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Latest Posts

25 Jul 2017

GJM wants Tamang murder case shifted out of Kolkata

TH, 25 July 2017, Kolkata: A city court on Tuesday turned down a plea from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking a non-bailable warrant against Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung and 21 others who did not appear in court for a hearing on framing of charges in the Madan Tamang murder case.

Chief Judge of City Session Court K.K. Kumai rejected the CBI petition and allowed the accused to record their statement under Section 317 of CrPC where the presence of the accused is not required.

Apart from Bimal Gurung, senior GJM leaders Asha Gurung, Roshan Giri, Binay Tamang and Devendra Sharma were among those absent. All India Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang was killed in Darjeeling in May 2010. Of the 54 accused in the case, four have died while two are absconding. Of the 48 remaining accused, 26 were present in the court on Monday for framing of charges as per directions of the Calcutta High Court.

Pointing out that the charges in the case cannot be framed unless all accused are present in the Court, CBI counsel Arun Bhagat had on Monday asked the Court to issue non-bailable warrants against Mr. Gurung and others.

Meanwhile, in another development, the GJM leadership has approached the Supreme Court seeking that the trial be shifted out of Kolkata. GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said the GJM leadership was unwilling to present itself at a court in Kolkata apprehending a threat to life.

The counsel for the GJM leaders said the police had followed the 26 accused to Gorkha Bhawan in Salt Lake where the police questioned some of them. The Judge sought a report from the Bidhannagar City Police.
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Nepali channel to fight legal battle against Mamata govt’s gag order

Gorkhaland supporters participate in a rally on Sevok Road close to Siliguri town.
Gorkhaland supporters participate in a rally on Sevok Road close to Siliguri town.(Bikram Sashanker / HT Photo)
Pramod Giri, HT, 25 July 2017: Two days after its office in Siliguri was sealed, ABN News Network, the only Nepali language satellite channel in India, alleged that Bengal’s police and administration violated freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution. Freedom of the press was violated too, said the channel which has its headquarters in Delhi.

The channel’s office on Sevok Road was sealed by the police on Saturday night as part of the crackdown on establishments that have been charged with promoting unrest linked to the movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

Prem Chettri, legal advisor to the channel, and Tulsi Raman, head of the company’s human resource division, condemned the crackdown and said on Monday that the channel would challenge the order in court.

Police confronting Gorkhaland supporters on Sevok Road on Saturday. (Bikram Sashanker/HT Photo)
Raman said, “ABN News Network went on air in October 2016. It is a satellite television channel but the administration treated it like a local cable channel. The channel will continue to telecast from Delhi after some technical problems are sorted out.”

“The police entered our office, conducted search and sealed it. They did not serve us any notice earlier. Nor did they carry out any investigation,” alleged Chettri.

“The police should have given us an opportunity to explain our operations. The notice issued under Section 41 (a) CrPC was handed to the management only after the office was sealed. The Police did not give a copy of the seizure list,” alleged Chettri.

After the raid, government officials in Siliguri had said that the channel violated a public order and promoted enmity between ethnic groups. However, both Chettri and Raman refuted the charge.

Niraj Kumar Singh, police commissioner of Siliguri, said, “We received complaints that the channel violated prohibitory orders and had telecast footage that fanned hatred in the Darjeeling hills. Our action was based on the FIR lodged against the channel by the Darjeeling district information and culture department.”

The channel’s office will remain sealed till the police completes the investigation, said Singh.

An order served to the company by Rachna Bhagat, Jalpaiguri district magistrate, said the channel’s news, which were being shared on social media, were highly objectionable. These were spreading hatred and animosity among different communities, said the order.

The order also said that the situation prevailing in and around Darjeeling district was very sensitive.

The DM ordered suspension of transmission and broadcast of news programmes relating to Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts till August 7.

