GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Anti-GJM parties yet to agree on interim set-up – thus in the minority, but rightly united on the issue of eventual separation from Bengal ?!!
From The Times of India
DARJEELING, Aug 9, 2010, 03.18am IST (TNN): The need to restore peace and democracy in the Hills may have brought various regional parties together under the banner of Democratic Front (DF). However, when it comes to the Centre’s proposed interim arrangement, these parties are yet to reach a consensus.
Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM) is not averse to the idea of an interim set-up, but wants the Union government to guarantee a separate state after the term of such an arrangement expires. “We don’t have any problems with the interim set-up if it helps bring some stability to the Hills. But the Union government must ensure and guarantee a separate state after December 31, 2011,” said R B Rai, CPRM general secretary.
Dawa Sherpa, working president of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL), said: “We will accept nothing less then a separate state. However, it also imperative that peace and democracy are restored in the region. The larger issues can be addressed after that.”
ABGL has sent a report to the government rejecting the interim set-up, saying it is “contradictory and fails to address core issues of the region”.
Gorkha Rashtriya Congress (GRC) president D K Bomjan, too, rejected the proposed interim arrangement. “Historically speaking, Darjeeling was never a part of Bengal. The only lasting solution for the Hills is for it to be merged with Sikkim,” said Bomjan.
CPRM for existing DGHC – so, naturally not for including Dooars and for losing Darjeeling’s Siliguri in “State-within-a-State” concept ?!!
From The Statesman
KOLKATA, 9 AUG 2010 (SNS): The leaders of Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM) ~ the largest anti-GJMM political outfit in Darjeeling, are more keen on carrying on with the existing Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) than to accept the “interim” administrative set up for the Hills that the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) is currently pushing for.
Interestingly, the stance could further the agenda of the state government, especially that of its urban development minister Mr Asok Bhattacharya, who is apparently desperate to see the GJMM cornered in Darjeeling.
“The ‘interim’ set up that the Centre and the Morcha are talking of is nothing but an attempt to scuttle the Gorkhaland demand. We think, it would be better for the Hills to allow the DGHC to continue than to settle for any set up in lieu of a separate state,” the CPRM general secretary and former MP, Mr RB Rai told The Statesman over phone from Darjeeling today.
He threatened that the CPRM would “take to the streets” if the Centre and the GJMM try to “impose” the interim set up on the Hills ignoring public sentiments, which is in favour of nothing, but Gorkhaland. Mr Rai said that the GJMM was going all out for the “interim” set up only to buy a fresh lease of life after losing mass support in the Hills due to its “autocratic” activities.
“The term “interim” is only a tool to mislead the common people in the Hills, whereas in reality, the proposed set up is going to be a permanent arrangement and thus would comprise on the Gorkhaland demand. This is evident from the fact that in its proposal, the Centre has provided for a five-year budget for the set up and the GJMM too has agreed,” he pointed out. Restoration of peace and democracy and the arrest of the assailants of Madan Tamang were the priorities for Darjeeling right now, he said.
While political observers find the CPRM stance to be in tune with the state government’s agenda, Mr Rai however, lambasted the urban development minister for failing to ensure peace and democracy in the Hills.
“Mr Asok Bhattacharya pretends to be an-anti GJMM figure, but in reality he is in nexus with them and always facilitates fresh impetus to the GJMM by his comments,” Mr Rai opined.
Strike ploy to scuttle ABGL meeting – but the next day would do as well ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Darjeeling, Aug. 9: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha-affiliated transport union has decided to refrain from organising a wheel jam here tomorrow, although its counterparts in Kurseong had given a call for such an agitation across the hills.
The decision underscores the fact that the strike called by the transporters in Kurseong was merely aimed at derailing a public meeting of the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League tomorrow.
The Gorkha Janmukti Chalak Mahasangh has not only called a general strike in Kurseong tomorrow but has also appealed to all the transport unions across the hills to organise a “chakka jam”.
The strike call was made mainly to demand the speedy restoration of NH55 that connects the hills with the plains. The highway was destroyed on a stretch of around 500 meters after landslides at Paglajhora in June.
