GORKHA POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Governor requests Morcha to stay in talks – and, Your Excellency, please also request Bengal to settle the territory issue first, for a proper & stable “stepping stone”, without hegemony ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Darjeeling, May 19: The governor has requested the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha to “continue to participate in the talks with the Centre and the state government”, a late evening plea that came hours after the party met him at the Raj Bhavan here.
Governor M.K. Naryanan has also “expressed his deep concern over the suspension of normal activities in Darjeeling”, the statement released by his office read. “He also requested the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha …to see that peace and tranquillity in the hills is not disturbed in the interest of the people.”
The Morcha, which accused the state government of being “insincere” about inking the interim set-up deal for the hills during the meeting with the governor today, said it was not possible to react immediately.
“We cannot react (to the governor’s statement) immediately,” said party general secretary Roshan Giri, who had led the 21-member delegation to the Raj Bhavan.
The earlier incumbent of the governor’s office, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, had on the eve of vacating his office, asked the Morcha to give up its agitation and instead find a solution through talks. Out of “respect” for Gandhi, the Morcha had lifted a four-day strike in the hills in December last year.
Asked if the party would respond to the current governor’s plea this time, Giri had the same reply: “We cannot react immediately.”
Earlier in the afternoon, the Morcha said in a statement: “Although the GJM (Morcha) was sincere in settling the issue regarding an interim arrangement till December 31, 2011, our party also desired that the issue, regarding territory of the proposed interim arrangement should also be settled simultaneously with devolution of more legislative, financial and executive power.”
The Morcha said since the state and the Centre refused to discuss the territory on May 11, the party no longer believed in the interim arrangement.
Bengal home secretary Samar Ghosh had told the Morcha delegation during the May 11 meeting that he did not “have the mandate” to discuss territory, and only legislative and executive powers for the proposed interim set-up could be discussed.
The Morcha has been demanding that the proposed interim set-up for the hills should include Siliguri and parts of Gorkha-dominated Dooars and the Terai, besides the three subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong. The government wants the set-up to be limited to the hills.
“In the light of the above facts, it has been felt by the GJM that the interim arrangement will not fulfil the aspiration of the people of Darjeeling and Dooars,” today’s Morcha memorandum reads.
“We have told the governor that unless Gorkhaland is created no arrangement can fulfil the aspiration of the hill people. The interim arrangement without territory cannot be accepted by us and we have appealed to the governor to take up the issue of Gorkhaland with both the state and the Centre,” said Giri after the meeting with the governor.
According to Giri, the governor told the delegation that the interim arrangement should be considered a “stepping stone”.
“The governor told us that the interim arrangement would be a stepping stone and that one should not expect all issues to be solved in just two or three meeting or even six or seven meetings,” said Giri.
Letter to PM – and Sikkim’s Pawan Chamling not concerned in the least for all Indian Gorkhas ?!!
Morcha chief Bimal Gurung has faxed letters to the Prime Minister and the home minister, seeking central intervention in providing security to Nepali-speaking people on the Assam-Meghalaya border, said the outfit’s assistant secretary Binay Tamang.
MEANWHILE FROM MEGHALAYA
Violence continues across State, Bandh cripples normal life – feeding the deep Indian Gorkha insecurity, as did Bhutan ?!!
From The Sillong Times Reporter
SHILLONG, May 19, 2010: Life came to a grinding halt in Meghalaya due to the 12-hour bandh called by various NGOs in protest against the killing of innocent villagers in Langpih on May 14 as various violent incidents targeting the Nepali community continued in various parts of the State.
The bandh was total and peaceful in the city except for a few untoward incidents.
A Maruti car belonged to one Raju Saikia of Lower Mawprem was partially burnt by some miscreants early Tuesday.
In another incident, miscreants reportedly pelted stones at several houses of Nepali people at Raid Laban on Tuesday afternoon.
There is also report of stone pelting on a bus parked at Lad Smit minutes after end of the bandh. Windshield of the bus was damaged, but no one was injured.
