GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Tribals refuse to bite ‘Adivasi’ bait – Morcha plea to join movement shunned – patience, our Bengal, patience !!! … The current tune a bit premature, situation may change after massive rallies in the plains of Darjeeling begins ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, May 31: Bimal Gurung’s attempt to woo the tribals in the Terai and Dooars by rechristening Gorkhaland to Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh has been nipped in the bud by the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad.
The dominant tribal organisation in the Dooars has ruled out any understanding with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha to join its statehood movement.
Morcha president Gurung while addressing a rally in Darjeeling yesterday had appealed to the Parishad to sit for a meeting soon, “since we have changed the name for them”. Gurung had also announced that he would hold three public meetings in the Dooars jointly with the Parishad.
“We are not ready to render even the slightest importance to what Bimal Gurung said yesterday. And, under no circumstances, will the tribals in the Terai and Dooars join the Morcha or express solidarity (with it) for its so-called demand for Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh,” said Birsa Tirkey, the state president of the Parishad, over the phone from Calcutta today.
The Parishad has already released a map comprising the tribal belts of the Dooars and the Terai demanding Sixth Schedule status, which it believes, will help develop the backward tribal region.
“We will continue to strive for our cause and have already met officials and ministers at the state and Centre-levels. There is no question of changing our stand. The Nepali-speaking people comprise eight to 10 per cent of the total population in these areas. The tribals make up around 80 per cent. It is sheer irrationality on the part of the Morcha leadership to think that the majority population will allow themselves to be governed from the hills by the minority,” Tirkey said.
Asked if the Parishad would attend any meeting if invited by the Morcha, Tezkumar Toppo, state secretary of the tribal outfit, said: “We will not attend any such meeting called by the Morcha. Who are they to call us for talks, that too, on an issue which we are opposing?
However, if the state or the Centre invites us to discuss our demands, we will definitely attend it as whatever we have demanded (Sixth Schedule) is under the purview of the Indian Constitution.”
Asked if Gurung’s announcement would influence the tribal population, Toppo said: “The Morcha had managed to convince a section of our people to join them by offering them jobs as Gorkhaland Personnel cadres. But given the present state of affairs and the Parishad’s activities, many have left (the GLP).
“There is hardly any chance for the Morcha to succeed this time. We feel it is a conspiracy to derail our movement and again create tension in the brew belts as we will not part with any portion of the Terai and the Dooars for the separate state.”
Another anti-Morcha forum, the Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee, held a public meeting at Hashmi Chowk and burned the effigy of Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh.
“We want him to resign. Despite being voted by the people of Darjeeling district, most of whom are against division of the state, he is openly supporting the Morcha,” said Mukunda Majumdar, the committee’s president. “We also request the tribal people to be on alert and not to step into the Morcha trap.”
BENGAL LEANING SCRIBES LAY IT ON REAL THICK – FEAR WE SENSE ?!!
Adivasis trash Morcha’s proposal on statehood
From Express India
By Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay
Kolkata, Jun 01, 2010 at 0212 hrs IST: The proposal for a Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh comprising Darjeeling, Siliguri, Dooars and Terai region that was announced by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung at a Darjeeling rally on Sunday, ran into rough weather today with the Adivasi Vikas Parishad (AVP), an organisation of the adivasis of Dooars and Terai, rejecting the offer. The Morcha is trying to fool its own people by mooting the proposal, said the AVP.
“We form 80 per cent of the population of Dooars and Terai and the Gorkhas form 7 to 8 per cent. Why should we come under them in a new state? It will be a poitical harakiri for us.
They claim that we have agreed for a new state with Gorkhas and adivasis. They are trying to get our support, but their problems and conditions are totally different compared to ours,” said Birsa Tirkey, West Bengal state president, AVP.
West Bengal minister for Urban Development Ashok Bhattacharya, who visited the house of slain Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang last week, said today that it is time the state government acted tough in the hills to establish peace, democracy and the rule of law.
“The police will punish all perpetrators of the heinous killing. The police are also determined to provide protection to those who speak against the Morcha,” said Bhattacharya, who today met the chief minister in the morning to discuss the situation in the hills.
Bhattacharya added: “At present, a tripartite meeting is meaningless because people in the hills have lost faith in the leadership of the Morcha.”
He also questioned the role of General (retd) Vijay Madan as interlocutor in the Darjeeling talks, saying his role was “highly suspicous”.
“Without talking to anybody, he declared the next tripartite meeting will be held on June 7. Who gave him the authority? We are sceptical about his role,” Bhattacharya said.
‘Feeler’ to wind up GLP camps – so that WB police CRPF can then maintain law & order as well as peace, plus help in disaster relief with total public confidence lost ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Darjeeling, May 31: Darjeeling police have put out “feelers” to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha to wind up the camps of the Gorkhaland Personnel and refrain from deploying them in security fatigues.
The party, however, has decided to ignore the message.
