GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Hill talks date set, strike cloud thins – so the Territory Issue ‘mandate’ now to be brought to the table ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Darjeeling, July 17: The Centre has convened tripartite talks with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the Bengal government on July 24, a day before the hill party was to start a series of general strikes including a 40-day shutdown.
Sources in the Morcha, buoyed by the announcement after being on the back foot since the May 21 murder of Madan Tamang, hinted that the strikes would be called off.
The fate of the tripartite meeting — the second round of political talks and the sixth overall — had been hanging in the balance since the murder of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League leader Tamang, allegedly by Morcha supporters.
The embattled Morcha had threatened a hills shutdown if the talks dates were not finalised before July 24.
Morcha president Bimal Gurung yesterday received a fax from N.S. Kalsi, joint secretary in the Union home ministry, saying the talks on the “Gorkhaland issue” would be held in New Delhi on July 24 under the chairmanship of junior home minister Ajay Maken.
The last round of political-level talks had been held in New Delhi on March 18 and was attended by Union minister of state for health Dinesh Trivedi and Bengal ministers Asok Bhattacharya and Surjya Kanta Mishra. (with no Territory Issue mandate ?!! )
Although the next round of political-level talks was to be held in mid-May, it landed in jeopardy following Tamang’s murder. The Centre’s decision to hold the talks has therefore come as a boost for the Morcha.
Any breakthrough on the Gorkhaland issue is, however, unlikely with Gurung having already announced that his party would no longer be discussing an interim set-up for the hills.
“The chapter on the interim set-up is closed. We will only talk about a separate state,” Gurung had told a rally in Darjeeling on May 30.
The previous round of political-level talks had been centred on the interim set-up, a proposal about which had earlier been submitted by the Morcha to the Centre. The Centre and the Bengal government have made it clear they are only prepared to discuss the interim set-up at this juncture.
Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri said: “In the run-up to the meeting, we will organise a series of rallies and public meetings from July 21 to 24 across the area that we want within Gorkhaland. Party chief Bimal Gurung will also address a public meeting in Kurseong on July 20 followed by another meeting in Darjeeling on July 22.”
Asked if the party would go ahead with the general strikes, Giri said: “Our party president will be making an announcement.”
But Morcha sources indicated the strikes would be withdrawn to create a “congenial atmosphere” for the talks.
In Calcutta, state home secretary Samar Ghosh confirmed the meeting. “The next round of political-level talks will be held on July 24,” he said.
The Opposition parties in the hills, which had been demanding that other parties too be invited to the talks, hit out at the Bengal government.
“The state government was maintaining it would not sit for talks with people accused in Tamang’s murder,” said Shekar Chhetri, leader of the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM), the hills’ second-largest party.
“We do not think that this CPM government will give us justice. Now we will approach the Trinamul Congress,” CPRM spokesperson Taramoni Rai said.
“From the manner in which the state government is dealing with the Morcha, we are sure that there is an understanding between them.”
The home ministry fax said the talks would be held “at 3pm at the Conference Hall (Room No. 119, North Block, New Delhi) of the ministry of home affairs”.
Tamang wife, other leaders threaten stir – justice delayed is justice denied, or bigger issues at hand after statehood, like state elections morally won ?!!
From Indian Express
By Express news service
Kolkata, Sun, Jul 18 2010, 04:04 hrs: Bharati Tamang, wife of the slain All Bengal Gorkha League (*?!!) (ABGL) president Madan Tamang, and other party leaders have threatened to begin a fast unto death if the accused named in the FIR murder are not arrested immediately.
The ABGL has also called an emergency meeting of the party on Sunday to condemn the resumption of the tripartite talks over the Gorkhaland issue, allegedly ignoring the demands of the hill people.
“How can the Centre talk to a group of criminals who are named in the FIR and whose complicity in the killing of Madan Tamang has been established through telephone intercepts?” asked Dawa Sherpa, working president of the ABGL.
“What mandate does the GJM has to represent the hills in the tripartite talks now?” asked R B Rai, a leader of the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists.
In a letter to the West Bengal Chief Minister, Bharati Tamang reminded him that he had given a categorical assurance to her when she met him at the Writers’ Buildings on June 22 that the killers of Madan Tamang would be arrested. “But in the past 25 days no arrest has been made,” she lamented.
No coercion for Gorkhaland: Aiyar – is upright amicability or post colonialism – the Bengal ideal ?!!
From The Times of India
KOLKATA, Jul 17, 2010, 06.45am IST, TNN: The Centre does not have any problem if Gorkhaland is eked out of Bengal as a separate state. However, the state government should agree to part with this portion of the state amicably.
The Centre will not encourage the Gorkhaland sympathisers if they try to meet the demand by using coercion.
Former Union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, now a Rajya Sabha MP, emphasised this at a panel discussion organised at La Martiniere for Boys on Friday. This was part of a series of year-long programmes that have been lined up as part of the school’s 175th-year celebrations.
The panel discussed the topic, Is Federal Democracy a Hindrance to India’s Unity?’ where, apart from Gorkhaland, Maoist offensives also came up. Among the other speakers were former MP and former state minister Mohammed Selim, political scientist Bonita Aleaz and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) activist and Darjeeling-based educationist Amar Rai. The discussion was moderated by Union minister of state and Trinamool MP Sougata Roy.
“I don’t see anything wrong with the Gorkhaland demand. In the past, states have been created to suit ethnic groups, communities etc. I remember how peeved Tamilians were when the demand for Andhra Pradesh started and when Andhra Pradesh finally went to the Telugus. But has anyone suffered because of it? However, GJM should convince the state government before trying to impress the Centre,” Aiyar said.
The fact that the Maoist problem was posing a serious threat to our unity, was brought up for discussion by every speaker. “Your state is one of the worst affected, but I have no choice but blame the respective state governments for this situation. If tribals find that their land is getting grabbed so that multinational corporates can start projects there, there will be resistance,” explained Aiyar.
Almost on these lines, Aleaz stated that misreading the instruments of the succession act of 1947 led to several problems like Maoism, terrorism in Kashmir and more recent issues like Telangana and Gorkhaland. She said financial liberalisation was suddenly imposed on the country, though it was “not prepared” for it.
Economic disparity among people is the primary reason behind the country’s disunity, felt Md Salim. Amar Rai stressed that the Constitution does not say that the boundaries of the state are sacrosanct.
July 24 set for Hills talks, state fumes – graciousness not in Bengal’s communist culture naturally ?!!
From The Times of India
KOLKATA, TNN, Jul 18, 2010, 03.15am IST: The sixth round of tripartite talks on Darjeeling will be held in New Delhi on July 24. The home ministry, much to the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government’s disappointment, has called the “political-level” talks a day ahead of GJM’s bandh call in the hills.
Home secretary Samar Ghosh said on Saturday: “The tripartite talks will be held on July 24. The chief minister will decide who will attend.”
But it’s not certain if the state government will send a representative — political or otherwise — to Delhi.
The government is reading this as the Centre’s “unnecessary
acknowledgment” of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung’s call for tripartite talks — even while Darjeeling has gone into a frenzy after Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League president Madan Tamang’s gruesome murder on May 21.
A fuming urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya, who is also Siliguri MLA, told TOI on Saturday: “It makes no sense. Home minister P Chidambaram should first tell GJM to withdraw their agitations before announcing tripartite talks.”