Showing posts with label Agitation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Agitation. Show all posts

GJM and JAP on agitation path to protect their support base

8:31 AM
Writes Vivek Chhetri and Rajeev Ravidas

May 30: After a bitter and hard fought-Assembly election, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and its rival, Jana Andolan Party, are now busy protecting their support base and are on the path of agitation in the hills less than a month after the poll.

Four days after the poll results were announced, the JAP started a relay hunger strike at Tricone Park in Kalimpong from May 23 demanding streamlining of water distribution system in town. The party has threatened to intensify the protest if the problem is not resolved by the public health engineering under the GTA and the residents are not given water on a regular basis.

"We are likely to continue the dharna for some more time since the administration has done precious little to resolve the problem," said Nayan Pradhan, JAP secretary.
GJM and JAP on agitation path to protect their support base
The JAP is at present holding meetings at block and village levels to chalk out its future programmes.

The Morcha, too, has decided to launch an agitation to demand land rights to people living in tea gardens and cinchona plantations and tribal status for 11 hill communities.

Suraj Subba, the general secretary of the Janmukti Parcha-Patta Sangharsh Committee, said: "We have decided to hold gate meetings in front of all 87 tea gardens in the hills and in the cinchona plantations on June 13 for an hour before the start work. This is the start of our agitation and we will vigorously pursue our demand."

The Morcha's youth wing, the Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha, has also decided to hold a rally in Darjeeling on June 2 to seek tribal status for 11 hill communities.

"The rally will start from Darjeeling Motor Stand and wind its way to Chowrastha," said Amrit Yonzone, the spokesman for the Yuva Morcha.


New Movie 'Hawaghar' on Gorkhaland‬ Agitation

8:22 PM
New Movie 'Hawaghar' - Seeks to Tell the ‪‎Gorkhaland‬ Tale

We too have our stories to tell, like every society has its own.

These stories stand tall, deeply rooted with the hills and valleys, joys and sorrows, soils and flowers as a foundation to the way of life for generations to come. Realising the fact that our stories are not documented enough, through popular and efficient medium and feeling that the responsibility now rests over the shoulders of this generation, the youths from Mirik, Kurseong and Darjeeling are coming up with a feature film 'Hawaghar'.

The film has its plot in a typical village of Darjeeling while the time period goes back to 1980s, when the hill was burning with Gorkhaland Andolan. The sole intention is to recreate, reflect and dramatically document the social, cultural, and economic impact of the revolution among the Gorkha lives and livelihood. 'Hawaghar' is not aligned politcally or ideologically towards any group or party that existed during that time, not out of fear or indifference but realising the need for neutrality to tell the story as accurately as possible. Rather, the viewers can expect a raw and rooted love story at its core, that had no time for love, due to chaos and struggle.

The film is directed by Kushal Ghimiray, who has already acted in a feature film 'Dhurva Taara' which was released last year. He is a lecturer in Southfield College, Darjeeling and has left his mark as a Nepali writer and dramatist with numerous works at his credit.

Hawaghar is co-directed and editing and cinmatography as well is done by Pallawib Rai. He has already worked as cinematographer, editor and associate director for music albums of 2015 Grammy Award winners Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman one of which was recently launched at United Nations COP21 (Paris) by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and President of France François Hollande. He was previously working for startups and in Mumbai and this is his third feature film as a part of cinematography team.

The lead role of the film is played by Kushal Ghimiray himself and Mansha Gurung, who have already rocked the screens as a lead couple around the hills with their film 'Dhurva Taara'. The other roles are being played by Dalleybhai Lepcha, Nasir Gurung, Bhawesh Lama, Naumta Pradhan, Hanak Thapa, Pushkar Singer, Sahil Lepcha, Pradeep Subba and Subeksha Rasaili some of whom have already acted in stage plays while some are freshers.