“We have sent feelers to the Morcha to wind up its camps. There could be problems with the deployment of the CRPF personnel in Darjeeling,” a senior police officer of the district said today. The officer, however, added that there was no order from the government to ban the GLP.
The Morcha has recruited around 4,000-odd boys and girls from the hills and the Dooars for the GLP and pays them a monthly remuneration that ranges from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000.
Apart from providing security to Morcha chief Bimal Gurung, the stick-wielding personnel are also seen patrolling the streets in uniform. There are at least five camps in the hills.
The officer who did not want to be identified said the initiative was taken up “on our own” keeping in mind the volatile situation in the hills, particularly after the killing of ABGL leader Madan Tamang. “Also, other political parties from both the hills and the plains have approached us that the GLP should be banned,” he said.
Colonel (retd) R. Allay, the chief of the GLP, admitted to have received the “feelers”. “In Kalimpong, a few police officers came to the camp in Goaskhan on Friday and told the boys to wind up the camp. We inquired with senior administrative officials but they said there was no written order from Calcutta banning the GLP,” Allay said.
The GLP chief ruled out disbanding the squad and listed the “social work” its members were doing. “We see no reason why it should be banned,” said Allay. In yesterday’s rally, the GLP was used to control the crowd and traffic.
Allay evaded a direct reply when asked if the squad would still be deployed in security fatigues. “The government is well aware that no arms training have been given to the GLP. Every party can have its youth cell and this is precisely such a cell of the party,” he said.
K.L. Tamta, the inspector-general of police of north Bengal, today said the CID team probing Tamang’s murder had left for Calcutta on Saturday. “They have forwarded to the police a list of 24 names of those allegedly involved in the killing. Raids will be conducted to catch the culprits,” Tamta said.
MEANWHILE ALSO HIGHLIGHTED
Strike to slam police bias – no more ‘Khukuri Julus’ ?!!
Siliguri, May 31: The GNLF observed a strike at Panighata today to protest the arrest of 18 of its supporters in Darjeeling last week and accused the state government of adopting double standards while maintaining law and order in the hills.
“Police arrested our supporters in Darjeeling on Saturday for allegedly carrying khukuris while going to a meeting to condole the death of ABGL leader Madan Tamang,” said Rajen Mukhia, the Terai branch convener of the GNLF. “If the police can arrest a few of our supporters for carrying the traditional weapon of the Gorkhas, why can’t they take into custody the people who were involved in the murder of the ABGL leader?”
Tamang was hacked to death allegedly by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters wielding khukuris in broad daylight in Darjeeling on May 21.
“There is no rationale behind letting the Gorkhaland Personnel roam free despite the fact that they carry khukuris. The GNLF feels the state government is acting in a biased manner and demands that our supporters be released immediately. We also want a ban on the GLP,” said Mukhia.
Panighata in Mirik block of Kurseong subdivision wore a deserted look because of the 12-hour strike with shops and offices remaining closed and vehicles keeping off roads. Panighata is located about 40km from here.
The GNLF also attacked the Morcha for renaming Gorkhaland as Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh. “He has come up with a new name simply to exist as a leader. We will be least surprised if he raises the demand for a separate country in near future,” said Mukhia.
K.L. Tamta, the inspector-general of police, north Bengal, denied the GNLF charges.
“After the murder of Madan Tamang, it was decided that nobody would be allowed to attend any meeting or processions with khukuri or any other weapon. The GNLF supporters were arrested for carrying the khukuris. Anybody else flouting the law will face similar consequences,” said Tamta.
Asok salvo – the classic Gorkha Bete’ noire ?!!
Bengal municipal affairs and urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya said in Calcutta today that the Morcha was losing its support base in the hills and people were disillusioned with the party since the assassination of Madan Tamang, reports our correspondent.
According to Bhattacharya, people participated in yesterday’s Morcha rally because of “fear of muscle and money power”.
“The people in the hills want democracy above all now. They want immediate restoration of law and order. They want peace. They now want to resist the autocratic rule by the Morcha,” the minister said.
Minister rejects Gurung’s new formula for Hills – but naturally, never was ready to concede anything, till they well, lose everything ?!!
KOLKATA/SILIGURI, 31 May: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJMM) coerced (*?!!) people to participate in yesterday’s rally and dismissed Mr Bimal Gurung’s proposed Gorkha Adivasi Parishad as an attempt to hoodwink them, said the state urban development minister, Mr Asok Bhattacharya.
Mr Bhattacharya met the chief minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, and informed him about the situation at the Hills after meeting a host of leaders in the Hills including the widow of the slain Gorkha League leader, Madan Tamang. The minister had visited Darjeeling last week to pay his respects to Tamang.
The urban development minister told the chief minister that people in the Hills wanted establishment of the rule of law against atrocities meted out to them by Gorkhaland police. They also wanted more central paramilitary forces in the area.
The chief minister in turn asked him to ensure that CPI-M activists and leaders in the Hill worked together with other parties to restore democracy in the area.
