Showing posts with label gjm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gjm. Show all posts

गोजमुमोको अध्यक्ष आफू नै रहेको विमल गुरूङको दावी 2018 मा पनि गोजमुमो भाजपाकै घटक दल रहनेछ- विमल

7:45 PM
प्रतिविम्ब न्यूज दार्जीलिङ 25 मार्च।
भूमिगत गोजमुमो पूर्व अध्यक्ष विमल गुरूङले आजसम्म पनि आफू नै पार्टीको अध्यक्ष रहेको र गोजमुमो अझैसम्म पनि भाजपाको घटक संगठन नै रहेको पनि दावी गर्दै एउटा भीडियो जारी गरेका छन्।

हिन्दी भाषामा जारी गरिएको लगभग 3 मिनटको भीडियोको शुरूआतमा भूमिगत नेता विमल गुरूङले समग्र देशवासी तथा भाजपा अनि एनडीएलाई राम नवमीको शुभकामना व्यक्त गरेका छन् भने त्यसपछि गोजमुमोका वर्तमान महासचिव एवं जीटीए, बोर्ड अफ एडमिनिस्ट्रेटर्सका उपाध्यक्ष अनित थापाले हिजो एउटा समाचार पत्रमा दिएको बयानको खण्डन गर्दै अनित थापालाई जीटीएको कर्मचारीमात्रै रहेको पनि बताएका छन्। उनले उक्त भीडियोमा भनेका छन्- पार्टीको संस्थापक अध्यक्ष भएको नाताले म यो प्रेस विज्ञप्ति दिइरहेको छु।किनभने उसलाई जीटीएको कर्मचारी भएको नाताले यस्तो प्रेस विज्ञप्ति दिनु हुने थिएन।यसैले पार्टीको संस्थापक सदस्य हुनुको नाताले म उक्त वक्तव्यको खण्डन गर्न चाहन्छु।

स्मरण रहोस्, गोजमुमो महासचिव एवं जीटीए उपाध्यक्ष अनित थापाले हिजोमात्र एउटा समाचार पत्रमा भाजपाले धोका दिएको कारण हालमा भाजपासित गोजमुमोको कुनै सम्पर्क नरहेको बताएका थिए।थापाको सोही वक्तव्यको खण्डन गर्दै विमल गुरूङले आफूहरू 2007 सालदेखि नै एनडीएको साथमा रहेको र आगामी 2018 मा पनि भाजपाकै घटक सगंठन भएर बस्ने पनि गुरूङले दावी गरेका छन्।

जुन व्यक्तिले गैरजिम्मेवारीपूर्ण वक्तव्य अथवा प्रेस विज्ञप्ति दिएका छन् उसलाई कुनै अधिकार छैन किनभने उसलाई मैले 1 सेप्टेम्बर 2017 मा नै उसलाई पार्टीबाट निष्काषित गरिसकेको छु। यसैले उक्त व्यक्तिको गैरजिम्मेवारीपूर्ण भाषणमाथि भाजपा सरकारले विश्वास नगरिदिउन् भन्ने पनि म अपील गर्न चाहन्छु, गुरूङले भीडियो क्लिपमा यसो भनेका छन्।

आगामी दिनमा कसलाई समर्थन गर्नुपर्छ भन्ने आफुहरूको मनमा नै रहेको उल्लेख गर्दै गुरूङले पहाड़को जनता पनि आफ्नो साथमा रहेको दावी गरेका छन्।

फोटोः विमल गुरूङ (फाइल फोटो)

REALITY CHECK ON GJM’S SUPPORT WITHDRAWL FROM NDA ALLIANCE

6:36 PM
In another twist of events in already disturbed Darjeeling hill politics, Binoy Tamang, Chairman of West Bengal Government’s temporarily appointed GTA/Board of Administration, Darjeeling hills, announced GJMM’s withdrawal of support from BJP led NDA Alliance.

BJP had succeeded in winning West Bengal Darjeeling MP seat twice in 2009 and 2014 with the help of the then Gorkha JanMukti Morcha(GJMM) led by Bimal Gurung. However, the regional hill party has been on a roller coaster ride within the past one year. With Mamata Bannerjee led West Bengal Govt. forcing Bengali as a mandatory language in the hills, protest erupted and it turned into a Nationwide movement for Gorkhaland. With immense pressure and threat Gurung had to leave Darjeeling. Benefitting from his absence in the hills, Bengal Government succeeded in luring Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa and hence Binay, once Bimal Gurung’s right hand men, and his team backstabbed Gurung and joined hands with Trinamul Congress. They also had to face huge backlashes from public which still continues in the hills.

A statement released yesterday by GJMM(led by Bimal Gurung) has clarified that GJMM has been a constituent of the NDA since 2009, and will continue to remain the integral part of the NDA alliance. With all the twists and turns in the hill party, state seems hell bent on breaking Gorkha’s unity, however, public at large still support GJMM led by Bimal Gurung.

Binoy and his team are only seen as seasonal and temporary politicians intending to reap benefits out of the current situation in the hills by betraying the aspirations of the community in the name of development. It is reported that Binoy has managed to gain few local politicians and public support using state machinery and putting immense pressure on them.

“If GTA election is held now, Binoy or Anit will be thrown out” said an angry local Gorkhaland supporter. He is also alleged of distributing loads of cash to garner public support. “People will accept cash or food they distribute, but, we will never support Binoy and Anit because they have betrayed our community” said Sarad, a villager with grim face.“If Binoy or any of his men or TMC candidates contests MP Election, they will lose their deposit” said another person.

With GJMM divided into two fractions, public hurt and disheartened, it will be interesting to see how Long Binoy Tamang’s political career lasts.

Via Gorkha Voice

हामी जनतालाई भ्रष्टचारमुक्त शाषण दिनेछौँ – विनय तामाङ

9:23 AM

करोडपति ठेकादार ‘ब्ल्याक लिस्ट’ मा समावेश

डी.के.वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ,  23 मार्च। ‘हामी जनतालाई भ्रष्टचारमुक्त शाषण दिनेछौँ’ उक्त कुरा जीटीए बोर्ड अफ् एडमिनिस्ट्रेसनका अध्यक्ष विनय तामाङले भनेका हुन्। यहाँको डा. ग्राह्मस होम्स स्थित दुईवटा विकास कार्यहरूको उद्घाटन कार्यक्रमलाई सम्बोधन गर्दै तामाङले जीटीएलाई भ्रष्टचार मुक्त बनाउने दाबी गरेका हुन्। ‘हामीलाई विकास कार्यमा प्रतिशत खाँदैनौँ, तर जनतालाई गुणस्तरीय कार्य गरेर सुविधा दिनेछौँ’ विनय तामाङले भने। कार्यक्रमलाई सम्बोधन गर्ने क्रममा उनले जनतालाई विकास कार्यको सुविधा दिन अनि विकास कार्यलाई तिव्रता दिनका निम्ति कालेबुङ ईञ्जीनियरिङ विभागलाई फराकिलो पार्दै खण्डस्तरीय ईञ्जिनियरिङ विभाग स्थापना गर्ने जीटीए वोर्डको समिक्षा वैठकमा निर्णय लिएको पनि जानकारी दिएका छन्।

