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26 Mar 2015

North east girl with Nepali origin bags Femina Miss India WeChat Miss Popular 2015

KalimNews and agencies, Mumbai: Of the 21 contestants Rewati Chhetri a contestant having Nepali origin was crowned the ‪Femina Miss India‬ WeChat ‪Miss Popular‬ sub-contest title in the sparking event Femina Miss India 2015. 
Rewati Chetri hailing from Assam Guwahati has reached the top 21 finalist. Rewati studied in St.Agnes Convent High School and currently studying in NEF law college. Currently she resides at Guwahati, India. 
The Grand Finale of fbb Femina Miss India Mumbai 2015 will be held in Mumbai March 28.
An aspiring medical student, a belly dancer and a social worker were among the 21 young girls vying for the fbb Femina Miss India 2015 crown. The contestants have come from all corners of India like Dehradun, Pune, Hyderabad, Patna, Aurangabad, Odisha besides the metro cities. Aafreen Vaz is a medical student. Aditi Aarya, a Delhi girl, is into business studies. Aishwarya Goel is a classical music lover and a Farhan Akhtar fan from Dehradun. Akanksha Gautam, who was crowned Miss Mega Model Bangalore 2013, is a doctor and a DJ from Gurgaon. 
Apeksha Porwal, the winner of Miss India Delhi, is the co-founder of Janta Meals. Pune girl Chahat Dalal loves travelling and so does Deeksha Kaushal of Delhi. Diksha Singh is an avid biker and a Shah Rukh Khan fan. Dehradun's Medhika Priya Singhal is a dentist, harmonica player, air pistol and rifle shooter. Meghna Mittal is a Bharatanatyam dancer. Minash Ravuthar is an architect student from Mumbai. 
Naveli Deshmukh of Pune is a national level basketball player. Aspiring actress from Patna Pranati Prakash aims to win an Oscar. Rakshita Harimurthy is the winner of Mega Model Hunt in 2013. 
Nepalese beauty Rewati Chetri is a belly dancer and studying law. Ruchira Mookerjee from Kolkata loves music and dance. 
Delhi girl Rushali Rai is a national level basketball and badminton player. Sushri Shreya Mishra is a graduate from Barry John's acting school. Sushruthi Krishna from Bangalore is a dancer too. Tanya Hope is the winner of Miss India Kolkata, while Vartika Singh of Lucknow loves photography and adventure. 
With schooling background from St. Agnes Convent High School, Rewati is currently pursuing her studies in law at NEF Law College. She is keenly interested in belly dancing. 
She thanked her supporters in her Facebook accountas wquoted below. " With your continued care, bundles of love and showers of blessings and breeze of blessings reached me and I bagged the ‪Femina Miss India‬ WeChat ‪Miss Popular‬ sub-contest title tonight. Thank you doesnot suffice to acknowledge the blessings and greetings of elders, unconditional support from peers and volunteer votes, school, college and university campaigns, votes from my dear friends, families and relatives. I bow before everyone with folded hands, smiling face and sincerely acknowledge the kind support. The subtitle ‪Miss India‬ WeChat Miss Popular is a result of my attitude and your gratitude that rose my altitude and you all have contributed to it." 
"Friends from Sikkim, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong, Mirik, Derhadoon, Bhagsu, Delhi and several parts of the country besides my region North East and state of Assam have been my partners in progress."

25 Mar 2015

Easter pushes back hill strike

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, March 24: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today postponed a 12-hour general strike from April 2 to April 10 in Darjeeling as it could inconvenience the Christian community before Easter which is on April 5.
A March 28 public meeting has also been postponed for the ongoing higher secondary exams that will end on March 31.
The strike was called on March 14 to protest the state's alleged interference in appointing para-teachers on contract for teaching Lepcha in 46 hill schools.
The Morcha had said the recruitment should have been done by the GTA, not the Darjeeling district magistrate, as education is a department that was transferred to the hill body under the GTA Act.
Morcha chief Bimal Gurung today said: "We have decided to postpone the strike as it coincides with Easter and we need to honour the sentiments of the Christian community. The March 28 public meeting is also being postponed for the higher secondary examinations."
The state had formed a selection committee headed by the Darjeeling district magistrate for recruiting para-teachers.
The district magistrate's office started the recruitment process on February 20.
Interviews are scheduled for March 25 and the results are to be declared two days later. But the Morcha moved Calcutta High Court, challenging the government's move to recruit the para-teachers. Sources said the case may come up for hearing tomorrow.
GTA principal secretary
Ravi Inder Singh on Tuesday joined as the principal secretary of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration after Bimal Gurung, who is the chief executive of the GTA, accepted his name despite initial opposition.

