Showing posts with label Gorkhaland Demand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gorkhaland Demand. Show all posts

Lathi charge in Darjeeling on Statehood procession

4:27 PM

At around 10 am, a huge GJM procession chanting slogans against the state government and demanding separate Gorkhaland marched towards Chowkbazar area. The police chased lathi charged and dispersed the crowd.

Senior police officers like Jawed Shamim, Siddinath Gupta, who are members of the three-member committee set up by the government in Darjeeling, were seen with huge police contingents in various parts of the hill.

The GJM leadership has, however, accused the police of resorting to unprovoked lathi-charge on the GJM procession.

“The police resorted to unprovoked lathi charge on a peaceful rally. The more they use force against us, the more intense will be the struggle for a separate Gorkhaland state,” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told PTI.

Netaji's grand nephew Chandra Kumar Bose Supports Gorkhaland

11:04 AM

GORKHALAND: Netaji's grand nephew Chandra Kumar Bose Extends His Support to Gorkhaland

In what may come as a shot in the arm to the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) at a time when the party is being cornered by the Mamata Banerjee-govt, Chandra Kumar Bose, the grand nephew of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, has come out in open support of Gorkhaland, expressing his views on the issue perhaps for the first time. In a series of tweets, Chandra Bose articulated and defended the demand for #Gorkhaland as "an issue of respect and identity of the Gorkhas" which the state govt had "betrayed".

Recalling the contribution of the Gorkhas to the freedom struggle of the country and their unwavering support to Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, Chandra Bose asserted that "Gorkhas must get their respect & identity - they participated in the freedom struggle with Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.... People of the hills gave full support to Netaji as they got respect. It's time we give that honour once again. Jai Hind!

It is important to note that Chandra Kumar Bose, who joined BJP last year and was seen as its Chief Ministerial candidate in the run upto the last assembly election of the state, is the Vice-President of the West Bengal BJP unit and his open support to Gorkhaland could pacify the dissenting voices in the Bengal unit of the organisation as well as lend voice and support to the Gorkhaland lobby within the BJP.

Demand for Gorkhaland based on historical arguments, people’s voice should be dispassionately heard

8:00 AM

Demand for Gorkhaland based on historical arguments, people’s voice should be dispassionately heard

Writes: Sadhan Mukherjee*

Thousands of tourists are stuck in Darjeeling as all routes to that tourist spot including the Toy Train are closed. Special flights are being arranged but how to reach the nearest airport at Bagdogra when all roads are closed? From today (12 June) an indefinite bandh of government offices has been called.

Quite a big number of forces have been deployed by the state government. But violence has already begun in some places like in Bijonbari and Sukna.

The present flare up was occasioned by the introduction of Bengali as compulsory language by the state government. To this has now been added the old demand for Gorkhaland. After the Gorkha National National Liberation Front (GNLF) carried on its agitation for an independent Gorkhaland (1986-1988), a settlement in 1988 was arrived at with the Indian authorities.

The GNLF was split after the settlement and after the death of GNLF chief Subhas Ghising in 2015, it became weak. The demand for separate Gorkhaland was resurrected by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Bimal Gurung in 2007 and is continuing.

Obviously, the 1988 agreement did not work and the development work to be undertaken in the hilly areas was not satisfactory. But actually behind the slogan of lack of development work is the old demand for a distinct state, not just an adjunct administration under West Bengal.

It is British imperialism that is essentially responsible for creating all sorts of divisions in the subcontinent as it was convenient for them to divide and rule. The Indian government initially followed the British style of administration but the movements in states forced them to redraw the maps of existing states. There is a long history behind the reorganisation of states in the Indian Union.

The history of this subcontinent is a history of twisted developments. The Gorkhas had invaded Sikkim dominion of Chogyal around 1780 when they captured most part of Sikkim state including Darjeeling and Siliguri. For 35 years they ruled but lost these areas after the British-Nepal war. Nepal was forced to cede its territory from Teesta region to Sutlej in 1816. In 1817 the British East India Company reinstated the Chogyal and restored most of the land he previously ruled.

The British gave Darjeeling to Sikkim but in 1835 took it back since it was to start tea plantation in that area on a large scale.

No one today really talks about 1780 but only from 1835.

