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Kalimpong begins its journey as new district with sweets, fireworks

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Siliguri: Sweets were distributed and fireworks exploded after the West Bengal cabinet ratified a proposal to create a new district of Kalimpong by bifurcating Darjeeling on Friday.

Despite the North Bengal hills shivering in the cold, people came out on the streets to celebrate in Kalimpong. The locals hugged each other and exchanged sweets. Some of them smeared each other with gulal while fireworks went up in the sky.

Local Trinamool spokesman Binni Sharma thanked Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The decision to carve out a Kalimpong district will bolster development of the hills.

Kalimpong legislator Harka Bahadur Chhettri, who resigned from the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha some time back, welcomed the decision.

We will bring out a big procession in Kalimpong on Sunday.

GJM assistant secretary Jyoti Prakash Rai said his party would organize a victory celebration once the notification was issued about the creation of the new district.

Another GJM assistant secretary Benoy Tamang said his party has time and again raised the demand for making Kalimpong a new district.

However, Chhettri, perceived as close to West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress, pooh-poohed the GJM claim. “When I had raised the demand earlier, the GJM criticized me. They said I have not been sent to the assembly to articulate the demand.”

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state secretariat member and Siliguri Mayor Asok Bhattacharya expressed “happiness” over the decision, but questioned the rationale for forming the new district.

The moot point is whether the decision has been taken for the sake of development and administrative efficiency or guided solely by the approaching state assembly polls. The district will have only one assembly seat.

Bharatiya Janata Party’s outgoing state president Rahul Sinha also welcomed this decision

the more the number of districts, the better will be the administrative delivery system. But what is more important is the state government’s approach should turn for the better.

Earlier in the day, Banerjee announced that the cabinet cleared the proposal to create a new Kalimpong district. Mirik, a block in Kurseong sub-division of Darjeeling district, has also been upgraded into a new sub-division. (IANS) (Picture Courtesy:yavachitours)

 

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Gorkhaland: SC allows withdrawl of Central Forces from Darjeeling

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The Supreme Court of India
The Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 27: The Supreme Court on Friday allowed the Centre to withdraw seven companies of central paramilitary forces from trouble-torn Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts of West Bengal where the agitation for Gorkhaland, a separate state for Gorkhas took a violent turn.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud directed the Centre to withdraw the seven companies of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPF) for being used for election duties in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.

The bench also sought a response from the West Bengal government on the Centre’s appeal against the High Court’s order putting on hold its decision to withdraw 10 of the 15 companies of the central paramilitary forces deployed in the hill district.

The apex court also stayed the pending proceedings before the High Court and said that it will deal with the case in a holistic manner and posted the appeal of the Centre for further hearing on November 27.

In an interim order, the High Court had stayed the withdrawal of CAPF from the Darjeeling hills till October 27 after the state government approached it against the Centre’s decision.(IANS)

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With Beef thrown into a Temple, Bengal Government worries as Minor Communal clashes cover the State

Ten districts of West Bengal have seen similar such communal incidents since October 2016 which is proving to be a major challenge for the state government

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(Representative image) Cows on Maheshwar Ghats, Wikimedia

Kolkata, Jan 31, 2017: A locality on the western edge of Kolkata’s Metiabruz area, Alampur remains to be in a very heated atmosphere ever since on January 23, some chunks of alleged beef were thrown into a temple. However, this Alampur incident is not a one of its kind and there have been similar cases as well. Ten districts of West Bengal have seen similar such communal incidents since October 2016 which is proving to be a major challenge for the state government.

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“I will not allow anarchy in Bengal,” said chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday. “Police is dealing with such things with a strong hand. We will soon bring a strong legislation against arson, where anyone setting fire to government or private party will be have to pay. One political party is trying to fan violence,” she said. However, Banerjee did not mention BJP in her statements.

But, other political parties gave some strong statements in context of the minor communal clashes in Bengal. “Attacks on Hindus are going on in different parts of the state. Metiabruz is the latest in the series and the administration has failed to control them,” said Sayantan Basu, state BJP secretary.

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The Congress and the Left have also claimed that the situation was “getting dangerous” in Bengal. “Trinamool Congress brought in communal politics in Bengal by appeasing communities for political gains. Now things are going out of control,” said Abdul Mannan, Congress MLA and leader of the opposition in the Assembly.

Minor communal clashes have become a regularity in West Bengal as almost ten cases similar to the Alampur case have been reported. Since October, pockets and villages in Kaliachak, Chanchol (Malda district), Jalangi (Murshidabad), Chandannagar (Hooghly), Bhagabanpur (East Midnapore), Kharagpore (West Midnapore), Hajinagar, Kanchrapara (North 24 Parganas), Sankrail, Dhulagarh (Howrah), Katwa, Jamuria and Kaksha (Burdwan) have witnessed clashes.

On December 12 and 13, clashes in Dhulagarh (26 km from Kolkata) began after Muslims took out a religious procession through the main market road in Banerjeepara neighbourhood. Hindus objected, but the procession was allowed by the police.

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Houses and shops were set ablaze which left hundreds from both communities homeless after the clash. Police arrested 65 people but the clashes continued for the next few days.

The Dhulagarh incident, unlike others before it, got political attention with BJP, Congress and CPI(M) dispatching leaders to the spot. General secretary Sitaram Yechury was a part of the CPI(M) team. In other areas political parties were prevented by police to enter after the clash.

“One hand the government is giving stipends to Imams, but creates pressure and stops a seminar on Kashmir and Balochistan in Kolkata citing that it will create communal problem. Miscreants and radicals are taking advantage of this situation,” said Amal Kumar Mukhopadhyay, political science expert and former principal of Presidency college.

prepared by Shambhavi Sinha of NewsGram. Twitter:  @shambhavispeaks

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West Bengal Government Forms a Panel for Prevention of Child Trafficking

The CID busted the racket in November after raiding a nursing home and polyclinic in Baduria in North 24 Parganas district

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Representational image. Pixabay

Kolkata, December 5, 2016: In the wake of a child smuggling racket being unearthed in the state, the West Bengal government on Monday announced setting up a panel for prevention of child trafficking.

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Making the announcement in the assembly, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the panel will be headed by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee and will comprise members from the opposition parties – Congress and the Communist Party of India-Marxist.

The other members of the panel will be state Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and the Director General of Police.

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“This racket is spread to far-flung areas and linked to different states. Around 24 people have been arrested in this connection,” Banerjee told the assembly.

The CID busted the racket in November after raiding a nursing home and polyclinic in Baduria in North 24 Parganas district.

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Subsequently, police recovered three children including a baby girl from South 24 Parganas district, while 10 more newborn girls were recovered from a Kolkata-based old age home in November.

The opposition Congress has been demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the inter-state child smuggling racket. (IANS)