The government banned internet services and transmission by local cable channels in the Darjeeling hills more than a month ago.
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Tamang murder case: Kolkata court rejects CBI plea for arrest warrants against GJM chief

HT, Jul 25, 2017, Kolkata: A local court in Kolkata on Tuesday rejected the appeal of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for arrest warrants against 22 Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders, including its president Bimal Gurung, in the murder case of prominent Gorkha leader Madan Tamang.

Tamang, president of the All India Gorkha League, was hacked to death in Darjeeling in 2010. Though a supporter of the Gorkhaland movement, he was opposed to Gurung.

Prominent GJM leaders against whom the CBI wanted arrest warrants include Gurung’s wife, Asha Gurung, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri, and the Morcha assistant general secretary Binay Tamang.

The order by the chief judge of city sessions court brought relief to the GJM but it has embarrassed the CBI because it did not accept the central agency’s argument that the case couldn’t be heard in absence of the accused.

The court said the GJM leaders could be represented by their lawyers.

The counsel for GJM leaders also appealed to the court for protection of party leaders and activists living at Gorkha Bhavan in Kolkata and alleged they were being harassed regularly.

The court ordered the Bidhannagar Police commissioner to submit a report.

Former GJM legislator Harka Bahadur Chettri and former GJM leader Pradeep Pradhan were among the 26 who were present in court on Tuesday.

Of the 54 accused in the case, four have already died and two others are absconding.

Most of the accused against whom the CBI wanted arrest warrants are currently spearheading a movement for carving out a separate state for the Nepali-speaking community of West Bengal’s Darjeeling district.
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Mamata Banerjee briefs Rajnath Singh on security situation in Darjeeling

Bharti Jain| TNN | Jul 25, 2017, NEW DELHI: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday briefed Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh about the prevailing situation in Darjeeling, with the latter urging her to restore normalcy there at the earliest citing its proximity to Doklam, the current Indo-China border flashpoint.
"Given that Darjeeling is strategically located and lies not too far from the Doklam area, care should be taken to see that the unrest there does not linger. The state should take the lead and initiate concrete steps to bring back normalcy to the hill areas of West Bengal," a source said elaborating on Singh's advice to Mamata during their hour-long meeting here.
Banerjee on her part apprised Singh about the steps already taken by her government to contain the law and order crisis in the hill areas arising out of the ongoing stir, an official privy to the meeting said.
The home minister assured Banerjee of full support from the Centre as the state tries to normalise the situation in Darjeeling. "The core issues can be resolved through negotiations once the law and order situation is under control," he is said to have conveyed to the chief minister.
Darjeeling has been witnessing indefinite strike called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), demanding the separate state of Gorkhaland, since June 12.
In a written reply to the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Union minister of state for home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said there was no proposal to constitute a committee to look into the separate state demand of the Gorkhas and others agitating in Darjeeling.
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GTA probe: New PWD team to be sent to Hills

Saibal Gupta & Dwaipayan Ghosh | TNN | Jul 25, 2017, KOLKATA: The state PWD has decided to send a fresh fourmember team to the Hills in a couple of days. This decision came after the special audit team from the state finance department failed to make headway in preparing a compliance report due to non-availability of documents. "There are hardly any documents in the GTA offices.
So, the team is now depending on performance report based on physical verification of the projects, undertaken by the Hills administration in the last four years. A four-member team is already stationed in Darjeeling but we have decided to send a team of specialised people like civil, electrical engineers and specialists in construction cost and estimation," as senior PWD officer said.
Sources in the department said a meeting has been convened on Tuesday to finalise the names of the people, who will be sent to Darjeeling.
"This is second team that is being sent to the Hills. It has also been decided that after every 15 days, a new team will replace the old one. They will be working under chief engineer of North Bengal Soumitra Maity, who will send a progress report to the state PWD every fortnight," the officer added.
The state administration decided to rotate the team every fortnight on security reasons. "The team, which was to make a field trip to Kalimpong to ascertain if earthquake shelters had been built, could not do so due to roadblocks for two consecutive days at Teesta Bazar and Kalimpong. Similarly, the GTA engineering office was set on fire to ensure that all papers were completely destroyed," said an officer.
Overall, there has been hardly any progress in the audit. According to a member of the audit team, the panel is yet to trace accounts of the GTA for three financials — 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 — of the total five financials, when Bimal Gurung's Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) ran the civic body. Worse, there is no record of the Rs 40.5 crore money GTA members received for local area development during the fiveyear tenure. This was an untied fund of Rs 30 lakh received by each GTA member once a year.
The team also decided to go for physical verification of the projects undertaken by the Hill administration in the last four years.
The team has identified 16 projects, including highvalue projects like reconstruction of Rohini Road or construction of Latpancher Cinchona Guest House or the Open Air Theatre at Mall Road, Chowrasta.