Similar things were also done with Bhutan which was given the Bengal Dooars area, previously under the Raja of Cooch Behar, while in return Bhutan gave Kalimpong to British. Like British arrangement, the external relations of Bhutan are now guided on the advice of India.

The British made Darjeeling a “Non-Regulated Area” which meant that rules and regulations of British Raj did not automatically apply to the district. It was then changed to a “Scheduled District” and again to “Backward Tracts” and finally to “Partially Excluded Area” until the independence of India. A lot of mess thus was left over by the British.

The Lepchas actually were the original inhabitants of the area and they were engaged in zhoom (shifting) cultivation. But they were small in number. This is the pretext that is put forward to say that Gorkhas were outsiders. In 1865 the British started tea cultivation and soon built a narrow gauge railway to Darjeeling. Many people came to work in the plantations and settled down and among them were many Gorkha labourers. They were then all British subjects.

But after independence in 1947 India entered into a treaty with Nepal in 1950 offering reciprocal privileges of residence, ownership of properties, participation in trade and commerce, as well as movement. It also made a Gorkha’s Indian citizenship a reciprocal one, and thereby they lost their Indian identity.

The Gorkhaland demand is based on the linguistic difference of the people of Darjeeling hill areas as well as the people of Indian Gorkha origin. Historically, Darjeeling was not a part of Bengal and when states were reorganised, this demand for a Gorkhaland was not taken into account. But the demand existed from 1907 when a memorandum was submitted to the Minto-Morley reforms committee for a separate administrative set up. It was raised before the Simon Commission in 1930 again, and reiterated in 1941.

Even the undivided Communist Party of India submitted a memorandum to the Constituent Assembly demanding the formation of a Gorkhastan comprising Darjeeling district, Sikkim and Nepal. This was raised again in 1952 by Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League and in 1980 by Pranta Parishad demanding separation from Bengal.

In 1986, Gorkha National Liberation Front took over the demand of separate Gorkhaland and the movement became violent. In 1988 an agreement was arrived at for a semi-autonomous body called Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) to govern certain areas of Darjeeling district. This was not very satisfying to the Gorkha people and the agitation was revived for a separate state in 2007 led by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and in 2011 a new agreement was arrived at on Gorkhaland Territorial Administration replacing the DGHC.

Some fuel to the demand for Gorkhaland was added by the BJP which before the 2009 elections announced its policy to have smaller states and supported the formation of Telangana and Gorkhaland. BJP candidate Jaswant Singh won the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat backed by GJM. The same year top BJP leaders Rajiv Prasad Rudy, Sushma Swaraj and Jaswant Singh pleaded for a Gorkhaland in Parliament during 2009 budget session. In the next general election, S S Aluwalia of BJP won with GJM support.

Meanwhile in 2010 leader of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League Madan Tamang was murdered and the West Bengal Government threatened to take strong action against GJM. In 2011, three GJM activists were shot dead. There was a spontaneous shutdown of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong distrocts.

The GJM undertook a padayatra which led to violence in Darjeeling district and an indefinite strike was called by GJM which lasted for 9 days. In the 2011 state elections, three GJM candidates won from Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseaong distrct and a fourth one, an independent supported by GJM won from Kalchini in Dooars.

In July 2011 another Memorandum of Agreement was signed for a Gorkhaland Territorial Administration GTA). During the election campaign that year, Mamata Banerjee had implied that this would end the Gorkhaland agitation while Bimal Gurung felt it was another step towards statehood. A bill for creation of GTA was passed in the West Bengal state Assembly.

In the July 2012 elections for GTA, GJM candidates won from 17 constituencies and the rest 28 seats were won unopposed.

But in July 2013 Bimal Gurung complained of too much interference by West Bengal government and resigned.

Gorkhaland agitation was renewed. The same year Congress recommended formation of separate Telengana state. This further intensified the demand for Gorkhaland and a separate Bodoland in Assam.

To press for its demand, GJM called for a 3-day bandh followed by an indefinite bandh from 3 August. Meanwhile the Calcutta High Court declared the bandh illegal. West Bengal government then sent paramilitary forces to Darjeeling and arrested prominent GJM leaders.

In reply GJM went for a unique form of protest in which people voluntarily stayed at home and did not come out. This was a great success. After an all-party meeting, it was resolved to continue the movement and exercise bandh under different names.

