Sunday, 31 July 2011


GCPA's 13-day hunger strike ends

The Greater Cooch Behar People's Association (GCPA) lifted its
indefinite hunger strike on Sunday. On Saturday evening they decided
to lift the agitation following talks with senior officials of the
district administration of Cooch Behar. The police also heaved a sigh
because they had to keep a constant watch on the agitators for the
last 13 days to maintain peace.
The activists of the GCPA started an indefinite hunger strike in Cooch
Behar since 18 July. They had announced that they would continue their
agitation till the Centre invites them for talks over their demands.
They started the agitation demanding formation of a 'C' category
state, proper implementation of the agreement by which former princely
state of Cooch Behar was merged with India and formation of a
caretaker cabinet of ministers for Cooch Behar.
On Saturday evening GCPA's three leaders including its general
secretary Ms Namita Barman sat for talks with the district magistrate
Ms Smaraki Mahapatra and the superintendent of police Mr Kalyan
Bandyopadhyay. They demanded that the Centre should open dialogue with
their representatives in Delhi over their demands by Monday.
Otherwise, they would go to agitate in Delhi. As the officials
reportedly agreed to comply the GCPA too agreed to lift their 13-day
long agitation. Accordingly, the GCPA supporters left the ground near
the Cooch Behar Palace on Sunday morning. However, a similar hunger
strike is going on at Jantar Mantar in Delhi led by GCPA president Mr
Pabitra Ray, organisational sources claimed.

Cooch Behar DM Ms Smaraki Mahapatra said on Sunday that she conveyed
the matter to the higher authorities mentioning the GCPA's demand for
talks with representatives of the Union home ministry. On the
otherhand, GCPA general secretary Ms Namita Barman was not available
over phone on Sunday to make any comment over the development.

Friday, 29 July 2011


Gayatri Devi remembered

Second death anniversary of Gayatri Devi has been observed at Cooch Behar Palace on Friday. The employees of the Archaeological Survey of India organised a brief programme in front of the Durbar Hall on the occasion. Palace museum-in-charge Mr Binay Das said Cooch Behar ADM Mr Godala Kiran Kumar and ASI personnel paid floral tribute to the portrait of late Rajkanya of Cooch Behar and Rajmata of Jaipur. 

PHOTO : Archaeological Survey of India, the guardian authority of Cooch Behar Palace depicts a board on the historic palace gate to aware visitors about the second death anniversary of Gayatri Devi. In Cooch Behar on Friday.

Thursday, 28 July 2011


GCDP waits for CM's invitation

The leaders and supporters of the Greater Cooch Behar Democratic Party (GCDP) are waiting eagerly for the release of their leader Mr Bangshi Badan Barman from Cooch Behar District Correctional Home. Mr Barman may come out in the first week of August, GCDP leaders and supporters believe.

The president of the GCDP, Mr Ashutosh Barma said they would organise a felicitation ceremony in Cooch Behar town to celebrate the release of the eminent leader of the Greater Cooch Behar movement. The programme may be held at Raas Mela Maidan or at Shahid Baag.

The GCDP president said after come back of Mr Barman they would reorganise their organisation thoroughly. Mr Bangshi Badan Barman will be offered with a honourable post in the refurbished GCDP, he hinted. After that they will adopt a fresh programme for movement. "We are now waiting eagerly as our leader is going to come back among us after a long-time following a series of movements and efforts", Mr Barma said.

Commenting on the ongoing indefinite hunger strike sponsored by The Greater Cooch Behar People's Association (GCPA), the GCDP president said they are not in favour of the hunger strike at this moment. "As a new chief minister Ms Mamata Banerjee should get a little more time to understand all the things. Without considering her limitations one should not create pressure on her. At first she should get enough time for opening a dialogue. But, as that was not done we think the hunger strike is incredible and pointless. We can hope that during talks with the CM our demands may be fulfilled", Mr Barma said.

The GCDP president also said that they made an appeal to the chief minister to invite them for a dialogue. "When we are waiting for the release of Mr Bangshi Badan Barman and the invitation from the chief minister, the GCPA came up with a hunger strike programme. This is nothing but an effort to weaken the Greater Cooch Behar movement", he added. 

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


GCPA to continue fast till Centre's intervention

The indefinite hunger strike of The Greater Cooch Behar Democratic Party (GCPA) stepped into its tenth day on Wednesday. The activists of the GCPA are on fast in Cooch Behar since 18 July demanding formation of a separate state, proper implementation of the agreement by which former princely state of Cooch Behar was merged with India and formation of a caretaker cabinet of ministers for Cooch Behar.