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Unesco concerned as 3 Darjeeling Toy train stations damaged in GJM protests

Amit chakraborty, Ei Samay | Jul 25, 2017, KOLKATA: Amid ongoing Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) protests, Unesco has expressed concern over safety of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) properties in West Bengal. At least stations of DHR, recognised by the UN agency as a world heritage site since 1999, were damaged during the ongoing strike in the hills.
Recently, Unesco officials had a detailed discussion with the railway board authoritis after train stations were vandalised by the protesters.
On July 8, bandh supporters torched the Sonada station. The Gayabari station was set on fire on July 13 and, the same night, an arson attack was attempted on the Elysia Building in Kurseong. The two stations were gutted and the ground floor of the two-storey building in Kurseong was damaged.
Unesco authorities sent two letters - one on June 26 and the other on July 11 - to the central government in compliance with the "operational guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention".
Last month, GJM supporters had ransacked the Mahanadi station and a notice was issued to halt the train services.
Following which, Railway officials held discussions with the state government on using the central force to provide security to the railway properties in the hills.
"Shocked to hear the attacks on toy train. We have spoken to the state govt on law and order issue," Pranabjyori Sharma, CRPO DHR, had said.
However, GJM leaders have denied the allegations.
"Contractors can be behind these to get new contracts. It should be investigated properly," a GJM leader had said.
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Strike at 40: GNLF then, Morcha now

The DGHC agreement being signed in Calcutta on August 22 in 1988 in the presence of then Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu, Union home minister Buta Singh (sitting second from left) and GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh (sitting extreme right)
TT, Calcutta, July 24: The indefinite strike called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today entered Day 40.
Nearly 30 years ago, the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) which was spearheading the statehood agitation then, had called a " chalis din, chalis raat" (forty days, forty nights) "pahar bandh" (closure of hills).
For the past three decades, the 40-day continuous strike has been the most-talked subject with reference to the statehood agitation and many in the hills had felt that such complete shutdown would never be repeated. During the July-August-September agitation of the Morcha in 2013, the party did close the hills for 44 days but in a staggered manner.
As the continuous strike record is set to be broken, The Telegraph compares the two strikes:
Starting Date
GNLF: February 10, 1988
Morcha:June 15, 2017
Leader at the helm
GNLF:Subash Ghisingh
Morcha:Bimal Gurung
Strike run-up
GNLF:
Morcha: An immediate "indefinite strike" was announced around 11am on June 15 when police started raising Gurung's office at Patlebas in Darjeeling, provided little time for the common people to be prepared.
Cause
GNLF: The party, while announcing the strike, had claimed that it was to oppose police atrocities. Ghisingh, in 1989, however, clarified that the 40-day strike had been called over the nomenclature of the autonomous set-up that he had agreed during a meeting with then Union home minister Buta Singh and CPM leader Harikishen Singh Surjeet in New Delhi on January 12, 1988. Ghisingh wanted the word "Gorkha" for the new body while the Centre and state leaders had stressed the word "Darjeeling".
Ultimately, the body was named Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC). Ghisingh also wanted some areas in the Terai to be brought under jurisdiction of the new body.
Morcha: The hills were simmering over the alleged imposition of Bengali language on hill schools. Clashes broke out between police and Morcha supporters in Darjeeling on June 8, 2017, less than 200 metres from Raj Bhavan where chief minister Mamata Banerjee was holding a meeting of the Bengal Cabinet.
On June 15, 2017, police raided Gurung's party office at Patlebas and the party called an immediate indefinite strike. The contours have changed now with both the Morcha and an all-party committee called the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee calling it a strike for a single point agenda of Gorkhaland.
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Plea for forcesTo clear building