It is clear that this demand for a Gorkhaland is based on some historical arguments and does not seem directed against West Bengal or the Bengalis as such. The fact is that more than 80% people in Darjeeling district speak Nepali.

So its distinct character is not under dispute. Telengana is now a separate state from Andhra Pradesh where another form of Telegu and Urdu are spoken than that of Andhra Pradesh. The demand for separate states of Vidarbh, Bundelkahand and similar areas are also simmering. The moot point is should the people’s voice be heard dispassionately or not.

This also raises another allied important question if there should be another ‘states reorganisation’ based on more rational principles. Bihar has been reorganised with some areas going to West Bengal and the southern part to Jharkhand. Uttarakhand has also been formed. So is Telangana.

The Uttar Pradesh State Assembly has already passed a unanimous resolution in 2011 recommending division of Uttar Pradesh into four states, The central government has not agreed to it and its resolution continues to hang fire.

Meanwhile, Darjeeling areas are sitting on top of a volcano.
*Veteran journalist [Via:]

GJMM BANDH CALL:-Section 144 imposed

3:31 PM

-GJMM has asked tourists to leave Darjeeling and warned those who stay on during its attempted lockdown of administrative offices

-Section 144 has been imposed in some areas, particularly around District Magistrate's office, treasury building and court

Section 144 has been imposed in some areas, particularly around District Magistrate's office, treasury building and court. Second 144 was in place in some parts of the Hills ever since trouble started but the enforcement has actually begun since Monday.

The areas, where important government offices are located have been put under heavy security cover.

Toy train services - a major attraction for the tourists - have been suspended but schools and colleges are open. Traffic was reported to be thin in Darjeeling city as many people chose to stay home fearing violence.

GJM supporters reportedly set ablaze a PWD office near Government college. The flames were doused by fire services personnel, but the building suffered extensive damage. The culprits soon fled the spot. No arrests have been made yet.

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters have torched a Block Development Office in Bajanbari , ADG Darjeeling, Siddhinath Gupta, said the situation has been brought under control, and three people have been arrested in this connection.

[Pics: PWD office near Government College. The flames were doused by fire services personnel, but the building suffered extensive damage. The culprits soon fled the spot. No arrests have been made yet.] [Via: various sources]

Darjeeling Crisis - Who should be blamed?

10:45 AM

PERSPECTIVE: Who should be blamed?

Writes: Norbu Bhutia Angu

Blaming CM Smt. Mamta Bannerjee is fair for the unrest in the hills but it's unfair to over look the contribution of our leaders towards the cause too? I am not affiliated to any party in the hills. As all Gorkhas even I want a separate state and a identity. But at what cost???? Absolutely not by stepping over the corpses of my people and over the corpses of our security personnel who are one of us just performing their duties.

It's understandable why people are resonating. But the actual reason for resonating is within our family. Why did we accepted different boards? How did TMC formed a board in Mirik? Why there were independent candidates contesting elections. All this would not have taken place if the ruling party and the leaders were committed towards the cause which they have once stood for and stayed committed towards it.

I think it's foolish and absurd just to blame Mamta for all the unrest and commotion because at the end of the day deep beneath our heart we know that we have been betrayed by our own leaders whom we have trusted and entrusted with all devotion n support,for a dream that was never so far only if our leaders were committed. Our dream our aspirations our Gorkhaland.

Via TheDC

Education strike in Darjeeling to protest linguistic imperialism

10:27 AM


Writes: Vivek Chhetri

Bimal Gurung yesterday called a two-day education strike in the hills this week and a series of marches during the chief minister's impending visit to protest the state government's move to make Bengali a compulsory subject at schools.

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president announced the agitation at a session convened by the party with Nepali literary figures, college professors, representatives of educational institutions in the hills and social organisations like Gorkha Dukha Niwarak Sammelan, teachers and other apolitical people here.

"The government is trying to force a language on us and its not acceptable. We will protest the move vehemently and I will personally take to the streets. We will request the closure of all educational institutions in the hills on June 1 and 2. I am hearing that they (Mamata Banerjee) will be coming to Darjeeling on June 4 and during this period, we will show our resentment by holding marches with black flags across the hills from June 4 to 8 (during chief minister's entire stay in the hills)," Gurung told the gathering at Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan.