GIRL WHO SAVED FREE SPEECH - (and gave a bloody nose to a national coalition of control freaks)

Shreya Singhal, the first petitioner
R. Balaji, TT, March 24: Shreya Singhal has helped undo what the UPA, the NDA and Mamata Banerjee had done to free speech.
Shreya, the girl who once woke up with consternation to news that two girls in Maharashtra had been booked for a Facebook post, was the first petitioner who approached the Supreme Court against Section 66A, which was struck down today. (Why Section 66A was killed, salient features of court order in chart below)
Section 66A of the Information Technology Act has been the favourite tool of those in power to arrest and torment critics.
The Mamata government was among the pioneers that discovered the harassment value of Section 66A, a clause that was passed in 2008 with the support of most mainstream parties. Long before that, the Jyoti Basu government had proved that it did not need Section 66A and the Indian Penal Code was enough for a vindictive regime.
Today, P. Chidambaram, whose son had used the section against a critic, welcomed the verdict although the amendment was added when the UPA was in power.
The BJP split hairs and denied a somersault, although it had defended Section 66A in court and the current law minister was on a parliamentary panel that sought measures to make cyber offences a cognisable offence, which permits discretionary arrests.
This is what the Supreme Court had to say about Section 66A before striking it down: "Such is the reach of the section and if it is to withstand the test of constitutionality, the chilling effect on free speech would be total."
Amid the rush among national movers and shakers to embrace free speech after the verdict, Shreya pointed out: "A change of government makes no difference. Earlier the UPA government was defending it and the new NDA government also did so. The impunity with which people were arrested was shocking. Even when the matter was pending in the court, police were making arrests."
While some national leaders grinned and bore it, Mamata, whose government had arrested Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra for circulating a joke on her and charged him under Section 66A, remained silent.
At 7pm, Mamata tweeted "congratulations to all the winners" of the national film awards.
No prizes for guessing Mamata did not congratulate Shreya, who was recovering from a nervous night and beginning to savour the triumph of free speech.
"I was nervous last night. But today I will celebrate. You never know, another argument might just lead to another case," said Shreya, who had filed the initial petition, following which others had joined in.
Shreya has reason to be wary. The death of Section 66A does not ensure the survival of free speech or personal liberties. There are enough provisions in the Indian Penal Code to harass citizens if those in power are willing to pursue them with vengeance.
In fact, the offences under Section 66A were bailable, which meant the suspects picked up could be given bail at the police station itself. The police slapped other laws to keep some in custody or, as in the case of the JU professor, simply kept the accused in the dark about their rights. Mahapatra was kept in the police station for "his own protection" although he was not charged with any non-bailable offence.
But Shreya added: "I am very happy with the judgment. The Supreme Court has only reinforced our faith in it. Our freedom of speech and expression has been upheld. My family has always been my pillar of strength."
Shreya had graduated in science in July 2012 from the University of Bristol, the UK.
But her regular visits to the Supreme Court to pursue this case with her mother Manali left such an indelible impression on her that she chose to take up juridical studies.
Shreya is now a second-year law student at Delhi University, making her a third-generation member of her family to pursue law. Her mother Manali is a senior lawyer while her grandmother Sunanda Bhandare was a judge with Delhi High Court.
Shreya had just returned to Delhi from abroad in 2012 when she read about the arrest of two Mumbai girls for a Facebook post on the shutdown that followed the death of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.
"It could have been me or my friend. How could one be arrested for questioning the shutdown of a city?" Shreya recalled telling her mother.
Manali said she had suggested in a lighter vein that her daughter should file a PIL in the apex court if she was so concerned about freedom of speech and expression.
Shreya consulted Ninad Seth, a younger colleague of Manali, and moved court. Former attorney-general Soli Sorabjee, whom Manali had assisted in a number of cases, appeared free of cost for Shreya.
Important judgments of the Supreme Court are included in the curriculum of law students. Shreya will have to wait and see if today's judgment makes the curriculum next year before she graduates.


डुवर्समा हुने गोर्खा मेलालाई लिएर बैठक सम्पन

राजेश शर्मा, कालिमन्युज, जयगाँउ 24 मार्च । डुवर्सको मुटू मानिने जयगाँउमा हुन लागेको गोर्खा आदीवासी सांस्कृतिक उत्सवबारे आज एउटा जरुरी बैठक बस्यो। आर पी वाइबाको अध्यक्षतामा भारत भोटाङ् सिमामा रहेको जयगाँउको गोर्खा भवनमा बसेको बैठकमा यस उत्सवबारे चर्चा गरियो।
गोर्खा मेलाका सचिव सुरज रोकाले पत्रकारलाई दिएको जानकारी अनुसार यस मेलामा असम प्रान्तका बिनोद शर्माको सन्योजक्त्वमा नेपाली जातीय सस्कृति आदिका सामाग्रीहरु प्रदर्शन गरिनेछ भने मेलामा गोक्षेप्र तथा गोजमुमो अध्यक्ष बिमल गुरुङ स्वयँ उपस्थित हुनेछन।
यस मेलामा गोर्खा एंव आदिवासी नेताहरुलाई निम्त्याइने निर्णय लिइएकोछ् । आफ्ना आफ्नो जातीको भेष भूषा लगायत खान पानहरुलाई पनि मेलामा प्रदर्शन र विक्री गरिने बैठकमा तय गरियो । मेला आयोजनाबारे त्रिलोक चन्द रोकाले बताए कि डुवर्समा गोर्खा एंव आदीवासी जाती बाहेक् अन्य जातीहरुमा राभा, कोचे मेचे (राजवशी अनि बोरो) लगायत आदि जाती छ्न । यी जातीहरुको आआफ्नो रहन सहन, सस्कृति लगायत प्रमुख हात हतियार अनि खानपानलाई प्रदशर्न गर्न आवस्यक भएकोले यो मेला आयोजन गरिएको भनि बताइएको छ।
यस चार दिनव्यापी हुने उत्सवमा कबि गोष्ठी, सास्कृतिक सेमिनार, सास्कृतिक कार्यक्रम, प्रदर्शन आदि राखिने छ । सभामा डुवर्सका आदिवासी नेता जोन बारला, एस एक्का, गुरण उराउ लगायत भागोपका नेता सुकमान मोक्तान, ललित न्यासुर, काजिमान गोले, बी बी खवास लगायत धेरै गोर्खा नेताहरुको उपस्थिति रहेको थियो ।

