GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Interim council will not dilute demand for separate State: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha – and neither will the UT proposal mooted by the Centre ?!!
From Yahoo News
Darjeeling, Fri, Aug 20 01:45 PM (ANI): A delegation of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), a forum crusading for the formation of a separate Gorkhaland state, said the interim council would not, in any way, dilute their demand for a separate State.
A delegation led by General Secretary of the GJM, Roshan Giri, visited New Delhi this week to attend a tripartite meeting with officials of the central and West Bengal governments.
Giri said talks on election, tenure and the composition would be taken up during the next meeting, which is scheduled for September 7.
“Talks on election, tenure, composition will be taken up on September 7, and this interim council will not, in any way, destabilize our demand for the formation of Gorkhaland,” said Giri.
Earlier, the ‘political-level’ talks were held in New Delhi on July 24. By Tarak Sarkar (ANI)
Give & take to fast-track state – so this is Bengal’s worry & not our hurry, get the territory and the rest will naturally follow, maybe time to get the Gorkha Adivasis out and vocal in Siliguri ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Darjeeling, Aug. 20: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has chalked out a strategy to explain to its supporters the importance of “give and take” and to convince them that such a policy will be the ultimate winner and put statehood on fast track.
The Morcha will also explain that unless the interim set-up for the Darjeeling hills is put in place quickly, there will be a delay in achieving the final goal of statehood.
To this end, the party has called a meeting of the leaders of all its frontal organisations tomorrow and get their feedback so that the outfit can firm up its response ahead of the next round of the tripartite talks. The Morcha has to hammer out consensus on at least five contentious issues before the next round of official-level meeting with the Centre and the state on September 7.
It is treading warily so as not to give any impression to its supporters that it is yielding ground either to the Centre or to the Bengal government.
The Centre and the state have a rigid stand on all five issues — territory, composition, tenure, panchayat bodies and jurisdiction of the district magistrate and the superintendent of police — relating to the new body. These are core areas on which they are unlikely to agree with the Morcha.
This is where the Morcha’s dilemma begins. It realises that the party has to carry the hill people along with it in the formation of the interim set-up.
But it also knows that it must be flexible because of the compulsion of having to put the interim authority in place before the model code of conduct kicks in ahead of the Assembly polls.
“We submitted a report on the tripartite talks to the party president yesterday and we have called a meeting of the leaders of all our frontal organisations tomorrow to tell them about the developments and also to seek their opinions,” said Roshan Giri, general secretary of the Morcha.
A Morcha leader said it was imperative to explain to the frontal organisations that despite the party’s public stand that it would not “budge an inch” on any of its demands, certain areas would have to be compromised to put the interim set-up in place.
“We shall explain to them that the interim set-up is our stepping stone to statehood,” the leader said.
“Any delay in setting it up would also mean a delay in reaching our ultimate goal of statehood. We have had to work out this strategy so that we can give a little and yet carry our people along with us on this crucial issue.”
“There has to be give and take from both sides and the Morcha is trying to get a feedback from its grassroots leaders on the general mood of the hill people and the issues on which they could be a bit flexible,” said an observer. But at the same time, the Morcha knows that unless it can convey to the people that the outfit is the ultimate gainer, its rivals will take advantage to gain grounds.
“We have to show to the people that what we have got is much more than the Sixth Schedule status that the GNLF was about to push through,” the Morcha leader said.
“The very fact that a meeting has been called immediately after the delegation’s return from Delhi is an indication that the hill party wants to be cautious before inking a deal,” the observer added.
AIGL warns Centre against GJMM – so ABGL’s working president Dawa Sherpa did ‘lie’ about appointment with Sonia Gandhi on the 20th Aug 2010 to the Indian Express, pulling the wool on Darjeeling just the way Subhash Ghising did recently ?!!
From The Statesman
KOLKATA, 20 AUG 2010: An All India Gorkha League (AIGL) delegation currently camping in Delhi, has urged the Centre against entering into any negotiation with the “criminal leaders” of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) on the Darjeeling issue.
The party, whose president Madan Tamang was assassinated in Darjeeling on 21 May allegedly by GJMM workers, has also asked the Centre to shelve the idea of a proposed interim administrative set-up for Darjeeling, which is currently under consideration.
To press the demands, a four-member delegation of the AIGL, headed by its president Mrs Bharati Tamang, flew to Delhi yesterday afternoon and are still camping in the national capital lobbying with the Union ministers and leaders.
While the Hills delegation called on the Union finance minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee at his official residence at 9:30 p.m. yesterday, today they met the Union home minister Mr P Chidambaram, whose department has been holding parleys with the GJMM. (sns).
