GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Deferred, not off, says Morcha – Eye on Adivasis – consensus against Bengal’s neglect and atrocities since India’s Independence ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY VIVEK CHHETRI
Darjeeling, June 24: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today announced its decision to “defer” the indefinite strike in the hills, a day after the party threatened to “strictly” enforce the shutdown when it resumed on Friday after a 48-hour relaxation.
Instead, the party will from June 28 put up two-hour blockades on uphill roads everyday from 11am. The road to Sikkim or NH31A has been spared.
Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said today’s decision ensured the party “channelised” all its energies to jointly launching the movement with the Adivasi Vikas Parishad for a separate state called Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh.
On Tuesday, the Parishad had said it was willing to discuss this issue with the hill party but needed some time.
However, Morcha sources said several party leaders had prevailed upon party chief Bimal Gurung to at least “postpone” the strike in the greater interest of the people of the hills who were “severely inconvenienced”.
The sources also said the party had called the indefinite bandh in the hills to deflect attention from ABGL leader Madan Tamang’s murder. Gurung’s party has been accused of masterminding the murder and had to face severe backlash in the hills.
“But now we feel that the strike has served its purpose so there is no longer any need to continue with it,” a Morcha leader said.
In the end, sources said, the “saner voices” in the party prevailed upon Gurung and he took a “tactical” decision to “defer” the strike. They said Gurung did not announce that the Morcha was calling off the strike since he wanted the shutdown threat to hang before the district administration.
“The central committee has decided to postpone the indefinite general strike scheduled to resume from tomorrow because of the positive response that we have received towards our proposal for the creation of Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh from the Adivasi leadership,” Giri said at a news conference today. “Instead we shall start a road blockade from June 28, but NH31A will be spared.”
P. Arjun, a member of the Study Forum — a Morcha think tank — said the party should not be distracted by any other movement and instead give its “full attention” to the Parishad response.
“The Parishad’s response is a very positive development and we are hopeful that the meeting will take place by July 10,” Arjun said.
Giri said the future course of the agitation would depend on the outcome of the meeting with the Parishad. However, the party has decided to keep up the spirit of its cadres by carrying out its daily demonstrations in front of police stations, weekly torch rallies, the two-hour blockade of roads and public meetings.
WHILE THE STATESMAN REPORTS
Setback to GJMM move on Dooars in ‘Gorkhaland’– Bengal ready to face the music with just 20 percent of the population, good for their brethren when they finally leave ?!!
KOLKATA / DARJEELING, 24 June: In a setback to the move by the Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha to appease the tribal population of the Dooars with their demand for a separate state for both Gorkhas and Adivasis, a delegation of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Bikash Parishad will meet the chief secretary, Mr Ardhendu Sen, opposing the demand for inclusion of the Dooars in ‘‘Gorkhaland’’.
The team will meet the chief secretary and other officials on 30 June. The GJMM chief, Mr Bimal Gurung, had proposed that instead of “Gorkhaland” the new state which will include the Dooars will be known as Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh to woo the tribals in Dooars and Terai region.
However, the Parishad has demanded inclusion of the area in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. They have also made several other demands relating to question papers in Hindi, land pattas etc.
Meanwhile, the GJMM suspended its indefinite shutdown today. SNS
Jaswant back minus Jinnah regret – Indian political maturity or conscience now to be tested ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
New Delhi, June 24: The BJP reinducted Jaswant Singh into its fold 10 months after he was expelled for contentious lines on Mohammad Ali Jinnah that the leader had written in his book, and by which he stood today too.
The party decided to expel him at a chintan baithak in Shimla in August 2009.
Singh, the MP from Darjeeling, had then said he had gone from being BJP’s Hanuman to its Ravan.
Today’s event at the BJP headquarters to welcome him back seemed well orchestrated. It was attended by most of the BJP’s top-rung leaders and Singh’s family.
At a news conference that followed, the leaders revealed only what they wanted to, leaving many questions unanswered.
Asked about his comments on Jinnah, Singh told a TV channel: “I cannot disown the book on Jinnah… historical facts about Jinnah can’t be wished away just because we disagree.”
He, however, said the Kandahar controversy, which pitted him against Advani on the issue of national security, was “a closed chapter”.
In his book, Jinnah — India, Partition, Independence, Singh has said Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel were more responsible for the Partition than Jinnah. He also said the Pakistan founder was a secular leader — a point of view unacceptable to the Sangh parivar.
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi banned the book in his state.