24 Mar 2015

North East girl Rewati Chhetri from Haflong Assam in final round of Miss India 2015

KalimNews, Kalimpong, 24 March 2014: Rewati Chhetri, a next door Gorkha girl from Assam’s ‘Ant Hill’ Haflong convent educated LLB student of NEF Law College of Guwahati made it into Top 21 finalist of Miss India 2015 few weeks ago and she is now in the final leg of the coveted competition . 
Born to Baburam Chhetri a Govt. of Assam employee and Bina Chhetri a successful home maker on 4th of July 1993 at Haflong – the lone hill station of the state in Dima Hasao District of Assam. She completed her schooling from St. Agnes’ Convent High School, Haflong, graduated from Lumding College, Lumding there after opted career in law and is a LLB student NEF Law College Guwahati. 
Quick learner Rewati participated in all the cultural and extracurricular activities of school and colleges and belly dance being her passion. 
Being a foodie, she enjoys cooking also famous among her friends for her naughtiness but known to be disciplined and an obedient. 
After WeChat MissIndiaPopular voting that will end tonight. Keeping me engaged through Facebook page Likes, post like, shares and comments now will take me closer to the Miss India Crown. Huge Hug and Big Thank you for the continued support. Messages in my page and profile, texts to me and my friends. A thank you does not at all suffice to acknowledge the blessings and greetings of elders, volunteer votes - college campaign from my friends and the team work in my home city. I bow before the people of my region, nation and rest of world with folded hands, smiling face for the continued support, love, greetings, encouragement and blessings. 
Rewati Chhetri Miss India 2015 Finalist in candid conversation today ahead of the final day of WeChat Miss Popular sub contest she said one law you would like to break would be ‘Law which says that a criminal below 18 years is a juvenile and cannot be punished’. 
"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing" On a candid note she said bringing smile to a face Best pick-up line you have ever heard... If I were a stop light I'd turn red every time you passed by just so I could stare at you a bit longer. 
Intelligence, passion and patience is how she rates woman in order of priority the three qualities that every woman must possess while Trustworthy, loving, dedicated are the qualities in order of personal preference, that she would admire in a man. 
Rewati romanticises Atif Aslam’s lyrics and person and would love to go on a date but Amir Khan is her favourite and Taare Zameen Par is her favourite movie. Love to Rewati is a feeling and emotion of togetherness between two people.
She cautiously warns her peers, ‘If Love is Life, Life is to chill agreed! But not in the influence of alcohol and drugs. It's high time we wake up and realize only when you are in senses you can make things sensible.’
Here are the excerpts of candid conversation with the Miss India Finalist 2015 from Assam representing the North East.

Q. Your feelings on being top 21 Miss India 2015 finalist.
Rewati:- feel great. It has always been a dream to become Miss India and now I am on the initial steps of it so indeed I feel great and O have no words to express it.
Q. Where do you see yourself in 1 weeks?
Rewati:- In one week time would be Miss India finals and I am so focussed on seeing me with the crown. I wanna make my family, friends and well wishers extremely proud.
Q. How has been this journey?
Rewati:- Incredible! We learn so much in so little time. The Miss India Organization gives us an extensive amount of training that is gradually changing our lives to a far better person than what we were.
Q. Whom do you idolise in modelling.?
Rewati:- Well! I don't actually idolize an individual person when it comes to modelling. There are so many extremely talented models in India and overseas. I always try to idolize the good in all of them so that it'll be of immense help to my career.
Q. How do you define modelling as career option?
Rewati:- With India's large fashion industry there are enough and more opportunities for "right" men and women to be models. It is not as easy as it looks and requires a large amount of sacrifice and commitment. For those who are really committed and determined yes it is a wonderful career option.
Q. If not a model what you would be?
Rewati:- Well I am currently pursuing my studies in Law so of course I will become a lawyer in future but I shall not give up on modelling too. As long as my age and looks permit I shall go on with it.
Q. Your inspiration in life .
Rewati:-Definitely my mother. She has not just taught me but lived by example the kind of life every mother expects her child to live. It is from her I learn how to become a woman of substance.
Q. What do you aspire?
Rewati:- Aspirations are many. I definitely want to become Miss India and bring an International crown to my country. Apart from that I want to finish my studies in law and become a lawyer who is of great use to the society. I also want establish an organisation which focuses on educating and developing the skills of the underprivileged and become a woman of inspiration.
Q. Briefly state about your stint with Miss India so far.
Rewati:- So far it has been a few days of constant learning. We learn so much. Everyday we have so many sessions that help us develop and become a better person. We workout hard, learn on diction and etiquettes and many more. It has been a completely learning experience so far and the best part os being trained by the experts in town.
Q. How did Miss India happen to you?
Rewati:- Honestly speaking it all started sudden.I had a long cherished dream but I got wings to it only after the Auditions.To say it was a very humble and a Surprise Kick to my Dream.
Q. Back home we gearing up to support you, how has been the response to your achievement from your region
Rewati:- The response has been incredible.Its overwhelming to see them supporting me so much.I see many of them dreaming for my success maybe sometimes more than I do for myself which has by far been a great strength to me.
Q. What do you want to say to the people of the region?
Rewati:- I want to say that I am doing more than the best I can to make all of you proud and happy and I will continue to do it. No matter how hectic our schedules become when I log into Facebook and notice the support of my people and hear about it from my friends it keeps me going. I really will not let you all down.
Q. How can the people support you n get closer to Miss India crown?
Rewati:- Dfinitely with their blessings, love and encouragement. That definitely keeps me going and makes me want to do better. Till date i got huge support in WeChat voting and I am given to understand whole of North East is voting me. Huge Hug and Thank You North East, India and Rest of the World for the support. Now onwards maximum LIKE in my facebook page sharing and commenting on my posts and keeping me most engaged contestant will definitely inch me closer to the crown.
(source & Coutesy Nanda Kirati Dewan)

