Mamata call for direct action in Midnapore
Probe ordered into mutiny at Barrackpore
CPM blames north Bengal trouble on Trinamul
Diet to keep the doc away
RSP leader injured in political clash
More women join Manipur protests
Dimasas renew statehood stir
Official shifted

Calcutta, Nov.18: 
After the petro price roll-back and resignation drama, Mamata Banerjee hauled Keshpur back to political centrestage in Bengal.

While addressing a press meet after the prize giving ceremony of the Anandabazar Football Trophy at Sersa Stadium, she kicked off her latest attack on the CPM. After describing the administration’s initiative of restoring peace in the troubled areas of Midnapore as a “hoax”, Mamata declared, “no more peace meetings in the district”. “It’s time for direct action against CPM activists who have evicted thousands of Trinamul supporters from their homes in the past few months,” thundered the rail minister.

Mamata declared that her next course of action in Keshpur would be flagged off at the state conference of Trinamul Yuba Congress on December 2 and 3. “During my visit to the district early next month, I will tear off the masks of the CPM leaders, who were behind the killings and violence against our partymen,” she warned.

Mamata also explained the significance of launching her “direct action” from December 3. “It is the birthday of Sahid Khudiram, who was born in Keshpur. Following in his footsteps, the youth activists of Trinamul will take our people back to their homes and rehabilitate them without seeking any help from the police. We will be prepared to take on the CPM activists, who will resist us.”

Sending a clear warning to the administration, Mamata said: “If resisted, either we or their goons will remain in the village.” When asked whether this was a call to arms in the battle for Keshpur, Mamata said, “Just wait and see”.

During her Kharagpur visit, Mamata also declared that the train between Digha and Tamluk will start covering 50 per cent of the route length (upto Bajkul) from January 2001, and go the whole length from March 2001.

While inaugurating a firing range for RPF personnel in Kharagpur, she declared the setting up of model stations at Panskura, Kharagpur and Balichak and a children’s garden at Kharagpur. A gymnasium will be attached to the training centre of the RPF school at Kharagpur, she said.

nTrain delayed: The 2703 Up Falaknama Express will leave Howrah station at 1330 hours instead of 8.25 am on Sunday. The delay has been caused by the late arrival of the Down train.    

Calcutta, Nov.18: 
The state home department has ordered a probe into the alleged revolt in the ranks at Latbagan, headquarters of the State Armed Police (SAP), Barrackpore. On Thursday night, commandant of the sixth battalion of SAP was said to have been abused and manhandled by a group of policemen.

Officials said the North-24 Parganas police have been asked to conduct an inquiry and submit a report by the end of the month. Senior police officers of Barrackpore met on Saturday to work out the modalities of the probe.

Commandant Binod Behari Mondol had lodged an FIR with Barrackpore police station on Friday alleging that policemen, who had been asked to leave for north Bengal, had refused to comply with the orders. According to Mondol, more than a hundred policemen had gathered outside his official residence in Latbagan on Thursday night, abused him, and hurled stones at the house. The attack, alleged the commandant, had been organised by the non-gazetted police association.

But M. Mondol, secretary of the association, denied the charges and said the policemen had not protested their north Bengal posting.

According to the commandant’s complaint, trouble broke out at Latbagan after he released a list of 25 policemen on Thursday, under instructions from the state government, to be posted in Jalpaiguri district. As soon as the order was served, the protests began. “It is not possible for us to fight with .303 rifles against militants who are armed with sophisticated weapons including AK-47s,” declared one of the policemen.

The disgruntled cops fired in their leave applications to escape the posting. When leave was not granted, the non-gazetted police association stepped. A number of policemen under the association’s banner, assembled in front of Mondol’s residence around 9 pm.

“The agitators began by abusing saab,” recounted gate-keeper Babulal Hansda. “Then, they suddenly turned violent and started hurling stones at the house. We bolted the main door and hid inside. This went on for over an hour.”

Corporation inquiry

The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) decided on Saturday to conduct an inquiry into the affairs of the municipal stores.

Pradip Ghosh, member, mayor-in-council, said on Saturday that they had recovered a car, several unused items worth crores of rupees from a mound of garbage at the CMC’s central stores. “We will also conduct raids in several other CMC central stores soon,” Ghosh said. He alleged that though several items, including the car, were lying unused, the CMC had again purchased similar items.