TT, Calcutta, July 24: A Marwari organisation today wrote to the Darjeeling district administration and police, pleading that security personnel vacate the community's building that was being occupied by them in the hill town after the current unrest had begun.

"On June 20, security forces broke open the lock and entered the building without our permission. This is the only building which is used for social, cultural and religious events and also during natural calamities," Rajesh Agarwal, the president of the Marwari Sahayak Samiti, said today.

The organisation said 135 security personnel were staying at the five-storied building on Sonam Wangdi Road in Darjeeling. "The district police had earlier said they would use only two floors and the rest would be available for us. But now they are using the entire premises," a member of the association said.
This is the second time that a dispute has cropped up over the accommodation of the security forces in the hills. Earlier, the authorities of St. Joseph's College (North Point) had alleged that security forces had entered the campus without permission to set up a camp.
In another development, a forum of hill teachers wrote to the Darjeeling district magistrate, seeking resumption of Internet services in hills.
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State admits failure in hills before HC

TT, Calcutta, July 24: The advocate general, Kishore Dutta, today admitted before the high court that the administration had failed to function properly in the Darjeeling hills as the agitating Gorkha Janmukti Morcha was not allowing government officials to perform their duties.
This is the first admission by the government that it is losing control over the hills where the ruling party was tiptoeing.
Dutta's admission came while he was opposing the anticipatory bail petition of Reverend Joy Haldar, the rector of St Paul's School in Darjeeling. The division bench of Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Debaprasad De rejected the bail plea.
The state authorities lodged a complaint against Haldar, accusing him of taking part in "anti-national activities by falsely instigating the hill people, particularly the Morcha cadres, by saying the state government was illegally introducing Bengali in the schools across Bengal".
The charges are related to a speech Haldar had delivered at Bhanu Bhavan in Darjeeling at the May-end.
Dutta today told the court: "The state administration has failed to function properly in the hills due to the violent movement by the followers of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. The agitators are not allowing government officials to enter the hills and perform their duties."
The advocate general also claimed that the government had taken all possible steps to restore peace to the hills.
"Considering the grave situation in the hills, the court should not grant the anticipatory bail petition of Haldar because he is also instigating the agitators," said Dutta.
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पुलिस वाहन तोडफोड अनशनकारीहरूको अवस्था चिन्ताजनक

