Darjeeling: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has lined up a series of public meetings in the hills from July 8, the decision coming in the wake of its arch rival GNLF discarding the state government-formed Hill Area Development Committee (HADC).
Mann Ghisingh, the president of the GNLF, had recently resigned from the post of the chairman of HADC and many had linked the move to an attempt by his party to reposition itself as a party working for the hill community.
Against this backdrop, the Morcha has announced a series of public meetings.
"We will hold a public meeting in Kurseong on July 8, followed by another meeting in Kalimpong the next day. A meeting will also be organised at Bijanbari (about 30km from Darjeeling) on July 11," said Suraj Sharma, the spokesman for the Morcha.
Asked about the reason to conduct the public meetings, Sharma said: "A political party has to organise public meetings and interact with the public. We want to tell the hill people about the development works the GTA has undertaken after we started administering the body," said Sharma.
Observers, however, believe that the Morcha has a two-fold strategy behind organising the public meeting. "Primarily, the Morcha wants to show that it is the largest political force in the hills and send a message that it definitely enjoys more support than the GNLF at the moment," said anobserver.
"At a secondary level, the party also wants to highlight the works that have been undertaken in the hills since taking control of the GTA in November last year," the observer added.
The Morcha meeting, which is being held after almost six months, is also a clear indication that it wants to leave no stone unturned to give any space to the GNLF.
Ghisingh's party has indicated that it plans to start afresh with the demand for Sixth Schedule and has also dissolved its central committee, branch committees of Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong, Mirik and all its frontal organisations, except those of the tea trade union and ex-serviceman association.
"The meeting is definitely to increase its activity and ensure that they do not give any space to the GNLF," added a hill resident.
REMEMBERING THE MARTYRS: "I regret that I have only one son to sacrifice for Gorkhaland" - The Gorkha Mother
Writes: Chandan Pariyar
Every time a gust of smoke comes out of the barrel of a gun, its ominous sound, floating with the clouds, worried hearts beat faster, but somewhere, the heart of a mother bleeds to death. How must it feel for her, when her son who had promised to come back in the evening from the rally, returned home instead with a crown of bullets on his head. The sight of her son's body being brought home on four shoulders gives her great pain, much greater than the pain she felt during his birth.
She dies a thousand times feeling her son's cold body.
All the memories of the past, accomplishments of the present and hopes of the future, lay wrapped in the white cloth that covered his face. Like every mother, she had hoped that her son would be by her side, taking care of her when her age old limbs confined her to bed, that he would carry her to Sinchel Dham, when she was not able to walk in her last days. Now as the rolling mist came down and hid the town, the roaring sounds of "Jai Gorkha! Jai Gorkhaland!" reverberated across the valley, she could see in the moonbeams his silver hands and silver eyes. Just last night, the mother and son had sat together on the verandah, talking about their plans for celebration of what would be the most joyful day of their lives - the formation of Gorkhaland. But sadly, life had different plans for them.
He had woken up late that day and asked her to pack some roti and sabzi for him to carry. If only she had known he would meet his fate that day, she would have fed him with her own hands. If only she had got him married when he had asked, he would have at least left her a grandchild, his legacy. If only...
During the 80s, he had seen his father climb the hill at the back of their house, every evening as the light fell short, and take shelter in the jungle along with others. He could not understand why his father had to leave the house and he asked his mother every day. Then when the CRPF raided his house in search of his father, he had found his answer. Even then, as a child, he had tried to express his anger by throwing stones at the raiding party as they were leaving, and his mother had run to stop him. As she sat beside him, gently cleaning the blood off his face, all these memories passed through her mind.
Now a large crowd was gathering in her house. They spilled across the verandah and into the road below and beyond. People of all ages, caste and creed, irrespective of their religion and status, had come to bid her son farewell, and to catch a glimpse of the fallen hero. 'Who were these people who had gathered here?' She wondered. 'Where had they come from'. And in that painful moment, her heart swelled with pride, and she was released from the agony of losing her only son. She consoled herself that he had given up his life for a great cause, and in this she found renewed courage and strength. Suddenly she felt a great sense of hurriedness crop in her, an urgency to get over with the rituals quickly - 'There are more sons who have died, and these people must go and console their mothers too' She said to herself. As she kissed him on his forehead for one last time, she promised him that his sacrifice would not go in vain.