Sikkim Shines in North East Prag Cine Award 2015

Vos, March 23, 2015, Gangtok : Sikkim’s Film “Anmol Tshan-A Christmas in September” produced by Kishor Dungmali Rai bagged 3 Awards which includes NE Best Feature Film, NE Best Actress (Female) and NE Best Actor (Male) in North East Prag Cine Award 2015 held at Dibrugarh, Assam on 22 March. 
NE Best Actress (Female) won by Sneha Rai a product of TNA and Mount Hermon School is a debutant actor, received huge round of applause from the jury for her act. Her performances were already applauded by viewers of Sikkim and South Asian Countries during the premiere show of the movie. NE Best Actor (Male) won by Shalom Kabo a famous actor from the hills who hails from Kalimpong also got huge appreciation . Kabo had already bagful of hit films viz. Naya Goreto, Baardan and many more and widely known in different countries among Nepali speaking communities. 
Anmol Gurung direction and scripted film. A producer Kishor Dungmali Rai after receiving the NE Best Film Award spoke to media “Every film which I make, I give platforms to new talents of the hills and my intention is to promote Sikkim tourism market through the movies and movie will screen soon in the theaters of Gangtok”. 
Marketing and Publicity Head of the Film Suresh K. Lama and Co-Producer of the film Radha Thapa Dungmali were also there among other awardees during the event representing Sikkim. 

Noted Assamese actor Bishnu Kharghoria was honored with lifetime achievement award for his contribution towards the Assamese film industry. Assamese Film “North Bank” won the Best Assamese Film and Assamese films “Othelo” and “Ahetuk” won most of the awards among 29 Categories. 
Sneha Rai and Shalmon Kabo , Actress and Actor of 'Anmol Tshan' Nepali Movie
Sneha Rai and Shalmon Kabo , Actress and Actor of ‘Anmol Tshan’ Nepali Movie
In a bid to promote Assamese and North East cinema and highlight its 80-year old legacy, Prag Network had organised the North East Prag Cine Award on March 21 and 22 in Dibrugarh. The Prag Cine Award was instituted in the year 2003 to inspire people associated with Assamese cinema. The award recognizes and honours the best talents of Assamese and North East film industry in different segments. 
A jury comprising distinguished personalities associated with the field selects the winners of the award.(source & courtesy: voiceofsikkim.com)
Bollyhood Celebrities Neha Dhupia , Gulsun Grover along with Adil Hussain, Zubeen Garg, Papon and other eminent artistes of Assamese film industry graced the award ceremony. Dance and singing performances by various artist of Assamese Cinema had enthralled the audience with their performances.

Peace march in Siliguri

EOI, 23 Mar 2015: The Siliguri United Christian Forum on Monday took out a massive rally in town to denounce the Ranaghat incident where an elderly nun was allegedly sexually assaulted. 
The SUCF Solidarity Peace March against atrocities on minorities and women saw the participation of students, nuns, teachers and the elderly who braved the scorching heat of the sun to condemn such dastardly acts. 
SUCF member Cecelia Ekka said, “We would like to thank members of various communities for expressing their sympathy and solidarity.”