The story, screenplay and dialoue of film is created by Kushal Ghimiray and Pallawib Rai. Towards the technical side, the role of Chief Assistant Director is carried out by Utsav Pradhan while the cinematography team has extremely talented Abimanu Chettri and Benjamin Rai as associate Cinematographers with their rich experience of working for various production companies in Mumbai.

Fingers crossed!!! Hope they will be able to tell us our story.

Via TheDC

Gorkhaland martyr Mangal Singh Rajpoot's family lives in poverty

8:00 AM
On July 30, 2013- Gorkhaland martyr Mangal Singh Rajpoot laid his life during the newly revived statehood agitation, but one year later, his family lives in poverty. His family neither have their own house nor was any of the family members provided with employment following his death.

Gorkhaland martyr Mangal Singh Rajpoot's family lives in poverty
Gorkhaland martyr Mangal Singh Rajpoot's family lives in poverty
Saheed Rajpoot became the first person to self-immolate for Gorkhaland last year during the height of the Gorkhaland movement.

Mangal Singh Rajpoot is survived by his wife Manju Rajpoot and two sons Aman and Arpan Rajpoot. Aman has completed graduation but is without any job, while Arpan has left school. “He was our support. In many ways lack of support of a husband or a father is difficult,” Manju said.

She said Rajpoot worked really hard to support the family, but following his death the family has fallen apart. Manju further informed her family’s house was destroyed by the devastating earthquake on September 18, 2011, following which they have been living at her brother’s house. “I have a land given to me by my family, but due to financial problems, I have not been able to construct a house,” Manju added.

Keeping a brave face, she further said her husband’s sacrifice for the statehood movement should not go for a waste and urged the hill leaders to honor his death by paving way for the formation of Gorkhaland.

“My husband was into politics before our marriage and the Gorkhaland issue was very dear to his heart. He was part of the GJM-led statehood agitation and was involved in many rallies and protests,” Manju recalled. “The self-immolation was for the love of his community and this should not be forgotten by the Gorkha leaders,” she emphasised.

Manju also informed GJM president Bimal Gurung had promised for support during the memorial programme of the statehood martyr, but one year after his death the family is still waiting and hoping for help. Following Rajpoot’s death, Manju has been earning money through 100-day work scheme as well as other smaller works in the village.

Source: EOI

Tribal identity in Darjeeling Hills used to dismantle Gorkha agitation

8:48 PM
Tribal detour in Darjeeling Hills - Swatahsiddha Sarkar

Tribal identity in the mountainous Darjeeling area of West Bengal is being used as a tool by the state to dismantle the renewed Gorkha agitation. An analysis of the ways in which the classificatory arrangement by which the state identifies and designates communities as tribes has become a politically provocative and productive tool to divide the hill communities.

Swatahsiddha Sarkar ( teaches at the Department of Sociology, University of North Bengal, Siliguri.

This brief communiqué is but a reflection on the contemporary tribal situation in Darjeeling hills, West Bengal. Besides being the historical site of a durable ethnic conflict (i e, known as Gorkhaland movement) Darjeeling hills have acquired political prominence in the recent past for being the playground of intra-ethnic revivalism and tribalism. In addition to the Bhutias, Lepchas, Sherpas and Yolmos – the already designated tribes of Darjeeling district since India’s independence – majority of the hill communities today are busy both in claiming and establishing their claims of being a tribe of the region.

Nepali Social Structure

Indian Nepalis corroborate to the idea of a speech community that is composed of both caste Hindus and Indo-Mongoloid groups. Caste system has been the historical basis of Nepali social structure. Since Nepali caste system in Darjeeling hills has been lax in nature compared to its Nepal counterpart,[1] it successfully accommodated the Indo-Mongoloid groups into its fold. Sanskritsation had been at work in the hills ever since the mid-19th century. Available historical data is capable of establishing the fact that the Mongoloid communities felt content with the Nepali caste system and quite often despised the cause of being tribes.[2]

But in the new millennium the Tamangs along with Limbus did mobilise themselves for tribal status and were accorded with the scheduled tribe (ST) status in 2002. This energised the other Mongoloid groups (like Rais, Magars, Gurungs, Sunwars, Yakhas, Thamis to name a few) of Darjeeling hills clamour for the ST status. Such a programmatic vision for the attainment of protective discrimination measures by the majority of the hill communities is certainly an unprecedented phenomenon that ran parallel with the movement called Gorkhaland.

