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17 Dec 2017

Nepal Election: A Victory Of The Electoral System

Vidya Bhushan Rawat, South Asia :Nepal’s electoral victory of the left alliance is of great relief for the people of that country as we hope that the country will have a stable government which could focus on the basic issues of the people and move ahead rebuilding its society based on equality, liberty and fraternity.

It is fortunate that Nepal’s constituent assembly as well as political parties did not opt to copy the corrupted Indian model and opted for a mixed electoral system where 60% of the total constituencies for the Federal Parliament’s ‘House of Representative” or what they call as “Pratinidhi Sabha’ comes from the FPTP system as in India but 40% of the total seats fall under the Proportionate Electoral System. So out of 275 seats, Nepal’s voter elect 165 from direct voting and 110 by listing methods of the PES. This has helped the wider representation of the people belonging to Janjatis and dalits in the Parliament.

The Left Alliance has won decisively in Nepal defeating the Congress led alliance. CPN (UML) got 80 seats which is around 49% of the total seat through FPTP while the main rival Nepal Congress could just get 23 seats and the Maoists won 36. Interesting part is that all the left forces joined hand long back considering the absolute bankruptcy of the so called centrist parties. Even in the Proportionate vote too, CPN(UML) was number one with total vote share of 33.85% while Nepali Congress came close second with 32.92% and Maoists with about 13.63% of votes.

Along with the National Parliament, Nepal has elected representatives for 7 new states too which were carved out though naming these states is still a big challenge. The experiment remain good as both the state as well as the National Assembly can now focus on the governance aspect.

Nepal has seen a long phase of uncertainity and also voted against political formations which they consider were raising their ugly trying to destablise the country. The Madheshis have got a big jolt and Nepali Congress which was considered to be encouraging them has been decisively defeated. India was seen as deliberately encouraging the Madheshi groups now will have to work hard to build up good relations with the new government.

There is nothing to be alarmed from a left government in Nepal. Having good relations and supporting Nepal in protecting its territorial integrity should be India’s concern. Nepal has felt the pain of the irresponsible blockade that India imposed on it resulting it looking towards its eastern border for help yet Nepal and India are not only politically close but socio-culturally too they cant be separated. The only point is that Indian ruling classes and its government must respect Nepali sentiments, its territorial integrity and its sovereignty. Nepal is a friendly country and we must accept its independence to decide its foreign policy.

It is good that the role of the religious people in Nepal’s political life is not that powerful as it is happening in India. We are happy that Nepal’s political class, social movements should understand that keeping religious businessmen out of the politics is in the best of their interest. We know most of the babas want to open their ‘shops’ in Nepal to spread not only superstition but create false alarm about a possible ”enemy”. Nepal has lost a lot of time and it is now time for it too focus on its development which is inclusive. No development is possible without demolishing the prevailing social hierarchies which are birth based and for that we will have to work on ‘scientific land reform” which former Prime Minister Prachanda had spoken at an International conference, several years back. We hope the left front government will form a National Land Commission and focus on land reforms vigorously that help democratise the society and make it more inclusive. It is important that these land reforms must help the Dalits, Janjatis, and women. That apart, Nepal must bring anti superstition law and totally ban untouchability and caste discrimination. It has a National Dalit Commission and other bodies that work for women and Human Rights too. We hope, all these commissions will be given enough rights and strength in the greater interest of the society.

We congratulate Election Commission of Nepal for successful hosting of the National and provincial assemblies elections simultaneously. Nepal is on the path of historic change and hopefully, the political leaders there, will stand together and rebuild their country brick by brick. Our solidarity and good wishes to people of Nepal.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com twitter @freetohumanity Email: vbrawat@gmail.com 

(Source & Courtesy: http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/12/15/nepal-election-a-victory-of-the-electoral-system/)

India’s Volte-Face In US Embassy Shift Row

modi-netanyahu-beachDr Sriram Kannekanti , Palestine : Recent decision of US President unilateral decision to move its Embassy of Israel in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem made tremors in seven decades old impeccable support to Palestine. Independent India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who was strong believer of democracy, freedom and liberty and an international statesman also known to be as contemporary world leader in modern politics in twentieth century like him out rightly supported to Palestine territorial integrity. At the same time India also gave its strong support for Two State solution theory by respecting clear cut demarcations.