No advancing of polls: CEC – much to CPM’s disappointment ?!!
From The Statesman
KOLKATA, 20 Aug, 2010: The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Mr SY Quraishi, today yet again ruled out the possibility of advancing the Assembly elections in the state.
“As per the rules, Assembly elections in the state need to be completed before 11 June. And the ball will be in the Election Commission’s court six months ahead. Hence, elections can not be declared before 11 December,” he said.
He added that the Election Commission would have the power to declare elections any day after 11 December, but other factors like agriculture season and examination schedule will be looked into and considered before dates are announced.
Mr Quraishi, today held a meeting with eight district magistrates of the state at Writer’s Buildings. The district magistrates of Purulia, Bankura, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Midnapore East, Midnapore West, Hooghly and Howrah took part in the video conference with the CEC.
When asked about the preparation of electoral rolls in Left Wing Extremist affected areas, he pointed out that the Election Commission will look in the law and order problems after “all long-drawn activities” that include preparation of error free photo electoral rolls, electronic photo identity cards (EPICs), filling up of vacant posts and training of personnel are carried out. Expecting that there will be an improvement in the situation in different strife torn areas of the state, he said: “What is the situation today may not be the same six months later.”
Separately, speaking at an interactive session organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) he pointed out that people applying for new EPIC need not furnish affidavits for obtaining their photo identity cards. Booth level officers have been instructed to verify applications that are without affidavits.
On being asked about the large number of new voters applying for inclusion of their names in the electoral rolls, Mr Quraishi maintained that all complaints regarding the inclusion of names have been looked into. A team of independent observers have already visited the state to oversee work of preparation of the electoral rolls.
“Our main aim is to see to it that names of all eligible voters are included and all names of non eligible voters deleted,” he said.
Fabled fury few care to recall – 18 years on and counting ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY VIVEK CHHETRI
Darjeeling, Aug. 20: A movement that started 40 years ago and caught two prime ministers in a whirl of public outrage has ended with a whimper, leaving bitter those who had struggled to bring about the recognition of the Nepali language.
The Nepali language had been included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, but even 18 years after it got the status, the benefits have failed to percolate down to the grassroots.
Indira Gandhi and Morarji Desai as prime ministers of the country had to face the brunt of public outrage during their visits to Darjeeling in the 70s when the movement for recognition was on. The hills witnessed spontaneous shutdowns and padyatras were organised across 13 states in support of the demand. Hunger strikes were staged in Delhi.
Indra Bahadur Rai, who took part in the struggle and once taught in North Point, said: “Why should we blame anyone? Our people are not conscious enough to derive the benefits the status of a language can bring. There is a commissioner for linguistic minorities but people heading social bodies are unaware of its existence. Instead, they hold exhibitions on traditional food.”
Rai, 83, said one of the benefits of language recognition was that the people could demand that Nepali be made the medium of instruction in educational institutions. They can also answer all major job recruitment exams in Nepali.
The demand for recognition of the language had been raised by all the political parties in the hills since the 1950s. “But it was only during elections (that the issue was raised),” said Prem Kumar Allay, the 71-year-old founder secretary of the Bhasha Samiti and a lawyer.
“On January 31, 1972, eminent people of the society, fed up with lack of progress on the issue decided to form the Bhasha Samiti which was later christened Akhil Bharatiya Bhasha Samiti.”
The Samiti took up the task of uniting all political parties and spreading the demand for language recognition in 13 states where Nepali-speaking people resided.
The Samiti met Gandhi, then Prime Minister, 21 times. “During our first meeting, she categorically told us that it would not be possible to recognise the language,” said Allay.
When Gandhi visited Darjeeling to address a public meeting at the St Joseph’s School ground in the mid-70s, a restless crowd virtually overran the podium and the Prime Minister had to be rescued. “She spoke for one and a half hours but did not mention a word about the language demand. And within half and hour, 23 welcome gates that had been erected were totally destroyed,” said Allay.
A spontaneous bandh was observed in Darjeeling and even though Gandhi did invite the hill leaders for talks, the deadlock did not end.
Just when Gandhi had agreed in principle to accept the demand, Emergency was imposed, and soon she was out of power. “Even Morarji Desai, who became the next Prime Minister was cold towards our demand,” said Allay. In 1979, when Desai, too, failed to give an assurance to the hills, a shut Darjeeling greeted him during his three- day visit.
The agitation was carried out relentlessly, but in the 80s it came under the shadow of the Gorkhaland demand of the GNLF. When it was time for the language to be recognised in 1992, the GNLF, wanted the nomenclature to be changed from Nepali to Gorkhali. Ultimately the language was included as Nepali/Gorkhali in the Constitution.
