GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Territory to be dropped from Sept 7 talks ‘Minor irritants’ to feature in meeting – setting the pace for a fast consensus losing Bengal ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY VIVEK CHHETRI
Darjeeling, Sept. 3: The territory of the proposed interim set-up will not be discussed by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the official-level meeting scheduled in New Delhi for September 7.
Instead, it will be kept aside for the political-level interaction so that the talks process does not get bogged down by contentious issues.
The decision was taken in consultation with Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh who had been insisting that statehood was a “step by step” process and each stage had to be conquered to reach the summit.
“The territory issue will be taken up during the political-level talks. There is no question of leaving out the Dooars and Terai (from the interim set-up),” Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri today told The Telegraph.
But the Morcha delegation is expected to thrash out next week the “many irritants” that have cropped up after the Centre sent the minutes of the August 17 tripartite meeting to the party recently.
Sources said “there were discrepancies in the minutes of the meeting” prepared by the Centre. “We have made our comments on the minutes and faxed them to both the Centre and the state today,” a source said.
In fact, members of the party’s Study Forum met Singh for two consecutive days. “Bimal Gurung (Morcha chief) also called on Singh before the forum met him today,” said another source.
It is learnt that Singh had a detailed discussion on the provisions of the interim set-up. “We felt that the minutes had to be corrected. There is no mention of the police commissariat that we had raised in the August 17 meeting. Instead, the minutes only talk about the development functions of the district magistrate,” said the source.
The Morcha wants a regional police, which should “be upgraded into a commissariat of police in line with the commissariat of Calcutta police”.
Issues regarding the direct allotment of funds to the interim authority instead of routing it through the state have also bothered the Morcha. “In the last meeting, there were no objections from the Centre and the state on this issue. But the minutes and the subsequent comment of the Centre is, however, ambiguous,” said the source.
The minute, according to the source, is not clear about the legislative powers of the interim set-up and also on the issue regarding the transfer of tea and cinchona sectors to the new arrangement.
However, the source was confident that these “irritants were minor in nature” and would be thrashed out in the next round of talks. There is a general feeling among the Morcha leaders, who are in the know of things, that territory is the only sore thumb in the negotiations. “We are not in a position to compromise on territory,” said the source.
Singh, however, sounded optimist. “I am sure given the authority, discretion and the good intention on the part of the government of India and all those who are currently involved in the discussions, it is not beyond the genius and the ingenuity of the government of India to find an answer that will satisfy everybody,” Singh said after meeting the members of the forum.
CPM wants elected set-up – fine, then agree to re-establish three tier election system ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Sept. 3: The Darjeeling district CPM has demanded that the interim authority in the hills should be an elected body and not formed by nominated members.
Asok Bhattacharya, the CPM municipal and urban development minister, today told reporters that once the nitty gritty of the interim arrangement was finalised, it could be formed by November through election.
“After the central government’s proposal on the interim arrangement, the state government also cleared its stand. But at the same time, we also think that the set-up should be formed through election. It should not be a nominated body,” Bhattacharya said this afternoon.
On the formation of the proposed set-up, he said: “It should be formed in a democratic manner and should not deprive the residents of the hills from participating in an election. I have spoken to the district administration in this regard, and it is understood that once the set-up is declared, the administration will be ready to hold an election in the next two months.”
Bhattacharya said he wished success for the upcoming talks on Tuesday, adding such an initiative could be fruitful only if all the political parties from the region were involved. He also said the proposal had been sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, after Saman Pathak, the CPM Rajya Sabha member, met him last month.
“Any such process can be fulfilled, when the central government involves all the political parties of the region. We have already appealed to the Prime Minister about this through our Rajya Sabha MP.”
He also said the Morcha leaders, keeping in mind the talks, should co-operate with police and the CID which is trying to find out the whereabouts of Nickole Tamang. Nickole, a central committee leader of the Morcha and a prime accused in the Madan Tamang murder case, fled from CID custody on August 22.