While almost all the shops and business establishments were closed apart from a few vendors selling foodstuff in Police Bazar, State and Central Government offices recorded very thin attendance. All the educational institutes also remained closed on the day.
The bandh this time was significant as some localities like Jhalupara where a few shops always keep open during any other bandh also witnessed total shutdown.
More Nepali (Indian Gorkhas of Nepali & other language speaking abilities ?!!) people came under attack during the 12-hour bandh on Tuesday while normal life came to a grinding halt in Jaintia Hills district, adds Our Jowai Correspondent.
Unknown miscreants reportedly assaulted several people of the particular community at Lad Rymbai, Sohkymphor, Sookilo and other places in the coal-rich Khliehriat subdivision.
An eyewitness told this correspondent that one Nepali person was badly assaulted at Sohkymphor.
As the growing attack on the community has led to tension in the coal belt of Jaintia Hills district where thousands of people of the community are working as labourers, a good number of Nepalis have started moving to safer places.
“Some of them are hiding inside the coalmines and jungles along with their children,” sources said adding, “They could not leave the district due to the bandh.”
A truck was torched at Lad Rymbai near Fire Brigade while windshields of three trucks were broken in stone pelting at Lumshnong.
Meanwhile, many people of the community particularly milkmen and porters have been threatened in Jowai by unknown groups.
In another incident, a Maruti Gypsy owned by a Nepali person was set on fire by unknown miscreants at his residence at Petrol Pump, Ladrymbai near Good Shepherd School. The vehicle was totally damaged. Another vehicle was partially damaged when unknown miscreants set it on fire at Ladrymbai Near Nepali School (Jingkieng Mynkseh). The incidents took place between 10 pm and 10:30 pm on Tuesday.
A group of miscreants torched five houses of Nepali people at Langjasar village about 14 km away from Nongstoin on Tuesday, Our Nongstoin Correspondent adds.
The villagers were shocked to find their houses reduced to ashes when they returned from their paddy fields in the evening, sources said.
It was not known till filing of this report whether the people have left the village or they are still there.
Meanwhile, two PWD employees belonged to the community fled at the last minute along with their families before some miscreants came to attack them at Nongstoin on Tuesday.
Sources said the former MDC of Mawthengkut Srally Rashiar had provided temporary shelter to the victimised families and also helped them in shifting to a safer place.
Various NGOs of West Khasi Hills including WYF, WKHPDC, WKHSU, KSU, WYWO, WYWC, FKJGP, HANM, SWKYF, WKHPM and the Seng Longkmie of New Nongstoin on Tuesday decided to hold a “black rally” at Nongstoin on May 21 to condemn the killing of four innocent villagers in “indiscriminate firing” by the Assam Police on May 14. Besides the “black rally”, the organizations will observe May 14 as a “Black Flag Day.”
Meanwhile, the NGOs have also warned the various political parties not to try to reap political benefit out of the Langpih issue.
Quit notice concern
Concerned over the ‘quit notice’ issued to Nepali people in Jaintia Hills, the Deputy Commissioner Taining Dkhar convened a meeting with local headmen and representatives of NGOs in Jowai on Tuesday.
None of NGOs, who served the ‘quit notices’, attended the meeting. However, the local headmen assured full cooperation with the district administration to maintain peace in their respective localities.
They said they would inform the authorities in case any group forces Nepalis to leave the district. “NGOs cannot force for anything inside our locality without the permission of the Durbar Shnongs or Dongs,” a headman said.
Some of the headmen were of the view that “Nepalis in Jowai are very few and hence ‘quit notice’ should be issued only in those areas where they have a bigger population.”
The Rangbah Dongs also urged the Government to seriously consider the boundary dispute with Assam “so that no Langpih-like incident takes place in Jaintia Hills.”
KSU ‘call’ to Nepalis – not to Indian Gorkhas ?!!
Members of the KSU Jowai Circle visited several houses of Nepali people in Jowai and requested them to leave the town ‘for their safety.’