As is well known, tribal identity especially among the caste Hindu Nepalis, is arguably a contentious issue. During the late 1990s Subhash Ghising had to face socio-political upheavals as a ready reaction to his decision to play out the “tribal identity card” as a hold-all phenomenon for all the hill Nepalis including the Bahuns and Chhetris (twice born high castes) while the government took a “safer” stand by not indulging into the affairs of the hills. Similar kind of social undercurrent is at work now but the hill communities seem to be in agreement with the political project of tribal status so much so that the tagadharis (men of sacred thread – the higher caste groups) are inclined to join the race in which their matwali (men of liquor – the low caste/ status groups) counterparts have already made some discernable progress.

Role of GTA

These issues become a matter of wider significance when one notices that the tripartite agreement called Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), signed on 18 July, 2011, and the subsequent approval of the GTA Act, 2011 by the government by March 2012 incorporates in it a provision stipulating that the state government facilitate the demand of ST status for all the Gorkhas except the scheduled castes. Not surprisingly, the three designated Nepali scheduled castes like Kami (barbers), Damai (tailors), and Sarki (cobbler) numbering roughly 78,000 (as per 2001 census)[3] have now jumped into the bandwagon.

It is interesting to note that growing tribalism in Darjeeling hills has appeared as a livewire of hill politics at that period of time when ethnic revivalism took place in much more prominent fashion in neighbouring Nepal since the 1990s.

The ethnic revivalism that took place in Nepal since the 1990s is largely based on the attempts to ethnicise caste and community identities to search for an alternative non-hierarchical social imaginary that could provide an egalitarian alternative identity and can even alter the given power structures of society. The inclination to ethnicise community identities while rebuffing sanskritisation is at work in the contemporary Darjeeling hills.

To effectively mobilise the aspiration to become a tribe the Mongoloid communities are foregrounding their past traditions to address the “authentic” and “indigenous” qualifiers of being a tribe. An equal amount of emphasis is also being given to distance their communities from the “vices” of sanskritisation – which they now consider as a process that weakened their organic link with the rich heritage of a “tribalist past”.

Tribal Development Board

The problem becomes more intricate when one takes into account the recent government decision to create a separate development board for the already designated tribes (viz, Lepchas and Tamangs) of the hills as a measure to better serve their interest. Luring the Lepchas and Tamangs through a separate development board and packages has added new incentives for ethnicising the idea of tribe.

The emphasis on tribal development boards or for that matter favouring the communities to become a tribe might not be a rational response to their region specific practical interests. Nevertheless the collaborationist gesture adopted by the state was legitimised on the ground of “development populism”. The concept of tribe in contemporary Darjeeling hills has been strategically posed along the continuum of politics-community-power. In a situation like this – where the state approval meant almost every community could become a tribe – answers to vexed questions like “who is a tribe?” or “what is a tribe?” were to be sought not in ethnographic literature or in welfare imperatives, but in the discourses of power.

The ethnicisation of tribal identity in the contemporary Darjeeling hill is certainly a new development, which also helped the state scale down the intensity and pace of the renewed call for Gorkhaland that took place in the recent past during July to October 2013. However, the question is whether such a policy of “engaging tribe” – a strategy profitably used by the United States (US) in pacifying anti-US and anti-imperial feelings of the Iraqis and Afghans – will reduce the concept of the tribe to merely a “policy category”?

In Conclusion

It is as a consequence of this policy that many a community in the Darjeeling hills are working hard to revive their erstwhile practices linked with ancestral worship, “animism”, Shamanistic and / or Buddhist rituals and so on. Through their revival of their “tribalist” cultural traditions the hill communities are trying to search for and adopt new identities. This will change their relationships with power and privilege and could open up space for inter-community conflicts based on differential political affiliations.