‘जीटीएले खण्डस्तरीय ईञ्जीनियरिङ विभाग गठन गर्नेछ। प्रत्येक खण्डमा विकास कार्यलाई तिव्रता दिन यसो गरिएको हो। यो कार्य आगामी महिनाको पहिलो तारिखदेखि लागु हुनेछ’ तामाङले अझ भने। उनले उक्त खण्ड स्तरीय विभागले प्रत्येक विकास कार्यहरूको साप्ताहिक समिक्षा रिपोर्ट जीटीएलाई पठाउनुपर्ने पनि निर्देश दिएका छन्।

यसक्रममा उनले विकास कार्यलाई तिव्रता दिएर जनतालाई छिटो सुविधा दिनका निम्ति ठेकादारहरूलाई पनि निर्धारित समय सिमाभित्र सबै कार्यहरू समाप्त गर्नुपर्ने निर्देश दिएका छन्। काम नगर्ने ठेकादारहरूलाई आफुहरूले कार्वाही सुरु गरेको भन्दै एकजना करोडपति ठेकादारलाई सही काम नगरेको कारण ‘ब्ल्याक लिस्ट’ मा समावेश गरिएको पनि जानकारी दिएका छन्। उनले डेलोमा सम्पन्न जीटीएको समिक्षा वैठकमा विभिन्न कार्यहरूको समिक्षा भएको जानकारी दिँदै आगामी वर्षहरूमा हुने कार्यहरूको खाका तयारी गर्ने कार्य गरेको पनि जानकारी दिएका छन्।

तामाङले आज डा. ग्राह्मस होम्स परिसरमा निर्माण गरिएको प्राथमिक स्वास्थ्य केन्द्र अनि स्व. मङ्गलसिंह राजपुत स्मृति सामुदायिक भवनको उद्घाटन गरेका छन्। जीटीए अधिनस्थ रहेको स्वास्थ्य एवम् परिवार कल्याण विभागद्वारा मोठ 12 लाख 77 हजार 8 सय 57 रूपियाँको लागतमा प्राथमिक स्वास्थ्य केन्द्रको निर्मण गरिएको छ भने कालेबुङ अभियन्ता विभागद्वारा 1 करोड 60 लाखको लागतमा सामुदायिक भवन निर्माण गरिएको छ।

दुवैवटा विकास कार्यहरूको जीटीए अध्यक्ष विनय तामाङले रिबन काटेर उद्घाटन गरेका हुन्। यसक्रममा उनले अहिलेघरी प्रत्येक दिननै प्रत्येक ठाउँमा जनताको विकास कार्यहरूको सुविधा उपभोग गर्न पाइरहेको दाबी पनि गरेका छन्। उक्त उद्घाटन समारोहमा जीटीए उपाध्यक्ष अनित थापा, कार्यकारी सदस्य सञ्चवीर सुब्बा, मुख्य सचिव सुब्रतो विश्वास, सचिव सी. मुरुगण आदि समेत उपस्थित रहेका थिए।

Has BJP fallen out of favour with Gorkhas in Darjeeling?

2:52 PM

Writes: Arkamoy Dutta Majumdar [for LiveMint]

After enjoying its support for almost a decade, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may have fallen out of favour with the Gorkha community in West Bengal’s Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency.

Following the visit of S.S. Ahluwalia, the BJP’s current member of Parliament (MP_ from Darjeeling, two key Gorkha parties said over the weekend that the party had failed the Gorkha community.

Ahluwalia, who is visiting his constituency for the first time since last year’s unrest over the demand for Gorkhaland, said on Saturday that he would protect fugitive Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung from “extra-judicial” persecution, pledging support for him and his movement. But the statement drew a sharp reaction from the GJM faction opposed to Gurung.

Binoy Tamang, the rebel GJM leader who is now in control of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, said it was “surprising” that Ahluwalia had committed to protect Gurung, a fugitive leader facing sedition charges, whereas he did nothing to fulfil the “long pending demands” of the community.

The BJP has “fooled” the Gorkhas twice to get elected to the Lok Sabha from Darjeeling—in 2009 and 2014—but has given nothing in return, Tamang said, ruling out any possibility of allying with the BJP in the next general election.

Echoing him, Niraj Zimba, spokesperson for Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), said that the BJP had not fulfilled its promises to the community, but didn’t immediately rule out the possibility of backing it going forward.

Tamang has worked for Ahluwalia ahead of the 2014 general election, Zimba said, adding that his stand has now changed because he is himself fighting for survival. Asked about future alliance, Zimba said the GNLF will back any national party that supports its demand for greater autonomy under the sixth schedule of the Indian Constitution.

Since 1957, when the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency was created, the Gorkhas have almost always voted for a national party. For three consecutive terms till 2004, they even voted for the Communist Party of India (Marxist). In 2004, they elected a Congress candidate before allying with the BJP in the past two general elections.

Also, until now, the community has almost always been led by one dominant local party. But that is changing: amid shifting sands, the GNLF is staging a comeback following the division within the GJM. The GJM had a complete stranglehold on Darjeeling’s politics for a decade until the violent agitation last year split the party between Gurung and Tamang.

Following the 104-day strike, a lot of Gorkhas who had started to lean towards the Trinamool Congress joined GNLF, said key district officials, who asked not to be named.

A large number of GJM supporters too have quietly shifted allegiance to the GNLF, giving up on both Tamang and Gurung, they added.

“It is not immediately clear how the community will vote in the next general election, but there is no doubt that the BJP has to deliver something substantive during the current term to earn the trust of this constituency,” one of the officials said.

[Via: Live Mint, originally posted at: http://bit.ly/2FZdaXS]

बिमल गुरूङ एक ब्यक्ति मात्र होइन, गोर्खाहरूका प्रतिक हुन

12:34 PM

*बिमल गुरूङ एक ब्यक्ति मात्र होइन। विश्वभरी छरिएर बसेका गोर्खाहरूका प्रतिक हुन।

*आँफ्नै जन्मभूमि भारतमा विदेशीको लाल्छना सहदै भारत भरी छरिएर बसेका डेर कडोर गोर्खाहरूका आशा हुन् बिमल गुरूङ।

*गोर्खाल्याण्ड आन्दोलनमा कसैले आँफ्ना छोरा, कसैले आँफ्ना आमा, कसैले आँफ्ना परिवारका कुनै पनी हिस्सा गुमाएका छन् भने तिँ सहिदका परिवारका लागी बल, आत्मबल हुन बिमल गुरूङ।

*गोर्खा जातिलाई टुक्रा-टुक्रामा विभाजित गरेर, विभिन्न सड्यन्त्र र दमन निती अपनाएर गोर्खाल्याण्डलाई सधैंको निम्ती दबाउन खोज्ने बैरीहरूका लागी  गोर्खाल्याण्ड हुन्छैहुन्छ भन्ने गहिरो विश्वास हुन् विमल गुरूङ।