“We visited many houses of Nepalis and asked them to evacuate from the place,” KSU Jowai Circle president Ohibait Dkhar said. “We don’t want to see them facing trouble,” he added.
Villagers repair Langpih road – built by Indian Gorkhas ?!!
Over 200 villagers of Langpih area on Tuesday put their labour to repair the 8-km-long road from Tiehthawiar to Langpih.
The villagers enthusiastically took part in the repair work which started at around 12 noon, Hindro Samakha, Sordar of Hima Raidmynsaw informed.
The Sordar, however, said successive governments have failed to improve the road connectivity with Langpih.
KSU backs its units on ‘quit notices’ – just after private Indian citizens’ land ?!!
By The Shillong Times Reporter
SHILLONG: The KSU central body has lent its support to the “quit notices” issued to the Nepali community by its various units in Khasi and Jaintia Hills districts.
“The organisation will assess the situation and accordingly new directives would be given to the units with regard to the ‘quit notices’ issued to the Nepali people, KSU general secretary Hamlet Dohling told The Shillong Times on Tuesday.
Justifying the KSU units’ act, he said “They are serving the quit notices after assessing the situation of the particular area.”
On the notices served in Jaintia Hills district, Dohling said, “Nepalis are in majority in those areas and they are trying to tumble the local population.”
“They harassed our people and so we have issued quit notices for safety of our people,” he said.
Various NGOs including the different units of KSU have served quit notices to Nepali residents of Jaintia Hills and other parts of the State after the Langpih killings apparently due to clash between the two communities over boundary dispute between Meghalaya and Assam.
Police warns news channel
By The Shillong Times Reporter
SHILLONG: The State Police department has warned of strong legal action against a local news channel which is attempting to stir ‘communal passion and incite violence’ through its news reports. “One of the local news channels is attempting to incite communal unrest and violence through its news reporting,” a senior police official told The Shillong Times on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, local news channel Batesi TV has tendered apology to all its viewers for an error in the news scroll which stated that the 12-hour bandh sponsored by the UDP on Wednesday is still on. In a statement issued here on Tuesday, Batesi TV stated that the error was a result of “mistake on the part of the channel’s news desk.”
KHNAM defers public meeting
By The Shillong Times Reporter
SHILLONG: The proposed public meeting at Motphran organised by KHNAM on the Langpih firing incident has been deferred from May 20 to May 22. “We have been forced to shift the date of the public meeting due to the 12-hour bandh sponsored by the HNLC,” KHNAM president Paul Lyngdoh told reporters here on Tuesday.
By The Shillong Times Correspondent
JOWAI: A day after Jaintia Hills district officials along with NGOs visited Mukroh village following complaints of forceful entry of villagers’ names in Assam Census, similar reports emerged from Khanduli village on Tuesday.
Sources said enumerators from Assam escorted by police arrived at the village and forced all villagers to enroll their names with Assam.
“Assam has now claimed Mukroh and Khanduli through enrolment in the National Census 2011,” a prominent resident of Khanduli said.
People of Khanduli reported the matter to all the authorities concerned.
There have been allegations that Assam encroached on several border villages like Moolber, Psiar and Khatkasla besides Mukroh and Khanduli in the disputed area under Block I.
Speaking to The Shillong Times, local MLA ECB Bamon said he had already explained the gravity of the matter to the State Home Minister and requested him to take up the matter with the Assam Government.
Revenue Minister Dr RC Laloo, who hails from Jaintia Hills, informed that he had instructed the Deputy Commissioner to be vigilant in connection with the road and bridge construction by Assam PWD at Moolber, Psiar and Khatkasla.
“After the Deputy Commissioner submits his report, the matter can be taken up for discussion and for lodging a protest with the Assam Government,” Dr Laloo said.
“I will convey and discuss the issue with the Chief Minister,” he added.
The road and bridge construction at Moolber, Psiar and Moolber still continued under security provided by Assam Police besides the Census operation in two bordering villages — Mukroh and Khanduli.