Today, BJP president Nitin Gadkari said the “past is the past” and hoped that Singh would work to make the party’s future bright. Gadkari said the party was in need of Singh’s expertise in finance, foreign affairs and defence.
Singh profusely thanked Advani for taking the initiative to bring him back to the BJP of which he is a founding member.
“It is good to be back in familiar surroundings.… I wish to unreservedly express my gratitude to Advaniji who took the initiative,” Singh said.
The 72-year-old leader was flanked by Advani, Gadkari, and Sushma Swaraj, leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, among others.
“I was hurt and humiliated by what I had encountered,” said Singh about his expulsion. Advani said: “I am very happy. With happiness there is also a sense of relief. I welcome him (back).” He recounted how he had met Singh several years back in Rajasthan.
The first signs that Singh would be back in the BJP were seen last month when Advani asked the MP to accompany him to Bhairon Singh Shekhawat’s funeral in the same aircraft.
Jaswant return fuels Gorkha state hope – peaceful and Gandhian still or still being pushed towards the Maoist Lalgarh way by Bengal ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Darjeeling, June 24: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today welcomed the return of Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh to the BJP, hoping the move will provide fresh impetus to its statehood demand at the national level.
“We are happy with the BJP’s decision and we welcome it. We would like to thank the senior leaders of the BJP, including president Nitin Gadkari, for the decision,” Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said.
Although the BJP had backed the Morcha even after Singh’s expulsion, the hill outfit believes that the Darjeeling MP’s return would help its cause. “It will definitely help our movement,” said Giri.
After Singh’s expulsion, BJP leaders like Sushma Swaraj and Rajiv Pratap Rudy had publicly supported the statehood demand of the Morcha. But Bimal Gurung’s party thinks that the leaders were not as actively involved, as it would have liked them to be.
“With Jaswant Singh back in the main Opposition party, his influence will be stronger. Even when he was expelled from the party, Singh’s stature in Delhi had helped us a lot,” said a Morcha leader.
Locally, too, the Morcha is expected to gain from Singh’s inclusion in the BJP.
This is largely because Dawa Sherpa, the state secretary of the BJP, is in the forefront of an anti-Morcha forum of seven parties in the hills — the Democratic Front — and has been appointed its convener.
Earlier this month, the CPRM, one of the front members, had demanded that the BJP explain its stand on the Morcha especially since Singh’s return was imminent. Sherpa had at that time said it was too early to say anything as Singh had not yet returned to the BJP. “The entire issue is speculative … Other parties can interpret our stand based on the BJP’s role in the Democratic Front and the statements made by us in public,” Sherpa had then said.
Today, after Singh’s return to the BJP, Sherpa refused comment.
Morcha finally calls off its staggered ‘indefinite’ bandh – Bengal suspended in suspension ?!!
From Express India
By Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay
Kolkata, Jun 25, 2010 at 0250 hrs IST: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on Thursday decided to call off its indefinite bandh in the Hills that had started on June 19 to protest against the lathicharge by CRPF personnel on Morcha’s women wing — Nari Mukti Morcha — members at Kurseong.
The decision was taken at the central committee meeting of the outfit held today in Darjeeling. “In view of our ensuing talks with the Adivasi Vikas Parishad which will start in a week’s time we have suspended the bandh. We have also suspended our programme of fast unto death. We will however go ahead with our agitational programme of two-hour road blockade and gherao of police stations,” said Roshan Giri, Morcha general secretary.
Though Morcha said the bandh was being called off in view of talks with the Adivasi Bikas Parishad on June 27 on the change of nomenclature of the proposed separate state from Gorkhaland to Gorkhaland Adivasi Pradesh, experts of the region say that it had more to do with the tremendous pressure the outfit is facing in the wake of allegations levelled against it in connection with the gruesome murder of All India Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang on May 25.
Adding to it, the crackdown on Gorkhaland police (GLP), the volunteer force of the Morcha, has also weakened the outfit. From the very onset, the bandh this time failed to evoke strong response. The outfit had to suspend the bandh for two days — June 23 and June 24 — saying it would be reimposed with “stronger force”.
With today’s announcement, the state government could not hide its glee. “The Morcha is fast losing ground in the Hills. They have realised that and which is why they have withdrawn the bandh. It’s time they are dealt firmly,” said Ashok Bhattacharya, minister for urban development, who represents Siliguri at the state Assembly.
OPINION REPLAY: Blessing in disguise for Gorkha outfit – entirely plausible now ?!!