There was a paradigm shift in India’s foreign policy on Israel – Palestine conflict after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) headed by Narendra Modi came into power. 70 years of India’s independent years no Prime Minister visited Israel as it has been reluctant to bind Two State theory. But current coalition government in power broke the previous foreign policy on Israel suddenly changed after Modi took charge of the government. The current position we can say India is not a strong supporter to Palestine as it is under process to build diplomatic tie with the state of Israel and expecting its collaboration in transferring technology and modern security tools and instruments to use in defence and country based extremism and terrorism.

Recent decision of US President to shift its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem makes India to put in a diplomatic fix. So far officially Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India (GoI) not disclosed its view on US’s move. India is completely mum on embassy move. India traditionally a great supporter of Arab Palestine against Israel acts. All previous Prime Ministers of India condemned Israel acts on many occasions. But current foreign ideology under Narendra Modi’s leadership totally changed.  He did not consider any past precedents to design India’s foreign policy on Palestine – Israel issue.

Is India is in A Strategic Silence or Pro Israel?

The United States totally singled in the UN Security Council meeting on recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and shifting its embassy. Other members and allies and partners of US such as UK and France also blasted on US decision in this emergency meeting. Nevertheless, India did not open its mouth on this issue even small member nations in UN totally condemned Donald Trump move. India has a reputation and track record of independent foreign policy. As it is completely silenced on US move on recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital such fabric of India’s independent foreign policy is now under attacked. On many occasions of world conflicts India always acted strong neutrality. But in the case of Palestine conflict and great solidarity and empathy to people of Palestine it was never acted as mum or maintained neutrality. It was strongly supported Palestine territories and their territorial integrity of both the state of Palestine and Israel.

 Tough Challenges Ahead for India

Outright support to Israel by India through Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official visit and various agreements are a new move in India’s diplomatic strategy. But there are many tough challenges ahead for India on latest developments. As India has emerged as a key ally of United States and Israel naturally Arab world may questions India’s position on permanent solution to Israel – Palestine conflict. Is India believed in two state solution theory is not clear too. A diplomatic paralysis on Palestine issue is prevailed in Government of India. It’s totally unfortunate. After all, diplomacy means not only defence deals or business agreements. Diplomacy first priority is peace and prosperity of humans not the interests of states or nations.

Mahatma Gandhi: No to Israel

The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi is a strong propagator of Mahatma Gandhi (known as Bapuji and Father of the Nation) ideology on many contemporary issues. Surprisingly he took a strong decision towards Israel aginst to will wish of Mahatma Gandhi. Without acceptance of the Arabs of Palestine there is no scope for creation of Israel was the Gandhi’s strong opinion. India nationalist icons like Gandhi and Nehru always against to partition of Palestine and creation of Israel. India even voted against the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) resolution on partition of Palestine on November 29 1947.  Nobel laureate and Physicist Albert Einstein appealed to India to vote in favour of formation of Israel state. But India out rightly rejected the appeal announced that it committed to Palestine territorial integrity. The main reason because India itself victim of partition row.

In the new economic and post globalization era India’s diplomatic approaches have been changing significantly. When PV Narasimha Rao was Prime Minister, India established full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992. Interestingly this was happened in consultation with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. Narasimha Rao was took him on board during his visit to New Delhi to establish diplomatic ties. It was a wise move actually with a balancing of sentiments of both the state of Palestine and Israel. India’s new foreign relations with Israel happened because of two reasons. They are; US mediated negations on conflict organized in Oslo (Norway) thereafter agreement signed in Washington DC. As a result Palestine Authority and Israel State formally recognized by the international community.

Many say, there was a huge US pressure on India to build diplomatic relations with Israel to give a political boost to Oslo Accord. Then Indian government convinced Palestine leader Arafat to develop relations with the state of Israel. At least India was tried to act in a balancing way.

Surprisingly Indian Government headed by Narendra Modi unilaterally changed India’s historic stand on Palestine without taking sentiments of Arab people to make Israel as India’s key ally. India is going against majority member nations of the United Nations. It’s not at all good sign at this juncture because India is trying to get permanent membership with Veto in Security Council. Majority of the nations openly strongly condemned US act but India not so far.

If India thinks US and Israel are key priority many nations since 20th century supported India unconditionally on many issues India currently facing. That was like a natural protection fabric of world arena. Even though Pakistan raised Kashmir issue many nations least bothered and they supported India only. As India’s close relations with Israel and silence on US move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital those India’s natural allies (including many Arab nations) may rethink to support India on Kashmir issue.

