GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Clauses clash in draft – agree to disagree always or politically yet to mature ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY VIVEK CHHETRI
Darjeeling, Aug. 8: The Democratic Front has alleged in its reply to a Bengal government query that the Centre’s proposal for an interim administrative set-up for the hills is not only contradictory but has also failed to address core issues of the region.
The response from the front, a six-party anti-Gorkha Janmukti Morcha alliance in the hills, is a clear indication that the state’s move to build a consensus among political parties on the set-up has fallen flat on its face.
The front representatives were
given copies of Delhi’s proposal for a stop gap arrangement during their meeting with Bengal ministers Asok Bhattacharya and Surjya Kanta Mishra at Writers’ Buildings on July 24. The state government had wanted the front’s observations on the proposed set-up.
The front has made it clear that even though it is “equally concerned about the future of this area and early resolve of the current crisis, any interim arrangement at this juncture is neither feasible nor desirable”. The proposal, which the front believes is contradictory, concerns a clause in the Centre’s proposal.
The clause says that even though the interim authority will be in place till December 31, 2011, it has talked about a five-year term for the elected members of the Gorkhaland Autonomous Authority (GAA). “Paragraph 2 specifies that GAA would be an interim authority valid up to December 31, 2011, only, but at the same time Paragraph 6 provides that the term of elected members of the GAA will be for five years. These two clauses are contradictory to each other,” the front’s observation reads.
The front has also said the issue of the casual workers of the DGHC has not been addressed in the draft. The welfare of the cinchona and tea garden workers has not been addressed either. “Since we were told to reply to the Centre’s proposal we have just made these observations,” said Dawa Sherpa, the convener of the front.
In fact, the Morcha rivals in the hills are determined to start a campaign to oppose the set-up. The CPRM, the party known to have the largest base in the hills after the Morcha, today held a public meeting at Sonada to apprise the people of the set-up.
The Morcha, which is expected to send its “observation” on the Centre’s proposal by tomorrow, has, however, decided to keep its card close to the chest. “We would not want to give the state government any undue advantage by revealing our report now. We will reveal the content to the people when we believe that such revelation will not impact the state’s strategy,” said a Morcha leader.
Sherpa today admitted that the front had written to the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad for a meeting “sometime back”. Sources maintain that with the Centre and state developing cold feet on holding a meeting with the Parishad over its demand for Sixth Schedule status for the Dooars, the tribal outfit is likely to hold parleys with both the Morcha and the ABGL to work out a strategy for a joint agitation either way.
A transport union affiliated to the Morcha has called a general strike in Kurseong subdivision and a chakka jam in the rest of the hills on August 10 to coincide with the ABGL’s scheduled public meeting at Kurseong that was announced earlier during the day.
Subash Pradhan, secretary, Gorkha Janmukti Chalak Mahasangh, said: “We have decided to call a general strike and a chakka jam on August 10. This is a prescheduled programme of our union and has got nothing to do with the ABGL’s meeting. We demand the repair of NH55 that is affecting life in the hills and we appeal to all parties to support it.”
Strike call to protest talks – Hill front claims contradictory notes in Delhi’s proposed interim set-up – while Bengal also uses its communal fronts too to try and derail the power in the hills ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Aug. 8: The Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee has called a strike across Bengal on August 17 to protest the Centre’s decision to a hold tripartite meeting with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on the proposed interim set-up for the Darjeeling hills on the same day.
“When the DGHC still exists, we don’t think that there is a need for a similar interim administrative arrangement for the hills. We consider that the demand for such an interim set-up is nothing but a ploy by the Morcha to divide the state again (*?!!). We strongly oppose any such move and believe that there is no need for the Centre and the state government to invite the Morcha leaders to Delhi for a dialogue on the matter. A Bangla bandh will be observed on August 17 to protest the talks,” said Mukund Majumdar, the president of the Bhasha committee.
The Amra Bangali, another anti-Morcha outfit in the plains, is also toying with the idea of calling a strike on August 17. “Inviting Morcha leaders to the tripartite talks is a step to encourage them for their separate statehood demand. We will always protest any such initiative from the government. A decision on the strike will be taken after holding the executive committee meeting here in the next couple of days,” said Khushiranjan Mondal, the organising secretary of the Amra Bangali
The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad has criticised the central and state governments for not inviting them to the dialogue.
Tezkumar Toppo, the state general secretary of the Parishad, said: “The government is trying to make a one-sided move by inviting only Morcha leaders to the parleys. The Morcha has been constantly demanding the inclusion of the Dooars and the Terai in the proposed interim set-up. But we will oppose such move at any cost.”
The newly formed Progressive People’s Party also warned the government against discussing the inclusion of the Dooars in the interim set-up.
GJMM, AIGL differ on interim set-up
From The Statesman
DARJEELING, 8 AUG 2010 (SNS): As the GJMM braces for the seventh round of tripartite meeting scheduled for 17 August, the memorandum submitted by the AIGL to the Bengal government has given way to substantive and pointed questions.
With AIGL showing dissatisfaction over para 2 (Interim Authority would be valid till 31 December, 2011) of the proposed draft which contradicts para 6 (Term of GAA will be five years), Dr Harka Bahadur Chhetri the media secretary of GJMM reasoned by saying that the Opposition has failed to understand the spirit of the Interim Setup, how can a budget be planned for a year only, it is always planned on a five-year basis and the separate state demand is in no way incumbent to the budget, after the first year budget is exhausted we will go for a separate state demand.