The protest against the Mamata government's decision to make the learning of Bengali compulsory at schools across the state seems to be moving out of the realms of political domain. Representatives of top schools in the hills, like St Paul's School and St Joseph's School (North Point), were preset at the meeting called by the Morcha.

Before Gurung had announced the strike, the gathering called upon him to start a strong movement on the matter.

In the hills, most students have English as their first language and Nepali as the second language. Making Bengali compulsory would mean that there would be no choice left and it would be a tall task for educational institutions in the hills to find teachers for Bengali language.

Gurung said he would participate in the marches from June 4 onwards in Darjeeling. In the hill town, the procession will be taken out from Ghoom to Darjeeling town, a distance of 8km.

He has called for similar marches across the hills and the Dooars and the Terai as well. "If the need arises, we might even call a general strike in the days to come," said Gurung.

Language has been a major issue in the hills, which had agitated for almost three decades for the recognition of Nepali in the Eight Schedule of the Constitution. Nepali was listed in the Constitution in 1992.

The Bengal government had recognised Nepali as an official language for the hills in 1961.

Jiwan Namdung, a Sahitya Academy award winner, said at the meeting that "making Bengali compulsory is wrong and unacceptable".

"Since the government is looking at making Bengali mandatory in the hills, can they reciprocate by making Nepali compulsory in the plains, too? We salute their decision to safeguard their language but they have to address our concerns, too," he said.

Prem Pradhan, also a Sahitya Academy award holder, spoke on similar lines and said the decision could be a sinister ploy to "suppress the Gorkhaland demand".

Bishal Thapa, the secretary of the Hill College Professors' Association, said: "While Bengali language is being made mandatory, provisions have not yet been made to make Nepali literature an option in the state civil services examinations. In State Eligibility Test, Nepali is not a language in which one can sit for the examination. There is a political motive behind the move to make Bengali compulsory."

Political observers believe if the state government does go ahead with the language decision, it might have to face widespread backlash given the sentiments attached to the language in the hills.

Gurung said: "Such giants of the society are with me today, not to support the Morcha but to stand by the community. I request all other parties to participate in the protest setting aside all political differences."

[Via: Telegraph]

Why has the demand for Gorkhaland returned to Darjeeling?

9:52 AM
Why has the demand for Gorkhaland returned to Darjeeling?

Written by Aniruddha Ghosal

The demand for a seperate Gorkha state is an issue that since its first origins in the 1970s has dictated politics in the hills.

September 28, 2016  In 2009, Mamata Banerjee’s proximity to Bimal Gurung was a cause of great concern for the Left. At the time, Gurung-led GJM had perfected the bandh-boycott movement in their Gorkhaland movement – indefinite shutdowns, boycotting government taxes, telephone, electricity bills, blocking national highways to paralysing panchayats. As a 12-hour bandh returns to Darjeeling, it is apparent that while a lot has changed since 2009 – some things haven’t.

Prime among them is the sheer fervor of the Gorkhaland demand – a fervor that Bimal Gurung, now on the back foot hopes will provide him enough ammo to combat friend-turned-foe Mamata Banerjee as she continues her tactic of dividing the hills, combining development with the creation of different boards. Meanwhile, Darjeeling waits, anxiously.
demand for Gorkhaland
Demand for Gorkhaland a file Photo

Bimal Gurung and Gorkhaland, today
On the face of it, the 2016 Assembly elections were a victory for Bimal Gurung. But the party’s performance – particularly in Kalimpong, which had historically been Gurung’s political backyard – have left the party worried. Even more worrying is the string of senior party leaders fleeing ship and joining the Trinamool Congress, including GTA chairman Pradeep Pradhan, joining the TMC. Unsurprisingly Gurung relaunched the Gorkhaland demand, while simultaneously filing a plea in the Supreme Court challenging the West Bengal government’s refusal to transfer administrative power and various subjects to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, in spite of a tripartite agreement that was reached within the state and union governments in 2011.