Dr Sriram Kannekanti is an international development expert based in Hyderabad Deccan. He works on Democratic Governance and Civil Society issues.
Shared by Kalimpong News- Source & Courtesy: http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/12/16/indias-volte-face-in-us-embassy-shift-row/)

Muslim Women Are Defying Stereotypes

muslim-womenMoin Qazi , Patriarchy :i “Learn this now and learn it well, my daughter: Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always.”

In Khaled Hosseini’s novel about life in Afghanistan, A Thousand Splendid Suns, the character Nana, a poor unwed mother, gives this grim advice to her five-year-old daughter, Mariam. In 25 words, she tries to sum up the way the world thinks men govern the lives of women in the world of Islam

Too much thinking about Muslim women is done along predictable, clichéd lines. This is true for all shades of opinion, perception and scholarship. This opinion profiles Muslim women in stubborn stereotypes—supposedly powerless and oppressed, behind walls and veils, demure, voiceless and silent figures, discriminated and bereft of even their basic rights. This picture keeps reinforcing itself, largely because this is how the Western media caricatures women in Islam. Recurring images beamed into homes and phones keep strengthening the belief that Muslim women are being denied access to education, social space, and privacy.

It is true that in societies trapped in poverty, illiteracy, and ignorance, women continue to receive abominable and oppressive treatment; but then this is true of all societies. Muslims cannot be singled out for such a flawed social order. The pictures of wife-beating and other retrograde practices imposed on Muslim women are clearly aberrations which should not be generalised. Wrong practices rampant in some societies have much to do with illiteracy, ignorance, and sometimes dire poverty. In several cases, the plight of Muslim women is a direct consequence of a repressive and highly discriminatory State.

A dispassionate analysis will reveal that vested interests in all societies, particularly those driven by patriarchal values, have resisted the upliftment of women and have failed to concede them the legitimate rights they have been guaranteed by their respective faiths, communities and States. This distortion, however, should not deflect focus from some path-breaking and stellar contributions of Muslim women not just to Islamic civilisation but to the secular society as well.

The landscape for women in Islam is changing. Muslim women are challenging patriarchy that all women experience around unequal power hierarchies in society and the objectification of women’s bodies in some sections of the media. In this regard, they stand with their sisters of all backgrounds. There are so many bright women graduating from universities and joining the workforce. In Islam, a woman is seen as an individual in her own right, an independent person, and not as a shadow or adjunct to her husband or any other man. Muslim women are fully entitled to an education, work, business ownership, and inheritance.

Islamic feminists insist that Islam, at its core, is progressive for women and supports equal opportunities for both men and women. They are arguing for women’s rights within an Islamic discourse. Some of the leading proponents are actually men—distinguished scholars who contend that Islam was radically egalitarian for its time and remains so in many of its texts. Islamic feminists claim that Islamic law evolved in ways inimical to women, not due to any inevitability but because of selective interpretation by patriarchal leaders. Across the Muslim world, Islamic feminists are combing through centuries of Islamic philosophy to highlight the more progressive aspects of their religion. They are seeking accommodation between a modern role for women and the Islamic values that more than a billion people in the world follow.

It is worth noting that a number of contemporary Muslim women are the modern realisation of the continuing legacy of strong Muslim female leadership. This is evident from Muslim women’s pivotal roles in the Egyptian, Tunisian, Libyan, and other revolutions to leading American Muslim female voices in U.S. law, religion, medicine, academia and a myriad of professions. Indeed, it is past time that Muslim women are viewed with new eyes. They are not necessarily the stereotyped victims, but can also be the heroic protagonists much like they were some 1500 years ago.

Muslim women’s traditional importance in Islamic society has always been and continues to be the foundation of the Islamic family. Social values strongly reinforce orientation towards marriage and children as the normative pattern based on Muhammad’s own example. Child rearing, early education, and socialisation of children are among women’s most important tasks in Islamic societies worldwide. Although traditionally excluded from the public male domain, Muslim women have been privately involved in the study and oral transmission of Islamic source texts—Quran and Hadith. In modern times, they have entered into both secular and religious forms of education with enthusiasm. They support their long-standing roles as family educators, moral exemplars, and also as professionals in the workplace outside the home.

The Quran recognises the childbearing and childrearing roles of women but does not present women as inferior to or unequal to men. On the contrary, central to Islamic belief is the importance and high value placed on education. From the true Islamic point of view, education should be freely and equally available to women as much as men.

