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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Maoist leader and Indian Government exchange phone numbers

New Delhi, Kolkata, 23 February : Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram Tuesday said "no ifs, no buts" to the Maoists' inclination for dialogue and gave out a facsimile number for talks. Maoists responded by giving a cell phone number (+91 9734695789) to Bengal Newz and other media on which the central government could contact them.
However, just after Maoist leader Kishenji offered a 72-day conditional ceasefire to the government Monday night, armed Maoists attacked a camp housing security personnel in West Midnapore district late in the night. Responding to reports that the Maoists were ready for a truce, Home Minister P Chidambaram said the government will respond "promptly" if Maoists made a formal and unconditional offer to stop fighting and talk.
"I would like a short, simple statement" from the group "saying we will abjure violence and we are prepared for talks," Chidambaram said in a statement and also gave out a fax number Tuesday. "I would like no ifs, no buts and no conditions." File Photo : Reuters

Coast Guard DG to see operational preparation in Andaman
PTI, Port Blair, 23 February : Director general of Coast Guard, vice-admiral Anil Chopra would visit Andaman and Nicobar islands tomorrow to take stock of the measures to strengthen coastal security in the region. During the four-day visit, vice-admiral Chopra will assess the operational preparedness and take stock of the measures taken up to strengthen coastal security in the region after Mumbai terrorist attack, a Coast Guard release said here today. He will also visit the new Coast Guard station at Diglipur in Hut Bay to see the ground situation in these far-flung and strategically important locations, it said.
Orphan elephant cubs wait for food before the start of their training inside an elephant training school at Malongi in Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, about 160 km north of the Siliguri.
Seven rescued orphan elephant cubs are trained as they learn commands given by the mahouts and are also taken to jungle to get familiar with the jungle life, forest ranger Buddha Deb Mondal said. Photos : Reuters
Maoists Issue : Governor holds talks with CM Buddhadeb
Kolkata, 23 February : West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan is understood to have received a first-hand account of the government's stand on tackling Maoists and the situation in Maoist-hit areas during a meeting this evening with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.
Narayanan, a former National Security Advisor, held talks with the chief minister on the Maoist menace, official sources said. The meeting came within hours of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram making it clear that it would not accept any pre-conditions for talks with Maoists.
Bangladesh-India agree to install cross-border power cable
Dhaka, 23 February : Bangladesh and India have agreed to lay a cross-border power cable to light up Dahagram and Angarpota, the Bangladeshi enclaves in Indian territory.
The agreement was reached at a district magistrate-level meeting between the two countries near the Tin Bigha Corridor inside India at the initiative of the Indian government. The underground electric cable will be laid through the Tin Bigha Corridor from 1 March, according to BSS, the official news agency of Bangladesh. Dahagram and Angarpota in Lalmonirhat district are Bangladeshi enclaves that are connected with the rest of Bangladesh through the Tin Bigha Corridor, a tiny area leased by Bangladesh but controlled by India. The corridor, located in India's Cooch Behar district, is open daily during day, but only every second hour.
The power pact is part of the initiative taken by the neighbours in the wake of the India visit last month of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. A private business firm of Bangladesh will set up the cable network, and complete the work by 16 March.

NRAA launches rainfed forestry project
Agartala, 23 February : The National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA) has launched a pilot project in six states of high rainfall receiving zone, including Tripura, to ensure holistic development of the regions.
Official sources here said NRAA had launched pilot study in Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Uttarakhand for rainfed forest development and promote income generation activities through forestry. In the interest of addressing problem of sustainable food security, drinking water and all inclusive development in the rainfed area of the country, NRAA has sanctioned Rs 4.54 crore to Tripura.
The pilot project envisages treatment of 6544.0 hectares land, including 2584 hectares forest and 2778 hectares agricultural area, in three forest divisions of Tripura aiming to optimise management of fringe forests and adjoining non-forest land for integrated and holistic management of natural resources.

