GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Tribal prop with set of seven terms – Morcha submits observations – finally understanding the ‘State-within-a-State’ concept ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU
Aug. 10: The regional unit of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad has expressed a desire to work closely with Bimal Gurung’s outfit provided its seven conditions were accepted.
Apart from one condition, that the Morcha should not demand the inclusion of all Gorkha communities in the Scheduled Tribe list, the others are likely to be thrashed out without much problem. However, observers believe that even this condition could be accepted by the Morcha if it fetches them the tribal outfit’s support.
John Barla, the president of the Dooars Terai regional committee of the Parishad in a letter to Morcha president Gurung, said: “That we are in favour of the creation of a council, state, council under the purview of the Sixth Schedule or any interim setup up till December 31, 2011. Its nomenclature should not be in the name of any community such as Gorkhas or any other community (sic).”
With the Morcha already having proposed to the Centre that it wanted the interim set-up to be called Darjeeling and Dooars Regional Authority, accepting the Parishad’s demand is not expected to be difficult for the hill party.
The other five demands raised by the Parishad are:
• The entire Dooars and Terai must be included in a new arrangement, whether it is an interim set-up or a state.
• The general administration of the region should be controlled by the community in majority in the particular area, sub-dividing the proposed region into hills, Dooars and Terai
• Elections should be held under the Election Commission of India.
• Special provisions to safeguard the rights of the tribal people and implementation of the Prevention of Tribal Atrocities Act, 1989.
• Reservation in respect of elections/government services should be made on a regional basis, with separate quotas for the hill tribes in the hills and the Adivasis in the plains.
Morcha leader Binay Tamang said a central committee meeting would be held to discuss the proposal. “We will try and work out a common minimum programme,” he said, indicating that most of the demands of the Adivasis could be worked upon.
For one, the thorny issue of territorial jurisdiction is likely to be settled. The Morcha had demanded only pockets dominated by Nepali-speaking people in the Dooars lying north of NH31C but then there were apprehensions that the predominant Adivasi community of the region would oppose it. But with the Parishad now demanding the entire Dooars and Terai be included in the new set-up, the Morcha is unlikely to face any problem on the territory.
The Morcha is desperate to include the Dooars and Terai in the interim set-up, as the party believes that the inclusion would help them demarcate the area it wants for its new state.
The Parishad’s overtures also means that the state government has now been forced on the backfoot since so long it believed that the tribals were against the inclusion of any area in the Dooars within the interim set-up.
Birsa Tirkey, the state president of the Parishad, said over the phone that the letter to the Morcha had no relevance.
“John Barla is the president of one of the regional units of Parishad, which has a pan-Indian presence,” Tirkey said. “Unless the state committee and the central committee of our organisation approves any letter or step, such letters have no relevance and value.”
DG to visit hills – interesting timing ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Aug. 10: Bengal director general of police Bhupinder Singh will visit the Darjeeling hills tomorrow to take stock of the state of affairs there, the first such visit by a high ranking police officer after the murder of Madan Tamang in May.
The state police chief will also inaugurate a police station, a football tournament and meet the police officials of the six districts of north Bengal during his two-day stay in the district.
In Darjeeling, Singh will hold a meeting with the district police officials.
“This is the first time such a high ranking police official is visiting the district after the murder of ABGL leader Madan Tamang, who was killed on May 21 in Darjeeling,” an official from the district police force said.
The police sources also added that the DG wanted to see for himself the state of affairs in the hills before the Centre’s next round of tripartite meeting with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and state government on August 17.
The police chief will also inaugurate the Police Public Friendship Cup Football Tournament in Darjeeling and return to Siliguri by Thursday afternoon to meet the police officials of six districts at the office of inspector general of north bengal. Following that he will inaugurate the newly constructed building of Bhaktinagar police station the same evening.
On Friday morning he will hold a meeting with the administrative officials of Siliguri sub-division and return to Calcutta by afternoon.
Crackdown on GJM likely – saber rattling to appease the ABGL & DF or really for real ?!!
From The Indian Express
Kolkata: Wed Aug 11 2010, 00:04 hrs: A crackdown on the top leadership of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, including general secretary Roshan Giri, is reportedly in the offing.
According to sources, in order to gauge the situation and possible fallout of such a step, DGP Bhupinder Singh will be going to Darjeeling on Wednesday where he will have a meeting with top district officials.
The state government has already asked for two companies of the CRPF for Darjeeling.Giri has been camping in Delhi for the past few days reportedly in connection with the proposed August 17 tripartite talks.
Strike hits commuters
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Aug. 10: An indefinite strike by the Joint Action Committee of Private Transports to demand the speedy repair of national highways in north Bengal threw life out of gear in Jalpaiguri district today.
The strike was a major blow to the commuters, who were already facing inconveniences because of the deplorable state of NH55 and NH31 and a two-week-long strike by the employees of Super Buses plying on the Siliguri-Jalpaiguri route.
As private and government vehicles kept off roads, there was rush on local trains from Alipurduar, Bamanhat and Haldibari to New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri Junction.
“Apart from the restoration of highways, we also demand a hike in wages and want police to refrain from registering cases under Section 304 of the IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) after road mishaps,” said Ajoy Dasgupta, the joint-convener of the committee.
The employees of private buses, trucks and commercial light vehicles had originally planned to launch the strike from August 12. But after a police lathi-charge on committee members in Jalpaiguri yesterday, they decided to go on strike from today.
Bandh supporters raised pickets at several places in the district and there were incidents of vehicles being ransacked and defiant drivers being assaulted at Lataguri, Dhupguri, Mainaguri and Falakata.
“I was in Birpara for some business-related work and badly needed money. Unfortunately, I found the sole ATM at Birpara out of operation and had to take a vehicle to go to Falakata,” said Supratik Chatterjee, a Calcuttan. “We were stopped at Jateswar on the outskirts of Falakata by the agitators. With the motorcycle a resident had lent me, I reached Falakata and withdrew the money. The two-wheeler was given back to the owner at Jateswar, but the agitators did not allow me to return to Birpara,” said Chatterjee.
Jalpaiguri district magistrate held a meeting with leaders of the committee and bus owners today to discuss the demands. The workers were assured that the highways would be repaired soon and a meeting be held with bus owners to discuss the wage hike. On the imposition of Section 304, the workers were asked to submit a prayer to the district police chief. The committee, however, decided to continue with the strike.