The Darjeeling Truck Drivers Association has also threatened to launch an indefinite strike from August 16 on the highway issue as well, an association spokesman said.
The All Transport Joint Action Committee, an umbrella body of transporters in Darjeeling and also affiliated to the Morcha, however, said they could not go ahead with the agitation.
“There is very little time left for us to communicate to the people about the wheel jam. The agitation will greatly inconvenience the common men and hence, we have decided to only extend moral support to the demands of the Chalak Mahasangh. We will also pursue their demand by submitting a memorandum to the authorities concerned. If the administration fails to provide us with a satisfactory explanation by August 17, we will also start an agitation,” said Narbu Lama, president of the committee.
The Mahasangh had said the agitation had been announced to press for a speedy restoration of the damaged NH55. “It has been more than two months since the highway was damaged but neither the Centre nor the state has done anything for the repair. Prices have escalated in Kurseong and we will appeal to all political parties to support an issue that concerns the general public at large,” Subash Pradhan, general secretary of the Mahasangh, had said yesterday.
The transporters have other demands also.
They want an immediate end to the alleged harassment of hill drivers in the plains for lack of valid documents and a proper parking space in Kurseong town.
“Since government offices are closed in the hills because of the Morcha’s non-co-operation movement, police officers in the plains harass us for driving vehicles without proper documents. This has to be brought to an end,” said Pradhan.
Even though the Kurseong drivers said the decision to call the general strike had been taken “sometime back”, observers believe it was merely a ploy to derail the ABGL meeting, scheduled for tomorrow.
“We had called the strike well in advance and it has got nothing to do with the public meeting,” said Pradhan.
Dawa Sherpa, working president of the ABGL, however, said they had not yet cancelled the meeting.
However, sources said given the strike call, the ABGL was unlikely to hold the meeting in Kurseong tomorrow. In the past, too, the ABGL had been forced to cancel party programmes because of the Morcha.
Baton to disperse vehicle workers – while the Dooars remain shut in protest against similar problems ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Aug. 9: Around 500 transport workers blocking a road in Jalpaiguri to demand the repair of major roads in north Bengal were lathi-charged this afternoon.
The blockade and the police action hampered traffic on arterial roads and also at the Collectorate Avenue, leading to the offices of the district magistrate and the superintendent of police and several other departments.
The employees of private buses, trucks and commercial light vehicles have called an indefinite transport strike in Jalpaiguri district from tomorrow to protest the baton charge.
The workers owing allegiance to four unions formed a Joint Action Committee and organised a 24-hour transport strike today. Private buses, trucks and even smaller vehicles kept off roads.
“Our demands include immediate repair of roads like NH31D and other state highways which are in worse condition and relaxation in the imposition of section 304 of the IPC on drivers after road accidents,” said Ajoy Dasgupta, joint convener of the joint action committee.
Around 1pm today, about 500 transport workers took out a rally under the banner of the committee and went to the district magistrate’s office to submit a memorandum.
They were told by additional district magistrate Doma Sherpa that the district magistrate, Vandana Yadav, was not in office and she could not give any assurance on their demands.
The workers came out of the district collectorate agitated and headed for the PWD More, where they raised a blockade.
“Over several weeks, we have been raising these demands but till date, nothing has been done on the part of the administration. There is no other option but to put up road blockades and launch strikes to achieve the demands,” said a worker.
Tension grew as the protesters stopped some school buses and other vehicles and allegedly hurled stones at them. Soon, law enforcers from Kotwali police station reached the spot. V.K. Singh, the inspector-in-charge, asked the agitators to disperse. But they refused and the police resorted to lathi charge to remove them.
Senior police officers said the lathi-charge had been ordered as the situation was deteriorating fast at the PWD More. “From tomorrow, the police will keep a proper vigil on roads to avert any untoward incident,” said a police officer.
Although the agitators did not clarify whether they would stop vehicles coming from other districts or states from tomorrow, traffic between Siliguri and Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri districts and even the Northeast is bound to be hit.
Adhibasi replies to Morcha – difficult to concede and now to be sidelined as politically too arrogant ?!!