*गोर्खाले हारेको इतिहास छैन, गोर्खा कहिले झुकेको इतिहास छैन। भारत देशको गनतन्त्र र आचार सहिंतालाई सिरोपर गरेर सम्विधानको धारा 3क अनुसार भारत देशको 30औं राज्यको रूपमा  गोर्खाल्याण्डको मानचित्र कोरेरै छोड्छौं भन्ने एउटा दृड् संकल्प हुन बिमल गुरूङ।

*आँफ्नो जातिलाई लाल्छना लाग्दा, मात्री भाषाको जिब्रो काटिन लाग्दा, आँफ्नो घुरेन समेत लिलाम हुन लाग्दा सडकमा उत्रेर सरकारलाई लाखेस भन्दै सदैव विक्षोभ गर्ने जन्ताका आवाज हुन विमल गुरूङ।

* गोर्खाल्याण्ड हिज भएन, गोर्खाल्याण्ड आज भएन तर छिटो होस वा ढिलो आँफ्नो खुन पसिना बगाएर, घर-बार आफ्नो परिवार सबैकुरो त्यागेर भए पनी बगांलको औपनिवेशिक साशन बाट गोर्खाहरूलाई उन्मुक्ति दिलाएर छोड्ने। त्यसको लागी जगंलमा पत्करको उछ्यानमा किन सुत्नु नपरोस, त्यसका लागी खोलामा ढुगांको सिरानी लाएर सुत्न किन नपरोस।  आधा पेट किन खानु नपरोस आँफ्नो सरिरमा एक मुट्ठी स्वाँस रहुन्जेल सघंर्ष गरिनै रहने छु भन्ने एउटा लामो तपश्या हुन विमल गुरूङ।

एक गोर्खाल्याण्ड प्रेमी

Bimal Gurung's career finished - Anit Thapa

7:17 AM
‘His career finished… impossible for Bimal Gurung to make comeback’ - Anit Thapa

The political career of Bimal Gurung, leader of one faction of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), seems to be hanging in the balance in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict as there are now very few straws left for him to clutch at — he either has to return to Darjeeling and surrender before the police or continue hiding. Several GJM leaders, once loyal to Gurung, allegedly made calls to the rival GJM faction led by its president Binay Tamang, expressing their wish to join the fold. The rival faction is now commonly called the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Binay Tamang) camp.

General secretary of the rival faction Anit Thapa said that he has been receiving calls from GJM leaders and cadres in Gurung faction after the verdict. “We have been receiving calls the whole day. I won’t take any names, but some of the calls we have received are from some big GJM leaders. They now want to join us. We have decided to induct all the leaders and GJM cadres who want to join this faction. At the end of the day, this is the same party, just with different thought process and leaders. They had supported Bimal Gurung all this while, it was an emotional connect, and we understand their feelings,’’ he said. Thapa added that the people have, over the past few months, been turning more towards their faction as the only alternative that could fulfil their dreams of a separate Gorkhaland. “This verdict has swayed the situation in our favour. The sympathisers they (Gurung and his group) had among the public, too, now have no option. This works to our benefit and is good news for us,’’ he said.

Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) spokesperson Neeraj Zimba said that for all practical purposes, Gurung is finished in the Hills. “Legally, there is only one option left for him now. To return to Darjeeling, surrender before the police and face trials for all the cases lodged against him or continue to remain underground. There are so many cases against him that politically I think it is impossible for him to make a comeback. Bimal Gurung may be synonymous with the GJM, but he is not synonymous with the Gorkhaland movement, which is a people’s movement. The ground reality is that Gurung’s supporters and sympathisers are few at this point in time. Even during the agitation, he was physically absent,’’ said Zimba.

Talking about the Gorkhaland agitation, Zimba said the Supreme Court verdict has taken the wind out of the movement’s sails. “At this present moment, as things stand, a separate Gorkhaland state does not seem possible. But, we are still looking for a viable political solution to the problem of Darjeeling,’’ he said.

The verdict is a shot in the arm for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who did not react to it. It has unequivocally placed her in the strongest position in north Bengal. Mamata’s main rival in the Hills, the GJM, has irrevocably split and she has placed Binay Tamang at its helm.

For the BJP, which has been slowly making inroads into the state’s political space, the verdict is a spoiler. “S S Ahluwalia (BJP’s Darjeeling MP) had extended his full support to Gurung. We will have to see what political stand he will take in the Hills after this. The verdict also most definitely affects the BJP’s chances in the Hills as Gurung’s GJM was their main ally. A vacuum has been created and other players will come to the fore now,’’ said Zimba. The climb-down for the Hill parties has been so rapid that none of them are even now demanding a tripartite dialogue with the state and the Centre any longer, he said. “There are bipartite talks now. There will no longer be tripartite talks,’’ added Zimba, whose own party had been demanding the involvement of the Centre along with the other political parties.

Political analysts in the Hills opined that the verdict has thrown the people “into a great deal of uncertainty”.

“Everything will now depend on how the Centre plays its cards. Will they continue to back Gurung? Or will they give him up? If they do give him up and not support the cause of Gorkhaland, there will be no sympathy left for the BJP in the Hills. This will not only affect the districts of the Darjeeling Hills but its implications will be seen across Jalpaiguri all the way to Cooch Behar, where the BJP has been making inroads,’’ said analyst and Darjeeling resident Upendra Pradhan.

Pradhan added that the vacuum in the Darjeeling hills was also due to the fact that the Binay Tamang faction did not really command huge support from the locals. “The faction is seen as being installed by the state government. The reality here is that nobody likes the TMC or anybody who is seen hobnobbing with the Bengal government. Having said that, the 15 development boards set up by Mamata Banerjee is now likely to work in her favour more than ever unless the BJP makes the right moves,’’ said Pradhan.

[Via: Indian Express]

Bimal Gurung May be arrested any time soon

BREAKING :- Bimal Gurung May be arrested any time soon ...
Supreme Court dismisses Bimal Gurung’s plea to transfer cases outside West Bengal - The court also lifted the stay on his arrest.
The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Bimal Gurung’s petition to transfer the cases against him outside West Bengal, and lifted the stay on his arrest, PTI reported. “It cannot be said to be a case of individual persecution by state,” the court observed.
Setback for Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader BimalGurung: BimalGurung may be arrested anytime as SC lifts protection from arrest. Court also dismisses his plea to transfer his cases outside West Bengal.
"No case of individual persecution", says SC.
The court’s decision comes as a big boost to the West Bengal government, which has been seeking Gurung’s arrest since violence broke out in Darjeeling in June after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced her decision to make Bengali compulsory in state-run schools. Though Banerjee had said that hill districts will be exempted from the rule, the GJM began an agitation that soon turned into a revival of the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.
Soon after, Gurung and a few of his aides went into hiding as the police had filed cases against them under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The party too split after the Gurung-led faction insisted on continuing the shutdown in the hills, which crippled life in the region for months.
In January, Gurung told reporters in New Delhi that he was ready for talks with Mamata Banerjee and that his party was willing to negotiate and resolve the standoff with the state government and take the discussion on Gorkha identity forward.
Via TheDC

Darjeeling hill parties unite to demand Gorkhaland

8:43 PM

The crisis in Darjeeling seemed to deepen with the all-party meeting called by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders on Tuesday afternoon ending a unanimous decision to fight for a separate state of Gorkhaland that was a direct challenge to chief minister Mamata Banerjee who has vowed not to allow a split of Bengal.

