GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Protests off till next talks – Morcha says ball in state’s court – separation from Bengal a just constitutional cause, but of’course ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, July 25: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today announced that it would not agitate or demonstrate in the hills till the next round of talks scheduled for August 17.
Morcha spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri told reporters at the Bagdogra airport that the ball was now in the “state government’s court” as the onus lay on Writers’ Buildings to clear its stand on the two demands of the hill party, the interim set-up and the new state.
“In previous meetings whoever represented the state government in Delhi behaved like tourists: they attended the talks and came back (and did nothing). Every time, they only offered assurances on whatever was discussed. Apart from that, the state government has nothing to show for as its contribution towards resolving the issue,” said Chhetri, who was on the talks delegation to New Delhi that returned here this afternoon.
He said after yesterday’s talks the Bengal government would have to come clean on its stand on the Morcha demand. “After the sixth round of dialogue, the central government clearly told the state to finalise its stand on whatever demands that have been raised by us and get back to Delhi by the first week of next month. After going through the state’s observations, the Centre will hold the next level of talks on August 17,” Chhetri said. “Till then, we will not organise any movement in the hills.”
The Centre had proposed that an interim set-up called the Gorkhaland Autonomous Authority, which would report to the Bengal governor, should replace the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council. Delhi had also said the new authority would have “legislative powers” along with the executive authority that the DGHC now enjoys. While none of the proposals were new, yesterday’s development was that both the Morcha and the state government said they would submit their final observations within the deadlines so that the interim authority could be formed soon.
Chhetri and the seven Morcha members who had taken part in the Delhi meeting appeared positive about the outcome. They insisted that the discussions were solely based on their demands. Chhetri iterated that the separate state, whatever be its name, would be the ultimate goal of the Morcha.
“We want to separate from the Bengal government and if the interim set-up is formed, we will consider it only till December 31, 2011, and we are not going to compromise with the proposed area which we have already demarcated,” he said.
When reminded that the Centre had already made it clear that there would be no further division of the state, the Morcha leadership said it was not true.
“Who told you? The majority of the tribal population in the plains is with us. We are not worried about what a section of the Adivasi leadership feels,” said Chhetri, referring to the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad that has been demanding autonomy under the Sixth Schedule for the tribal-dominated areas in the plains of Darjeeling district.
The hill outfit had re-christened Gorkhaland, the state that it wants, as Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh to woo the Adivasis or the tribals.
Morcha to lie low, prods state govt – ‘just action’ or just ‘inaction’ as usual ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT – BENGAL PAGE RE-RUN
Siliguri, July 25: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today announced that it would not agitate or demonstrate in the hills till the next round of talks on August 17 and prodded the state government to “clear its stand” on the hill outfit’s statehood demand.
The Morcha’s announcement came a day after the hill party took part in the political-level tripartite talks in Delhi.
Morcha spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri told reporters at Bagdogra airport that the “ball is in the state government’s court” as the onus now lay on Writers’ Buildings to “clear its stand” on the demands — interim set-up and statehood — of the hill party.
“At previous meetings, whoever represented the state government in Delhi used to behave like tourists; they attended the talks and came back (and did nothing). Every time, they only offered assurances on whatever was discussed”.
“The state government has done nothing else to resolve the issue (hill deadlock),” Chhetri, who was part of the Morcha delegation, said.
“The Centre has asked us and the state government to send within two weeks our final observations on the draft proposals drawn up by the Centre on setting up an interim hill authority,” Chhetri said.
“Till August 17, we will not organise any movements in the hills,” he added.
Axed tribals in new party – PPP akin to RSS & VHP but to fight all seats in Dooars ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU
July 25: The formation of the Progressive People’s Party was announced today, the same day two of its office bearers were suspended by the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad.
Raju Bara, the Parishad’s organising secretary in the Dooars, and Kirankumar Kalindi, a senior leader of the organisation, were suspended indefinitely by the Parishad’s state leadership for “indiscipline”.
Bara had written to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha last month offering to hold talks with the hill party much to the anger of the Parishad state leadership that wants Sixth Schedule status for the Terai and the Dooars.
Explaining that the creation of the PPP, a new political party in the Dooars, did not mean that the Parishad had split, Bara said: “The Parishad is to the PPP what the RSS and the VHP are to the BJP.” While Bara is one of the four general secretaries of the PPP state committee, Kalindi is it’s central committee president.