This is how the tribal identity issue has taken an ethnic detour in contemporary Darjeeling hills, particularly since the state itself is seen to encourage such a detour. The situational conditions, produced and reproduced through the discourse of power, are sharpening the fervour for authenticity and making distinctiveness and exclusivity a widespread aspiration. The tribal identity claims of different communities has loosened the idea of tribe from its classical anthropological moorings and pushed it towards being a politically productive “notion”.


[1] T B Subba has analysed in detail the differences between Nepali caste system in India and Nepal and commented at length regarding the socio-historical forces that resulted into the formation of a relatively weak caste structure among the Indian Nepalis compared to their brethren there in Nepal. For details, see Subba (1985:23-26).

[2] Surendra Munshi and Ugen Lama’s study on the Tamangs of Darjeeling did reveal the significance of caste in the complex and multidimensional process of expressing their identity through the Nepali Tamang Buddhist Association during the 1970s. For details, see Munshi and Lama (1978).

[3] The data were collected from the website of Backward Classes Welfare Department, Government of West Bengal. The number of the three designated Nepali Schedules Castes in West Bengal (Kami, Damai and Sarki) is 78,202. See Government of West Bengal (2001).


Government of West Bengal, Backward Classes Welfare Department (2001): State Primary Census Abstract for Individual Scheduled caste – 2001, available at, accessed on 2 April 2014.

Munshi, Surendra and Ugen Lama (1978): “The Tamangs of Darjeeling: Organized Expression of the Ethnic Identity – Part II”, Journal of the Indian Anthropological Society, 13(3): 265-86.

Subba, Tanka Bahadur (1985): “Caste Relations in Nepal and India”, Social Change, 15(4): 23-26.


Kalimpong hotels asked to clear electricity dues

9:57 AM
Kalimpong, Jan. 24: Hotels here have been asked by the West Bengal State Electricity Transmission Company Ltd to pay their electricity dues accumulated during the non-co-operation movement for Gorkhaland enforced by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha by January 29.

Kalimpong hotels asked to clear electricity dues
Earlier, GJM Mahakuma Samiti had assured residents of
Kalimpong of ascertaining the reasons for such
 huge amounts and find a feasible solution
The company has primarily targeted the hotels and restaurants of town. The notice states that if power bills up to October 2011 are not paid within January 29, connection will be disconnected.

As part of the non-co-operation movement from April 2008 to July 2011, the people of the Darjeeling hills had been asked not to pay power and telephone bills and sales tax. The notices to clear the dues were issued by the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd.

Sources said the distribution utility had decided to realise the dues in the hills at a meeting in Calcutta on December 26 last year. The power utility also decided to accept payments in installments.

The Hotel and Restaurant Owners’ Association of Kalimpong said each of its 45 members had dues ranging from Rs 2 lakh to over Rs 5 lakh. “Our members have received the notices from the electricity board in the last few days. We are law-abiding citizens and prior to the agitation had always paid our bills on time. It was at the call of the Morcha that we were forced to stop paying our bills to extend our support to the statehood agitation. Now that we are being asked to clear the dues, the party must come to our aid and settle the matter once and for all,” said the president of the association, Sanjogita Subba.

A team of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Kalimpong (HORAK) today met with GJM spokesperson and MLA Dr. Harka Bahadur Chettri.

Kalimpong MLA and Morcha spokesman Harka Bahadur Chhetri said he would take up the matter with the power minister in Calcutta soon.

The notice signed by the company’s managing director has been met with strong criticism from hill CPI (M) leader Tara Sundas.

