Tension briefly flares in Kalimpong over GNSF posters – Last Ditch attempt to re-raise the GNLF bogey ?!!
By Our Special News Correspondent
Kalimpong, May 08, 2010: What started off normally this morning, as a ‘Saturday Haat Bazaar’ shopping day, suddenly turned tense as news spread rapidly through Kalimpong town that one person from the Kalimpong Gosh Khaan (meat market) area had been hacked on the neck and shoulder at about 9 am from behind with a Khukuri while putting up GNSF posters in that area.
The said photocopied poster, some in B4 size and others in A4 size reads: WE WANT GORKHA HILL COUNCIL UNDER SIXTH SCHEDULE – G.N.S.F.
Curiously, all the posters – the bigger and smaller sized ones – had the letter ‘L’ underneath, cut-pasted with an ‘S’ above it, giving credence to the fact that the said posters had been initially intended to be read as from the G.N.L.F.
The trouble began early this morning, before the shops had opened, as posters on unopened shop shutters remained visible.
One godown, just next to the Haat Bazar had fallen victim to a fire past midnight, at about 1 am this morning. The blaze had been put out by the local traders there and was unrelated to the ‘poster’ incident. But rumours were rife that this had also been caused by GNLF supporters.
Later at about 9 am, when poster sticking boys, who were hired by some unidentified ‘GNLF supporters’ went about pasting posters in the Haat Baazaar area and were working their way upwards to Damber Chowk, some individuals came with Khukuris and allegedly, without warning, hacked one of the poster sticking boys from the back.
Some shop-keepers at the Kalimpong Main Road area mentioned, the so called “GNSF supporters” should have stuck to pasting posters only on the “wicker wall” meant for such ‘poster displays’ at Damber Chowk instead of all the other areas in the lower markets.
One meat seller in the ‘beef stalls’ identified the ‘hacked victim,’ a relative of his as one Ghyamze Bhutia and the alleged perpetrator as one ‘Pasang’ from the nearby Seed Farm below, who he mentioned was a staunch GJM supporter. This has not been verified as yet.
Distraught with anger, this meat vendor said “this is a clear case of GJM ‘goodagardi’ (gang-ism). If they, (the GJM) didn’t like what our boys were doing, then why not persuade them not to do so, or settle it like men and bash each other up with their fists. Why use Khukuris ?”
Other meat vendors, in the same market, speaking amongst themselves spoke about why these boys were unnecessarily seeking such ‘poster sticking jobs’ at such a politically sensitive time. “They should have done it when Subhash Ghising was in power”, they commented.
“Now Gorkhay ‘daju-bhais’ (brothers) are fighting each other, which is deplorable” said another concerned shopper. “Bolney bela ma bolena, garney bela ma garena – aabo chuppo lagera basnu ni, niu kina khojnu ?” they said. (meaning: when they should have talked, they said nothing; when they should have done something, they didn’t do anything and now they should shut-up & sit quiet … so why instigate anyone?).
This comes just a day after the brief 1 night visit and departure of Darjeeling MP, Jaswant Singh, in Kalimpong. The Darjeeling MP, a little before his departure to Bagdogra, had met the GJM Central Committee members here on working out ‘ways and means’ to solving the hill ‘water’, ‘identity’, ‘census’ and the ongoing ‘Junta College’ problems, among others.
Another shopper, who requested not to be identified commented, “This seems to be a last-ditch attempt of the dying GNLF to once again try and reassert its authority and create problems and confusion in Kalimpong.”
By afternoon, Kalimpong town centre had simmered down and was again open for business as usual, although an undercurrent of tension still prevails among the general public in the early monsoon mists.