North-east diary : Pratiksha Upadhyaya


Girl vomits snakes

Ruma Khatun, a three-year-old resident of English bazar in Malda district of North Bengal, horrified onlookers as she vomited two small snakes, one after another, on Saturday. Even as the doctors attending her suspect she might have consumed water containing snake-eggs, superstitious neighbours and local residents have already started worshipping the girl as “Nag Devi” (snake goddess) as curious crowds are milling around her.

First Congress win

In a major surprise, Dawa Narbu la, the Congress candidate, created history by convincingly defeating his nearest rival, the ruling Communist Party of India (CPM’s)-led candidate, Ms Mani Thapa, by 1,01,416 votes in the Lok Sabha poll. This is the first time in the history of the hills, especially since the creation of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), that the State ruling party suffered a setback, after having secured a cakewalk victory in the three five-

yearly previous elections.

It is obvious that Narbu la’s victory came riding on Subhas Ghising-led DGHC support. Besides the DGHC, he had also enjoyed the support of the five-party joint alliance known as the People’s Democratic Front, of which the Congress is an ally. Although he had trailed behind the CPIM candidate in the four plain Assembly segments of Siliguri, Islampur, Chopra and Phansidewa, a lead of 1,69,373 votes in the three hill subdivisions of Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Kurseong ensured his victory.

Status quo in Sikkim

Sikkim’s five-yearly elections, however, helped chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling-led ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) make a hatrick of sorts as it swept to power for the third time in a row by bagging 31 of the 32 Assembly seats in the state. Its major rival Congress, led by ex-CM Nar Bahadur Bhandari, won just a single seat.

Two smugglers killed

Two Bangladeshi intruders were killed when the Border Security Force (BSF) fired at a gang of suspected smugglers at Satbhita area in Islampur near here on Tuesday. According to BSF sources, the alleged smugglers,when challenged, started hurling bombs, and the former had to retaliate.

Death puzzles police

Dilip Limbu (39), a railway employee, was found dead in front of the Zonal Training Institute of Alipurduar Railway Division on Friday. Although his family said that late Limbu had no enemies , investigating police personnel suspected foul play since there was a grave injury mark on his forehead.

Kidnapped for love

Mainaguri area in Dooars was agog with rumours that KLO extremists had kidnapped a young girl, Rekha, on Wednesday. However, it transpired later that the kidnapping had involved no KLO militants but local youths whose main interest was to get Rekha, a longtime girlfriend of their friend Bonit Roy, to have her married. Police have dropped the case,filrd earlier by the girl’s father, on finding out the truth.

Accident injures 52

Over 52 persons were reported injured when the truck in which a marriage party was travelling turned turtle at Bindol in Raiganj police station area near here on Tuesday. Police said the driver of the speeding vehicle lost control, careened off the road, tumbled into a ditch and crashed while trying to overtake a trekker.