As the mist followed the crowd to the burial place, the cries of 'Jai Gorkha! Jai Gorkhaland!! Long live our Shahid (Martyr)!!' could be heard from every nook and corner of the town. People followed with their khadas and respect for the shahid, every lip carrying a prayer for him. There was not a dry eye in the crowd, as the flames engulfed his body. She looked around at the countless unknown faces in the crowd, brought together only by the cause her son died for, and right at that moment her heart found resounding assurance and she felt a surge of energy within her. She knew the fight would go on.
The mother stood in the corner, amidst the mass of people and murmured to herself "I regret that I have only one son to sacrifice for Gorkhaland".
Writes Swadhin Rai
"They said fight and many lost their lives leaving families devastated. We lost our dignity; lost the battle and sold our soul, yet we denied. Time and again we hated the policies and the dividing intention of Mamta Government, when in fact the problem was always with us.
Then again they sponsored us to celebrate through different medium. Celebrate our defeat. They said sing and we sang; dance and we danced. Our soul has completely eroded, emotions out of our reach, we don't even feel and influence on the direction that seems shiny and decorated and yet we talk about achieving our goal.
Listen to the voices of hills. Your smiles are fake. You have lost your voice and the act is just insanity manifesting itself.
When are we going to learn to honor the sacrifices made by people who died for us?
People, hear the voice of hills, she is still mourning."
[In pic: The tender fingers of the youngest daughter of Barun Bhujel affectionately touch her father's face. Barun Bhujel, a ward commissioner and Gorkhaland supporter died, while in the custody of West Bengal Police]
REMEMBERING: Rajiv Gandhi
During the height of Gorkhaland andolan in 1986-88 the then Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi had visited Darjeeling...
But that was the time when Shri. Subash Ghising's GNLF ruled the roost... and the GNLF had called for a boycott of the Prime Minister due to the atrocities meted out against us by the CRPF and other forces.
Despite the protest Shri. Rajiv Gandhi did come to Darjeeling and gave a speech at an almost empty NP school ground.
One of his closest aide was miffed at the fact that no one was present at the ground to attend the Prime Minister's rally other than the security forces, so he suggested that Shri. Rajiv Gandhi forgo his speech and return back to Delhi.
But despite opposition from his closest aide Shri Rajiv Gandhi refused to listen to anyone and gave his speech the way he wanted, even though in an empty stadium.
When one of his closest aides asked him why would he humiliate giving a speech at an empty venue? Shri. Rajiv Gandhi is said to have told his aide... "Even if they cannot come to see me, they can still hear me.."
While addressing the people gathered at the North Point ground, (the then) Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi said, “Gorkhas are intermingled with the Indian culture. The Gorkha brothers have shed their blood for the sake of the country before and during the freedom struggle.” There was emotional outburst from the hill people to his remark for it was the first time by any Prime Minister of India who praised the glory of Gorkhas.
Rajiv had further said "Bengal is not for Bengali people alone, it is for the people of Gorkhas too. Gorkhas must not be treated second class citizens here."
He was a visionary nation builder to say the least and had he not died an untimely death, the history of Darjeeling and the Gorkhas could have been very different.
The National Commission for Women (NCW), submitted a report on atrocities against women during the Gorkhaland agitation in Darjeeling Hills, to Home Minister Rajnath Singh today, the commission highlighted many cases of atrocities committed by the police and noted that a large number of innocent civilians including women were implicated in various cases and had been languishing in jails or out on bail.
According to an official statement, the commission noted that notices were being issued to many civilians for striking down their names from the electoral roll.
The women's panel has recommended that immediate medical and psycho-social counselling/intervention should be provided to the victims and proper inquiry should be conducted in cases where women were implicated as criminals and languishing in jails or have to visit courts frequently because of a large number of cases against them.
Officials against whom departmental inquiries are pending should be expedited, it stated.
"The issue of arbitrary removing of names of civilians from the electoral roll needs to be brought to the notice of the Election Commission," it said.
