GORKHA NEWS ANALYSIS: Tamang’s death may drag Darjeeling Hills into chaos – alarmist or realist ?!!
Earlier, From ThaIndia News
Darjeeling, May 21 (IANS): The killing of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) chief Madan Tamang may worsen the situation in the troubled Darjeeling Hills, political observors and major parties feel.
The 64-year-old Tamang, who led the Democratic Front opposed to the hill’s dominant Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), was stabbed to death Friday in Darjeeling town while he was preparing for a party meeting.
Tamang, a strong advocate of a new state of Gorkhaland to be carved out of parts of northern Bengal, had all along maintained a distinct identity of the ABGL and consistently opposed the GJM, which has been spearheading the statehood agitation for the last couple of years.
Despite having a limited base in the hills, as manifest in the dismal showings of candidates backed by him in the assembly and Lok Sabha polls in recent times, Tamang seemed to be emerging as a strong rallying point for all anti-GJM forces after his strident opposition to the GJM’s call for setting up an interim council till Gorkhaland was achieved.
Tamang’s demand that Gorkhaland be granted straight away had apparently struck a sympathetic chord with the people, political observers said.
Fingers have been pointed at the GJM for Tamang’s killing, with state Municipal Affairs Minister and senior Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Ashok Bhattacharya saying it was the Bimal Gurung-led outfit’s way of ensuring there were no voices opposed to them in the Darjeeling Hills.
However, the GJM has denied any wrongdoing on its part, and instead blamed the state government for “hatching a conspiracy that led to the unfortunate murder of Tamang”.
“Why should our men be involved? Because we know if our party is involved in the murder of a man of Tamang’s stature, then we will lose support among the people,” Harka Bahadur Chhetri, GJM’s press and publicity secretary, told IANS.
Amidst the allegations and counter-allegations, political activists and experts are concerned at the fallout of the murder on hills politics.
They fear the Darjeeling Hills – comprising the three sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong – which have seen repeated shutdowns and blockades over the last couple of years, might lapse into chaos.
“The killing of Tamang will lead to a deterioration in the condition of the hills. It may go against the GJM as people are likely to abhor the dastardly incident,” Maya Ghosh, a professor of political science at the North Bengal University, told IANS.
“The killing could also have an adverse effect on the political movement in which the GJM is playing a big role. This could lead to big losses for the party,” Ghosh said.
This, in turn, could breathe a fresh lease of life into the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), the original driving force of the Gorkhaland demand but now reduced to insignificance following the rise of the GJM, she said.
Chhetri too conceded that Tamang’s death could adversely hit the Gorkhaland movement.
“It may have an unfavourable political effect on the movement,” he said.
ABGL general secretary Laxman Pradhan agreed with Ghosh. “The hills will never get a leader as great as Tamang. The killing will inflict heavy political losses on the GJM.”
A senior police officer in the district said on condition of anonymity that the hills now seemed to be a powder keg. “The situation may turn for the worse. Anything may happen any time”.
Darjeeling district CPI-M leader Jibesh Sarkar condemned the incident and alleged that the police were “totally ineffective in the hills”.
GJM plunges into crisis as prominent leaders desert party
From ThaIndia News
Darjeeling, May 24 (IANS): Gorkhaland movement spearhead, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), plunged into a serious crisis Monday with eight central committee members and several intellectuals associated with the party quitting in the wake of the murder of Gorkha leader Madan Tamang.
The GJM, which has been leading the movement for a Gorkhaland state for the last two years, suffered a severe setback as its press and publicity secretary Harka Bahadur Chhetri announced his resignation following allegations that the party was responsible for the brutal killing Friday of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League president Madan Tamang.
“In the present situation in the hills I don’t want to continue any more with the GJM. I am peace loving. People in the hills are peace loving,” Chhetri told mediapersons in Kalimpong town, the second largest city in the Darjeeling Hills.
Seven other central committee members, including C.R. Rai, Bhoujit Tamang, Palden Lama, Narayan Thapa and C.K. Subba, also quit the party on a day when nearly 15,000 people marched in Darjeeling town on Tamang’s last journey.
Angry mourners tore posters and banners of the GJM and shouted slogans against the party, whose writ ran in the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling district –Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong — even last week.
The GJM led the Gorkhaland agitation since the middle of the 1980s, and rendered irrelevant the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF). The GJM had little opposition in the hills, and Madan Tamang was one of a handful of political figures who dared to challenge the GJM in the hills.
Tamang was stabbed to death Friday in broad daylight near the Planters’ Club of Darjeeling town when he was busy making preparation for an ABGL meeting to celebrate the party’s foundation day.
Apart from the central committee members, three others who were part of the GJM think-tank and regular participants in its parleys with the central and state governments — Tilak Dewan, L.B. Parihar and Amar Rai — also severed links with the party.
“It (Madan Tamang’s murder) was unwarranted. No one ever thought such a thing can occur in broad daylight,” Amar Rai told IANS over phone.
“Public sentiment has gone against the GJM. People have become emotional and voiced their opinion against the party. We are members of a study forum providing inputs to the GJM.
“But we don’t want to work with the party now as we feel our purpose can no longer be served if there is violence,” Rai said.
Political observers feel the next few days could be crucial in determining whether the GJM was heading towards a bleak future or would bounce back after the initial emotional outburst among the people died down.
The Subash Ghising-led GNLF has been lying dormant in the face of the assault from the GJM for the last two years. With the GJM now forced on the backfoot, Ghising could make an effort to make a comeback.
Ghising ran the development body Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) for about 20 years with an iron hand, till his party lost its clout to the GJM in 2008. He is now based in neighbouring Jalpaiguri district after being virtually driven out of Darjeeling by the GJM.
GNLF demands CBI probe into Tamang’s killing
FROM PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Kolkata, May 24 (PTI): The Gorkha National Liberation Front today demanded a CBI inquiry into the brutal killing of prominent Gorkha leader Madan Tamang.
“The state government has ordered a CID probe, but we demand a CBI inquiry to unravel the truth,” GNLF MLA Shanta Chhetri from Kurseong said after a meeting with West Bengal Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh.
Alleging intelligence failure in preventing the killing of the All-India Gorkha League President, Chhetri said Tamang was killed in full view of the police at Chowkbazar in Darjeeling on Friday.
“There is no democracy in Darjeeling hills where houses are being set ablaze and people forced to leave their homes,” the GNLF leader alleged.
WB govt against tripartite talks with GJM – but naturally … after Darjeeling ‘breakdown’ victory is complete and objective met of derailing talks – so the only solution left, UNION TERRITORY or VIOLENCE ?!!
FROM THE PRESS TRUST OF INDIA STAFF WRITER
Kolkata, May 24 (PTI) The West Bengal Government today said it was not in favour of tripartite talks with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on Gorkhaland issue, saying it has lost the people’s mandate after the public outcry against it over the killing of AIGL president Madan Tamang.
“After the massive turnout of common people yesterday for the candlelight march against Tamang’s killing and at his funeral today, it is clear that the GJM has lost the people’s mandate. So it is useless to hold talks with them,” Municipal Affairs Minister Ashok Bhattacharya told newsmen here.
The minister, who met Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to brief him about the present situation in Darjeeling, said the latter too did not want the GJM in the talks, but had pointed that it was up to the Centre to take a decision on it.