The five political parties and an apolitical body that attended the meeting were -- GJM, Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), Gorkhaland Rajya Nirman Morcha, Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (apolitical), Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists and BJP. The meeting started at 1:30 pm and went on till 4 pm.

Though two parties -- All India Gorkha League (AIGL) and Jan Andolan Party (JAP) -- did not attend, their leaders expressed their support for a separate state.

“We have unanimously decided to fight for Gorkhaland,” said GJM general secretary Roshan Giri. R P Waiba, the vice-president of GJM chaired the meeting in absence of Morcha president Bimal Gurung.

Suman Sharma, assistant secretary of the BJP Hill district committee, was present in the meeting. “I signed the resolution supporting Gorkhaland,” he told HT. BJP Hill Committee president, Manoj Dewan, told HT that he deputed Sharma to attend the meeting.

For ruling Trinamool Congress, the decision of the all-party meeting signals a setback. GNLF, its ally in the recently concluded civic elections that helped it to post a victory in Mirik municipality -- the first by a party from the plains in decades -- clearly voted for a separate state. “Trinamool Congress was our electoral ally and not an ideological ally. It was in a different context. This is politics, the art of the possible,” Niraj Zimba, the spokesperson of GNLF, who was present at the meeting told the media.

Via HT

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.

GJM gets 72 hrs deadline to end the stir from Mamata Banerjee

7:11 PM

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha leaders Saturday to withdraw the call for an indefinite bandh. An aggressive Mamata said: “Enough is enough. For eight days,we have tolerated the strike. But now,I declare the strike unconstitutional as the Calcutta High Court has done. I am rough and tough. The bandh has to end,” she said.

The ultimatum was a clear warning to the GJM leadership that they should either fall in line or be ready for arrests. Mamata Banerjee’s harsh words turned the heat on in the Hills. GJM Chief Bimal Gurung,who has already resigned from the Gorkha Territorial Administration,responded instantly saying they were ready to take on the challenge.

“Mamata Banerjee is threatening to break the spontaneous agitation in the Hills for a separate Gorkhaland state. Banerjee would have to withdraw the ultimatum or else the Hills will respond with a Janata curfew. Now you see millions on the streets demanding Gorkhaland. Once the Janata curfew comes in force,not a soul will step out of their homes. The streets will be deserted if she tries to break the bandh with the help of police and by force.”

The Darjeeling Hills have been under an indefinite strike since August 3 with sporadic violence erupting in different parts of the hills. Tourists have been turned out of the hill town while all schools and colleges are shut. Tea gardens,though exempted,are suffering as the produce is not being despatched due to lack of transport.

The CM,however,clearly indicated that her administration will not hesitate to arrest the GJM top leadership after the 72-hour deadline.

“There are scores of criminal cases pending against all and every possible constitutional action will be taken to break the abnormal situation in the hills,” Banerjee said. Mamata also warned the Centre against any kind of interference in the matter. “For one LS seat,no one has the right to play a divide and rule game. Let us act together in the matter of Darjeeling,” she appealed

Bengal’s Successive Rulers Responsible For Darjeeling’s Recurring Distress

9:03 AM

Writes: Jaideep Mazumdar

Successive regimes in Bengal have very loudly asserted the state’s claims over the 3,150 square kilometres of mountainous terrain popularly called the Darjeeling hills every time the demand for Gorkhaland reverberates through the hills. But such loud assertions have done little except further alienate the Nepali-speaking residents of the under-developed hills steeped in poverty and neglect. And successive rulers of Bengal have shown a remarkable insensitivity towards, and lack of understanding of, the aspirations, sentiments and needs of the simple folks of the hills.

It is this insensitivity and lack of understanding – further accentuated now with grave provocation from an unthinking and whimsical Mamata Banerjee – that has led to the demands for Gorkhaland getting stronger in the hills. And Thursday’s violence (8 June) in Darjeeling is one more episode in the seemingly unending saga of unrest that the hills has convulsed in periodically over the past nearly four decades now.

The trigger for Thursday’s violence was the Bengal government’s decision to make Bengali a compulsory language in all schools across the state. The announcement caused immediate ripples with the people in the hills voicing their strong protest against this imposition of Bengali. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which spearheaded a three-and-a-half-year-long agitation for creation of a separate Gorkhaland state from late 2007, led the protests and accused Mamata of trying to promote the Bengali language over Nepali.

Though Mamata announced earlier this week that schools in the hills would be exempt from the Bengali language order, the damage was already done. The deep distrust between the politicians of the plains of Bengal and the Darjeeling hills manifested itself with GJM chief Bimal Gurung asserting that Mamata’s announcement was not convincing and she was merely trying to hoodwink the people of the hills. The GJM announced a string of protests in the hills to coincide with Mamata’s visit to the area that started on Tuesday (6 June).

Mamata’s blasé presence in the hills was a red rag to the GJM, which has been facing a political challenge from Mamata’s Trinamool Congress. Mamata’s Marxist predecessors had preferred to stay away from the hills and allow the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), which led a seven-year-long agitation for Gorkhaland state that ended with the signing of the Darjeeling Accord and formation of the semi-autonomous Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) in August 1988, to be the unchallenged political force in the hills. But Mamata has been trying to expand her political footprints there since 2013 when the Trinamool Congress’ alliance with the GJM broke down over the latter’s decision to revive the Gorkhaland demand.

Failure of the DGHC and rise of GJM

The DGHC experiment was a failure since the then Marxist rulers of Bengal managed to co-opt GNLF chief Subhas Ghising and turned him into a local autocrat who kept demands for more autonomy in check for two decades. The DGHC also did not get its promised level of autonomy and funds, and the hills continued to remain under-developed and mired in poverty, disease and squalor. At the same time, Ghising and his men were allowed to loot whatever funds were allotted to the DGHC and enrich themselves at the cost of the hill people. Since Ghising was seen to be enjoying the patronage of the rulers sitting in Kolkata, the alienation of the hill people continued.

Two decades of Ghising’s dictatorship in the hills created a fertile ground for another revolt that was provided by, interestingly, the third session of the popular reality show Indian Idol. When Prashant Tamang, a native of Darjeeling working for the Kolkata Police started emerging as one of the top finalists (he went on to win the show), the people of the hills started identifying with him. Tamang represented the latent hopes and aspirations of the Nepali-speaking people of Darjeeling hills and their quest for recognition as a community with a distinct culture, language, history and ethos. Ghising didn’t attach any importance to Tamang’s feats, but his one-time lieutenant Bimal Gurung did and organised massive support in the hills and among the Nepali-speaking people across the country for Tamang.