Gurung’s dominance of politics in Darjeeling began in 2007, with him emerging as the voice for the demand for a seperate Gorkha state, the issue that since its first origins in the 1970s has dictated politics in the hills. The movement had seen its most violent phase between 1986-88 when Subhash Ghishing’s Gorkha National Liberation Front lead the movement, until his lieutenant Gurung began his own party with the GJM in 2007. Journalist and long time observer Romit Bagchi, in his book, “Gorkhaland: Crisis of Statehood” points out that the “singular quality” that allowed Gurung to replace Ghising’s leadership was “his invincible loyalty to the paramount cause of the community” – the demand for statehood. Writing in 2009, Bagchi predicts that “people would not accept a mellowed Bimal Gurung who speaks the voice of reason and restraint”.

His opposition believes that Gurung’s popularity has been waning, with many believing that he fell into the very trap of “reason and restraint” while joining hands with the Trinamool. Now, Gurung knows that he’s cornered by Trinamool Congress – who has begun a tactic of ‘divide and rule’ – that has left him virtually alone. His decision to relaunch the Gorkhaland protest – with bandhs and boycoots – is not just a case of ensuring political relevance, but also a return to the form of politics that he is most familiar with.

Mamata Banerjee’s tactics
Meanwhile Mamata Banerjee’s politics, of divide-and-rule combined with the unwavering rhetoric of development (which the opposition alleges is just that, rhetoric) has allowed her to make inroads into the hills. On October 2009, Mamata Banerjee – the then rail minister – flagged off the long awaited New Jalpaiguri-Digha Weekly Express and said that the railway link between Darjeeling hills and the sea would usher in a “new era” with “enormous possibilities” and “fresh employment opportunities”. In the past six years, none of this has changed. In her last speech in Kalimpong, Banerjee announced the government’s decision to accord Kalimpong seperate district status, a longstanding demand of the area while once again launching into a speech laden with the rhetoric of development. A slew of new announcements and projects, along with the customary call for “peace” – Banerjee’s politics seems unchanged.

But in the run up to the 2016 elections, Banerjee started announcing the creation of development boards for different communities living in Darjeeling – the Lepcha Development Board and the Tamang Development Board. This apart from the GTA which is responsible for governing the whole of Darjeeling district. While the Gorkhas remain the dominant community here, the Lepchas, Limpus, Tamangs, Bhutias, Rais, Dukpas, Sherpas, and Tibetans also form a sizeable population. In the speech at Kalimpong, Banerjee announced, “More boards will be announced”

Via indianexpress

GJM youth front to spread awareness about Gorkhaland statehood demand

8:52 AM
Darjeeling 10 Aug 2016 After the central committee of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha rendered clarifications on its party president’s recent statement calling for an armed struggle, its youth front today  said a rally will be held on Thursday to spread awareness about the statehood demand.

Talking to reporters, Anil Rasaily, the Gorkha Janmukti Yuwa Morcha (GJYM) president from Tukvar constituency, said, “People are talking about the issue of Gorkhaland demand being diluted and forgotten. But we the youth want to send a message through tomorrow’s rally that the issue is still burning within us and that we will continue to strive towards achieving our dream."

Speaking at a meeting in Darjeeling last Sunday, GJM president Bimal Gurung reminded the gathering of the 1986 agitation and said the youths should talk about “khukuri” and arms. The GJM leadership  however, clarified the very next day that the party president’s statement was misconstrued. On Monday, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri and assistant secretary Binay Tamang said in a press meet that the party believed in “boudhik” (intellectual) agitation in pursuing the statehood demand.

The statement was reiterated today by the GJYM. “Our struggle for a separate state will be an intellectual one. We want the youths to be aware of this fact and work accordingly towards our goal,” said Rasaily. Tilak Chhetri, the GJM town committee president, said youth activists were one-track when it came to the statehood demand. “We (youths) will remain sincere towards the statehood demand come what may. Lots of things have happened and are happening in the hills at present. But we never gave our consent to any kind of arrangements,” he said in reference to the party accepting the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration to end four years of agitation and the recent activities of other political parties.

In fact, the youth leader appealed to all political parties of the hills to support the GJM in achieving a separate state. “Why only judge and speak against us? If the political parties here are really sincere, they should join hands for the statehood demand,” Chhetri said, adding the youth front would continue to organise political activities in the future for the statehood demand.

Tomorrow’s rally will start from Tukvar, encompass the constituencies of Tukvar, Pandam-Phoobshering, Lebong-Badamtam and Sadar I and II, and culminate at Chowk Bazar in the heart of town  where a street meeting will be held. Youths from the town will join the rally in the Motor Stand area. 


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