The NCW, in its statement, also mentioned that the administration was hostile and non-supportive of the inquiry and most of the officials were either on leave or refused to meet its inquiry committee, while most of the victims were threatened not to interact with the team.
Writes: Vanira Khati
The Chief Minister of West Bengal declared, ‘Pahaad Haaschey!’ and to elucidate the point she put up huge digitally printed banners across the length and breadth of the State with her own ‘haaschey‘ face. While here in Darjeeling our own Pahaad hasaaunchey GNLF politicians Aapa ko chora Mann Ghising and Bish-Purush Neeraj Zimba are pulling all kinds of laughable spins from their old ‘Appa hat of tricks.’
For an understanding of this Gorkhey Laurel-Hardy Jodi with a thoroughly detoxifying laugh, let’s recount these two jokers’ dramatically random moves:
On behalf of the Gorkhaland Movement Neeraj Zimba drinks poison and sends a letter to his Didi
Firstly, who had even asked GNLF to send a letter to Nabanna? No one! Mind you, GMCC was in collective charge of the 2017 movement up until the time Zimba in a totally Bollywood move, apparently while drinking some imaginary poison called for a videographer who captured him doing the ‘poison-drinking’ hand gesture while he choked begrudgingly on it (for effect) and his hands moved in fluid motion on the keyboard…and that’s how he typed that fateful letter to the State asking for Bipartite talks.
Now with the acting done successfully and having segued into a bipartite talk mode swiftly – off went our political leaders – not as a unified unit of crusaders for Gorkhaland, but as divided as could be, and we witnessed the movement meet its first roadblock with acting-induced intra politics right there. The result was, every party was on its own and hence there would be no one answerable to and no one to speak for the cause of Gorkhaland.
After his method acting video, Zimba went completely silent. And surprise of all surprises, Mann Ghising got his appointment letter from Nabanna to the GTA 2 BoA.
It was now his turn to act.
So with his eyes hung from all corners of his face, young Mann, our very own dynast displayed exemplary integrity and squeaked a little louder than usual while saying, come what may, he would not be accepting the order from Nabanna that was returning (GTA) to the hills what the hills had relinquished. And we, in the chaotic midst of Binay & Anit falling headlong into Didi’s bear trap and accepting her appointments, almost applauded for young Mann’s stellar display of mettle… waah! waah! hera paraai!
We ‘ALMOST’ applauded, but maybe too soon because thence came to the Hill Area Development Council – an estimated 10Cr property bequeathed to our dynast of the GNLF, probably for having broken the GMCC so effectively and with such hammed precision.
Aah well… let’s move ahead.
Didi gives an antidote HADC (antidote) to the (poisoned) ZIMBA
What is HADC hou? The dallai hills ko development board? Kasari? Ke ho? Kina? Nobody knew.
Forget our 1st generation educated, not even the illustrious 2nd generation educated among us could crack this cryptic HADC, and for some other cryptic reason again, Neeraj Zimba used tears this time to dissolve the uncertainty surrounding it. He called in a videographer (again) and went a step ahead of Poison with this crocodile tears exclusive.
His round face clenched tightly at his nose, poignantly he said, “HADC ta baato ma aansoo pucheyko jasto maatra ho.”
That’s right! He said HADC was akin to wiping hot tears on the way to Gorkhaland. The 1st and 2nd generation educated were again flung by the symbolism in the statement. There was profound meaning in his tears on the journey to Gorkhaland. There was passion, there was a deep sense of travel, a destination, a journey… it was all there, but sadly there was no point in trying to understand that statement, there still isn’t… so why don’t we just cut to the Jan Sabha?
Now with the GNLF letter sent, Nabanna letter received, letter unaccepted, new letter received, new letter accepted… GNLF had, through a forceful smash successfully made its comeback on the back of 104days of Strike & 13 hapless martyrs.
What was next? A show of strength! And why not?
A ‘bhavya’ GNLF Jan Sabha was organised in the middle of Darjeeling town. The venue although decked with a morbidly celebratory cornucopia of green looked like it was standing there holding its breath… just like most of us watching were.
After all, our sacrifices for the cause of Gorkhaland had just been sold. And all efforts were being raised and implemented to bring about a semblance of peace. And worst of all, we couldn’t act as well as our politicians could. Our hurt was real and we were struggling to heal.