डी के वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ २४ जुलाई। अनिश्चितकालिन बन्दको 40 औँ दिन कालेबुङको मोटर स्टयाण्डमा पुलिसले हायरमा चलाउने बोलेरो वाहन तोडफोड गरिएको छ। डब्ल्यु बी 30 जी 1071 नम्बर भएको उक्त वाहन पुलिसले केहि समय देखि नै हायरमा चलाउने गरेको थियो। 
विहान लगभग पाँच बजे उक्त वाहन कालेबुङ थानामा आइरहेको समयमा अज्ञात मानिसहरूले रोकेर तोडफोड गर्नका साथै पल्टाउने कार्य गरेको छ। अचानक केहि मानिसहरूले वाहनलाई रोकेर तोडफोड गर्नका साथै पल्टाउने कार्य गरेपछि वाहन क्षतिग्रस्त बनेको छ। घट्नाको जानकारी पाउनसाथै कालेबुङ पुलिस घट्ना स्थलमा पुगेको थियो भने पछिबाट उक्त वाहनलाई उद्धार गरेर पुलिसले लगेको छ। घट्ना सम्बन्धि पुलिसले जाँच गरिरहेको छ। 
यता गोर्खा जनमुक्ति युवा मोर्चाले सुरु गरेको आमरण अनशनको चौथो दिन अनशनकारीको अवस्था चिन्ताजन बन्दै गइरहेको छ। कालेबुङको डम्बर चौकमा युवा मोर्चाका तीनजना कार्यकर्ताहरू बसेको आमरण अनशनको चौथो दिन अजित रोकाको अवस्था धेरै बिग्रेको थाह लागेको छ। यसका साथै अन्य अनशनकारीहरूमा क्रमैले सागर दियाली अनि राजु विश्वकर्मको अवस्थामा पनि बिग्रन्दै गएको गोजयुमो केन्द्रिय समितिका सदस्य समिर बस्नेतले जानकारी दिएका छन्। 
अनशनकारीहरूको स्वास्थ्य जाँच गर्नका निम्ति आज विहान कालेबुङ जिल्ला अस्पतालबाट डा. एस. एन. दास स्वास्थ्यकर्मीहरूको साथमा अनशन स्थलमा आएका थिए। उनले अनशनकारीहरूको स्वास्थ्य जाँच गरेर अवस्था दिनदिने गम्भीर बन्दै गएको कारण सलाइन लगाउने सुझाव सँगै चिकित्सा लिने आग्रह गरेका थिए भने अनशनकारीहरूले चिकित्सा लिन अस्वीकार गरेको समिर बस्नेतले बताएका छन्। 
‘अस्पतालका चिकित्सकहरूले अनशनकारीहरूको स्वास्थ्य जाँच गरेर उनीहरूलाई झट्टै चिकित्सा लिने आग्रह गरे। जिब्रो सुकेको अनि शरिरमा पानीको मात्र घटेको कारण पानी पिउने सल्लाह पनि उनले दिएका थिए। यसक्रममा अनशनकारीहरूले चिकित्सा लिनका साथै पानी पिउँन पनि अस्वीकार गरेका छन’ समिर बस्नेतले भने। हाल अनशनकारीहरूको रक्तचापको समस्या, डिहाइड्रेसन जस्ता समस्या देखा पर्नका साथै शरिर दुख्ने समस्याहरू देखा परेको पनि उनले बताएका छन्। यद्यपी छुट्टै राज्य गोर्खाल्याण्ड नभएसम्म अनशनकारीहरूले आफ्नो अनशनलाई जारी राख्ने बताएको पनि बस्नेतले जानकारी दिएका छन्।
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History repeats itself in hills but with less heat now