Ghosh said all the purchase was made during the Left Front regime. “We came to power only a few months ago and have started realising that the previous board had misappropriated funds.”    

Calcutta, Nov.18: 
On Saturday, Mamata Banerjee declared that it was time for “direct action against CPM goons ” in Midnapore. And CPM state secretary Anil Biswas accused the BJP-Trinamul combine of “instigating ethnic clashes” in some parts of north Bengal.

“We have come to know that most of the troublemakers belong to either the Trinamul Congress or the BJP. They are now raising the demand for separate states or self-governed regions in favour of the Rajbanshis and not Kamtapuris,” Biswas told newspersons at the party headquarters on Alimuddin Street.

“Eight CPM supporters have been killed in the region recently when they tried to prevent separatist movements there,” he stated. “We are against any such violent movement and are trying our best to pay special attention to the region, trying to understand the problems of the people.”

Biswas and CPM state secretariat member Shyamal Chakraborty were in North Bengal recently. They met CPM secretaries of Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling.

“The Trinamul Congress is trying to misguide the middle class in North Bengal by making false statements,” alleged Biswas.    

Calcutta, Nov.18: 
One of the highest prophets of the “eat to live” principle is in town. And his sermons on Saturday on how diet can make one “heart attack-proof” convinced a good number of doctors.

With the increasing incidence of coronary artery disease (CAD) in India, Caldwell Esselstyn’s advice could go a long way in arresting the trend. All one has to do is give up meat (including fowl), fish, eggs, all sorts of oils and even milk and milk products.

“A tall order, given the eating habits of many Indians. But you’ll be surprised that there are at least 4,000 recipes, most of them as mouth-watering and exciting, that fit the bill,” the tall Olympic gold medallist (rowing, Melbourne, 1956) said.

Esselstyn is preventive cardiology consultant at the famous Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, where he is also on the board of governors. In 1994-95, he was cited in The Best Doctors in America for his surgical expertise in the endocrine and breast disease categories. As an army surgeon in Nam, Esselstyn found that 80 per cent of the GIs had gross evidence of coronary artery disease.

“In 1985 that, frustrated with the absence of appropriate preventive medicine, I started work on arrest and reversal treatment. I focussed on diet and, in order to convince others, my wife and I converted to plant-based food.”

Today, in one of the longest ongoing studies, the doctor has shown that a low-fat vegetarian diet, coupled with cholesterol-lowering medicine, is the most effective way to check CAD. In over a decade, not a single patient who has complied with the guidelines has had any cardiac event.

Esselstyn’s menu includes: cereals, pasta, breads, vegetables, lentils and fruit. “India is blessed with a variety of pulses (dal) and spinach (saag). But many Indians are unaware of the power of these foods in preventing heart disease,” he said.

“What cooking medium must be used?” asked doctors at both the Calcutta Medical College and the Aurobinda Seva Kendra. “My wife has been using water, wine, beer, tomato juice...In India, there are so many spices that can be used as well.”    

Calcutta, Nov.18: 
The RSP on Saturday accused the CPM of unleashing a “reign of terror” on its supporters at Canning, in South 24-Parganas, after one of them went missing since Thursday and was found unconscious with injuries on Saturday.

Habib Mollah, a local RSP leader and close aide of local MP Sanat Mondal, is at present recuperating in a local hospital with broken rib bones. However, no arrests have been made.

Officials confirmed that supporters of RSP and CPM are often involved in clashes, much to the embarrassment of those at the helm.

Describing the incident as “most unfortunate”, state minister for irrigation and RSP secretary Debabrata Bandopadhyay said he would seek a report from the party’s district unit.

On the other hand, Ashish Ghosh, a member of the CPM’s South-24 Parganas district unit, said he had no knowledge of the incident.

Preliminary investigations revealed that Mollah was beaten up badly before his body was left away on roadside. The family members of Mollah had earlier lodged a complaint stating that he was missing for the past two days.

“We received a complaint from the family members on Thursday that he was missing. We recovered him only on Friday after a day-long search,” said Gautam Sil, officer-in-charge of Canning police station.

Officials said the incident was a sequel to fights that took place in the area some time ago over the capture of some bheris. “A fight between CPM and RSP supporters over having an access to bheris is a regular event,” they said.    

Imphal, Nov. 18: 
Two Manipuri women, who went on a fast-unto-death yesterday in support of Irom Sharmila, were arrested by the police today.