Recently poisoned now revived Zimba in green Gorkhay topi holds a Jaan Sabha in Darjeeling.
The show always goes on for Neeraj Zimba, the day of the Jan Sabha was no exception. He waxed eloquent like he had just won the elections & thanked our lataa siidhaa people for the turnout. Watching Zimba & Mann in the Jan Sabha was like watching Don Quixote and Sancho Panza winning an imaginary people’s mandate and quite literally killing it with their make believe leadership. Many in the crowd got confused and ended up applauding. Spurred thus by the crowd, Mann compared himself to a sugarcane, he explained the symbolism that we could if we wanted, smash him or squash him, all that would come out of him wasguliyo ras (?)
Zimba on the other hand, in an artistic moment combined with a sleight of hand technique, flashed a green Gorkhey topi and wore it atop his head amidst his party workers’ cheering. His acting prowess thus displayed again, he went on to say that he had promised himself that he would wear a topi only when the hills would once again be covered in his party colour, green.
And hence it came to pass that barring logic, the Jan Sabha had everything that worked for these GNLF leaders.
Nattily dressed Aapa ko Chora goes scouting for party members.
Next, armed with the HADC and the Jan Sabha to show (yes, pun intended), GNLF set out to grow its strength. Unsuspecting locals inkamaan-busty welcomed them with the typical Gorkhey warmth and respect…and the newly launched GNLF Facebook page saw pictures of Mann smiling, Mann folding hands, Mann overwhelmed with the love, Mann drinking tea etc etc. Their Twitter handle blossomed with information and also, an Instagram account with pictures of Mann smiling, Mann folding hands, Mann overwhelmed with the love, Mann drinking tea etc etc
Now, where was Zimba when all this happened? Nobody knows…
The thing was Mann had come across as a leader and that was all that mattered!
Ex- Bish-Purush proclaims that he wants to hit the streets once a week for 6th Schedule – while we want Gorkhaland
Now in a recent turn of events, Neeraj Zimba called a Press Conference and without an iota of doubt rattled off that his party has the ‘Darjeeling Hills’ best interest at heart & mind and will demand Sixth Schedule for us’.
Watching his video, his unflinching confidence makes for such elevated stance and his stellar performance resounds with such commanding rhetoric that it seemed almost real even to our illustrious 2nd generation educated folks.
Phew! he almost pulled that one off!
To sum up, the GNLF random drama has been larger than life, the script has been killing, the plot has been turned and twisted to being projected as an almost real account. But we think and we think with damning clarity….where does their authority come from?
Have we voted them to power? NO
So can they speak for us? NO
Have we voted their 6th Schedule agenda to power? NO
So can we tell them to shut their theatrical mouths? YES
Go ahead, do it!
Tell those poison/drinking, letter-writing, Jan sabha-organising, street-crying, topi-wearing forcefully appointed leader/s to respect the basic tenets of democracy and win the people’s approval first, only then will they ever have the authority to speak for us.
GNLF has no business whatsoever demanding whichever schedule for us because THEY DON’T HAVE OUR MANDATE. And in spite of not having our approval, if they go ahead with presenting their idea of what’s good for the Darjeeling Hills, it’s their very own kitty party meeting with the West Bengal Chief Minister, we the people have no involvement in it. Because this is still a democracy we live in, we the people still have a say in it and that’s how it should be done… and that’s the only way it should be done!
Writes - @oyeketa
During the 104 days of the shutdown, Darjeeling experienced what every political uprising faces - blockades, food scarcity, police brutality, unlawful arrests, media-blackout, and everything else that can make any movement fall on its knees. But, what broke the back of Gorkhaland agitation in 2017 was its dependence on the ‘miracles of Delhi’ and lack of vision of the incumbent Hills leadership. When the miracle story failed to deliver, the incumbent Hills leadership had to run for covers, lost its credibility, and were exposed for their gross mismanagement Gorkhaland administration in 10-years tenure.
Everybody believed that the GTA, with all its limitation, could have brought major changes in the region. However, the ruling party of the Hills chose to sleep through it for 10 years, before being alarmed by the end their term. The fact is that the politicians never took GTA seriously, and it was only used as an excuse to embalm the egos self-proclaimed leaders.