2 United Liberation Front of Asom leaders released on bail
Guwahati, 23 February : A special anti-terror court on Tuesday released on bail two top separatist leaders of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), a move seen as an attempt by the government to help push the rebels towards peace talks.
Vice chairman Pradip Gogoi and publicity secretary Mithinga Daimary were given bail by the special TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (preventive) Act) court here. The government prosecutor did not oppose the bail petitions. The public prosecutor did not oppose the bail applications of both the ULFA leaders and hence the court decided to release them on bail.

Ratna, Sadia win gold in Commonwealth Shooting Ch'ship
New Delhi, 23 February : Bangladeshi shooters Sharmin Akhter Ratna and Sadia Sultana clinched gold medal in women's 10m air rifle pair event of the Commonwealth Shooting Championship at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The duo, earlier this month brought glory for the country by winning the South Asian Games 10m air rifle team gold and Ratna won the individual gold of the same event. Ratna (396) and Sadia (394) together scored 790 to put Indian pair Priya Aggarwal (393) and Neha Sapta (389), who together made 782 to be content with silver medal. Meanwhile, Bangladesh's Asif Hossain Khan and Shovon Chowdhury had earlier won bronze medal in the men's 10m air rifle pair event in the competition.

Army guards Khagrachhari roads as violence erupts,1 dead
Khagrachhari, 23 February : An eruption of fresh violence forced the authorities to roll out army in Khagrachhari where at least 40 people were injured and 50 houses burnt in clashes between indigenous people and Bangalee settlers on Tuesday.
Indigenous people set fire to at least 32 houses of Bangalee settlers in Masterpara, Narikel Bagan, Upazila parishad and Sena Kalyan areas in retaliation of the attacks on them. Bangalee settlers had allegedly torched 19 houses of indigenous people in Mahajanpara and Chengi Square areas. Twenty vehicles were also vandalised during the clashes in the district headquarters.
Witnesses said the clash broke out after a group of settlers belonging to Parbatya Bangalee Chhatra Parishad (PBCP) chased a procession of the United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF), a platform of the indigenous people. UPDF brought out the procession as part of its daylong protests against the violence in Baghaichhari Upazila in Rangamati district that cost two lives and left many others injured. Photo : Focus Bangla
CRPF arrives in Siliguri to control violence over Gorkhaland
Siliguri, 23 February : The Central Reserved Police Force (CRPF) arrived at Siliguri to control the violent atmosphere prevailing in Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong and Terai regions for the past few months over the demand for a separate Gorkhaland.
The activists of regional Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) and the Vidyarthi Morcha (Students’ Front), have continued their agitation and in the process burnt up many police booths, observed strikes and destroyed houses of innocent people residing in hills and Terai regions. The central government has sent three companies of paramilitary forces to be deployed in these regions.
1st mutiny trial in Pilkhana begins
Dhaka, 23 February : The trial of 86 alleged mutineers of Dhaka sector headquarters of Bangladesh Rifles began on Tuesday at Pilkhana Darbar Hall, where the 33-hour mayhem set in last year.
On the opening day of the first mutiny trial to be held in the capital, the Special Court-5 of the BDR issued arrest warrants against the two absconding mutineers. It also asked the authorities to show arrested 65 BDR men continuing their job at the Pilkhana headquarters till date and produce 64 of them before it on Wednesday as one of them is under going treatment at BDR hospital. Nineteen other BDR personnel, who remain in detention, will also be produced before the court on the same day.
Prosecutor Major Matiur Rahman placed the charges against the accused before the three-member tribunal headed by BDR chief Major General Md Mainul Islam, that began at 12:00pm(BDST). After a two-hour hearing, the court adjourned the proceedings till Wednesday. Photos : AP, Mustafiz Mamun

NDFB (Daimary) militant killed in Kokrajhar encounter
PTI, Guwahati, 23 February : A militant of the NDFB (Daimary) faction was killed in an encounter with security forces in lower Assam's Kokrajhar district today.
The extremist, belonging to the anti-peace talk Ranjan Daimary group, along with two others exchanged fire with the security forces at Howraguri Narayanpur, official sources said. In the encounter, the militant was killed. An AK-56 assault rifle with five bullets and two magazines were recovered from the slain ultra. Two other NDFB insurgents fled from the spot.

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