NISHA CHETTRI, SNS, KALIMPONG, 24 JULY: The bullet missed him by a whisker when a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel opened fire at the protesters  near Mission Compound in Kalimpong in the year 1985. Ashish Lepcha, who was 11 years old then says this time around, it's different, a lot more peaceful."
The infamous 40- day shut down of the Darjeeling halls is hack to haunt those who witnessed it 29 long years ago, prompting them to compare the situation with today's state of affairs.
In 1986, the chief of the Gorkha National Liberation Front, Sub has Ghisingh, spearheaded a bloody two-year agitation for a separate state of Gorkhaland and called for a 40-day strike in the Hills in February-March 1968.
On the 40th day of the ongoing shutdown today. several people recalled the past and started telling tales of t he hardship and a similar situation they faced back then 100.
The first comparison with the eighties came on 27 June this year, when Gorkhaland agitators burnt the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) accord. People had linked the date 27 June to the situation 27 July 1986 when protesters burnt the Indo-Nepal treaty, and people clashed with the police and para-military forces, leaving several dead.
'Many decapitated heads used to hang at Dambar Chowk here, while the CRPF was ruthless showing no mercy and giving two hoots to human rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. Article 19 was scrapped after Himalchuli'. His head was found hanging from a pole of Dambar Chowk the day after he went missing," Lepcha recalls.
Many of the protesters who were out on the streets today had also marched for Gorkhaland 29 years ago too.
`The same Gorkhaland slogans - "We want Gorkhaland!..Bangal hamro chihaan ho; Bangal ma haami basdainau (Bengal is our grave and we won't dwell in the graveyard) - are back and reverberating the hills and valleys after three decades," says Lepcha, who adds he is still hitting the streets, in support of the statehood demand.
People say the population and were sparse back then, and that they had plenty things to eat in their backyard - from roots and shoots to tender ferns and mushrooms, and of course the chicken, goat and pigs which they reared.
The heavens opened up after the rains poured in on Sunday at the balcony of Bhakta Thapa's house, the former vice-president of the GNWO (Gorkha National Women's Organisation) as it shows a big scar on her leg.
Thapa was shot at by a CRPF personnel during the agitation in the eighties."A shrapnel is still lodged deep inside my leg. It could never he removed," says Thapa, who is 68 now.
'Many people were killed then, but that doesn't mean people are not dying now. Even if we take up the non-violent path, the government and its atrocities will still be there. Their atrocities were there in the eighties, and atrocities are there now as well she says.
Thapa says she was once involved in a clash with the police/CRPF. While she and other protesters started pelting the law enforcers with stones, the policemen opened Fire and one of the bullets hit her on her leg at Trikone Park.
People further say that the comparison between the two phases in time will not be complete until one talks about the much-dreaded raids during the eighties' agitation.
"At least that's not happening right now," says Ajay Lama from Mirik, who vividly remembers how he and his Friends tied to the jungles or nearby areas bordering Nepal in the eighties.
Mahindra Gurung, the president of the Drivers' union in Kalimpong, says: "I was 14 when Subhas Ghishing started the Gorkhaland agitation I had joined the Gorkha Volunteer Cell (GVC) when I was studying in class 9. They trained us for 10 days and were left to fend for ourselves, not knowing what ugly turn things would take any moment.But today, the agitation is peaceful and people are more literate and aware," he said 
With every thing on a standstill, local Tv channels off air, no school for children, limited options when it comes to eating, and with no Internet connection, many people in the hills presently fed that the situation has gone back to the eighties.
They, however, also realise that fact that they still have the telephones that are ringing, something which they did not get to use in the eighties".
"I used to cross the woods, jungles, rivers and streams on foot just to deliver a small message to our branches/fellow agitators in Kurseong in between 1986-88,' recalls a man in Mirik, (who does not want to be named), and who was close aide to Subhas Ghisingh.
'At least the mobile and landline phones are working presently, and that will help people keep connected,' he says.
Meanwhile, on the streets of Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Kurseong and Mirik, people say they dont mind the turmoil and the shutdown.
What they want is a 'logical conclusion' to the'people's movement they have started.
"I would rather go hungry half a day than leave this thing in the middle of nowhere, and sure will not mind if the indefinite strike stretches further," says Chhewang Tamang, a die-hard Gorkhaland supporter,
As the strike crosses the 40- day mark and sets another record in the hills, we feel for the eight people who have died so far in the fresh bout of the agitation." a woman belonging to the GJMM's women's wing, Kalimpong branch says. 
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CBI seeks arrest ..non bailable warrant against Bimal Gurung...session court withheld its decision till Tuesday