Tamang’s win of the Indian Idol title boosted Gurung politically and in October 2007, he formed the GJM. The GJM became instantly popular in the Darjeeling hills and buoyed by widespread public support, Gurung launched the second phase of the Gorkhaland movement immediately. A series of bandhs, sit-ins, refusals to pay taxes and other peaceful modes of agitations continued. The Trinamool Congress, which was the principal opposition party at that time, supported the GJM and, before the 2011 assembly elections, entered into an electoral alliance with the GJM.

Formation of GTA and revival of movement

After sweeping the 2011 assembly polls, Mamata played the peace-broker and a tripartite agreement (between the GJM, the union government and the Bengal government) was signed in July 2011 to form the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) to replace the DGHC. The GTA was given more powers – administrative and financial – than the DGHC. The Bengal government promised to transfer many departments to the GTA. However, Gurung announced right at that time that the GTA was not an end in itself but a step forward to realising the dream of Gorkhaland.

The GJM won all the 45 seats of the GTA in the elections held in July 2012. But by then, relations between the GJM and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) had already started souring, more so since the TMC contested the GTA polls. The TMC contesting the polls was looked upon by the GJM as a challenge to its suzerainty over the Darjeeling hills. Soon after taking over the GTA, the GJM started accusing Mamata of reneging on the July 2011 agreement and not transferring powers to the GTA. Matters reached a new low with Mamata and Gurung indulging in sharp verbal exchanges.

That the Bengal government didn’t deliver on its promises, as per the July 2011 agreement, to transfer control of many departments to the GTA and give the latter greater financial powers caused more rift between Mamata and the GJM. The GJM has been accusing the Mamata Banerjee government of going back on the agreement and making the GTA a lame duck body with little administrative and financial powers. Mamata, in turn, has been demanding political loyalty from the GJM as a precondition to delivering on the GTA agreement. She has reportedly sent many feelers to the GJM leadership promising all help if it severs ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But her overtures have been rebuffed.

The announcement of the formation of Telangana in July 2013 gave the Gorkhaland movement a fresh lease of life. The self-immolation of one Mangal Singh Rajput, a Gorkhaland supporter (he was of Bihari origin and his suicide proved that the demand for Gorkhaland cut across all ethnic lines in the hills), only intensified the movement. A series of indefinite bandhs followed, but the movement fizzled out due to harsh and often undemocratic administrative action against GJM leaders and supporters who were, on Mamata’s express instructions, incarcerated on various charges, many of them trumped up.

Mamata’s bid to capture the hills politically

Mamata stepped up her quest to gain political control of the hills. And she employed a variety of tactics, some quite dishonourable, for this. Using the district administration, which she packed with her loyalist police and administrative officials, Mamata continued her crackdown on the GJM and encouraged dissident GJM leaders and activists to join her party. She poured in a lot of money to strengthen her party in the hills and the Darjeeling unit of the TMC started taking on the GJM, which till then enjoyed unchallenged sway in that part of the state.

One of the primary reasons for Mamata’s deep animosity towards the GJM is said to be the latter’s alliance with the BJP, which helped the BJP nominee S S Ahluwalia win the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Darjeeling. Some BJP leaders, including Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Sushma Swaraj, had voiced support for the Gorkhaland demand. Though the BJP’s stand on the statehood demand is ambivalent now, many senior leaders of the party are said to be sympathetic to it.

Mamata, in a bid to weaken the GJM, started wooing ethnic minorities in the hills, like the Lepchas, Bhutias and Tamangs, and formed separate development boards for them. Till date, 15 development boards have been formed for ethnic groups. “This is part of Mamata’s divide and rule policy to weaken the Gorkhaland movement. She is trying to create fissures within the Nepali-speaking people of the Hills,” GJM chief Bimal Gurung told Swarajya. Mamata has, till date, sanctioned Rs 280 crore for the 15 development boards, not a small amount for a cash-strapped state like Bengal.

Mamata also started wooing top leaders of the GJM who were unhappy with Gurung’s alleged autocratic style of functioning. She succeeded in getting a senior GJM leader, Harka Bahadur Chetri, to quit the GJM in 2015 and form his own party. Chetri, an influential leader from Kalimpong, however, lost the 2016 assembly elections from his native town (Kalimpong), especially since Mamata declared him to be the TMC candidate. Some other senior GJM leaders were also wooed into the TMC. But Mamata’s bid to gain political ground in the hills suffered a setback when her candidates in all the three hill constituencies of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong lost to GJM nominees in the 2016 assembly polls.

That setback, however, did not faze Mamata, who kept up her efforts to take on the GJM. She met with limited success in the civic polls held to the Mirik, Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong municipalities. The TMC posted a handsome win in the Mirik municipality but faced ignominious defeats in the other three municipalities where the GJM-BJP combine retained power. Encouraged by the toehold she had gained there, Mamata continued her political blitzkrieg in the hills.

The fallout

The fall of Mirik to the TMC sent alarm bells ringing within the GJM, which saw the entry of the TMC as a grave challenge to its existence in the hills. The GJM realised it would face a battle for survival and could even be defeated politically if it did not take early steps to contain the growth of the TMC in the hills. The GJM faced an immediate threat in the GTA elections due a couple of months from now. And the best way to take on the TMC, figured the GJM leadership, was to revive the statehood movement. Gurung did so with his opposition to Mamata’s imposition of Bengali language in schools. This imposition fed on the Nepali-speaking people’s latent fears of being made subservient to the Bengali rulers from the plains.

What also provoked the GJM was Mamata’s presence in the hills throughout the week. Her presence was seen as a direct political challenge to the GJM. And as if to rile the GJM more, Mamata convened a meeting of her council of ministers at the Raj Bhawan in Darjeeling on Thursday (8 June). It was an ill-advised move since the Gorkhaland movement was once again picking up steam.

Ironically, the last time a cabinet meeting was held in Darjeeling was in 1972. And that time, too, it was held with the intention to prove that all was normal in north Bengal. The then chief minister Siddhartha Shankar Ray convened the cabinet meeting at a time when north Bengal had become the epicentre of the Naxalite movement that was sweeping through the state like a prairie fire. As Darjeeling Lok Sabha MP Ahluwalia pointed out to the Hindustan Times here, Ray had claimed that time that Bengal was normal and Mamata is also now claiming the hills are normal. “Both were far removed from ground reality. There was no need to hold the cabinet meeting in Darjeeling. She (Mamata) did so just to serve her political purpose of crushing the GJM,” said the BJP parliamentarian.

Mamata’s response to Thursday’s violence has been far from mature and nuanced. She retaliated, rather childishly, by withdrawing police security provided to Gurung. She also made good her earlier threat of conducting a special audit of the GTA’s finances. Coming from the head of a party whose leaders are being investigated for various scams and a cash-for-favours sting operation, the move to investigate the GTA’s finances in a bid to expose the alleged financial improprieties of GJM leaders was a bit too rich on Mamata’s part.