Islam anticipates the demands of Western feminists by more than a thousand years. A stay-at-home wife can specify that she expects to receive a regular stipend, which is not that far from the goals of the Wages for Housework campaign of the nineteen-seventies. Elsewhere, the fully empowered Muslim woman sounds like a self-assured, post-feminist type. She is a woman who draws her inspiration from the example of Sukayna—the brilliant, beautiful great-granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad. She was married several times, and at least once stipulated in writing that her husband was forbidden to disagree with her about anything. All these conditions are based on the canons of Islam and early Muslim practices. A Muslim woman, cannot be forced to enter into marriage without her agreement. In fact, she has the right to revoke a marriage to which she did not agree to in the first place.

Few Muslim women outside the urban areas may want to behave like Western women. The sexually exploitative element remains high in the West, however strident the rhetoric of sexual equality. Perhaps this is best illustrated by the well-known cigarette ad depicting a woman smoking, “You have come a long way, baby.” The message is clear that they too may now die of cancer through smoking. The high rate of divorce and sexual diseases are common consequences of the reckless drive to equate the sexes and ‘free’ sexual relationships.

Western thinkers and practitioners must reconsider their assumptions about the role of Islam in women’s rights and approach this topic with a more nuanced lens. They must understand the necessity of recognising and consciously accepting the broad cultural differences between Western and non-Western conceptions of autonomy. It is required on their part to start respecting social standards that reflect non-Western values. They should pay heed to what the previous First Lady Michelle Obama expressed to hijab-wearing students, “You wonder if anyone ever sees beyond your headscarf to see who you really are, instead of being blinded by the fears and misperceptions in their own minds. And I know how painful and how frustrating all of that can be.”

Women are now elbowing their way into political and civil society, and universities. The trajectory of Muslim women’s movement gives hope that even in Muslim societies that present cultural and political obstacles, women are finding opportunities to rise up and to bring their societies up with them. The key is to do so within Islamic paradigms. Now there are female politicians, journalists, entrepreneurs and educators, urban and rural, who are making impressive inroads. Societies that educate and invest in women become richer, more stable, better governed, and less prone to fanaticism. On the other hand, those that limit women’s opportunities are poorer, more fragile, have higher levels of corruption, and are more prone to extremism.

Islamic feminism faces strong resistance from the faith’s conservatives who want to preserve the male interpretation of Islam. Yet the movement’s roots in the Quran give it a better chance at changing attitudes than a transplanted women’s liberation movement from the West. In the end, the Quran may be an Islamic woman’s most direct route to equal rights. While this is only just the beginning, it is clear that feminism in Islam is finally having its moment.

Moin Qazi has been associated with the development sector for almost four decades .He is author of Village Diary of a Heretic Banker
(Shared from countercurrents.org by Kalimpong News - Source & Courtesy : http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/12/16/muslim-women-are-defying-stereotypes/)

"Hill TMC leadership changed" a "surprise" :Mukhia not happy

SNS, DARJEELING, 16 DECEMBER : The 'sudden change in the Hill Trinainamul Conngress leadership has come as a surprise to many in and out side the party. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee yesterday replaced Hill TMC president Rajen Mukhia with LB Rai, the Mirik Municipality chairman. 
Rajya Sabha MP and TMC, leader from Kurseong, Shanta Chhetri,was made the party's working president in the Hills. The development also comes with orders from the TMC high command to the Hill unit to limit its activities as  much as possible in the Hills at present, sources said. 
Rai was made the president of the TMC Hill unit, while Shanta Chettri and Subhamoy Chatterjee were made the working presidents of the party.The announcement was made by the chief minister herself in a core committee meeting," TMC  general secretary and spokesperson Binny Sharma said. Mr Sharma, however, did not say why there was the sudden decision to oust Mr Mukhia and bring in Mr Rai.
"I welcome the move but I do not have any idea as to the reason behind it," Mr Rai said today
Mr Mukhia said, "I want to congratulate Rai for being given the post. However, we were not given any reason as to why all this happened. However, I want to point out that I was with the party well during its hard times in the Hills when no one was willing to join us, and also at the time when the TMC could form the municipality board in Mirik. The contribution I gave to the party seems to have no value."

Tea wage revision cry

TT, Siliguri: Trinamul tea union leaders has said the two issues pertaining to the wages of tea workers in Bengal must be addressed ahead of the upcoming rural polls to prevent other parties from gaining political leverage by using those.

Firstly, revision of tea wage or fixation of minimum wage for workers is yet to be done, even though over eight months have passed since the expiry of the previous wage agreement. Even now, the workers are receiving wages at the old rate of Rs 132.50 per day, both in the plains and the hills.