Gurung SMC surprise - Morcha bid to contest

TT, RAJEEV RAVIDAS, Kalimpong, March 22:Bimal Gurung today said the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha would like to field three to four candidates in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation elections who could contest under the BJP symbol, raising doubts on the national party's candidate list that was announced yesterday.
"We will select three or four candidates for the SMC polls. They will contest under the BJP flag," the Morcha chief said at a party meeting in Darjeeling.
The BJP, however, has made it clear there was no question of negotiations on fielding the Morcha's candidates as the names had been decided.
Rathindra Bose, the Siliguri (organisational) district secretary of the BJP, said: "We have announced all 47 candidates for the SMC elections. There is no question of changing any candidate now as only three days are left for the filing of nominations."
Told about what Gurung had said in Darjeeling, Bose said: "Our leader and party MP S.S. Ahluwalia has been apprised of all decisions and announcements at regular intervals. He maintains contact with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders. The Morcha leaders may speak of certain wards and seats but as of now, there is no question of changing any candidate."
A Morcha source said the party wanted to put candidates in wards 2 and 46, where the BJP has already announced candidates.
The Morcha source said the two wards - Champasari falls in ward 2 and Gurung busty in ward 46 - has sizeable presence of hill people. He could not explain why Gurung mentioned "three or four seats".
The BJP yesterday came out with the candidate list for 45 of the 47 wards. It had not announced the candidates for wards 40 and 41, which it did today.
The BJP's candidate for ward 2 is Tapashi Chowdhury, and the party's face for ward 46 is Harendra Yadav.
The Morcha source said: "The picture should be clearer by tomorrow. Even though the BJP has named its candidates for wards 2 and 46, we are talking to them in an effort to convince them to field candidates selected by us in the two seats, which are our strongholds."
Bose did not mention anything about "talks" going on for seats.
At the party meeting in Malidhara, about 5km from Darjeeling, 468 Trinamul Congress and GNLF supporters joined the party.
Gurung said the party's recent nine-day dharna at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi for Gorkhaland was successful and the movement was on the right track.
"This is the time for all of us to come together as one, especially since the movement was going on the right track. If the movement for Gorkhaland were not to be successful because of lack of unity among us, I shouldn't be held responsible," he said.

Morcha to back BJP list

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, March 23: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today said it would not field any candidate for the Siliguri Municipal Corporation elections and would extend "unconditional" support to BJP nominees, a day after the hill party expressed its willingness to name "three to four candidates" who would contest under the BJP symbol.
The BJP had announced most of its candidates for the 47 SMC wards on Saturday and Morcha chief Bimal Gurung's announcement yesterday had raised doubts about the list published by the national party.
Today, Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said: "The party discussed the issue today and it has been decided that we will extend unconditional support to the BJP candidates in all 47 wards. The decision has been taken, as Morcha is a member of the NDA. We are not going to field our candidates for the SMC polls as said earlier."
Yesterday, Gurung had said at a party meeting: "We will select three or four candidates for the SMC polls. They will contest under the BJP flag."
Sources in the Morcha said the hill party was of the opinion that it would be better to support the BJP than to field its own candidates. "After the recent meeting with senior BJP leaders in Delhi, the party wants to send a positive message. Although the party had earlier decided to try and field its own candidate under the BJP symbol, it felt that in the long run, the decision to extend support would be better in strengthening the relation with the BJP," said a source in the Morcha.
The source said the primary reason for the party wanting to field its own candidate was the fact that names of Nepali-speaking candidates had not featured in the lists of Trinamul, the CPM and the Congress.
"Bimal Gurung's main concern was that Nepali-speaking candidates should also have been fielded in the SMC elections as there are pockets of the community in Siliguri," said the source. "But it was pointed out that the BJP had already fielded two Nepali-speaking candidates and the Morcha felt that there was no need in pushing for candidates and putting the BJP in an uncomfortable situation as the party had already finalised its list," the source added.
The BJP has fielded Tashi Dorjee Lama from ward 42 and Lalu Maya Chhetri from ward 43.
"Had the Morcha fielded its candidate in the SMC elections, there was a possibility that anti-BJP parties would rake up the statehood issue. In the SMC elections, the statehood issue would have put the BJP on the back foot. With the Morcha deciding not to contest the election directly, the issue will probably be subdued to some extent," said an observer.

Swine flu claims fourth victim in state

Kantilal Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Bistupur
where the elderly woman died on March 20.
TT, Ranchi/Jamshedpur, March 23: An elderly woman who died last week and a doctor who had taken ill after attending to a swine flu patient have tested positive for H1N1 infection, raising the death toll to three in Jamshedpur and four across Jharkhand.
Chilu Rani Dutta (75), a resident of Kadma, had been admitted to Kantilal Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Bistupur on March 19 with acute pyrexia or high fever and bilateral pneumonia, an infection that affects both lungs. She was on life support in the isolation ward, but breathed her last on March 20. The report of her swine flu confirmatory test arrived from Calcutta this morning.
Tata Main Hospital (TMH) doctor Sudeshna Ganguly (34), who also tested positive today, has almost recuperated. The doctor had looked after 29-year-old Jai Lal Jaiswal who died on March 9 and was among the first three victims of the contagion, the others being a 40-year-old mother of three in Ranchi and a 55-year-old woman in Jamshedpur.
Two others - a 20-year-old man at a private nursing home in Khunti and a 35-year-old security force jawan from Chatra at RIMS - are currently being treated for swine flu. They had tested positive last week.
East Singhbhum district officer of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) Sahir Pall said four throat swab samples from Jamshedpur had been sent to Calcutta-based National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases on March 19 and 20.
"The reports came this morning and two were positive. One of the patients died last Friday," confirmed state director of IDSP Dr Ramesh Kumar.
The two who tested negative today are a 28-year-old woman from Purulia (Bengal) and a 35-year-old man from Jamadoba (Dhanbad), both admitted to TMH.
According to a general physician at Medica-managed Kantilal Gandhi hospital, Chilu Rani Dutta had been administered oseltamivir soon after her admission on March 19. "But, she had other underlying illnesses and drugs taken for rheumatoid arthritis had made her immunity very low. She did not survive the infections," he said.
IDSP officer Pall said the TMH doctor would be discharged soon. "She is stable and has fully recovered (from swine flu). Since she had no other ailments, oseltamivir worked for her. She had contracted the disease while treating a young man (Jaiswal) who died later."
Pall stressed on awareness. "We need to step up our campaign against swine flu. The administration has put up posters and hoardings at strategic points and today I have requested Tata Steel subsidiary Jusco to do the same in company command areas. Loudspeaker campaigns will help," he said.