It was not the public who needed Miracles, it was the Leaders. The public was tired equally of a failed leadership, as it was of the Police brutality. Tragically, the frustration reached a level where the public simply didn’t care. Leaders who were till now sitting on the fence until now too timid to speak up suddenly found a reason to rejuvenate when the promised Miracles failed to arrive and they quickly jumped into the pool.
Without a strong or accountable leader on the ground, rising food scarcity, it was just about a matter of time before the public would receive with both arms whatever little they get from the State government. Today, there is a semblance of normality in Darjeeling Hills, restored through a proxy administration, special economic packages and even forceful coercion. Democracy is yet to shine. But is Darjeeling happy and smiling? I will leave that for you to answer.
Amidst the deaths, heavy police crack-down, and economic hardships, Darjeeling lost control of the Gorkhaland issue and the movement had to be outsourced to people and organizations living outside the region. Starting June 2017, the Gorkhaland movement had its own little 'Arab Spring' moment, whereby the movement which till now was confined to the Hills, spread like wildfire across the globe. It was for the first time in its history of 107-years that Nepali-speaking people of the world came together to show their solidarity and support for the movement. Right from Manipur to Mumbai, and Bangaluru to Kashmir and Kathmandu, UAE, North America, Israel, Hongkong, and Europe, people stood up for Darjeeling. All thanks to Interment and Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and WhatsApp.
It is highly debatable whether the global outcry and Facebookization of Gorkhaland issue actually benefitted the movement. But, thanks to the mobilization, funds were collected to send food to the Hills during the shutdown and to organize legal aid for any other assistance victims. Neither the fund recipients nor the donors are talking about it, is a different matter altogether.
One section of the public is happy and satisfied to see their Social Media walls filled with Gorkhaland protests and support across the globe. Movement supporters and sympathizers were able to speak up, disagree, and even exchange ideas. At the surface, it appeared that the Gorkhaland movement has finally opened up for democratic reforms where people could share ideas and collaborate.
However, there is another section that thinks while the publicity was good, it has created further divisions and polarized groups into extremes. The Leadership vacuum in the 2017 agitation has opened grounds for different individuals and organizations to assume a leadership position. Certainly, ‘the more, the merrier’ did not bring any good. The coveted Gorkhaland leadership soon became the tug-of-war, and the actual issue gets sidelined. The problem becomes dangerous when each group begins to think of themselves as the saviour of the Gorkhaland movement, the place, and its people.
The Politics of Criticism:
Some individuals, parties, and groups spearheading the 2017 agitation grew bigger than the ‘Cause’ itself. And as is the routine, when you become big and powerful, you don’t like dissenters. Any chapter of a history book is full of such example, and Gorkhaland is no exception.
We have witnessed right from the 1980s, that Gorkhaland has very little tolerance for opposition and criticism. The forceful exodus of dissenters, political murders, and persecution are normal to us.
Legal jargons and constitutional terminologies were also a mainstay of the 2017 agitation. The level of legal consciousness is highly praiseworthy but becomes worrisome when it also becomes a tool for threatening anyone who raises a question or criticizes a move. Court notices, FIRs, threats of defamation have been used against one another by those who claim to fight for Gorkhaland.
From a condescending ‘your criticism makes us strong’ to filing FIRs, and threats of defamation became the new tool against those criticizing and demanding accountability. Legal notices, court orders, were sent for criticizing leaders, organization, or even seeking financial accountability. The only difference from the past is that it is done in a much more polite and sophisticated manner than in the past. The underlying message remains the same though – Fall in Line or you Shall be brought down.
So, the bigger question is 'what about Gorkhaland? What good did the global outcry yield for Darjeeling? Are the problems of education, economic sustenance, poverty, employment, any better now? What about the people who sent truckloads of food during the shutdown? Will they need another shutdown to be awakened again? Are we doing anything to uplift education? Is any group adopting villages and schools that was planned so much during the emergency? Is anyone volunteering to help students improve?
To be honest, I cannot sacrifice my comfortable job and life to worry about these petty things. When there is another emergency, I shall send whatever is possible and will help with likes and shares on Social media. What will you Do?