Clearing the stand on the DGHC workers Dr Harka Bahadur Chhetri said: “They have just come to know of their existence, in other words they had never worried about the DGHC workers before but we have been fighting for them, in fact it is a pre-condition to the Interim Agreement.”
Further in a memorandum which is being handed over to the home minister Mr P Chidambaram by the GJMM in a day or so it is clearly mentioned that the GJMM will not comply to para 8 of the proposal which states that the area of the GAA would be the area of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.
As disappointing allegation was cited by general secretary of CPRM Mr RB Rai this week regarding GJMM misappropriation in recruitment of para-teachers Dr Harka Bahadur Chhetri said: “The recruitment was done by the education monitoring cell which is a fairly-neutral body.”
Asked about the conditions raised by the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad in a meeting held at Chalsa on Saturday in which they have said that whether the GJMM accepts Gorkhaland or Interim Authority the ultimate authority to handle the affairs of the Doaars-Terai region should be given to them Dr Harka Bahadur Chhetri said “we have been waiting for a response from the ABAVP for a long time but instead of sending a formal letter to us they went to the media.” Further he added that the ABAVP asking for authority in their region is “stressing the obvious”which is but natural in a democracy.
Meanwhile, protesting against the alleged police atrocities and harassment to the drivers and demanding immediate restoration of NH 55 at 14 Mile near Ghayabari in Kurseong, the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha Chalak Mahasangh called a 12-hour Kurseong sub-division bandh on 10 August as well as they will also stage road blockades in the rest of Darjeeling Hills and other proposed Gorkhaland area on the same date. During the bandh, even they will not allow two wheelers to ply during the bandh.
Interestingly the AIGL was to stage a public meeting on the 10 August in Kurseong after a long time of about nearly three years. As per the AIGL sources such bandh has been called to disturb our proposed 10 August meeting in Kurseong but as per the Chalak Mhasangh they are staging this bandh to pressurize the Government regarding their demands.
12-hour strike in Kurseong – valid reason or just a political ruse ?!!
From The Times of India
DARJEELING, Aug 9, 2010, 03.04am IST: The Kurseong unit of Gorkha Janmukti Chalak Mahasangh (GJCM) has called a 12-hour strike in the sub-division on August 10 to press the demand for immediate reopening of National Highway 55.
“NH-55 has remained closed for more then two months now and the authorities concerned have not done anything to reopen it. We are losing our livelihood as our vehicles are not able to ply on the highway,” said Subash Pradhan, secretary of GJCM’s Kurseong unit.
The association has urged its counterparts to observe a 12-hour chakka jam in Darjeeling and Kalimpong on August 10. NH-55 has been remained closed to traffic since June following landslides due to heavy rainfall.
WHILE FROM KALIMNEWS
GJMM stand on ABAVP – no initiative but only doubt, more UN than UN itself ?!!
KalimNews: GJMM is willing to accept the terms and conditions laid down by ABAVP. Dr HB Chhetri spokesperson of GJMM said that the conditions of ABAVP are very simple and GJMM has nothing against it. As Dooars have Adivasis in majority and their demand of including them as the rulers in the proposed Interim authority is very much acceptable to GJMM without any hesitation, but the state committee of ABAVP too should approve it said Dr Chhetri.
Meanwhile ABAVP has scented doubts on the prompt approval of its conditions and inclusion of them in the GJMM led agitation too. It has said that to accept the proposal verbally and to let it in practice is quite different thing, we want deed not promises, John Barla of ABAVP said.
In a meeting of Bhatinagar Block Committee of GJMM party workers confessed that they are doubting on the promises of the central committee members on the inclusion of Gorkha dominated areas of Siliguri in the proposed GAA.
Several members of the committe said that though we have been reading about these rumours from the media still the central committee members are not saying a word on it. They must clarify it , they said while the Office bearers tried to pacify them and requested them to rely on Bimal Gurung , the GJMM President.
CPRM – ever asked the ruling CPM the same questions ?!!
CPRM in its meeting in Sonada has warned both the state government and the GJMM that if any one of them tries to fool the people them CPRM will answer it with a drama.
So far GJMM has not been transparent and had not disclosed the bases and the main points of the talks, alleged Arun Ghatani, Secretary of youth wing of CPRM.
Drivers call Kurseong bandh – yes, unfortunate timing for ABGL ?!!
KalimNews : Alleging harrassments by the local administration on different pretexts the Chalak Mahasangh, GJM affiliated frontal wing of hill drivers, has announced to shut down the Kurseong sub-division on 10th August for 12 hours.
It may be recalled that the hill drivers are strictly following the party diktat not to pay any tax to the West Bengal Govt. controlled bodies as a part of non-co-operation movement launched since last three years. It was announced by Subash Pradhan, an executive member of the Sangh.
According to Pradhan, the local police authorities have also started harrassing the drivers for their vehicular parking. He demanded that the administration should provide parking facility to the local vehicles first.
The observers view the proposed bundh as a counter to the ABGL which had earlier decided to hold public meeting in Kurseong the same day mainly to make the general people aware of the ongoing political development in the Darjeeling hills on the wake of murder of its President Madan Tamang.