On Friday (9 June), she strutted around Darjeeling, where the GJM had called a 12-hour bandh, in an open but another ill-advised challenge to the GJM. The sight of the Chief Minister, hemmed by her security guards and party colleagues, walking around the town – she did it thrice in the course of the day – added fuel to the raging fire in the hearts of the hill people.

“It does not behove a person like Mamata who accuses the Modi government for being undemocratic, using the CBI for political purposes and violating the spirit of federalism to behave like a dictator in Darjeeling. How would she react if Modi were to walk the streets of Kolkata on a day the TMC calls a bandh in protest against some action by the union government?” wondered GJM chief Gurung. He also pointed out that whenever she comes to the hills, Mamata makes it a point to snub the elected representatives of the GTA, the GJM’s MLAs and even the Lok Sabha MP (Ahluwalia). “She never invites any elected representative from the hills to any state government or any other function in the hills. And then she talks about democracy,” said GJM leader Roshan Giri.

Mamata has already let loose her subservient police force and spineless civil administration officials on the GJM and many charges are again being drawn up against them. As the GJM is bound to harden its stance on the statehood demand, Mamata is also sure to step up her vendetta against GJM leaders and activists. And that will only cause more distress for Darjeeling.

Mamata would do well to catch up on the history of the hills. If she does that, she will realise that the Darjeeling hills became part of Bengal only in 1947. And ever since then, it has been administered very poorly. The hills have been starved of funds and kept under-developed. Extremely poor infrastructure, abysmal education and healthcare facilities, grinding poverty, criminal neglect of the hills by the powers-that-be in Kolkata and Bengali majoritarianism have totally alienated the simple hill folks.

Mamata would also do everyone a favour by looking at the economy of the hills. The two Ts – tea and tourism – are the mainstay of the hills’ economy. Darjeeling is Bengal’s prime tourist destination. But little has been done by successive governments in Bengal to preserve the scenic town and improve its rickety infrastructure. Even the roads of the town, which the British named the ‘Queen of the Hills’, would put the worst road in the most backward village of India to shame.

Tourism does not generate a lot of earnings for the locals. That’s because most of the hotels are run by Bengalis from the plains and locals find employment only as poorly-paid waiters and cooks. Many of the owners of taxis and SUVs that ferry tourists to and from the hills are Bengalis living in the plains. “What the hills people get from tourism is the little that tourists spend in buying mementoes and woollens,” said Giri.

As for Darjeeling tea, which fetches astronomical prices in international markets, the hill people are only employed as poorly paid labourers in the tea gardens. No local (Nepali-speaking resident of the Darjeeling hills) owns a garden and there are just a handful of Nepali-speaking managers running these gardens. All the profits made from Darjeeling tea are thus taken away to the plains and the hill people get little from tea.

A separate state of Gorkhaland, where Nepali-speaking people of the hills would be the real stakeholders, thus holds immense promise to the people of the hills. Gorkhaland is, for the hill people, not just a means to improve their financial and social lot but also to establish their identity firmly as Indians. “We are looked upon as migrants from Nepal, even though we have been Indians for generations. Gorkhaland will give us that identity as Indians,” asserted Gurung.

These are issues that Mamata, and her predecessors, have shown little understanding of. The Nepali-speaking people of the hills have quite often been looked down upon and treated as menials by the Bengalis from the plains. Mamata only reinforces the hills-plains psychological divide by trying to stamp her authority on the hills. And this is why the Gorkhaland movement will continue.

The history of the hills

Darjeeling gets its name from Dorji Ling, a Buddhist monastery built by the Denzongpas in 1765 on behalf of the Chogyal (King) of Sikkim. The roughly 3,150 square kilometres of territory that is called the Darjeeling hills today (comprising the hills section of Darjeeling district and the whole of the newly formed Kalimpong district) was alternately occupied by Sikkim, Bhutan and Nepal.

In the late 1700s, Darjeeling hills was inhabited by a few hundred Lepchas and was held by Sikkim. But in the 1790s, the Gurkhas from Nepal started invading the area and they eventually defeated the combined Bhutia and Lepcha army of Sikkim. The invading Gurkha army also attacked and sacked Sikkim’s then capital Rabdentse and annexed the Darjeeling hills.

After the defeat of the Gurkha army of Nepal in the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814-1816), Nepal’s rulers were made to sign the humiliating Treaty of Sugauli by which one-third of Nepal’s territory, including Kumaon, Garhwal, Nainital and the Darjeeling hill tracts that were annexed from Sikkim, were ceded to the British. In February 1817, the British returned the Darjeeling hill tracts to the Chogyal of Sikkim under the Treaty of Titalia under which Sikkim became a British protectorate and extended many other facilities to the British.

In February 1829, a dispute arose between Nepal and Sikkim over their borders and the then British governor general Lord William Bentinck sent two officers – Captain George Alymer Lloyd and J W Grant – to mediate between the two kingdoms. On their way to the disputed border at Ontoo Dara, the two officers halted at what they wrote in their memoirs was “the old Gurkha station called Dorji Ling” that was then populated by about a hundred Lepchas. The two were “much impressed with the possibility of the station as a sanatorium”. In June 1829, both Grant and Lloyd urged the government to acquire Darjeeling hill tracts.

Governor general Bentinck agreed with them and also realised that the Darjeeling hills offered strategic advantages as a military outpost and trading hub. The deputy surveyor general, Captain Herbert, was deputed to Darjeeling to examine the area. The court of directors of the British East India Company approved the project. General Lloyd was given the responsibility to negotiate a lease of the area from the Chogyal of Sikkim. The lease was granted on 1 February 1835. The British paid a handsome compensation to the Chogyal of Sikkim in return.

After taking over Darjeeling, the British appointed a physician, Arthur Campbell, as their agent there and one Lieutenant Napier was deputed to lay the foundations of the hill station. The sanatorium was set up in 1839 and Campbell became its first superintendent. A road connecting Darjeeling to the plains was constructed the same year.

Campbell is also credited with bringing Chinese tea seeds in 1841 to grow tea on an experimental basis near his residence at Beechwood in Darjeeling. The experiment was successful and within a decade the British started setting up tea plantations in the hills. They set up many schools, which went on to become the best institutions in this part of the world. The setting up of tea and cinchona plantations, the construction of the railway line and roads and other construction activities brought in migrants from Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan who eventually settled down in the Darjeeling hills.

Within a few years, however, the Chogyal of Sikkim got into a dispute with the British, and the latter simply annexed Darjeeling hills and made it part of their Indian dominion in 1850. The British also acquired Kalimpong and the Dooars area of North Bengal from Bhutan after defeating the Bhutan king in the Anglo-Bhutan war (1864-1865) and making the latter sign the Treaty of Sinchula. These areas were clubbed with Darjeeling to form the Darjeeling district of the British India province of Bengal. Darjeeling became part of West Bengal in 1947. Thus, it is clear that Darjeeling was never historically part of Bengal and all the dynasties, including the Nawabs and vassals of the Mughal emperors who ruled over Bengal from the medieval times, never exercised any control over the Darjeeling hills.