Secondly, a demand has been raised by trade unions and even political parties like the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha that tea workers in the hills should be paid wages for the 104-day shutdown.

"The state should work on these demands on a priority basis and ensure that both issues are resolved ahead of the rural polls. Otherwise, our political contenders will pick up the issues and will try to swing votes in their favour," said a trade union leader of Trinamul who is based in the Dooars.

In tea estates, wages and other benefits of tea workers have always emerged as a prominent issue during panchayat elections.

Panels to be set up for Kalimpong projects

RAJEEV RAVIDAS, TT, 16 December 2017, Kalimpong: The Binay Tamang faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on Saturday said two committees of party leaders would be formed to oversee development work in Kalimpong.

A five-member committee will monitor the works carried out by the GTA and other agencies in the district, a two-member panel will oversee development projects in Kalimpong town, said a party leader.

Ever since the Morcha has been formed, this is the first of its kind move made by the party. Earlier, when Bimal Gurung had been running the GTA with other elected representatives who were from his party, it is the representatives and the officials who used to oversee the development works.

No parallel committee was formed by the party to monitor the projects.

Sources said Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa, who are holding the two top positions at the Board of Administrators at the GTA, want to ensure that there is somebody from the party's side as well, along with the GTA, to keep an eye on the progress of different development projects.

"This would help to expedite execution of the projects. Earlier, there are instances when projects got delayed for some reason or other. The committee can also be instrumental in helping the GTA officials in mitigating local problems, if any such problem crops up and hinders the projects," said the source.


Ghisingh tests waters on Sixth Schedule

Vivek Chhetri, TT, 16 December 2017, Darjeeling: GNLF president Mann Ghisingh on Friday proposed a debate on Sixth Schedule status for the Darjeeling hills, but observers believe it would be difficult to generate a consensus on the plan once floated by his father Subash Ghisingh.

"We intend to hold talks with the leaders of hill parties and opinion-makers to understand their opposition to the Sixth Schedule status," Mann said on the sidelines of a party event.

The GNLF leader, whose father Subash, had started the Gorkhaland agitation in 1986 before settling for the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council two years later said "our party's ultimate aim is Gorkhaland" and the Sixth Schedule may be the best medium to achieve statehood.

"Since there is opposition, we want to know from the political parties the reason for it and the best way forward," Mann said.

Some doubted the idea would work. "Although the earlier CPM government had agreed to confer Sixth Schedule status, it is unlikely that the present Trinamul regime would want to jump the gun, especially when its trying to make the GTA fully functional again," said an observer.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has setting up a Hill Area Development Committee with Mann as chairperson.

Saturday history at high court

Kinsuk Basu, TT, Calcutta: When Justices Joymalya Bagchi and Rajarshi Bharadwaj took their seats in Court 308 at 10.30am on Saturday, history was made at Calcutta High Court.

For the first time in its 155 years, the court had opened on a Saturday, nudged by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to clear its backlog of about 1.5 lakh criminal cases.

A handful of lawyers, law clerks and court employees had shown up, and the usual buzz along the corridors was missing. The tea stalls outside were shut.

The bench disposed of 17 cases - appeals against lower court convictions and sentences - hearing them all for the first time and taking about 10 minutes over each. Some of these had been pending since 2005, with the convicts close to completing their impugned sentences but unable to afford lawyers to present their case.

On Saturday, lawyers appointed by the state legal aid services represented them.

In the day's first case, CRA 531 of 2010, the bench upheld the sex crime conviction of Rajkumar Barman but ordered his release since he had served out his seven-year term.

The bench freed one more convict, reduced the fine against two, and dismissed several appeals. Seventeen cases isn't much but lawyers hailed the "new beginning".

The last order was passed at 1.42pm, 12 minutes behind schedule. "I'm late by 12 minutes," Justice Bagchi joked, and the lawyers tittered.