“The Parishad is an NGO that works for the betterment of the Adivasis, the PPP is a political party. We will fight in all seats in the Dooars and the Terai in the 2011 Assembly elections,” he said at a meeting in Jalpaiguri’s Malbazar.
The PPP’s central committee general secretary, Joy Tirkey, said the central committee was formed on June 5 when 21 members were selected. “It will comprise 31 members. We have sent a letter to the Election Commission on July 14 seeking recognition,” he said, adding the PPP would maintain its relationship with the Morcha.
Birsa Tirkey, the state president of the Parishad, labelled the development an attempt to pull the wool over people’s eyes. “They brought people to the meeting in vehicles with Parishad flags on them. The people will not accept this,” Tirkey said over the phone from Calcutta.
Suspended from tribal outfit, duo form party – Bengal concerned at slipping political consensus ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU – BENGAL PAGE ALSO
July 25: Around 20 leaders of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad today announced the launch of a party on a day the tribal outfit suspended two of them.
Raju Bara, the Parishad’s organising secretary in the Dooars, and Kirankumar Kalindi, a senior leader, were suspended indefinitely by the outfit’s state leadership for “indiscipline”. Raju had incurred the wrath of the Parishad by writing to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha last month and offering talks. The Parishad wants Sixth Schedule status for the Terai and the Dooars.
Raju, however, was careful not to openly confront the tribal outfit and said the formation of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) did not mean that the Parishad had split.
“The Parishad is to the PPP what the RSS and the VHP are to the BJP.”
Joy Tirkey, a PPP general secretary, said: “The Parishad is an NGO that works for the betterment of the Adivasis while the PPP is a political party. We will contest all the seats in the Dooars and the Terai in the 2011 Assembly elections,” Raju said.
Raju has been nominated as one of the PPP’s four general secretaries while Kalindi has become the central committee president.
The party’s central committee was formed on June 5, Tirkey said. The party sent a letter to the Election Commission on July 14, seeking recognition.
Camp death, cops benched – winning ‘hearts and minds’ with no police cover-up strategies ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Raiganj, July 25: Four policemen were today suspended for allegedly torturing to death a high school employee in a cop camp last night.
To protest the death, the Congress has called a 12-hour bandh in Itahar block tomorrow.
Sambhu Das, a resident of Bariol, said he was sitting on the bank of the Kulik yesterday with Tariful Haque when the police team arrived. It was around 11pm and some youths were playing cards nearby. “The policemen ran towards us pointing guns. We got scared and started running along the embankment. The police also gave us a chase. Tariful was a heart patient and could not run for long. The police caught hold of him and started beating him up,” Das said.
Tariful, a non-teaching employee of Bariolghat High School, was then dragged to the Kotar police camp.
After Das informed them about Tariful’s arrest, Tariful’s brother Asraful and his neighbours rushed to the camp, 2km away. “When we told the police that Tariful, a heart patient, should be shifted to the hospital immediately, two policemen took him to the Raiganj District Hospital,” said Asraful. “The doctor at the emergency ward told us that he was brought dead.”
Partha Sarathi Das, the doctor at the emergency ward, said: “We found a Sorbitrate (a medicine taken by heart patients) under his tongue.”
Additional district superintendent of police Annapa E. said Tariful had fallen sick after he had been arrested from a gambling den last night. He died on way to the hospital. “The deceased’s family has lodged a complaint alleging police torture. We have started an inquiry.” The body has been sent for post-mortem.
Additional sub-inspector Ganesh Sarkar, also the camp in-charge, and constables Meer Ali, Apurba Roy and Kousik Barman have been suspended and shifted to the police barracks. They will receive half of their salaries during the suspension, Annapa said.
District Congress president Mohit Sengupta said Tariful was an active supporter of his party. He was never involved in gambling.
Injured in firing – theft not tolerated, a strong encounter message ?!!
A resident of Rimbick-Lodhama injured in a police firing last night was admitted to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital today.
Asok Rai, 34, and his two friends were trying to steal cable wires in Darjeeling town, said a police officer. “When the patrolling team tried to arrest the trio, they attacked the policemen who had to fire in self defence.” District police chief D.P. Singh said Rai was shifted to the Siliguri hospital from the Darjeeling Sadar Hospital.
Electrocuted – no proper maintenance ?!!
From The Statesman Briefs
DARJEELING, 26 JULY (SNS): Three people were killed after a high-tension wire snapped and fell on them at Moni Tea Estate in Bagdogra, police said.
The Adivasi Vikas Parishad, however, said the toll was four. According to sources, the wire snapped after a lorry hit an electric pole. SNS