lok sabha election began in West Bengal on April 17 and will continue till May 12, Tamil Nadu will go to the poll on April 24.