22 Mar 2015

Northeast poet slams organizers over being called Nepali

TOI, Panaji, Goa, 21 Mar 2015: PANAJI: Poet Subash Rai Sotang expressed his displeasure at being referred to as a "Nepali poet" during a symposium on northeast Indian literature hosted by the Union ministry of culture`s west zone cultural centre, Udaipur, and directorate of art and culture, Goa, at Kala Academy, Panaji, on Friday. "I am as much of an Indian as anyone of you here. Don`t make me a Nepali foreigner," said the poet addressing the audience and organizers.
Speaking exclusively to TOI later, he said, "There is a lot of unawareness in the country about northeast Indians. I was born in Darjeeling and so were my forefathers. Yet, I have to usually face these attitudes.
"Sotang was among the poets on the symposium`s panel. The symposium on contemporary northeast Indian literature was part of the ongoing four-day festival, Octave, a cultural extravaganza showcasing arts and crafts of India`s northeastern states. When it was his turn to recite his poems, `The tourist and I` and `To the refined writers`, the compere referred to him as a "Nepali poet" while reading out his biodata.
Irked by this, Sotang took to the podium to convey his resentment towards the organizers` ignorance. "Do I look like I`m from Nepal?" he demanded. "Isn`t this a symposium on contemporary northeast Indian literature? I do speak Nepali and my poems are in the same language, but I have been a citizen of India since birth.
" The compere, Siddi Upadhyay, who works as a cultural organizer for the Goa department, apologized the moment Sotang finished reciting his poems. "I meant that the poet will be reciting in Nepali, not a poet from Nepal. I was merely going by the information printed on the festival`s invite," she said.
The invite contained the list of poets scheduled for the symposium and the language of their poems bracketed against their name. Sotang's name had the word Nepali against it in brackets. Showing the same, the compere cited that as the reason behind the misunderstanding.
An official of the west zone cultural centre, Udaipur, when contacted, said the poet may have been referred to as a Nepali-language poet since the symposium was related to northeast Indian literature and all were aware about it.
Also present on the panel, Goan playwright Pundalik Naik opined, "We claim regions but never its people. If Kashmir and the northeast states are ours then so are the people. Literature has the power to dispense geographical borders. Its purpose is not just to delight the reader, but to develop minds too."

Dry spell may affect Darjeeling tea

TNN, KOLKATA: Adverse weather conditions and a prolonged dry spell during the first few months may negatively affect the quality of Darjeeling tea this year.
Often referred to as 'champagne of the teas', Darjeeling tea is one of the finest varieties that the country produces. What is worrying for tea connoisseurs is that the first flush or the finest variety of the tea is likely to be hit the most. Known for its colour and aroma, the first flush of Darjeeling tea has been the connoisseurs' choice for ages.;
The first flush is sold through private auction and exported apart from being sold at a premium price in India. Last year Makaibari tea fetched a record price of Rs 1.12 lakh per kg.
"The quality of the first flush depends on the rain during December-January. This year we had a prolonged dry spell and it is likely to affect the quality of the crop," said C S Bedi, managing director of Rossell Tea.

 Tea bushes thrive in cold and moist atmospheric conditions to grow properly. During December and February, when no leaves are plucked, low temperature and high moisture level enhances growth.
"Last year we had a drought-like condition. This year again we are facing a similar situation. Such conditions weaken the bush," said Arun N Singh CEO and MD of Goodricke Tea. "Leaves have already become dry due to weather. If it does not rain for next 2-3 days, things will turn worse," he said.
With the Euro being weak at present, export potential does not look bright for the industry either. "A large portion of Darjeeling tea is exported and we don't see a good fortune even on the export front," said S S Bagaria, chairman of the Darjeeling Tea Association.

Indian Tea Association estimates show that in the Terai region, rainfall is deficient by 60% this year. The tea industry in North Bengal is likely to be affected by the ongoing labour problem in the region too.
These additional problems will most likely push up prices of tea this year.