He said, “The meeting on December 26, 2012 at Vidyut Bhawan in Kolkata had resolved several things. Among them was the issuing of notices to residents for paying unpaid dues. GJM chief Bimal Gurung had earlier directed the people not to make payments and he should now take the responsibility of clearing all pending bills. While signing the GTA accord, the GJM leadership had also stressed the people need not pay the bills accrued before August 2011. But the electricity department had continued sending bills of that period to consumers.”

Sunanda K Datta-Ray writes against Jaswant Singh on Darjeeling as UT

10:32 AM

Should homelands be carved out for each community that has settled in a state?

Sunanda K Datta-Ray writes - It was with a sinking sense of historical inevitability that I heard Jaswant Singh murmur that Darjeeling's logical future lies in joining Sikkim. The hill district's unlikely Bharatiya Janata Party representative quickly admitted sotto voce that Sikkim was dead set against merger. But he also declared loud and clear that in no way - culturally, linguistically, ethnically - can the people of Darjeeling be called Bengalis.

Sunanda K Datta-Ray
Sunanda K Datta-Ray
True enough. But that can also be said of Lepchas, Kamrupis, Rajbangshis, Parsis, Anglo-Indians, Tamils, Gujaratis and especially of the Marwaris who rule Bengal's financial roost. Should homelands be carved out for each rootless community that has settled in the state? The logic of Singapore - Malay territory that has blossomed into a Chinese state - would riddle Bengal with dozens of enclaves. Aware of the intense resistance to further truncation, Jaswant Singh spoke feelingly of the partition pains of 1905 and 1947 and those emotive words "anga bhanga". He was releasing a revised edition of my book, Smash and Grab: Annexation of Sikkim, in Kolkata's Crossword bookstore when reporters asked about Darjeeling.

The Nepalese maintain they came with the land. Successive Census reports cited in Smash and Grab show they came seeking land. The Sikkimese, to whom Darjeeling belonged until the ruler was forced to lease it to the East India Company in 1835, accuse the British of sponsoring Nepalese migration for cheap labour to blast mountains, build roads and plant tea. Convinced that Hindus with cultural links with India would defend the Raj more effectively than Buddhist Bhutiya and Lepcha adivasis with roots in Tibet, a 19th century British administrator waxed lyrical about Nepalese migrants being "hereditary enemies of Tibet" and "the surest guarantee against a revival of Tibetan influence."

He wrote that in Sikkim, as in India, Hinduism would cast out Buddhism, "and the praying-wheel of the lama will give place to the sacrificial implements of the Brahman. The land will follow the creed… race and religion, the prime movers of the Asiatic world, will settle the Sikkim difficulty for us, in their own ways." Darjeeling is a relic of "the Sikkim difficulty".

Sikkim's 10-page memorandum when the British left asked India to return the territory because "on the lapse of paramountcy all sovereign powers in respect of the Darjeeling area will de jure revert to the ruler of Sikkim." Meanwhile, the undivided Communist Party of India (CPI) naively demanded that "the three contiguous areas of Darjeeling district, southern Sikkim and Nepal be formed into one single zone to be called 'Gorkhastan'." Perhaps that delusion inspired Subhash Ghisingh to send copies of his charter to Queen Elizabeth and King Birendra until, realising the danger of sounding secessionist, he reinvented the "Nepalese" as "Gorkha". His successor seems as skilled in obfuscatory tactics but may have met his match in Mamata Banerjee.

Though affirming Darjeeling's non-Bengali identity, Jaswant Singh feels that size, population and resources don't justify statehood. Hence, his suggestion of a union territory. But as Rajiv Gandhi warned, any form of "regional autonomy is the stepping stone to another state." If statehood is denied, the only alternative is union with Sikkim. Which means that Darjeeling, the amputated limb, will swallow Sikkim's somnolent body. Sikkim's first ethnic Nepalese chief minister, Nar Bahadur Bhandari, was responsible for Nepali's inclusion in the Eighth Schedule. But his famous declaration "We have merged but will not be submerged" reflected the fear of all Sikkimese - majority Nepalese and minority Bhutiya-Lepcha - of being swamped by Darjeeling's commercially acute and politically astute inhabitants.