There are also speculations that Assam enumerators will come to Saitsama village in Khanduli, Thangrain and Chilliangmyntang in Mukroh-Barato and Tumtum up to Sahsniang village for the Census operation.
Gorkha body condemns killing, ‘quit notices’
By The Shillong Times Reporter
SHILLONG: The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh, State unit has strongly condemned the burning alive of an old cowherd along with his three cows by miscreants at Umiam on Monday morning. The organization has demanded Rs 3 lakh as compensation to the family of the 70-year-old victim, Loknath Bastola.
The Parishangh, in a statement, also condemned miscreants ‘targeting’ the community to take revenge of the Langpih incident.
“Many houses and cowsheds have been burnt down by miscreants in Ri-Bhoi and Jaintia Hills district in the last couple of days,” the Parishangh said.
According to the organisation, the Gorkhas (Nepali) have become panicky and have started to leave their places for safe shelters after the various NGOs served ‘quit notices’ to the community.
It also appealed to the NGOs to withdraw their ‘quit notices’ to create congenial atmosphere between the Khasi and the Gorkha communities.
AND FROM THE PLAINS OF DARJEELING
Gorkha agitation causes immense loss in West Bengal – so why the obduracy to bifurcate Darjeeling on ‘Communal Issues’ ?!!
Siliguri, May 19 (ANI): The numerous calls for strikes in west Bengal’s Siliguri have badly affected the economy and development works in the region.
Strikes and shutdowns called by organizations like Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), Bangla-O-Bangla Bhasha Bachao Committee (BOBBBC) have caused great damage to the region’s economy.
The business machinery in the city mainly consists of retailers, wholesalers, dealers, distributors and small-scale entrepreneurs, all of who have suffered losses.
“Our business is more dependant on the area situation. If strike continues like this, people cannot come on time and it will automatically affect the business,” said Biman Roy, the owner of a shopping center.
With repeated outbreaks of violence in the region over the past two decades, investors have not undertaken any new project in the area, either.
“These types of shutdowns are not in favor of businessmen. One day shutdown in Siliguri itself causes the transaction loss of eight crore rupees and overall transaction loss would be around 12 crore rupees,” said Biswajit Das, Secretary of the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industries of North Bengal (FOCIN).
The tourism industry alone employs a large number of people, but due to shutdowns, many tourists reluctant to stay in Siliguri out of fear of violence. (ANI)
MEANWHILE IN BRIEFS FROM THE TELEGRAPH
Martyrs’ Day – Gorkha EFR soldiers not martyrs for Bengal ?!!
Siliguri, May 19: Members of the Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee and the New Young Bengal organised a programme at Bidhan Road here on Wednesday to commemorate the Bangla Bhasha Martyrs’ Day.
Educationists, social workers and senior citizens attended the function. (To be ‘communal’ or ‘secular’ ?!!)
Stolen vehicle seized
Siliguri: Ratan Chouhan, a resident of Manipur, was arrested by Naxalbari police with a stolen car at Nandalaljote, about 25km from here, this evening.
Gaurav Sharma, the additional superintendent of police, Siliguri, said Chouhan was suspected to be a member of an inter-state vehicle lifting gang and he had stolen the car from Delhi. The police have to know from Chouhan about other persons associated with him and are trying to locate them.
Siliguri: Residents of Ward 46 here submitted a memorandum to the Siliguri subdivisional officer, demanding the immediate distribution of land rights to the under-privileged people in the area. Mukul Sengupta, a local leader of the CPM, threatened a movement if necessary steps were not taken in seven days.
Islampur: The body of 60-year-old Md Wazuddin was found on a vacant land near his house at Pundargaon on Wednesday. There were several injury marks on the body and Islampur police suspect that Wazuddin had been murdered.
Dhubri: Inamul Haque, 19, and Noor Alom, 45, of Beguntoli village in Dhubri, Assam, died when lightning struck them on Wednesday morning.
Guwahati: The NDFB pro-talks faction has expressed concern over the alleged harassment of some of its members by the CBI by trying to implicate them in the October 30 blasts.