Tragedy of the hills

Much like the state of Bengal, the tragedy of the Darjeeling hills is that its best and brightest go away in search of better education and prospects to other parts of the country and even abroad. This brain drain has led to the social, economic and cultural degeneration of Darjeeling. “The best students don’t stay back in Darjeeling after school. And once they go away, they never return. There are no jobs and business prospects here,” said a prominent educationist in Darjeeling who did not want to be named.

This brain drain has also caused an unfortunate intellectual vacuum in the hills. “Had there been opportunities here, bright people would have stayed back and would have provided political leadership. Our present political leadership leaves a lot to be desired,” said the professor who taught English at a very reputable college in Darjeeling. He alludes to the rag-tag bunch of GJM activists and the lumpen that make its cadres. He also recounts the many allegations of corruption and malpractices against the GJM leadership and says that had the political leadership been in the hands of the educated and accomplished people of the hills, the statehood movement would have taken a much different and successful turn by now.

The people of Darjeeling point to Sikkim, which has flourished and emerged as a front-ranking state in the country on many fronts. Darjeeling, they contend, developed much before Sikkim and had much greater potential to emerge as a prime tourist, business, organic, education and healthcare hub. Staying within Bengal, they contend, has ruined Darjeeling. “Darjeeling could have been what Sikkim is today,” rued David Lepcha, a prominent tour operator in Darjeeling. His regret finds resonance across the hills. Bengal’s politicians would do well to introspect why.

Via: Swarajya

GJM Meeting Update: Indefinite Strike from Monday

10:58 PM

In a meeting held today which ended later in the evening, GJM has decided to observe indefinite strike across Darjeeling hills, Terai, and Dooars from Monday onwards. However, the strike will be limited only to the government establishments, including GTA. Schools and colleges have been kept completely outside of bandh purview, while banks have been allowed to operate on Mondays. Vehicles will also operate normally.

The highlights of the decisions taken in the meeting are:

*GJM to observe indefinite strike from Monday. All the govt offices (Central, State & GTA) to remain closed for indefinite period. School, Colleges to remain open and vehicles to run normally.

*All the posters and hoardings in Bengali to be removed from Darjeeling hills, Terain and Dooars.

*All party meeting called on June 13.

*Banks to open only on Mondays and Thursdays.

*27-30th June - All Govt. Offices & Banks to remain open.

*Every Monday evening GJM will hold torch rallies across Darjeeling hills, Terai & Dooars.

*Thursdays and Fridays - GJM to hold rallies demanding Gorkhaland.

Mamata reaches plains, Darjeeling SP removed

1:20 PM

According to Press Trust of India (PTI) report Darjeeling Superintendent of Police (SP) Amit Javalgi has been removed from his post. Though not yet formally appointed by the State Government, Deputy Commissioner (Central), Kolkata Police, Akhilesh Chaturvedi is tipped to be the new SP of Darjeeling, according to a senior Kolkata Police official as quoted by PTI.

The chief minister had earlier said that a three-member team comprising senior IPS officers had been formed to look after the law-and-order situation in Darjeeling.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee meanwhile left Darjeeling in the night of 9th of June after taking stock of the situation in the hills. She started from Darjeeling town at around 10 pm and reached Siliguri after over two hours.

On Friday the Army carried out flag marches in Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Kurseong. Initially, two Army columns were deployed in Darjeeling. Late Thursday, the Army was requisitioned by the state government for Kurseong and Kalimpong as a precautionary measure.

As of now, six columns have been deployed — three in Darjeeling, two in Kalimpong and one in Kurseong. Each column comprises 43 personnel.

Three companies of CRPF have also been deployed.

Meanwhile,  GJMM central committee is holding a meeting in Darjeeling and likely to announce its future course of action today.

Darjeeling local channels banned SELECTIVE PRECAUTION of the State administration

12:36 PM

The Darjeeling district administration has banned all local news channels in the hills from broadcasting news. Their logic is that sharing of news about tensions could lead to spread of violence in the region and we respect their sentiments.

However, it is the selective banning of only local channels that makes us wonder if the real purpose is for peace to prevail, or for voices of dissent to be curtailed?

While hill based channels are told not to broadcast, all channels based on KOLKATA are doing so and reporting whatever their version of truth is. This has lead to massive distortion of the events as well as caused unnecessary panic.

For instance, GJM called for 12 hour strike today, while some news channels based in Kolkata said FJM has called for indefinite strike. can you imagine the panic this has caused among the tourists and locals.

In absence of reliable local news sources people with malicious intent are spreading FAKE NEWS on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.

What is happening in our region is selective blacking out of authentic local news sources, while Kolkata based news channels are allowed to report whatever they want to. This is unacceptable in a democracy.

We once again request the district administration to allow for local channels to broadcast news so that people are made aware of what is actually going on.

We once again request people to maintain peace and help and tourists.


Via TheDC

Army deployed in Darjeeling, BJP demands peace Committee

2:21 AM
TMC

BJP demands peace committee to contain violence in Darjeeling

KOLKATA: The BJP today criticised the West Bengal government for failing to contain violence in the Darjeeling hills and demanded that a peace committee be formed to restore peace. "The TMC administration has completely failed to contain violence in the hills.

There was no shut down or violence in the hills for last three years. But, the TMC, which is trying to establish its own political hegemony in the hills, did everything to provoke violence and disturbance in the hills," BJP MP from Darjeeling S S Ahluwalia told PTI.

Ahluwalia questioned the reason behind deployment of the Army when the entire state cabinet is present in the hills. "When the entire state cabinet including the Chief Minister is present in the hills, why did the administration failed to control the situation? What was the reason behind deployment of Army? We will talk to the Union Home Ministry regarding the situation.

We demand that a peace committee be formed immediately in the hills with GJM and state administration to restore peace and normalcy," he said. Two columns of Army were deployed in the restive Darjeeling town today after Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters clashed with the police, damaged police vehicles and set some of them ablaze while Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was holding a cabinet meeting there.

(via:indianexpress)

WILL NOT SPARE GTA IF GOVERNMENT’S MONEY FOUND MISUSED - MAMATA

9:42 AM

Kolkata, June 5 (IANS) Coming down heavily on the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration – the development body in the north West Bengal hills, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced a special audit to check how it has utilised the government aids and a punishment ifany discrepancies are found.

“I have decided to run a special audit on the money that GTA received from the government. If GTA has stolen money, I will not spare them. This is common man’s money,” Banerjee said at a public meeting in Darjeeling district’s Mirik.

“I have instructed the Finance Department to run a special audit on how the money has been used. If they have done a good job, we will reward them. But if we find some discrepancy, we will not spare even the secretary of the GTA,” she said.

The Trinamool Congress supremo also attacked the semi-autonomous administrative body on the issue of the state government’s new three language policy.

Claiming that she has never said Bengali would be compulsory in the hills, Banerjee alleged that GTA is spreading “such lies” to create a divide between Bengalis and Nepalis of the region, as they do not have any other political issues.