All this follows from Sikkim's annexation which opened the Pandora's box of India's first Nepalese-majority state. But since the deed is done and can't be undone, the best course would be for Bengal again to show India the way by living up to the national ideal of unity in diversity. If Nepalese can't live amicably with Bengalis in one state, how can Hindus and Muslims, Tamils, Jats, Nagas and Kashmiris do so in one country?

Tailpiece: I once arranged for the British writer Gavin Young to see Jyoti Basu. They met in the CPI(M)'s Alimuddin Road office and The Observer newspaper in London duly published Gavin's feature. Basu, who kept abreast of British press coverage, sounded very pained the next time we spoke. "Your friend wrote I was wearing a sarong. I was in a dhoti!" he exclaimed. Basu's other complaint was that Gavin had described him as being "surrounded by Chinesey-looking types". "That was our Darjeeling district committee!" he exclaimed. I am not sure which comment gave the greater offence.


Gorkhaland and Kamtapur movements are poles apart - Romit Bagchi

10:40 PM
In both, Gorkhaland and Kamtapur, the movements, demands for the recognition of the respective languages and cultures played important roles. All India Gorkha League caught the Hill people's imagination by launching a movement, demanding recognition of the Nepali language in 1950s. After a spell of quibbling, the B C Roy government made Nepali the official language of the three Hill sub-divisions in 1961. But the demand for its inclusion in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution remained unheeded for long. The former Prime Minister, Morarji Desai rejected the demand in 1981, dubbing it as an alien language. Finally, the Centre accepted the demand in 1992 in wake of the long-drawn endeavour of  former Sikkimese chief minister, Nar Bahadur Bhandari and the CPI-M in Bengal.

Gorkhaland & Kamtapur movements
Gorkhaland & Kamtapur movements
In case of the Kamtapur statehood movement, the demand for recognition of the Kamrupi/ Kamtapuri language plays an important role too. The protagonists of statehood claim this is an original language that was widely spoken in the Kamtapur/ Kamrup region. But the intelligentsia of the community tends to dismiss this demand whenever raised. According to them, Kamtapuri is a mere dialect of standard Bengali. Several scholars have, however, affirmed that the Kamta language was not a dialect of Bengali but a thriving language from which both Bengali and Assamese originated. We may cite here what Dr T C Rastogir wrote in Maulana Azad Academy Journal (May 1-31) 1993. "The Kamata language should not be regarded as a mere dialect of Bengali or Assamese languages. It is the language in which the first vernacular writings of the region were attempted and may be called the root of the present Bengali and Assamese languages." The debate drags on with no possibility of a conclusion in sight.

On the plane of culture, both the movements signify revolts against the Kolkata-centric socio-cultural hegemony of the mainland state over its peripheries-demanding to be unshackled from the cramping fetters of such bondage.
Gorkhaland movement
Gorkhaland movement 

However, freed from the trappings of cultural assertions, this means craving of the elitist sections of their respective societies for their dues-political/cultural/economic empowerment-in the changing trajectory when the 'centre' keeps losing  its former glow with the moral force being squeezed out of it.

However, the two movements are different when it comes to identity. While the Gorkhaland movement is simple in its texture of identity the Kamtapur movement keeps encountering immense complexities on the identity of the people the separation is meant for. And herein is hidden the element of insecurity that keeps haunting the movement ~ an element that makes it different from the Gorkhaland movement. It must be mentioned here though that there are controversies over the identity of  genuine Indian Gorkhas as differentiated from the 1950 Indo-Nepal treaty beneficiaries. But things become clear if we accept that statehood is being demanded for the genuine Indian Gorkhas settled in the Hills of Bengal.