The condition of 28-year-old Sharmila, who has been on a hungerstrike since November 5, deteriorated at the J.N. Hospital here. Sharmila has been demanding removal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, from Manipur. The two leaders of the Meira Paibi Welfare Association, Kangleipak — H. Pakpi and Y. Memcha — said they would continue with their strike like Sharmila until the “black laws” were lifted.

The “fast-unto-death” agitation against Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act started after 10 civilians were killed by Assam Rifles at Malom village near Imphal airport on November 2. Social organisations blamed the Act for the killing and staged dharnas in protest. The dharnas have now snowballed into a public agitation against the Act. Sharmila, who launched a fast-unto-death was arrested by the police on November 7 for allegedly trying to commit suicide. She was lodged at Sajiwa jail. Sharmila continued with her strike inside the jail and was later evacuated to Even newspersons were barred from visiting her in the hospital’s security ward. Sources said Sharmila has refused to eat and force-feeding by doctors has not been able to improve her condition. She has now been put on life support system. Doctors fear that if she refuses to withdraw her hungerstrike by next week, she may collapse.

Atleast three ministers from the ruling United Front of Manipur (UFM) government visited Sharmila but they failed to dissuade her.

People have criticised the Nipamacha Singh-led government for its insensitivity towards the issue. The two Meira Paibi leaders, who joined the hungerstrike, accused the government of “indulging in power struggle instead of solving people’s problems.”

Political impasse

The ongoing political crisis in Manipur has affected the functioning of the state administration.

With both Speaker Sapam Dhnanjoy and chief minister W. Nipamacha Singh holding “political camps” at their respective bungalows, common people are at the receiving end. The ruling United Front of Manipur (UFM) coalition today accused the Speaker of “threatening” eight legislators by targeting horticulture minister Thangminlen Kipgen.

The minister was disqualified from the Assembly by the Speaker yesterday under the anti-defection law.

The coalition alleged that the Speaker was using “nine disqualification cases” as a tool to topple the Nipamacha Singh-led government.

The Opposition hit back at the ruling parties saying the confinement of ministers by Nipamacha Singh in his bungalow warranted a call for imposition of President’s rule in the state.

“If such unlawful confinement of ministers continues, the Centre will be bound to act,” said BJP legislator Haobam Borababu.

UFM spokesman and information minister M. Kunjo Singh said Kipgen has not been handed the official disqualification papers.

He claimed that Kipgen’s crossing over to the Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP) from the Nationalist Congress Party was recognised by the Speaker.    

Silchar, Nov. 18: 
The North Cachar Hills district in south Assam is on the verge of fresh trouble with the All-Dimasa Students’ Union (ADSU) and the Dimasa Revival Demand Committee (DRDC) — the two frontline organisations in the district — planning largescale stir for a separate “Dimasaraji state”. The proposed state is to be carved out of the 4888-sq-km district and its adjoining tribal areas.

To kick-start an agitation, the two cadre-based organisations yesterday announced a 72-hour district bandh beginning from 5 am on November 20.

According to ADSU sources, the bandh has been called to highlight the “systematic denial” of the long-pending economic and social demands of the Dimasa tribals in the district by the Assam government and the Centre.

The proposed Dimaraji state (land of the Dimasas), envisages redrawing of the Assam map by slicing away North Cachar Hills district, along with the neighbouring Dhansiri river valley in Karbi Anglong district and some parts of Cachar district. North Cachar Hills district which is famous for its scenic beauty, oranges and the intriguing phenomenon of kamikaze birds at Jatinga every winter, has a minuscule population of 15,081 people as per 1991 census. Of this, 65.84 per cent are Scheduled Tribes like the Dimasas, Jeme Nagas and the Hmars. The administration has ordered the tightening of security in the district in view of the bandh call.    

Guwahati, Nov. 18: 
In knee-jerk reaction to yet another massacre, the state government today transferred the officer in-charge of the Bihubor outpost. Eight persons were picked up in connection with the killing of seven persons on Thursday night in Sivasagar district.

Earlier, the state government had transferred the Nalbari deputy commissioner and superintendent of police following the killing of 10 persons in the lower Assam town on October 27.

A manhunt to nab the killers is on, with security forces fanning out to interior areas in search of the militants. Trader Radheshyam Agarwalla has “ruled out” involvement of the banned Ulfa in the massacre.    


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