ENS | | Kolkata | July 25, 2017: The prime accused against whom the CBI prayed for issuance of arrest warrant are Bimal Gurung, his wife Asha Gurung, GJM secretary Roshan Giri and Morcha assistant general secretary Binay Tamang.
The CBI on Monday sought an arrest warrant against Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung, his wife Asha and 20 others before a city court in connection with the Madan Tamang murder case. 
The CBI submitted the prayer before the chief judge of city session court, which withheld its decision till Tuesday.
Of the 48 accused in the case, only 26 including former GJM leader and current Jan Andolan Party (JAP) president Harka Bahadur Chetri, former GJM leader Bhupendra Pradhan and GJM central committee member Ramesh Alley were present in the court during the hearing. 
All India Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang had been killed in the heart of Darjeeling on May 21, 2010. 
During the hearing, CBI counsel Arun Bhagat argued: “We tried our best to reach the accused through messengers and SMS. Officers were forced to paste notices at their home and premises.”
He prayed to the court to issue a non-bailable warrant so charges could be framed. There are a total of 54 accused in the case, of which two are still absconding and four have died. 
The prime accused against whom the CBI prayed for issuance of arrest warrant are Bimal Gurung, his wife Asha Gurung, GJM secretary Roshan Giri and Morcha assistant general secretary Binay Tamang.
The Calcutta High Court had earlier called for the case to be wrapped up fast, and directed to conclude proceedings and frame charges by August 17. 
On July 19, a division bench of Calcutta High Court had directed all the accused to be present at the trial court, following which notices were posted at their premises. 
However, defense lawyer Debasis Ray argued that they are being represented at the court by their counsel. 
The CBI counsel objected to this, saying the Calcutta High Court had sought the presence of the accused in the trial court.
(Source & Courtesy : http://indianexpress.com/article/india/cbi-seeks-arrest-warrant-against-bimal-gurung-4765785/)
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Next to flashpoint, home tension bigger headache than China chill...Sikkimese complains of suffering due to Gorkhaland