Who are the Rajbanshis? According to Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, they are principally Koch in origin, belonging to the larger Bodo group (Hinduised or semi-Hinduised Bodos) and in them blood from Austric and Dravidian stocks intermingled. They were supposed to have shunned their original Tibeto-Burman speech and adopted the northern dialect of Bengali. British ethnographers were of the view that they were Koch who, having abandoned their aboriginal culture, adopted Hinduism during the reign of the first Koch King, Viswa Singha who became a Hindu. They said, they were from the Indo-Mongoloid stock though endowed with a fair amount of the Dravidian mixture as is evident in their physiognomy. The British kept clubbing them with the non-Aryan Koch in the censuses since 1891. However, in the wake of the Kshatriya movement led principally by the social reformer, Panchanan Barman, the Rajbanshi intelligentsia discarded such theories and claimed they had descended from the Aryan stock Poundra Kshatriya, a community that during the Puranic time fled their native land in fear of Parashuram, bent, as the legend goes, on annihilating the Kshatriyas, and settled in this part of the world. They separated their identity from the ruling dynasty that was Koch in its origin, resulting in the movement being banned in the erstwhile Cooch Behar State.

Prof Ananda Gopal Ghosh, a north Bengal researcher, said, the Kshatriya movement's argument cannot be rejected outright. The confusion grows as they, in terms of physical features, are nearer to the Indo-Mongoloid stock while their language is by no means of the Tibeto-Burman origin, suffused as it is with Sanskrit terms. However, there is another opinion, saying that Sanskrit played a role in developing the local languages of the Tibeto-Burman origin like Rajbanshi/ Kamta language following the advent of the Aryan culture in this region in the pre-Vedic era.
The process of acculturation began, continuing till the early Christian era and Magadhi was accepted by the local people as a richer language, according to this school.  
Prof Ghosh opined that the present Rajbanshi community-if they are admitted to be of the Aryan Kshatriya stock- might have descended from an intense and long-drawn blood mixture with the Indo-Mongoloid people, who inhabited the land the community, persecuted by legendary Parashuram, got settled in later. However, he insisted that this is just a view based on the logic of things, asking for profound academic discourse to delve deeper.

The reality is that it is difficult to differentiate the Rajbanshi community from the Bengalis from mainland Bengal. The accomplished sections of the community prefer to call themselves Bengalis, batting for acculturation and assimilation and insisting that dwelling too much on differences from the mainstream Bengali culture and language would prove detrimental to the  community's developmental aspirations.

Here the Gorkhaland and Kamtapur movements are poles apart. In the case of the former, the identity is clear and straight while it is murky, amorphous and convoluted in  case of the latter, resulting in the movement failing to strike the right chord in the people in whose name the state is being demanded.

Source: The Statesman
By Romit Bagchi
The writer is on the staff of The Statesman

Jalpaiguri bomb blast - separatists KLO behind it says police

11:01 PM
A bicycle bomb that killed five people in eastern India was planned by militants fighting for a separate state in the famous Darjeeling tea district, police say.

Jalpaiguri bomb blast
Jalpaiguri bomb blast

Ten people were also injured when the bomb exploded late on Thursday in the town of Jalpaiguri in the state of West Bengal. Earlier reports said the bomb killed four people but a fifth victim died in hospital.

A senior police officer said the bomb, which went off near a school, bore many of the hallmarks of the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO).

'We suspect KLO militants are behind the explosion,' West Bengal police Inspector General Anuj Sharma told AFP.

He said the blast took place two days before the anniversary of their foundation on December 28.

The organisation is responsible for other bombings with devices strapped to bicycles and has marked anniversaries in the past with attacks.

The KLO wants to create a separate state of Kamtapur in northern West Bengal which would include the tea-growing region of Darjeeling and five other districts, some of which border Bangladesh and Bhutan.

West Bengal is one of India's largest states and Jalpaiguri is about 600 kilometres north of the state capital Kolkata.

The Indian government agreed in July to the creation of the new state of Telangana by splitting Andhra Pradesh, a move critics said would fuel separatist campaigns.

India has been racked by separatist conflicts since its independence in 1947, most notably in Kashmir and the remote northeast region.


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