Regional conference on cyber laws held

PTI, EOI, GUWAHATI, 21 Mar 2015: A two-day regional conference on cyber laws and the challenges faced by Indian judiciary while dealing the cases related to it was kicked off today.
"There are a lot of new crimes coming up in the cyber world and off-late we have witnessed an increase in the rate of these crimes. Unless we have a better understanding of these, we will not be able to deal with them properly," Supreme Court Judge Madan Bhimarao Lokur said while inaugurating conference here. 
Apart from computer-based internet, a new challenge has emerged in the form of mobile phone-based internet crimes, he added. "The hackers intercept the data of any computer or mobile phone and then temper with the data or evidence essential for a case that are needed to be analysed. This is a big challenge," Lokur said. 
The conference is organised by Gauhati High Court in association with the Judicial Academy, Assam and is aimed at sensitising judges, public prosecutors and investigating officers of the North Eastern region about cyber crimes. Synchronising with the conference, an exhibition of cyber forensic tolls was inaugurated by Meghalaya High Court Chief Justice Uma Nath Singh. He said the cyber weapons being used today are no less than nuclear weapons.

Christians to take out solidarity rally in Siliguri

nun, gangrape, bengalEOI, SILIGURI, 21 Mar 2015: The United Christian Forum of Siliguri will take out a peace rally in town on Monday to express solidarity with the elderly nun who was allegedly sexually assaulted at the Jesus and Mary Convent in Ranaghat, Nadia on March 13, and also to condemn the repeated attacks on churches in the state over the past few months. 
Forum president Eld. Joshua Pradhan, the convener of the rally, said the march from St Mary’s Church in Pradhan Nagar to the Bagajatin Park is to show their solidarity and sympathy to the victims of attacks. 
“We want to create awareness in society on the importance of non-violence, democracy and respect for women,” he said. “We have given a call to people from all backgrounds to participate in the rally. There are around 60-70 churches in the region, and we expect more than 10,000 Christians to attend the march,” added Pradhan. 
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for The Missionaries of Charity said, "We can't imagine such inhuman torture on an elderly nun who has devoted her life for the service of humanity. It's a shame." “A series of attacks on churches in recent months is another reason that has prompted us to take out the rally,” said Rev Abhilak Thakur of the Church of North India, adding the repeated assaults raise questions on whether constitutional guarantees are applicable to the Christian community.
In the latest incident this week, St Alphonsa's Church in south Delhi's Vasant Kunj area was vandalised. The police insisted it was a burglary. Another Catholic church was vandalised by two unidentified men in west Delhi's Vikaspuri on January 14, weeks after the home ministry directed the Delhi police to install CCTV cameras inside and around all religious places. 
On January 3, the Christmas Crib at Rohini's Church of Resurrection got burnt mysteriously. The windows of Our Lady of Fatima Forane Church in Okhla were broken during evening mass on December 7 last year by unidentified persons.

Statehood panel cry- electoral representations from Limbu & Tamang Sikkim and West Bengal in Parliament