16 Dec 2017

सडक आन्दोलन पर्याप्त होइन तर मुख्य आयाम भने हो – मुनिष तामाङ........ राष्ट्रिय गोर्खाल्याण्ड समितिको अन्तरक्रिया कार्यक्रम कालेबुङमा

कार्यक्रममा  प्रो. मुनिष तामाङ सम्बोधन गर्दै
डी.के.वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ, 15 दिसम्बर। ‘हामीले सडकमा हुने आन्दोलन हेरिसकेका छौँ। यसपल्ट सडकमा भएको 105 दिनको आन्दोलन पनि हामीले देख्यौँ। सडक आन्दोलन मात्रै पर्याप्त होइन भन्ने कुरा यसपल्टको आन्दोलनले स्पष्ट भएको छ। तर सडक आन्दोलन एउटा मुख्य आयम भने निश्चय हो। सडक आन्दोलन हुनपर्छ, यसको साथ साथै संसदमा बहसको मुद्दा पनि बनिनुपर्छ’ उक्त कुरा प्रो. मुनिष तामाङले भनेका हुन्। उनी आज राष्ट्रिय गोर्खाल्याण्ड समितिको कार्यक्रममा भाग लिन कालेबुङ आइपुगेका थिए। 
‘राष्ट्रिय गोर्खाल्याण्ड समितिले राष्ट्रका प्रभावशाली व्यक्तित्वहरूको शक्तिलाई सामुहिक शक्तिका रूपमा परिणत गरेर अघि बड्ने रणनीति निर्माण गरिरहेका छौँ’ तामाङले अझ भने। यसक्रममा उनले दुई विपरीत विचारधाराको एउटा ठाउँमा भेट नभएसम्म त्यस विचारधारा आ-आफ्ना ठाउँमा सत्य हो भन्ने भ्रम सिर्जना गरेर बसिरहने भन्दै गोर्खाल्याण्डको मुद्दा पनि संसदमा बहसको मुद्दा बनिनुपर्ने विचार पोखेका छन्। 
‘गोर्खाल्याण्ड सम्बन्धि सकारात्मक अनि नकारात्मक विचार राखेहरूलाई एउटै मञ्चमा उभ्याएर छल-फल गर्नु आवश्यक छ। गोर्खाल्याण्डको विरोध गर्नेहरूको पनि कुरा सुन्न पर्छ अनि उनीहरूलाई गोर्खाल्याण्डको आवश्यक्ता माथि आफ्नो कुरा पनि सुनाउनु पर्छ। जबसम्म दुई विपरीत विचारधारहरू एकै ठाउँमा राखेर चर्चा गरिन्दैन तबसम्म समस्याको समाधान सम्भव छैन। राष्ट्रिय गोर्खाल्याण्ड समितिले त्यहीँ विपरीत विचारहरूलाई एउटा ठाउँमा राखेर राष्ट्रिय स्तरमा समाधानको बाटो निकाल्ने प्रयास सुरु गरेको हो’ प्रो. मुनिष तामाङले भनेका हुन्। 
‘राष्ट्रिय गोर्खाल्याण्ड समितिले गोर्खाहरूको राष्ट्रिय चिन्हारीको मुद्दालाई समाधानको निम्ति विचारहरूको ध्रुविकरण गरेर अघि बड्ने प्रयास गरिरहेको छ’ मुनिष तामाङले भने। उनले आफुहरूको प्रयास सफल हुन्छ भनेर दाबी गर्न सम्भव नरहे पनि घरैमा बसेर गन्तव्यमा पुग्छु भन्नु भन्दा प्रयास गर्नु ठूलो कार्य रहेको बताएका छन्। यसका निम्ति आफुहरूलाई सर्वभारतीय स्तरबाट सुझावहरू दिने खुल्ला अपिल पनि गरेका छन्।
यता कार्यक्रमलाई सम्बोधन गर्ने क्रममा राष्ट्रिय गोर्खाल्याण्ड समितिका अध्यक्ष अ.प्रा सेना उप-प्रमुख शक्ति गुरुङले गोर्खाल्याण्ड गठनको मागलाई सरकारले कसरी हेर्ने गरेका छन् त्यसलाई बुझेर सही तर्क प्रस्तुत गर्न आवश्यक रहेको बताए। सोहि कारण राष्ट्रिय स्तरमा गोर्खाल्याण्डलाई बहसको मुद्दा बनाएर गोर्खाहरूको राष्ट्रिय राजनैतिक समस्यालाई समाधान गर्न सबैले सुझाव राख्नुपर्ने आह्वान गुरुङले गरे।
कालेबुङ कन्या उच्चतर माध्यमिक विद्यालयको सतवार्षिकी भवनमा आयोजित कार्यक्रममा राष्ट्रिय गोर्खाल्याण्ड कमिटिले छुट्टै राज्य गोर्खाल्याण्ड माथि विचारधारा राख्ने सम्पूर्ण राजनैतिक अनि अराजनैतिक दलका मानिसहरूलाई लिएर एउटा अन्तरक्रियात्मक कमिटिका अध्यक्ष अ.प्रा सेना उप-प्रमुख शक्ति गुरुङ, त्रिलोक देवान, प्रो. मुनिष तामाङ, सुखमान मोक्तान, प्रभाकर देवान, उदय कुमाई आदि उपस्थित रहेका थिए। 
यस अवसरमा कालेबुङका विभिन्न सामाजिक सङ्गठनका सदस्यवर्ग, व्यक्ति विशेष र विभिन्न राजनैतिक दलका नेतृत्ववर्ग अनि कार्यकर्ताहरू उपस्थित रहेका थिए। दुई चरणमा विभाजित कार्यक्रमको पहिलो चरणमा एन.जी.सी. का पदाधिकारीवर्गले सम्बोधन राखेका थिए भने दोस्रो चरणमा अन्तरक्रिया सम्पन्न भएको थियो। 
उक्त अन्तरक्रिया कार्यक्रममा राष्ट्रिय गोर्खाल्याण्ड समितिलाई कसरी व्यापकता दिन सकिन्छ अनि कार्य पद्धती कस्तो हुनपर्ने भन्ने विषयमा मानिसहरूले सुझावहरू राखेका थिए। अन्तरक्रिया कार्यक्रममा विभिन्न राजनैतिक दलका कार्यक्रताहरूले प्रश्नहरू राखेका थिए। 