C.K. Rai, the president of the Nepali Sahitya Sammellan, admitted that the history of the struggle had been forgotten by most people but said they were planning to hold a seminar soon. Apart from the Nepali Sahitya Sammellan and the Gorkha Dukha Niwarak Sammellan, not many organisations hold programmes on Bhasha Diwas nowadays.
People had forgotten its importance by the time the language was recognised 18 years ago on August 20, said Allay. “On that day instead of celebrating the achievement, I had to cower in a corner of my room as a crude bomb was lobbed at my residence,” he recalled. The Gorkhali-Nepali animosity refused to fade.
MEANWHILE FROM BELOW THE PLAINS OF DARJEELING
Mob tries two for ‘affair’ – Adivasi abuse by CPM ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Burdwan, Aug. 20: A group of men in a Burdwan village abducted a tribal woman and her brother-in-law, beat them up and tied them to a tree before holding a kangaroo court where they were fined Rs 25,000 for “having an illicit relationship”.
The two, who were kept locked up for two days at a local CPM leader’s home, were released last night after the woman’s father lodged a police complaint.
Rukmini (name changed), 25, had been living with her father Gobardhan Kisku, a farm labourer, at Madarpara village for the past six years after her husband deserted her.
Rukmini said her brother-in-law Subal (name changed), 40, a marginal farmer, had come to their home on Tuesday morning to invite her and Gobardhan to a family programme. “I was then alone at home as my father had gone to the field to work,” Rukmini said.
“Suddenly, a dozen people barged into our house. They accused us of having an illicit affair and took us to the neighbouring Jadabgunj village where they locked us up in the house of CPM leader Ruplal Soren. Some of the villagers beat us up severely,” she said.
“On Tuesday night, both of us were tied to a tree outside the house and a kangaroo court was held. There, the villagers fined me Rs 15,000 and my brother-in-law Rs 10,000. When we said we would not be able to pay so much money, they locked us up again inside the house,” Rukmini said.
However, the duo were released after Gobardhan lodged a complaint with Ausgram police station. He has named four youths — Badal, Kishan, Joshore and Chitta — in the FIR. Ramen Talukdar, the inspector in charge of Ausgram police station, said: “We had sent a police team to Jadabgunj to arrest them. However, the four youths are absconding.”
CPM local committee secretary of Ausgram, Bangshi Mondal, avoided questions on Soren’s connection with the case. He said the incident was “an internal matter of the village” and his party had nothing to do with it.
The inheritance of loss – revisited by Bengal ?!!
From The Statesman
By Asim Pramanik
BEHRAMPORE, 20 AUG, 2010: Some of them have lost their memories. Some, their sanity. Common are tales of bed-ridden folk here. And what binds all these tales together is the atrocities meted out by the BSF personnel.
Some recall their sons being shot dead right in front of their eyes while others who survived the lathi-wielding jawans speak from their beds of the pain they felt.
Those who succumbed to BSF atrocities ~ unprovoked firing or mindless battering ~ cannot come back to seek justice. But what of those who are left behind ~ living under the trauma of losing their loved ones? What of those, who have been crippled for life, without any source of care or sustenance?
These were some of the burning questions which prompted the UN to release funds with which a treatment camp was set up at Jalangi last week for the victims of BSF atrocities living along the Indo-Bangla border in Murshidabad. The camp organised by MASUM, a human rights NGO, offered free treatment including medicines and psychological counselling to the penniless and traumatised victims.
Medical experts expressed shock and awe at the condition of the victims.
“Anxiety, depression, grief and bereavement of losing near and dear ones have hit these people hard. Fear of loss seem to be incorporated in their daily life, having lost their homes to the river and their family members to the BSF atrocities,” said Dr Mohit Ranabir, a psychiatric counsellor. “I treated a woman who was picked up by BSF jawans and sexually harassed by them”, the counsellor added.
Golak Mondal and his wife, Karna Mondal witnessed their son being shot at by a rushing BSF personnel two years ago. Their son, Shilajit (18) died instantly before their eyes, said the rights activists attending the camp. Most of the victims were from border areas of Raninagar police station in Murshidabad.
Secretary of MASUM, Mr. Kirity Roy said: “The free medical camp funded by UN exclusively for the torture victims was first of its kind in the state. We hope to continue our medical care for the victims who have lost everything of their life ~ their children, homes, lands and lastly their own faculties.” The medical examination and care also stand as irrefutable evidence of state-sponsored torture, Mr. Roy added.