Hillman the Analyst, KalimNews, Kalimpong, 22 March 2015: Apropos Telegraph 18 March 2015, “Statehood panel cry” by Vivek Chhetri. This writer once again congratulates BJP MP SS Ahluwalia with all the kudos at his disposal to express gratitude for once again raising the issue of Gorkhaland in the Lok Sabha by requesting the Centre to form a committee to look into the statehood issue. 
Although the MP has raised various other issues regarding the concern of the hills both relevant and irrelevant a very important point he seems to have overlooked is the fact that a Presidential Ordinance is lying in a lapsed stage in both House of Parliament concerning electoral representation for the new list of Scheduled Tribes as per census 2011. 
This Bill is potent with impacting concerns particularly in Darjeeling District where the rise in population of Scheduled Tribes tabulated as per Census 2011 mainly after the Limbu & Tamang communities were listed in the ST category it is crucial to note that the ST population of Darjeeling District now stands at 21.5% (Census 2001:12.87%) and that in GTA area (subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong) as per Census 2011 estimated at 63.5% (Census 2001 estimated at 31.4%). It is commonly understood that though the ST figure of 12.87% was for the entire Darjeeling District it was fed as representative of DGHC area during the discussions held in the Standing Committee of Parliament on the Sixth Schedule in 2007. It is this consideration which assumes that the rise in population in Darjeeling District now stands raised to 21.5%. It is obvious therefore that during the Standing Committee proceedings the ST figure for DGHC (GTA) is stated at 31.4% as such now stands raised to 63.5% (estimated).
Now the content of this rise in population in every decadal Census implies a very important legal feature concerning the population of SC&ST in figuring the future allocation of electoral representation in Parliament and all the respective State Legislatures in India. The provisions of this legal feature lies within the Articles 81,82,170 330,332 which all goes to ascertain that any change in the rise in population of the above two categories of communities during the record and publication of the decadal Censuses, there is legal guarantee provided by the Constitution to effect changes as per the Articles above to ensure that the rise in population of SC&ST require to be accommodated with proportionate electoral representation in Parliament and respective State Legislatures. It simply means that when there is a rise in population of SC/ST they are guaranteed to be afforded proportionate reservation of MP & MLA constituencies in their areas in the States applicable.
For instance in the case of Sikkim and West Bengal where two new tribes Limbu & Tamang have been listed under Article 342 as ST. On account of this additional list of two STs the general population of the subdivision/district automatically arises on account. The rise in population in the new Census 2011 can well be held responsible for providing certain areas in Sikkim and West Bengal (particularly Darjeeling District), to be declared as a ‘Scheduled Area’ by the President of India. 
While considering this feature and also addressing the concern of West Bengal having been placed in the Fifth Schedule of the constitution it can be gauged that the Scheduled Area of the Fifth Schedule is the identity which the President intends to assert. The implication in understanding is rather far and wide and it is not relevant to address the same at this point of time except in understanding that the Scheduled Area identity seems to be the chief feature of the Fifth Schedule to be realized in order to provide the constitutional legality in demanding a separate system of administration (Act of 1935) or Union/State as per the Constitution of India.
It is possible MP SS Ahluwalia is quite conversant with this constitutional framework and is in fact in process of delivering the same on the table. That the committee requested to be formed for the statehood demand is a most welcome sign, however, one must also note that in the same breath the Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also placed the same menu during the last visit of the GJM stalwarts meeting him officially in New Delhi some months back. 
 It bodes well that both the Home Minister and MP are speaking with the same mind and hope now that they are in unquestionable state of power in Lok Sabha, the state formation would come about sooner than later, it is hoped. However with the coming Assembly elections in view there is a dim possibility that the BJP govt. at the Centre will definitely postpone the consideration till after the 2016 elections. 
After all surely the BJP at any cost would not be in a position, politically, to deliver statehood before the elections. This would be their end and disaster in West Bengal despite their political success with the implications of the Shradha chit fund scam weighing heavily on the ruling TMC in West Bengal.
Having delved into the constitutional implications of the statehood demand or Gorkhaland if you will, it is perturbing to notice that despite the overt expression by the BJP stalwarts that a committee for statehood is on the anvil it is really doubtful whether the statehood demand will ever be implemented before Assembly elections 2014. To argue this point precisely and pointedly that both the BJP Home Minister and MP expressing concern for statehood is more of a political than a legal statement. Had they been more serious in the matter, they would have fired the first volley in Parliament by raising the question of the lapsed Ordinance/Bill pending before both houses of Parliament since 2013. 
The Bill concerns the electoral rights of the new list of STs particularly pertaining o the Limbu & Tamang of Sikkim and Wes Bengal. It is known that this legality would be the primal factor in determining 1. Scheduled Area and 2.eventually culminating in the legality to provide a Union/State as per the provisions of the Fifth Schedule already implied in West Bengal since 2012.
So if one is able to read the above explanations implicitly and explicitly without any general bias of any sort except to be able to understand that the relevancy is entirely constitutional and not schemes programmed by any groups of people, statehood is simply there for takes. Accordingly it is to be acknowledged that many turns and bends are being taken to reach an end which in fact is a straight road right from the beginning to the end. The road is simply that West Bengal is now under provision of the Fifth Schedule already and once the pending Ordinance/Bill becomes an Act, Darjeeling & Dooars will eventually become a reality i.e. a state/UT whichever constitutionally guaranteed.
The Bill is the key to unlock the statehood demand now pending before both houses of Parliament as, ‘The Readjustment of Representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies’. In fact the Bill has just an important impact in Sikkim as because the Limbu & Tamang communities as ST are common in both the States. Accordingly once the Bill becomes an Act it is probable that the ST reservation in the Sikkim State Assembly would be raised accordingly to proportionate representation.
Let us hope that the fray of political parties at the helm of affairs demanding a state of Gorkhaland fulfill their promise before the coming elections 2016 in order that the new list of STs Limbu & Tamang will also qualify for electoral representations in Parliament and the Legislatures in Sikkim and West Bengal. 
The writer Karma T.Pempahishey (alias Hillman-the Analyst) is a regular columnist and a freelance writer.

21 Mar 2015

GTA in court against state teacher order

TT, Calcutta, March 20: The GTA today filed a case at the Calcutta High Court to challenge the legality of the state government's move to appoint 46 para-teachers in 46 schools across Darjeeling district for teaching the Lepcha language.
The GTA, in its petition, claimed that since the issue of appointment of teachers in Darjeeling primary schools was a GTA subject according to the GTA Act, 2011, the state had no authority to make such a move.
"The case is likely to come up for hearing next week," Ayanava Raha, the lawyer appearing for the hill body, said this evening.
The petition claimed that in 2013, the state government had decided to appoint 46 para-teachers in 46 Darjeeling schools for teaching Lepcha language. Accordingly, on June 3, 2014, the government issued a notification asking the district magistrate of Darjeeling to start the process of appointing teachers, the petition stated.
The petition also said that soon after the notification was issued, Roshan Giri, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha secretary and the GTA executive member in-charge of school education, wrote a letter to the DM and requested him not to proceed with the process.
"But the DM, on March 10 this year, started the process of selection of teachers. That prompted my client to move a case in the Calcutta High Court," Raha said.
The petitioner sought an order of the court quashing the decision taken by the state government and allowing the GTA to proceed with the appointments.
Giri said the state government's move to recruit para-teachers in primary schools in the hills was a violation of both the GTA agreement and the GTA Act since school education is a transferred subject. "This is another instance of the state government's interference in the subject matter of the GTA by violating both the GTA agreement and the GTA Act. We will oppose this tooth and nail," he said.