Taxi Tug-of-War at Bagdogra Airport upsets travellers

MANAS R BANNERJEE, SNS, BAGDOGRA,15 DECEMBER: Police have virtually failed to tame unruly car drivers, who allegedly demand exorbitant fares from passengers at the Bagdogra Airport, even as the Prepaid Taxi Booth run by the Siliguri Metropolitan Police have failed to fulfill travelers' demands. Tourists, especially those headed for Gangtok in Sikkim, are not able to hire a taxi from the prepaid booth, as the drivers have not accepted the rates set by the police.
Police have also failed to prevent the drivers from demanding Rs 3,500 from passengers for a ride from Bagdogra to Gangtok. "The government rate is Rs 2,280 for a car falling under the SUV category for Gangtok, but the drivers do not want to accept that rate. They want Rs 3.500," police sources said.
Significantly to manage the drivers, police do not provide air-conditioned car at present, though the passengers used to avail of the facility earlier. Tourists, who had availed of AC cars earlier from the the booth at the same rate, have now become upset about being given the non-AC car," sources said.

More often than not, drivers quarrel with each other as they bargain with passengers and offer them different rates.
The Sikkim government has fixed the rate at Rs 3,500 for an SUV car from the airport to Gangtok, while the government here has not yet revised the previous rare, which was fixed in 20011," a local driver said at the airport today.
A senior tour operator, Samrat Sanyal, also said that the rate was fixed in 2008."State tourism minister Gautam Deb had held a meeting with officials, including the Siliguri police commissioner, for revision of the fares for cars run by the police. But the rate is yet to be revised," Mr Sanyal said. Police commissioner, Niraj K Singh,who is out of station, was not available on the phone for comment.
Not only Gangtok, passengers wanting to hire cars for Darjeeling and other places, including Kalimpong, Dooars even Siliguri town, can't avail of the prepaid taxi service run by the Siliguri Metropolitan Police.
"All drivers do not want to ferry passengers to Darjeeling. A section, which is not enrolled in our list, prefers to go to Darjeeling. Similarly, police can't provide services to all travelers from the prepaid booth," official sources said. ''A section of the passengers also wants to travel on a shared fare with other passengers. But this facility is also not available at the prepaid booth. Passengers become upset here. Even as they compare the system here with prepaid booths in other cities," they said.
Notably many passengers prefer to take the bus run by the North Bengal State Transport Corporation. However, the NBSTC has introduced only one small bus from the NJP to the Airport and it runs twice a day.
An assistant professor of an engineering college at Kokrajhar in Assam, Pankaj Pratap Singh, who came from Delhi, was in search of a car or an auto rickshaw at the Bagdogra Airport today. One Nitish Kumar Singh, who had bought an auto rickshaw under the state government's Gati Dhara scheme finally agreed to ferry the professor to Siliguri at Rs 120. Auto driver Nitish, who had just dropped a passenger at the airport from Darjeeling More at Rs 200,had bought a coupon of Rs 15, which is actually meant for two-wheelers, to stay for four hours inside the airport premises.
Similarly, another auto driver Tinku Saha, who had brought passengers from Siliguri to the airport at Rs 300, was waiting for passengers outside the main gate-. "I had to buy a token for parking inside, but the local drivers forced me out of the parking area," he lamented.
(To be continued)

