GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: ‘Stunt’ tag on Asok sop – an effort by Bengal to fool all the people, all the time ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Kalimpong, July 4: Two of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s affiliates have said Asok Bhattacharya’s announcement about appointing 1,000 teachers in hills schools in the next two months is a “political stunt” aimed at hoodwinking people.
Reacting to the urban development minister’s job promise in Darjeeling on Friday, the Morcha’s education monitoring cell and the Janmukti Secondary Teachers’ Organisation said they would not be fooled by such statements from someone who has nothing to do with education in the state — particularly at a time when a dialogue on the subject was being held with education minister Partha De.
“We will all be too happy if Bhattacharya can actually deliver on his pronouncements, but the reality is different. There is a process to be followed in all government recruitment, which will be impossible to achieve in the time-frame set by him, especially given the fact that the entire education system is in shambles in the hills. The minister is clearly trying to politicise education with stunts like this,” alleged Tshering Tamang, the chief coordinator of the EMC.
Spokesperson for the JSTO Bhisan Roka came down heavily on Bhattacharya for speaking out of turn on an issue that only the department’s minister (De) or the chief minister has the authority to announce.
“We have held three rounds of talks with education department officials, including the minister in charge on one occasion, to resolve many ills afflicting education in the hills. In all the meetings, we had made it clear that regularisation of jobs of ad hoc teachers and non-teaching staff should be addressed first before issues like recruitment through the School Service Commission,” he said.
Roka said if any decision concerning education in the hills was taken without taking the JSTO into confidence, they would oppose it tooth and nail.
The JSTO will try to meet the education minister within the next week and seek clarifications from him on Bhattacharya’s promises. “During our previous meetings with De and his officials, decisions like the formation of a temporary recruitment board were taken but have not been implemented as yet. Why?” asked Roka.
GJM calls series of bandhs in Darjeeling hills – situation under Bengal getting steadily worse or better in trying to unseat the hill consensus ?!!
FROM PRESS TRUST OF INDIA STAFF WRITER
Darjeeling, July 4, 20:57 HRS IST (PTI): The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) today announced a series of bandhs in Darjeeling hills beginning towards this month end demanding announcement of date for a tripartite meeting on formation of Gorkhaland.
“The GJM has called a 24-hour bandh on July 25, 48-hour from July 28 and thereafter a 44-day-long shutdown to press for announcement of a date for a tripartite meeting,” its General Secretary, Roshan Giri told reporters here.
The bandhs were also aimed at strengthening the organisation, he said.
MEANWHILE: THE HIMALAYAN BEACON ADDS
By Barun Roy
In a meeting organised yesterday at Chung Thung, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) Party President Bimal Gurung announced the party’s agitation programme for the months of July, August, September. The agitation programme are as follows:
- 6th July hence, all Government offices to remain close. All off-shops selling Government licensed liqour to also remain closed indefinitely.
- 25th July 24 hours strike in Darjeeling Hills
- 28th July – 30th July 72 hours strike in Darjeeling Hills
- 2nd August – 10th September 40 (44) days strike in Darjeeling Hills
The party President has said that the strikes will be strictly observed and no helplines will be maintained. No passage will be offered for emergency and all the Cinchona Plantations and Tea Gardens will also be closed.
- The party has removed the National Highway linking Siliguri with Sikkim from the purview of the strikes. However, the Party President has said that the party would not be liable for any disruptions in vehicular activity by people in the region.
- The party has also declared that during the 40 (44) days strike the Food and Supply department will be opened every Monday and Tuesday. Banks and Post Offices will be allowed to remain open on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.
- District Magistrate’s office to remain open during the 40 (44 ?!!) days strike
- Conservancy Department of the Municipalities to remain open during the 40 (44) days strike
- Relief and Block Development Office to remain open during the 40 (44) days strike.
Threat of 40-day (or 44-day) hill strike – besting Ghising’s maxim only due to Bengal’s political delays, no new ‘skinning the cat’ ideas – aah, not revealed – yet ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY VIVEK CHHETRI
Darjeeling, July 4: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today threatened a 40-day strike in the hills from July-end and reimposed its ban on licensed liquor in a bid to step up its statehood agitation.
Morcha chief Bimal Gurung said “the Centre, influenced by the Bengal government”, was delaying the next round of tripartite talks on the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state.
Announcing its strike schedule today, the hill outfit said it would call a 24-hour shutdown on July 25, followed by a 72-hour strike from July 28. “After the July 28 strike, there will be a 72-hour relaxation and then a 40-day general strike,” Gurung said.
“We demand that the dates (for the talks) be immediately announced, failing which we will call general strikes in the hills,” the Morcha chief told party workers at Chungtung, 35km from Darjeeling.
The last round of political- level tripartite talks on Gorkhaland, now re-christened Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh, was held on March 18 in New Delhi.
In 1988, GNLF chief Subhas Ghisingh had called a 40-day strike in the hills.
Morcha strikes in the past have stretched to a maximum of five days. This time also, there is the possibility of the hill outfit curtailing the 40-day strike if the statehood talks are held.
Gurung said all government offices, except those of the district magistrate and the superintendent of police, would remain closed during a “non-cooperation movement that we will start from Tuesday”.
“Banks and post offices will however, remain open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The offices of the food and supplies department will be allowed to function on Mondays and Tuesdays,” Gurung added. “The relaxation will also apply to relief department offices and election offices,” Gurung said.
On the ban on licensed liquor shops, Gurung said the outfit would “close down all liquor off-shops from Tuesday so that no revenue goes to the Bengal government”. Last year too, the Morcha had closed down such offshops for two months.
Tribal leash on hill talks – Regional unit told not to talk to Morcha till July 11 – why not for ‘always, as always’ – the classic CPM delay and PEACE CANDY tactics ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, July 4: The state leadership of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad has asked its Dooars and Terai regional unit to stay away from the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha till July 11 when the tribal outfit is expected to announce the outcome of its meeting with the state government.
The Parishad’s regional unit had been toying with the idea of discussing with the Morcha Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh, the state that the hill party had re-christened from Gorkhaland, and the socio-economic development of the Dooars and the Terai, much to the chagrin of the state leaders.
“We have planned to hold a meeting in the Dooars on July 11 when we will inform our members about the outcome of the meeting that we had with the chief secretary of Bengal at Writers’ Buildings on July 1. Till then, we have told our regional committee not to fix any date with the Morcha for holding talks,” said Tez Kumar Toppo, the Parishad state general secretary.
Describing the talks in Writers’ Buildings as “very cordial”, the Parishad leader said they were assured by the state officials that the results could be visible within this month. “We are hopeful that necessary steps will be taken by the government to fulfil our supporters’ aspiration in the region,” he said.
A 15-member delegation of the tribal outfit had handed a 19-point charter of demands to the state government during the July 1 meeting. Besides the inclusion of the Terai and the Dooars under the Sixth Schedule, construction of a second bridge on the Teesta at Sevoke, setting up a technical institute and a medical college and hospital in the Dooars, increase of daily wages of tea workers from Rs 67 to Rs 250 and giving them land rights were some of the demands that figured on the charter.
“If the state government takes necessary steps to fulfil our demands, our members will have no need to sit for dialogues with the Morcha. We will tell this to our supporters at next week’s meeting,” Toppo said.
The venue for the July 11 meet will be finalised shortly.
Contacted in Calcutta, Parishad state president Birsa Tirkey said: “We never endorse our (regional) members’ plan to go for a joint movement with the Morcha. It is now up to the regional committee to decide whether it will go for a dialogue with the Morcha or not.”
Office-bearers of the Parishad’s regional committee could not be contacted.