“I have never said that Bengali would be compulsory in the hills. This is 100 percent lie. I haven’t seen such a liar in my life who always resort to the politics of lies. (Gorkha National Liberation Front chief Subash) Ghising was not like this,” Banerjee said in a veiled reference to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung.

The Ghising-led GNLF was in the forefront of the movement for a separate Gorkhaland since the 1980s, but lost its dominance to the GJM in 2008.

On July 18, 2011, a tripartite agreement was signed between the GJM, and the state and central governments for setting up a new autonomous, elected GTA, a hill council armed with more powers than its predecessor, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) formed in the late 1980s.

The GJM won the first GTA elections held in 2012, and is running the board since then.

“The GTA election is approaching and they have no other issues. That is why they are resorting to this sort of politics. They are trying to divide the Bengalis and Nepalis here,” she claimed.

Pointing out that the state government has never objected to the students of the hills learning Nepali, Banerjee said it is important to know a little bit of Bengali to get job elsewhere in the state.

“We have never asked the students of the hills to stop learning Nepali, Hindi or English. It is always better to know as many languages as possible. But if we do not keep Bengali as an option, how would you people come to the other places in Bengal and work there?” she asked.

“In a Nepali-speaking region, knowing Nepali is important but in Bengal, knowing a little bit of Bengali is also important,” she added.

[Via: IANS]

BJP Extends Support to GJM Agitation Against Making Bengali Language Mandatory

2:44 PM

LANGUAGE ISSUE: BJP Extends Support to GJM Agitation Against Making Bengali Language Mandatory

All India General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party Shri. Kailash Vijayvargiya has spoken out against the Mamata governments proposal to make Bengali language compulsory in all the schools across Bengal. In turn he stated BJPs support to the ongoing agitation against the proposed imposition being led by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the hills.

Speaking to the press, Mr. Vijayvargiya said, "ours is a diverse country and all communities have their respective language, and culture... hence it is the duty of any government to consult with every community before proposing any such measure, but instead of any consultation Mamata is trying to forcefully implement mandatory teaching of Bengali language in the schools... this won't work..."

He added, "because of Mamata's highhanded approach Morcha has been forced to start protest in the hills... India is a democratic nation and we should respect people's mandate and democracy... but in Bengal democracy is dead... here only dictatorship rules..."

Police case filed against Shahitya Academy Award Winners, school heads and GJM leaders

2:54 PM

LANGUAGE ISSUE: Police Cases Filed Against Heads of Schools, Shahitya Academy Award Winners and GJM Leaders

Writes: Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling police have started a suo motu case against Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders, literary figures and heads of educational institutions who had attended a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the government's decision to make Bengali compulsory in schools.

Apart from Morcha leaders Bimal Gurung, Roshan Giri and Binay Tamang, cases were drawn up against Jiwan Namdung and Prem Pradhan, former presidents of the Nepali Sahitya Akademi, and Rev. Joy Halder, the rector of St Paul's School.

The police have also filed a case against Pemba Bomjan, the president of Gorkha Dukha Niwarak Sammelan, the oldest social organisation in the town.

The Morcha had called a meeting on May 30 where literary figures, academicians, college professors, teachers and people from different walks of life discussed the state's plan of a three-language policy.

During the meeting, Gurung had announced a two-day closure of educational institutions in the hills yesterday and today and rallies with black flags during the chief minister's visit next week to protest the government's decision.

Classes were suspended in a majority of the schools in the hills today as the students had not turned up.

Most of the speakers at the May 30 meeting had said that while they were not against any particular language, imposing one on students of a region was not acceptable and they should be given the option to choose.

The FIR filed by Saumyajit Roy, the inspector in charge of Darjeeling Sadar, states: "It is to be noted here that the above accused persons are purposefully trying to create an issue unnecessarily with a motive of provocation to ignite feeling of hatred and enmity between different castes of people on the basis of regionalism and trying to distort the government policies...."

"It is also to be noticed here that no such notification in view of compulsion of Bengali language to the education system of the hills has been imposed till date."

The accused have been booked under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 155A(b) (promoting enmity between different groups), 505 (statement conducting to public mischief) and 34 (common intent) of the Indian Penal Code.

Told about the police case, St Paul's rector Rev Halder said: "I am hearing it from you. I am quite taken aback. Whatever I said in my speech was based on my personal experience about learning different languages. At the end of my speech, I had also said that since we are all governed by CISCE, we need to await for a notification on this matter."

The chief minister had yesterday clarified that CBSE and ICSE schools in Bengal would have to teach Bengali as one of three languages up to Class X but students need not write the board exam in the third language

In the hills, most students have English as their first language and Nepali as the second. The students mostly opt for Hindi as the third language, which they will have to drop for Bengali if it is made compulsory.

Morcha leader Tamang said: "It seems that we cannot even speak or voice our grievances now. Where is the freedom of speech? We have not spoken against any language, we are merely saying that you should not impose a language and make it mandatory."

[Via: Telegraph, file pic]

Hill TMC says no to compulsory Bengali

2:36 PM
TMC

Hill TMC says no to compulsory Bengali: To speak to Mamata Banerjee in Mirik

With the opposition to implementing Bengali being spearheaded by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha gaining momentum, the TMC (hills) yesterday said it had spoken to party high commands in Kolkata to not make it mandatory in the hill schools.

The hill TMC leaders finding themselves in an awkward situation given the sentiments attached with the issue organized a public meeting in Darjeeling town today to clear the air. ““Yesterday, I spoke with Partha Chatterjee, the state education minister to know more about the issue and also apprise him about our stand. I told him that the state government should allow the present system under the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration to continue. Bengali as an option is okay but we will not accept if it is made compulsory,” asserted Rajen Mukhia, the hill TMC president, today.

The local TMC leaders did not find anything amiss to have Bengali as an optional language in the hill schools saying it was important to learn new languages. “We (TMC hill leaders) are also sons of the soil and Gorkhas. Knowing Bengali will stand us in good stead as the language is most spoken in the plains where we often visit. However, we too will not accept if Bengali is made compulsory on us,” reiterated Mukhia.

Schools and colleges remained closed today in the hills. The GJM has asked educational institutions to close for two days on June 1 and 2, in protest against the alleged imposition of Bengali in the region’s schools.

Mukhia though alleged GJM was politicizing the issue by spreading false rumours. “GJM is playing with the sentiments of the people for political gains. No government orders or circulars have been issued so far. I want to tell the heads of schools here that the rumours are false. We will take up the matter with chief minister Mamata Banerjee when she visits Mirik on June 5,” the hill TMC president said.

When asked to comment on the GJM rallies from June 4 to 8 during the Bengal CM’s visit to the region, the hill TMC president said, “We have come to know that they (GJM) will show black flags to the chief minister. We want to say here that she (Banerjee) besides being the state’s CM is also our leader. If she is shown black flags than we too will reciprocate it on their party president (Bimal Gurung ) during his programs,” Mukhia retorted.

[Via: EOCI]

 
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