Will continue Hill Statehood stir: CPRM

SNS, DARJEELING, 15 DECEMBER : The Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxist (CPRM) today said that the failure of the recent 104-day strike and the Gorkhaland agitation in the Hills has not deterred the party from continuing with the demand.
Addressing an indoor meeting to mark the party's 22nd foundation day at the Gorkha Dukha Niwarak Sammelan Hall here, CPRM president RB Rai said the agitation was a lesson for them and that it would come in handy to many such programmes in the future.
Many are of the belief that the 104-day-strike failed to yield anything, but I want to say that we learnt something from it and we should move forward with it. The things we have learnt will not be repeated as we have already been trained for it. This is our fight and we should continue our struggle and we should not give up halfway as those who will look back will haven name in history," Mr Rai said. He further said that they are doing what they have to, to take the demand forward in the national level, and that they have been coordinating with like minded parties- in different states.
Other senior CPRM leaders said that the people now know that their political outfit was the only one that was sincere about the demand for Gorkhaland."
"People have finally accepted the CPRM as a party which is sincere in the demand for statehood, but questions are being raised as to why we did not take the agitation forward after Bimal Gurung went to the jungle. We want to tell them that we were only supporting characters that time. The role of the hero should not be taken by the state government by making some-one the chairman of the GTA or by the central government. The hero is decided after they get the support of the Gorkha people from all over the country." said CPRM central committee leader Arun Ghatani.
The CPRM also alleged that the state government does not want the voice of their party be heard, due to which we were not given permission to hold a meeting outdoors today."
Other political parties are allowed to hold their programmes outdoors, but we are stopped, as the state government does not want our voice to reach the people. However, we are taking this as a challenge as in these 22 years, we have always been stopped by different ruling parties. But our (history of moving ahead with the struggle has not stopped,- Mr Rai said.

Morcha Woman bail cancelled

Sabitri Rai
TT, 15 December 2017, Siliguri: The High Court of Sikkim on Friday cancelled the bail granted to Sabitri Rai, a leader of Gorkha Janmukti Nari Morcha.
On September 1, as a team of the state police had conducted raid in south Sikkim district in search of Morcha chief Bimal Gurung and had nabbed Rai. She was produced in a court in Namchi and was granted bail. 
This had made the CID move to the High Court of Sikkim. Lawyers Rajdeep Majumdar, Avrajyoti Das and Mayukh Mukherjee made their submission before the bench of Justice Meenakshi M Rai, and appealed to set aside the bail.
"The High Court asked Sabitri Rai to reply as why her bail will not be cancelled. She was served a notice which however returned. On Friday, the High Court ordered cancellation of the bail," said Avrajyoti, one of the lawyers.
Sources said after being released on bail, Sabitri, who is wanted in cases pertaining to the violence in the hills, has gone into hiding.

Tour fest to send message: Binay

Tamang and Deb in Siliguri on Friday. Picture by Passang Yolmo 
BIRESWAR BANERJEE, TT, Siliguri: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Binay Tamang said here on Friday that the ensuing tourism festival planned in the Darjeeling hills was an attempt to send a clear message to the tourists that it was safe to visit the hills.

Tamang, who is also the chairman of the board of administrators of the GTA, said they were focussing not only on the development of tourism, but were also working for improvement of education, health, water and communication sectors on priority basis across the hills.

He has also urged students who reside outside and study in the hills to return to their schools and continue studies.

"All efforts have been taken to restore normality in the hills. Now, through the tourism festival that will be held from December 27 to 31, we want to send a message to tourists that they can visit Darjeeling without any hesitation," Tamang said.

He was at the City Centre here to attend the opening of a three-day tourism fair hosted by an event management company.

Along with state tourism minister Gautam Deb, he inaugurated the event.

"We have started working and will soon come up with a number of new destinations for tourists in the hills. These destinations, we feel, would largely help revive the tourism sector," he said.

Asked about his support base and the Bimal Gurung faction of the Morcha, Tamang claimed that he was enjoying absolute majority in the hills

"There is no existence of so called Gurung lobby in the hills. People have no inkling of the whereabouts of Bimalji and preferring to live in peace and work for improvement of the economy," he said.

In the next two-three months, he said, people would be able to witness the development and changes that the GTA would carry out across the hills.

"People will see the results within next two-three months. I would also appeal to students to come here and pursue their studies in hills, as Darjeeling is still considered a prime educational hub in the country," added Tamang.

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