kupuk, sikkim, india china bhutan border standoff, chinese army, border standoff, trijunction, india china crisis, indian express
On way to Kupup. Partha Paul
Esha Roy | Kupup (sikkim) | ENS | July 25, 2017: Just over 60 km east of Gangtok and 13,025 feet above sea level, lies the hamlet of Kupup. With a population of about 550, Kupup stands close to the trijunction, tucked in between the mountains of the eastern Himalayas where India, China and Bhutan meet.
South of Kupup lies the popular Elephant Lake, its tail pointing towards the village and its tapering trunk towards the Dolam plateau, barely 5 km in a straight line on the other side of the rain-drenched hills. Located near Nathula at 14,400 feet, this 89 sq-km pasture land, to which Bhutanese shepherds take their yaks for grazing, has been at the centre of a standoff between Indian and Chinese troops for more than a month now.
But for the people of Kupup, a 1.5 sq-km patch, the India-China tension is not of paramount importance, it’s the Gorkhaland agitation and the frequent landslides that’s disrupting their lives. As for China, they say, it’s business as usual. “We go to Rinchengang, 9 km ahead of Nathula in Tibet, where we trade with the Chinese. The market is open from Monday to Thursday, from 10 am to 4 pm. We are still going. The trading hasn’t stopped,’’ says Chunzey Bhutia, 38, who owns and runs a small shop with her brother, a registered trader permitted to trade with the Chinese.
While Bhutia’s family lives in Gangtok to “ensure a good education” for her children, the only government school in Kupup shut in 2005 without enough students , she travels to Sikkim’s capital every month, ferrying Chinese goods. Her shop stores stacks of Chinese blankets, shoes, umbrellas, jackets and other goods. “The blankets are the most popular,’’ says Bhutia.
Kupup residents say this informal trade between India and China operates for seven months every year ? between May and November, when heavy snowfall brings the shutters down. There are five families who trade with the Chinese. Most others in the village work as labourers with the Border Roads Organisation. “The road to Kupup is being widened. The roads are constantly getting either repaired or widened,’’ says a resident.
In this cluster of far-flung villages . Kupup, Gnangthang, Lungthung, Zuluk , road construction and repair is the main source of employment. With heavy rains and soft soil, landslides are common, and a road worker makes Rs 440 a day for an eight-hour shift. These days, the shortest route to Kupup from Gangtok via Changu lake is closed as a part of the highway has caved in after a landslide. It’s the longer route that remains open.
A stone’s throw from Bhutia’s shop is another, run by Dola Sherpa. Sherpa, 51, says the landslides have slowed trade, with less goods coming from Gangtok. “Most of the traders belong to Gangtok, and it’s not easy to get here now,’’ he says.
“It is also difficult to make phone calls. The government recently set up a cell phone tower here, but it’s restricted. Only 30 people can make calls, and they belong to the Army. We can’t. We get reception intermittently,’’ says Sherpa Business has been hit, he says, not by the border tension with China but the Gorkhaland agitation in Darjeeling that has shut down the region for over a month. “The tourists have stopped coming. The shop’s clientele now mostly comprises Army jawans,” says Sherpa.
However, despite the claims in Kupup that trade between the two countries continues unabated, the general secretary of the Indo-China Border Trade Association Rajesh Rai says the Chinese have halted business in the last two weeks. “They (the Chinese) told us it’s because their road drainage system,’’ he says.
“There are 1,000 registered Indians who trade with China. But in reality, there are around 250 active traders. These traders mostly belong to Gangtok, and a handful to the surrounding villages here. We have a border haat (market) at Sherathang on the Indian side where Chinese traders come… the Indian traders go to Rinchengang in Tibet. The Chinese goods are taken to Gangtok, our goods are taken to Lhasa,” he says.
“We don’t want the trade to be formalised as most of the traders are small-time, especially from the villages. If big players enter, these people will lose their income,’’ says Rai.
The trade occurs in Chinese currency, he says, and the “going rate” is Rs 9.3 per Yuan. India’s exports to China is more than its imports in this region, with traders selling rice, flour, wheat, Dalda, sugar, biscuits and matches to small-time Chinese businessmen. Rice is the most popular item for the Chinese, so much so that prices have risen steadily, from Rs 900 for 25 kg several years ago to Rs 2,200 now. “We don’t have any border haats with Bhutan,’’ says Rai.
Unlike India’s other international borders, the relationship between people in the villages between India, China and Bhutan is almost unemotional, with little connect. Bhutia says there is no interaction with neighbouring Bhutanese villages, and with the Chinese it’s one of trade. “The language is different. And so is the culture,’’ she says.
A 32-km descent from Kupup leads to Zuluk, at 9,400 feet. Here, 51-year-old Gopal Pradhan’s wife, who died earlier this year, was the gram panchayat head. Pradhan’s daughter is married to a Bhutanese national. “There is a point on the hill from where I can see her in-laws’ village,’’ says Pradhan.
But marriages between Bhutanese and Indian nationals are rare, and virtually none between Indians and Chinese, says Pradhan. With barely 85 homes and a population of 326, tourism is the main source of income at Zuluk, with as many as 32 homestays.
“People laughed at me when I started (the first homestay in 2008). They couldn’t imagine that tourism could be a viable income. There is a high rate of unemployment here, but with these homestays, everyone has a good income,’’ says Pradhan.
Like Sherpa, Pradhan says it is the Gorkhaland agitation and not the India-China tension which has hit the village. “We haven’t got any tourists this season. I had to make a number of cancellations. Let’s see what happens in October, our next tourist season,’’ he says.
“This was a part of the Silk Route, till the time Tibet was a separate country. The Silk Route began from Kalimpong and ended in Lhasa. My father would carry kerosene oil, HMT watches, food and spare parts to Lhasa, and bring back silk thread. He would trek for 25 days to get to Lhasa and would be paid 75 paise a day for it,’’ he says.
In Kupup, Bhutia points to the hazy outline of a structure on a hilltop in the distance. It’s a Chinese watchtower, she says. “I keep hearing reports of this so-called tension when I get calls from relatives or friends in Gangtok
Sometimes they get alarmed, as if there are bombs dropping on Kupup. As you can see, there is nothing of the sort here,” says Bhutia. (Source & Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-china-bhutan-border-standoff-kupup-sikkim-4765776/)
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