General secretary of the GCPA Ms Namita Barman told this reporter on Wednesday that they would continue their agitation till the Centre comes up for talks with them over the demands. "We want to talk with the Central government only", she said. But, no one from the Central government or from the state government approached them till now, she said. At the same time she said that similar hunger strike is going on in New Delhi led by the GCPA president Mr Nirmal Ray.

Claiming that about 50,000 supporters already joined in the hunger strike, Ms Barman said that the number is growing day by day. Though more than one hundred persons had to be hospitalised as their health condition turned worse, they came back to join the agitation again after attending medical care in the hospital, she claimed.

When asked to comment over the news of Mr Bangshi Badan Barman's probable release from the correctional home, the GCPA general secretary said they also heard of it. Is there any possibility about come back of the ex-supremo of the GCPA to the organisation again? Ms Barman said they are keeping watch over the matter. "At first we would have to learn his actual attitude because at present he is with the Greater Cooch Behar Democratic Party (GCDP). The issue of his possibility of return to the GCPA may come up only after his release from the jail", she said.  - DEBASHIS BHAUMIK

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


Goswami turns Jaigaon Chairman

State Trinamul Congress general secretary Mr Mihir Goswami became the chairman of the Jaigaon Development Authority. Mr Goswami, who is an ex-MLA, said, "As desired by the honourable chief minister I have been assigned to take over the charges of the chairman of Jaigaon Development Authority." He sought active co-operation from all for all-out development of Jaigaon that is adjacent to Bhutan. 

City bus service in Cooch Behar

Cooch Behar is going to get the much awaited city bus service from 1 August. The decision has been adopted at a meeting of North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) officials with its chairman Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh and managing director Mr Don Bosco Lepcha. The meeting was held at Paribahan Bhavan in Cooch Behar on Tuesday.  

The NBSTC chairman told the media persons that at the first phase the proposed city bus service would be extended to different areas of the town including Hospital Chowpathi, Court Morh, Gunjabari and Marapora-dighi. Two NBSTC buses would be pressed into the service. Commuters from all walks of society would be benefited by the facility, as the fare would be Rs 5 only per head. If the city bus service proves successful it would be widened to the outskirt areas of the town in near future, he assured.

The NBSTC plan has been welcomed by many including 'Concern for Cooch Behar', as it was a long-standing demand of the citizens. 

Monday, 25 July 2011

Minister Hiten Barman

Minister's surprise visit

State forest minister Mr Hiten Barman visited the office of the fisheries department in Cooch Behar on Monday. He expressed his displeasure as he found lesser employees in the office. During his meeting with the officials he asked them to work in a disciplined manner.

Mr Barman told media persons that Cooch Behar district is lagging behind in pisciculture. The government have adopted an ambitious plan to improve the situation. The fishermen are also suffering for a long, as they are not covered by the concerned schemes. From now on they would get the necessary benefits from different development schemes offered by the government, he said.

The forest minister also said that the wetlands and ponds in the district would be cleaned up to extend irrigation facilities to the cultivators. Pisciculture would also be done in those water bodies. The matter would be taken up with the state fisheries minister to make the plan a success, he added. 

Friday, 22 July 2011


'Greater' leader Bangshi Badan Barman may come out from jail

Following state government's intension to release political prisoners the inmates of Greater Cooch Behar movement in Cooch Behar that are behind the bars are expecting a free life again. Now, there are forty-three 'Greater' activists who were extended with political prisoner status. Those under-trial persons are suffering in the correctional home. Among the undertrial prisoners there is Mr Bangshi Badan Barman too, who was the chief of  'Greater Cooch Behar' movement. He had to surrender following the violence that claimed five lives on 20 September 2005 during a massive movement.  

On Friday, Mr Barman expressed his pleasure to the members of his closer circle. He thanked state chief minister Ms Mamata Banerjee for her initiative to release the political prisoners and said 'at last I am going to come out from the jail'.

A wind of happiness is also blowing over the residences of the 'Greater' activists. At Putimari area near Prantik Bazar in Dinhata Mr Barman's aged mother, Mrs Jayamati Barman turned happy when she learnt of the probability of release of his son. Expressing her joy she said she wants her son to come back to look after the family. At the same time she said that she want him to work for the cause of the country too. Mr Barman's elder brother Mr Madhusudan Barman is also happy to learn that his brother may come home again.

The lawyer of the 'Greater' undertrials, Mr Shibendra Nath Ray said at last the justice turned victorious. The persons are suffering for a few years inside the correctional home. Now, they are going to breath under the open sky, he said. 


GCPA's hunger strike steps on fifth day

The Greater Cooch Behar People's Association (GCPA) supporters that are on an indefinite fast are continuing their agitation in Cooch Behar. Their agitation stepped on in fifth day of Friday.

