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Saturday, January 1, 2011

ULFA Chairman Rajkhowa released on bail, says ready for talks

Guwahati, 1 January : ULFA Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa was on Saturday released from the Guwahati Central Jail, two days after his bail plea was granted by a designated TADA court.
Rajkhowa was received at the jail premises by his elder brother Dimbo Rajkhowa and other family members. He will be attending several public receptions on way to his home town Lakhuwa in upper Assam, which he will be visiting after a gap pf 30 years. Rajkhowa went underground after the formation of the ULFA on 7 April, 1979. He was granted bail by a designated TADA court on 30 December with the Assam government filing no objection to it. The court granted bail to Rajkhowa in six TADA cases for his release. "We are committed to peace in Assam and take the peace process forward. We are ready for unconditional peace talks," the 54-year-old ULFA leader told his supporters outside the Gauhati Central Jail.
Rajkhowa had been arrested after being handed over by the Bangladesh authorities in November last year at the Meghalaya border. (With PTI inputs) Photos : AP READ BBC's REPORT

Mahasweta Debi writes to Hasina on jailed workers' leader
Dhaka, 1 January : Magsaysay Award winning Indian writer Mahasweta Debi has in a letter to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed concern at the condition of garment workers' leader Mushrefa Mishu and asked her to ensure justice to the detained woman.
"I am deeply perturbed by learning that Mishu has been arrested without warrant. She is now critically ill and admitted to hospital in custody," Mahasveta Debi wrote to Hasina 27 December. She requested the prime minister to personally look into the matter as Mishu is seriously ill, the New Age said Saturday.
Car accident kills 4 in Butta Bari around Bagdogra Airport
Siliguri, 1 January : People in North Bengal's Butta Bari around the Bagdogra airport here shunned the new year celebrations on Saturday to condole the death of four people in a car accident on Friday.
Four were crushed to death when a 12-wheel truck mowed down a meat shop at Bhutta Bari on the No 31 National High way linking north Bengal to southern parts of West Bengal on Friday evening. The vehicle also smashed four other people, who were admitted to North Bengal Medical and College Hospital with critical wounds. Most of the victims were on a buying spree to make their first day of 2011 a memorable one, an eyewitness said on Saturday.
No newspaper in Manipur due to Journalist-Govt 'tussle'
PTI, Imphal, 1 January : Newspapers in Manipur failed to hit the stands today because of a tussle between journalists and the state government.
While journalists, under the direction of the All Manipur Working Journalists' Union (AMWJU), wanted the immediate release of A Mobi, the editor of local daily Sanaleibak, without any condition, official sources said Chief Minister O Ibobi was looking into the matter.
GJM dares CPM to hill might test 8/1 meet to prove strength
Siliguri, 1 January : The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has challenged the CPI(M) to prove its support base in the hills at its 8 January meeting, the same day when Bimal Gurung’s outfit plans to organise a rally in the plains to show off its strength.
While the Morcha wants the CPI(M) to hold its meeting in Chowk Bazar after four years, the hill outfit is eager to hold its own rally in Siliguri’s Baghajatin Park.
Writing to Buddhadeb was P Chidambaram’s duty : Pranab
IANS, Kolkata, 1 Jauary : Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Saturday said his cabinet colleague and Home Minister P Chidambaram’s letters to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee were part of the former’s duty to write to states where the law and order situation deteriorates.
‘What is the controversy in this issue? Union home minister has given a letter and the chief minister should answer it. There can be no controversy on this,’ Mukherjee told mediapersons here.
Chidambaram in a letter to Bhattacharjee last week said that complaints received by the central government ‘indicate that armed cadres of the CPI(M) were deployed in a covert manner under the guise of village protection groups to guard against Maoist attacks’.
‘There is evidence to show that ‘harmad’ (hired killers) camps are mostly located in CPI(M) party offices and houses of local CPI(M) cadres. It is a matter of grave concern that these cadres have been provided with firearms,’ the home minister wrote.
Mukherjee said: ‘If law and order situation deteriorates in a state then it is the duty of the union home minister to request the chief minister to initiate proper steps. The union home minister has done his constitutional duty.’ ‘The duty of the chief minister is to respond to the letter and give answers to the questions raised by the union home minister,’ Mukherjee said.
The finance minister, however, parried a query about the necessity of the use of the word ‘harmad’ in Chidambaram’s missive. ‘Don’t ask me about this. Ask those who have used it and who are replying to it,’ said Mukherjee.
Bhattacharjee Friday accepted Chidambaram’s invitation to visit New Delhi for talks on law and order situation in the state but said he was ‘unable to accept’ the central minister’s attitude towards Left Front workers.
In another missive Thursday, Chidambaram described the killings of political workers as ‘alarming’, and said they pointed to a virtual collapse of law and order in parts of the state.