Mr Bhattachaya also told the chief minister that people in the Hills did not want any tripartite meetings at this point. (so Bengal’s delay tactics worked ?!!)
“Many people have told me that GJMM has lost its support among the Gorkhas. They had attended the candle march to pay their respects to Madan Tamang willingly, whereas yesterday they had been forced to attend the GJMM meeting,” Mr Bhattacharya said.
All in a name
The Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha’s decision to try and shore up further support for its separate statehood claim embroiling the Adivasis indicates the organisation is trying to cosset its stumbling block the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad. Or why else, the GJMM, which so long stood firm change tack to import a partner to its demand?
The ABAVP is understood to have turned down the idea floated by GJMM chief Mr Bimal Gurung in Darjeeling yesterday. The question Mr Gurung and his political friends face now is, what next?
Would they continue with the Adivasi angle included in their demand or alter course again?
MEANWHILE FROM THE PLAINS OF DARJEELING
Border guards and villagers clash – 20 people, including a jawan, in hospital
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Balurghat, May 31: Nineteen people, nine of them women, were injured and were admitted to the district hospital here this afternoon after they were beaten up by BSF jawans, who also ransacked their houses in a village in Kumarganj.
Among the injured was a pregnant woman. A jawan, who had been hit allegedly by villagers with an agriculture tool, is also undergoing treatment at the same hospital.
Angry villagers of Basanti, led by the Trinamul Congress, blocked the Balurghat-Malda road for an hour from 5.30pm, demanding action against the BSF personnel.
Lutfar Sarkar, 42, a farmer, was among those admitted to the hospital. “I was ploughing in my field on the other side of the border fence. It was time for us to return home for lunch, but I was a few minutes late. I was pulling the heavy plough along and asked the BSF to allow me to pass through the border gate. The jawans refused to hear my pleas and started beating me up,” he said.
Another villager, Monuar Ali, said Lutfar had returned to Basanti, about 40km from here, and narrated the incident to the residents. “We got very angry at the BSF for being so unreasonable and a group of us went to see the jawans at the gate and demanded an explanation. An argument started and a scuffle broke out. A jawan suffered a cut from the tools the villagers were carrying,” said Monuar.
Later, the jawans came down to Basanti and entered huts. “As the men panicked and began fleeing, the jawans picked up the women and hit them with rifle butts. Some women were even kicked. We sent word to Kumarganj police station, but the law enforcers came after two hours,” Monuar alleged.
The police station is 8km from Basanti.
When the BSF bought the injured jawan, Suji P, to the district hospital, the villagers demanded that he should not be admitted. The hospital authorities, however, took him in.
Suji was admitted with a deep gash below his right elbow and needed 10 stitches, hospital sources said.
Balurghat MP Prasanta Majumdar, who went to the hospital to meet the injured, said: “The BSF has always been committing atrocities against innocent villagers and despite several complaints to the (Union) home ministry, no action has been taken against them,” said Majumdar.
A senior BSF officer said Latifur had been warned when he was seen talking to Bangladesh Rifles personnel on the border.
“Latifur was warned and when he came to the gate, he and some others attacked our men. Apart from Suji P, head constable Pradip Kumat and constable Krishna D were also injured and both were admitted to the nearby health centre at Borahar,” the officer said.
He, however, did not comment when asked about the attack on the villagers.
BRIEFS FROM THE TELEGRAPH
Father hacked to death
Jaigaon, May 31: A worker of a tea garden, who allegedly hacked to death her father last evening, surrendered before Nagrakata police today.
Jyoti Munda of Ghatia Tea Estate near Nagrakata, struck her father Karam, 65, with an axe after he assaulted her in a drunken state last evening. Bhim Pradhan, a neighbour, said Karam used to beat up Jyoti regularly and yesterday he had heard a heated exchange between them.
Siliguri: North Bengal Science Centre, in association with Darjeeling district committee of the Paschimbanga Vigyan Mancha, will organise a science drama competition at the centre on Wednesday. Students of different schools across Siliguri subdivision will participate in the event.
Siliguri: West Bengal State Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Bank Limited will inaugurate a sub-branch of the Darjeeling unit in Bagdogra on June 3. Pascal Minz, the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad sabhadhipati, will inaugurate the bank at Lower Bagdogra, 15km from here.
Islampur: Ali Hussain, a resident of Maikari, near here, was arrested by the BSF from the Maragati outpost on the India-Bangladesh border, on Monday. An improvised firearm and a round of live cartridges were recovered from him. Later, Hussain was handed over to police.
Guwahati: The Northeast Frontier Railway on Monday announced that an additional three-tier AC coach will be attached to 2424A Rajdhani Express between Guwahati and Dibrugarh from June 1 to 30 to clear the rush of passengers. The additional coach will be added to Rajdhani Express leaving Guwahati every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and to the trains leaving Dibrugarh every Wednesday, Friday and Monday