The activists of the GCPA were on fast at Raas Mela Maidan and adjacent roads in Cooch Behar town since Monday demanding formation of a separate state, proper implementation of the merger agreement by which Cooch Behar was included in India and formation of a caretaker cabinet of ministers for Cooch Behar.

On Wednesday the district administration shifted them at a place adjacent to the historic Cooch Behar Palace complex. As the strikers were staying on the streets in the town the district administration came under pressure from different quarters and so they had to shift the agitators to restore normalcy in the town.  

District magistrate of Cooch Behar, Ms Smaraki Mahapatra said they are keeping a constant watch on the situation. During dialogues the agitators told the authorities that they would talk with their central leadership over lifting of the hunger strike. A medical team is kept ready to extend medical care to the ailing strikers. Four persons were shifted to the hospital on Thursday and Friday. Police are also deployed there to maintain peace. The agitators co-operated with the administration during shifting of them from the streets of the town, the DM added.

A GCPA leader however said that they would continue their hunger strike till fulfilment of their demands. 

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


GCPA's hunger strike steps on third day

The indefinite hunger strike of The Greater Cooch Behar People's Association (GCPA) stepped into its third day on Wednesday. The activists of the GCPA are on fast at Raas Mela Maidan and adjacent roads in Cooch Behar town since Monday demanding formation of a separate state, proper implementation of the merger agreement by which Cooch Behar was included in India and formation of a caretaker cabinet of ministers for Cooch Behar.

Normal life in the town is being disturbed to some extent due to the agitation as they installed tents for the hunger strikers blocking a few roads including Bangchatra Road and Silver Jubilee Avenue in the town. Citizens have to use alternate roads to reach their destinations. Functioning of educational institutions are also being disturbed as a number of schools sent back their students on Wednesday probably to avert disturbance.

Police said they are keeping strict watch on the situation as many citizens are feeling disturbed following occupancy of streets by the agitators. A senior police official said they are ready to meet any situation. Riot control vans and water cannons are also kept ready to maintain peace.

District Magistrate of Cooch Behar Ms Smaraki Mahapatra said dialogues are being continuing with the agitators urging them to lift their stir. A process is also going on to clear the streets of the town. More than one hundred hunger strikers have been hospitalised, as they turned sick. "We are trying our best to get an way out from the present situation", she said.       

A GCPA leader said a similar agitation is going on in New Delhi too. She said they would continue their agitation till fulfilment of their demands.  She claimed that they initiated their indefinite hunger strike by obtaining proper permission from the administrative authorities. 

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


Air service starts from Tuesday

After long years the Cooch Behar-Kolkata air service is going to be restored from the first week of August. On Tuesday, an aircraft of North East Shuttles took off from Cooch Behar Airport at about 12-49 p.m. and left for Kolkata en route Saidpur of Bangladesh initiating regular flights. The aircraft came from Dimapur of Assam and landed at Cooch Behar Airport amid cheers of curious visitors and guests at about 12-06 p.m.

Seven eminent persons from Cooch Behar including two MLAs, three government officials and two members of business community boarded the plane that left for Kolkata. They are the first passengers in the resumed air service.

Official sources said the fare for Cooch Behar-Kolkata flight would be around Rs 5,000 and from the first week of August the air service would be regular. 

Sunday, 17 July 2011


Fresh stir plan to get a university

Manishi Panchanan Barma Viswavidyalaya Prastuti Committee is going to organise a series of fresh movements to get the long awaited university named after the legendary social reformer of North Bengal, Thakur Panchanan Barma. On Sunday the committee organised a convention at the birthplace of Thakur Panchanan Barma at Khalisamari village in Mathabhanga sub-division of Cooch Behar district.

Secretary of the committee Mr Girindra Nath Barman said they would spread their movement in all areas of North Bengal. In Sunday's convention they decided to organise sit-in movements at Mathabhanga and in Cooch Behar, a convention at Jalpaiguri and roadblock at different areas of Cooch Behar district. At the last phase of their movement they would start a fast-unto-death stir to get their demand fulfilled. During their movements they would convey their demand to the state chief minister too to draw her attention to the long awaited demand, Mr Barman said.

Mr Barman, who is also a vice-president of the Cooch Behar district unit of the Trinamul Congress, said, they already collected 336-bigha land for setting up of the university. If necessary they would acquire an additional 200-bigha land as enthusiastic locals came up to donate the required volume of land for the university named after Thakur Panchanan Barma, he said.

At the convention that was held at Khalisamari there were eminent persons like Mr Dipak Ray of North Bengal University, the principal of Sitalkuchi College Mr Afjal Hossain, educationist Mr Banikanta Bhattacharya and others. The speakers spoke of the necessity of a new university named after Thakur Panchanan Barma at Khalisamari in the interest of higher studies for the students of the region. 