From The Pioneer
By Shikha Mukerjee
Tuesday, June 22, 2010: The re-induction of Jaswant Singh in the BJP is being viewed as a boon by a resurgent Gorkha Janamukti Morcha which is banking on him to re-establish credibility eroded by the brutal killing of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League’s Madan Tamang. (Designed by the ruling party ?!!)
With the increase in the supply of oxygen to the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha it is acquiring a fresh lease of vitality to move forward, perhaps even aggressively, on its demand for a division of the West Bengal State and the creation of a Gorkha homeland that includes the Dooars and the Terai.
The revival has two parts, the last being the strongest boost, namely the return of Mr Jaswant Singh to the Bharatiya Janata Party fold and the first being the disinclination or disability of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in occupying the political vacuum that emerged after the audacious murder of Madan Tamang in the open in broad daylight and the revulsion in Darjeeling against the GJM and particularly its leadership.
Unsurprisingly therefore the reinstatement of Mr Singh has produced a change in mood — “boon for the Gorkhaland movement” — within the GJM. For it found to its cost that a Mr Singh de-linked from his party was not as effective, even though “free of party fetters” as a Mr Singh who has gone back to the BJP fold.
It was Mr Singh’s ringing declaration, despite his subsequent explanations, that he favoured the rights of the Gorkha to a separate homeland that made him enormously valuable to the GJM. That he won the Darjeeling parliamentary seat was but natural given that he received massive support from GJM.
The respectability that the GJM lost after the murder of Tamang evident in the slate of resignations of the leadership from the party and the response of the urban population is beginning to creep back.
The return of some of the leaders who quit, including spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the capacity of the GJM to call meetings in Darjeeling evident in the triumphant return of Mr Bimal Gurung to the town indicates that the demand for separation of the hill station from the State of West Bengal is as strident as it was before.
Because of the murder and the sudden dip in GJM’s standing the possibility of a quick and early solution to the separation demand is now unlikely. Eleven leaders including the wife of GJM supremo Gurung were named in the First Information Report filed by Tamang’s family after the murder. The connection of GJM to the heinous crime was apparent even if the evidence had not been established through a police and legal process.
Conspiracy or otherwise, the fact that Tamang was the sole voice of opposition to GJM’s watered down plans for separation from West Bengal and his elimination has removed the only political obstacle, has affected the status of GJM vis-à-vis the demand and its solution. (no concern of Bengal but to opposed at all costs ?!!)
For its survival, GJM will have to restart from the point of appearing to be immovable on the demand for separation. It was Tamang’s opposition to the diluted solution for an administratively autonomous Darjeeling as against the demand for a separate State and his insistence that the process by which this ought to be achieved be democratic that caused his clash with Mr Gurung and GJM.
To re-establish its credentials with the urban population in particular and the rural and tea garden population generally, GJM needs a third party agency to clear its name, that is, endorse that its leadership was in no way instrumental in provoking the murder of Tamang.
Given that Tamang’s wife, Ms Bharati Tamang who has taken over as the chief of the All India Gorkha League had accused the GJM leadership of being responsible for her husband’s murder has added to Mr Gurung’s problems of credibility.
The re-induction of Mr Singh, therefore, is a significant morale booster because it will ease the process of Mr Gurung’s political rehabilitation in Darjeeling. Whereas no other political leader from any of the mainstream parties has so openly espoused the cause of Darjeeling’s separation, how exactly Mr Singh proposes to do so now is a matter of speculation.
The issue of Darjeeling’s separation is emotionally explosive for three different sets of West Bengal’s population. The first set includes obviously the “Gorkhas” and other hill people, including the tribal Lepchas, Bhotis and those who claim tribal status such as Gurungs, Nehars, etc.
The second set includes the Adivasi populations in the Dooars and Terai, who have opposed the inclusion of their areas within the territory of a Darjeeling State. The third set includes the Bengali population both in the hills, Dooars, Terai and the plains, particularly Siliguri.
Darjeeling’s separation has consequences for not only West Bengal and Sikkim, it would affect the access of Bhutan as well as the politics of southern Bhutan. The geo-political significance of Darjeeling, particularly Kalimpong and Kurseong, are the other factors that have to be weighed in terms of the separation demand.
How Mr Singh plays his hand will affect the fortunes of the BJP in the rest of West Bengal that is no longer the CPI(M)’s impregnable fortress. The Trinamool Congress’s success in opening up the political space has created opportunities for smaller parties, including the BJP.
An enthusiastic Mr Singh could hamper the advantage that now exists, even though it would assure the BJP a permanent seat in the Lok Sabha from Darjeeling for as long as GJM and its separation demand determine the future of the hills.