GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Jaswant Singh hopeful of positive outcome from Gorkhaland talks – a ray of hope in the darkness of despair ?!!
From The Hindu
By Neena Vyas
NEW DELHI, December 19, 2010: After negotiations spreading over 15 months and more and meetings with some senior Congress leaders, Darjeeling MP and senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh on Saturday said talks on the Gorkhaland issue were moving in a “satisfactory direction” and he was optimistic of a positive outcome.
Flanked by leaders of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, Mr. Singh told journalists that he was convinced that an early resolution of the issue would be in the national interest. He noted that the area around Darjeeling borders four different countries, including China, and finding a solution to the 103-year-old demand for Gorkhaland was of “very high national importance.”
The GJMM had agreed to defer its agitational plan that included the call for a 48-hour bandh in Darjeeling and surrounding areas that was to take place in a few days from now. A delegation of the GJMM, including its president Bimal Gurung, has been here for the last few days.
It had met senior Congress leader and chief troubleshooter for the government Pranab Mukherjee, who had requested them to defer their agitation plan as talks were going on. On Friday, the delegation members also had a meeting with Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, said Mr. Singh. He added he was “satisfied” with the talks and was optimistic of an early resolution of the problem.
Mr. Singh said he viewed the Gorkhaland demand as one that would “bind” rather than “divide” (‘yeh sawal jodne ka hai todne ka nahin‘ – it is question of binding people together, not dividing them). And Mr. Gurung said his group’s demands were within the framework of the Constitution and it did not want to indulge in anything that could only be used by its detractors for creating mischief. “We [Gorkhas] have shed a lot of blood for the country … our demand is linked to our identity.”
In response to questions, Mr. Singh said the press should not take for granted that his own party, the BJP, or the Congress or even the Left would continue to oppose the Gorkhaland demand. While he did not spell out concretely where the talks were placed, he said they were “delicately poised.” He also suggested that some resolution could be in sight even “before the Assembly polls” due in West Bengal in about four to five months.
“There is every indication that the talks are moving in the right direction. We have no indication that they will fall flat,” Mr. Singh said.
GJM hints at interim resolution of Gorkhaland issue soon
From The Business Standard
By The BS Reporter
New Delhi, December 19, 2010; 0:23 IST: The Union government is all set to sign an interim resolution for creating a separate Gorkhaland before the West Bengal Assembly elections next year.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) today said the tripartite talks with the Centre and the West Bengal government were in the “right direction” and the issue could be resolved before the formation of the new government in the state. Hopeful of resolution to the dispute, the GJM has also deferred its call for protests and bandh that was scheduled to begin on December 20.
“It is a question of identity. We have met finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi. The talks were very successful. Our entire struggle is peaceful and non-violent. The tripartite talks are moving in the right direction and we are hopeful that an interim resolution would be signed after the tripartite talks,” said Bimal Gurung, president of GJM.
Commenting on the proposed interim resolution sent by the ministry of home affairs (MHA), members of GJM said they have made certain amendments on the draft proposal. “We have proposed creation of a separate state within West Bengal. The state government would handle home affairs, judiciary and there can be a common governor. But the remaining financial and administrative decisions would be taken by the representatives of Gorkhaland,” said Gurung.
They said the Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act of 1969 had allowed creation of Assam within Meghalaya. “We are demanding a similar status,” he said.
Darjeeling interim solution soon on lines of ‘state within state’: GJM
From The Indian Express
New Delhi, Sun, Dec 19 2010, 02:33 hrs: The Centre could soon announce an interim arrangement to resolve the Darjeeling issue, which, according to the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), would be on the lines of carving out a “state within a state”.
“An interim resolution is very close and likely before the West Bengal Assembly polls,” said Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh today. He added that the GJM leadership had therefore decided to defer the plans to enforce a two-day bandh from December 21 in view of the progress in talks.
The Centre has made amendments in the draft interim resolution and has given it to the GJM, he said. The GJM top leadership led by its chief Bimal Gurun have been camping in the Capital for the last few days, and have held meetings with Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and senior BJP leader L K Advani.
“It will be much more than autonomy. It would be on the lines of the Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act 1969 (through which Meghalaya was created within Assam),” said senior GJM leader H B Chettri. The party said besides a common Governor, the Home Ministry and Judiciary would also remain with the state government.
Asked whether the Left Front government, Trinamool Congress and the Bengal unit of the BJP were in agreement with the draft interim resolution and the amendments, Singh replied: “There is no reason why their response is not positive”.
GJMM suspends 48-hr bandh in Darjeeling
From The Statesman
By The Press Trust of India
KOLKATA, 18 DEC, 2010: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJMM) today suspended its proposed two-day bandh from 20 December in the Darjeeling hills in deference to a call from Union finance minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee and senior BJP leader Mr LK Advani.
“We have suspended the bandh. We met Mr Mukherjee yesterday and Mr Advani today, who asked us to wait for the outcome of the tripartite talks,” GJMM general secretary Mr Roshan Giri said from Delhi. “Christmas is approaching. In deference to the wishes of the finance minister and Mr Advani, we suspended the bandh,” he said.
He said that the GJMM delegation led by party president Mr Bimal Gurung also met Congress general secretary Mr Rahul Gandhi. “We extensively elaborated our stand to Mr Gandhi,” he said. Asked about the recent revival of the demand for Gorkhaland, Mr Giri evaded a direct reply saying: “Let’s see. So many rounds of talks have taken place. We want an interim council to materialise soon.”
He said that a rally would be held on 3 January either at Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong or Siligiri where the future strategy of the GJMM would be worked out.
Yesterday, chief secretary Mr Samar Ghosh had said that the tripartite talks on Darjeeling was not taking place immediately as the Centre was yet to discuss it with the West Bengal government.
GJM calls off Darjeeling bandh
Siliguri, Saturday, Dec 18 2010 IST (UNI): The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha(GJM), demanding setting up of an interim council in the hills, today withdrew its proposed 48-hour Darjeeling bandh from December 21.
”The proposed Darjeeling bandh has been called off after meetings with the ruling central and opposition leaders,” GJM spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chettri told UNI over phone from Delhi.
Mr Chettri is part of a high-powered GJM delegation that includes president Bimal Gurung and general secretary Roshan Giri. He said the decision to call off the stir was taken after talking to Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and Opposition leader Lal Krishna Advani.
The GJM had called a shutdown of Darjeeling for 48 hours from December 21 demanding resumption of tripartite talks on political level before December 20 for immediate setting up of the interim council in the Darjeeling Hills and starting the process of transfer of certain administrative powers.
It had also threatened to renew the movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland if the interim set-up was not constituted soon.
”We have called off the agitation at the request of central leaders,” Mr Chettri said, citing that they (leaders) wanted continuation of the tripartite talks and said any agitation now would derail the move.
Mr Chettri said since Union Home Minister P Chidambaram was away in Tamil Nadu, the fate of the next round of talks would be known after his arrival in Delhi.
Mr Gurung and his team complained to Mr Gandhi and Mr Mukherjee that the Bengal government was ‘dragging’ its feet on the interim set-up.
The GJM delegation also invited Mr Gandhi to Darjeeling ‘to witness what the government of West Bengal has done to an otherwise natural haven that it used to be’.
”Rahul Gandhi has assured us to visit Darjeeling and the GJM will give him a grand welcome,” Mr Chettri said.