From Darjeeling Times
By DT Correspondent
Edited by Himal News for clarity
Malbaazaar, August 9, 2010, 09:44: In a reply to the proposed Gorkha-Adhibashi Pradesh (GAP) prepared by the GJM, John Barla, president of regional committee of Akhil Bharatiya Adhibashi Vikash Parishad (ABAVP) has set conditions on certain issues of the proposed GAP on Monday. ABAVP has also expressed disapproval of ‘Tribal’ status for all the Gorkha people.
ABAVP is in favour of Sixth Schedule and has been demanding Tarai-Dooars areas to be included in their proposed Sixth Schedule.
In a letter to GJM, ABAVP has stated that the proposed Interim Council for Darjeeling and Dooars should not be based on any ethnicity issue.
ABAVP has stressed on the special privileges to Adhibashi people, Judicial Courts for Adhibashis, quotas or govt. allocation for Adhibashi people in government jobs etc.
Creation of Separate State only true and permanent solution to Gorkha Identity Issue: BGP – getting the non-political consensus right ?!!
From BGP Media Cell
New Delhi, August 8, 2010: The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh is emphatic that the creation of a separate state for the Indian Gorkhas is the only true and permanent solution to the community’s identity problem. At a meeting of a high-level body in New Delhi on Sunday, the Parisangh said that it was committed to continuing the fight for a separate state for the Gorkhas.
The joint meeting of the BGP’s Policy Cell and its taskforce on Gorkhaland in the capital recollected how the Parisangh had revived the call for a separate state for the Indian Gorkhas, having realized that local bodies envisaged under various local agreements were only temporary solutions to the vexed issue of misconceptions about the political identity of the Indian Gorkhas. In the absence of any other alternative to resolve this question, the only solution lay in carving out a new state comprising the Darjeeling district and Dooars regions from the current state of West Bengal, the Parisangh felt.
The meeting felt that with no prejudice to political developments in Darjeeling-Dooars, it has always been the dream of the Gorkhas to have a state of their own in India. “It wasn’t out of whim or without elaborate deliberations that the Parisangh adopted statehood for Gorkhas as one of the seven national issues of the community,” said Mrs Dil Kumari Bhandari, President of BGP, who chaired the meeting. “It is, therefore, very important that the Parisangh continues its struggle to achieve this aim.”
After much debate and discussions, the meeting passed a resolution committing the BGP to a firm stand on a new state to be carved out of West Bengal. The resolution said, “The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh has always stood for and believed that the national identity of Indian Gorkhas can only be ensured by the creation of a separate state under Article 3(a) of the Constitution. Therefore, the Parisangh resolves to continuously fight for a separate for Indian Gorkhas.”
The Parisangh has called upon all individuals, organizations and establishments to send faxes to the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister reiterating the demand for a separate state.
In another resolution passed by the meeting, the Parisangh has demanded that the killers of Shri Madan Tamang, the late president of the All India Gorkha League, be immediately arrested and brought to justice. It also renewed the Parisangh’s earlier demand that the Central Board of Investigation be entrusted with the task of speedily and impartially enquiring into the ghastly incident.
The BGP has also announced that the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh’s keynote programme on Balidaan Diwas on August 25 will be held in Hamiltonganj in the Dooars, where a statue of Martyr Durga Malla would be unveiled. The BGP observes August 25 every year as Balidaan Diwas to honour the sacrifices made by Gorkha martyrs in the fight for Independence and in protecting the territorial integrity of India. On August 25, 1944, Durga Malla, a major in the Azad Hind Fauz, had been hanged in Delhi by the British.
At the event in Hamiltonganj, where an elaborate programme will involve the district administration, intellectuals, local leaders and both the Gorkha and Adivasi people, tributes will be paid to Durga Malla and other Gorkha martyrs. An added highlight will be the announcement of the winner of All India Schools Essay Competition organized by the Parisangh. The winning essays on “The Indian Freedom Movement and the Gorkhas” will be read out by the winning schoolchildren there. The winners will later be taken on a tour of Delhi, where they can visit the spot where Durga Malla was hanged.