Monday, 11 July 2011


Court orders man to give maintenance to a newborn

After a long legal battle Ms Afruza Khatun has been able to get her child the maintenance allowance from its 'father'. On Monday, the Judicial Magistrate of Cooch Behar Third Court Md Mahiullah ordered the 'father', Mr Janab Ali to pay a maintenance allowance of Rs 1,200 per month to the child of the unmarried woman.

The lawyer of Ms Afruza Khatun, Mr Shibendra Nath Ray said Ms Afruza of Ghoramara Sajerpar under Cooch Behar Kotowali police station gave birth of her child on 9 March 2009 at MJN Hospital in Cooch Behar. She had a love affair with a local man Mr Janab Ali. But, the man denied admitting the fatherhood of the newborn on 16 March 2009 when she went to his residence with locals. Earlier too, she lodged a complaint to the police during her pregnancy (Kotowali PS case No. 75/2008) when the man drove her out as she claimed the man to admit paternity for the would-be child.

As she felt it hard to maintain the child she lodged a case (Misc. case No. 229/2009 u/s 125(1) (b) CrPC) at the court of the CJM in Cooch Behar on 29 December 2009 claiming maintenance allowance and recognition of paternity for the child. It is interesting that the woman never claimed that the man should marry her or she entered marital relation with him. She only demanded paternity right for the child she gave birth and the maintenance, Mr Ray said. 

Monday, 4 July 2011


Idol of Devi Siddheswari untraced

Police are yet to recover the stolen austodhatu-made deity of Devi Siddheswari. Meanwhile, two guards of the Siddheswari temple were suspended and a probe has been started. Armed miscreants have stolen the idol from the Siddheswari temple on early hours of Sunday.

Police sources reportedly got a clue about the theft but they denied disclosing it in the interest of proper inquiry. Senior administrative, police and Debottar Trust Board officials reviewed the matter on Monday. Necessity of beefing up of security measures at the age-old temples in Cooch Behar under the DTB was discussed in the meeting, sources said.

Cooch Behar Heritage Society (CBHS) demanded immediate arrangement of adequate security to save the old temples of the erstwhile Cooch Behar State from the thieves and miscreants. A spokesman of the CBHS said the austodhatu made deity of Lord Madan Mohan was stolen from the historic Madan Mohan temple in Cooch Behar town in 1994 and that was never recovered. He recalled that thefts have been committed at different temples in the past but the authorities failed to get any breakthrough. The Dash-Mahavidya idol of Gosanimari, Madan Mohan idol of Dangar-Aai temple and the deity of Lord Balaram from the temple at Bhuchungmari were stolen. Recently, the thieves committed crime at Madan Mohan temple at Mathabhanga too. CBHS blamed the indifference of the government to save the temples from the criminals.

North East Development Society (NEDA) and Concern for Cooch Behar (CfC) too demanded strict security measures in the temples in Cooch Behar district. They also demanded proper inquiry to recover the stolen idol of Devi Siddheswari. 

Sunday, 3 July 2011


Uproar over theft at Siddheswari temple

A gang of armed miscreants robbed off the ancient idol of Goddess Siddheswari from the historic temple situated at Siddheswari village at early hours of Sunday. The temple stands at a distance of about 2.5-kilometre from Baneswar Shiva temple. Hearing the news a large number of locals and devotees from far and near areas have rushed to the temple since Sunday morning. Many of them broke down to tears, as there is a popular belief that Devi Siddhewari is an awakened Goddess. An inquiry started to recover the stolen idol and arrest the miscreants. Meanwhile, two NVF jawans who were on duty to guard the temple have been suspended.

The priest of the temple, Mr Dhireswar Debsarma told reporters that a few armed miscreants broke open the temple by threatening the guards and looted the 15.5-centemetre idol made of Austodhatu (eight-metal) and the Kharga (the weapon used for sacrifice of animals devoted to the Goddess). The incident took place at about 2 a.m. When the guards informed him he rushed to the temple at early morning and then reported the matter to the police.

On being informed a large contingent of police led by DSP (Head Quarters) Mr Mahadeb Chatterjee arrived at the spot. He promised the aggrieved locals and devotees that armed men are to be deployed from now on to guard the temple. The members of the gang of miscreants might be caught very soon, he assured.

Cooch Behar Sadar SDO Ms Rumela Dey too visited the temple. Police sources said a probe has been started into the incident and the two NVF jawans engaged in the temple to guard it have been suspended due to negligence in their duty.

The Siddheswari temple was established during the regime of Maharaja Harendra Narayan. Considering its style of uniqueness, structure and architecture such a temple is nowhere in Cooch Behar district. It is one of the ancient temples that are under the Debottar Trust Board, the guardian body of all temples and religious places of erstwhile Cooch Behar State.