Writes: Dinesh Sharma
The Gorkhaland agitation of 2017 has been an eye-opener in many aspects. While it did not yield the desired results even after 104 days of the shutdown, it did manage to bring out the inner demon in us, exposing our vulnerabilities, our inability to trust one another, and utter disrespect for the institution of Democracy. The agitation became an open ground for public, politicians, and CSOs for mud-slinging each other and trying to exploit the situation to their advantage.
After the police firing and death of protestors, internet and media shutdown Darjeeling was virtually cut-off from the world. The administration forcefully took the protests off the streets, deploying thousands of para-military forces across the Hills. With an emotionally charged public and a witch-hunt like a crackdown on Gorkhaland supporters by the administration, Darjeeling was a ticking bomb threatening to explode any time, bringing back the memories of the 1980s violent agitation.
A wise man (name withheld to avoid police persecution) from the Hills observed “call it unfortunate or otherwise, the 2017 agitation was like an audition for ‘Gorkhaland Got Leaders’ show with individuals and organizations staking their claim to the title. The bigger irony is when flag bearers of the movement abandoned Darjeeling, and the epicentre of the movement shifted to Delhi.”
“This is where Delhi protests came to the rescue of the Government” the wise man adds. “Delhi was too far for the West Bengal Government to even take it seriously.”
However, for the Hills political leaders who were too timid and afraid to speak against the government back home, Delhi offered a safe sanctuary. Here, away from the killing fields of Darjeeling. Delhi became the pilgrimage for all Hill leaders to wash their guilt. It offered them a chance to establish a connection and find relevance to the movement, and they came prepared with the Gorkhaland rhetoric and lofty speeches.
As always, the ignorant and gullible public of Darjeeling believed that the activities in Delhi were a proof that Gorkhaland has become a national discourse and the Central Government would have to come to their rescue sooner or later. It gave a false hope that Gorkhaland could now be a possibility. Roadmaps and vision for Gorkhaland were being discussed in Delhi, while in Darjeeling Hills where it actually mattered, people were still cut-off and were now fighting for survival amidst a total shutdown and food scarcity.
For the ‘educated, sophisticated, and the social-media savvy’ crowd of Delhi, the time had finally come to have a say. Overnight, Samitis and Committees were formed to spearhead the movement. In Delhi, you could speak for Gorkhaland, curse anyone, say anything, without having to worry about courting arrest, staying hungry, or getting shot in police firing. More importantly, organizers made sure to organize events and activities over the weekend to make it convenient for everyone to attend. It was very well organized.
But, the affairs in Delhi soon became monstrous with personal and political biases taking the center stage, rather than the issue of Gorkhaland. Without the threat of being arrested or being a political target, Delhi made much more noise than Darjeeling, to a point where the frontrunners of Delhi protests began to dictate terms on the course of the movement. They wanted a pie of everything, right from a seat reserved at the negotiation table to issuing certificates and approvals of the political leadership in the Hills. And they did so without even having to step a foot in Darjeeling or having a first-hand experience of the ground situation. Intellectuals and eminent personalities soon joined the protestors in Delhi, rendering their advice and services freely. The same intellectuals would later go on to form other ‘eminent organization’ for themselves is another matter.
So, where did Delhi go irrevocably wrong?
If you remember, there was an all-party Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC) formed during the peak of the agitation with members from different Hills political parties and intellectuals of the Gorkha community. The GMCC had a wide public support as a think-tank and everybody wanted to be part of GMCC.
As part of a trust-building measure and garnering support, different Delhi-based groups pressurized the GMCC to hold a meeting with the public in Delhi. However, behind the scene was a more sinister plan to disrupt and break the GMCC, by people and organizations who were not invited to be part of it.
An orchestrated assault on members during the GMCC meeting in Delhi was the final nail in the coffin. As the old adage goes “if I am not in it, I won’t let it be” proved true in this case. In a not-so-surprising move, just a few days after the incident, a committee was formed by with the tagline “Group of eminent Gorkha personalities” by members who were once spearheading the GMCC. Currently, the committee is struggling hard to find its relevance in a post-agitation phase and is last heard of preparing a ‘Vision Document for Gorkhaland.’ Strangely enough, the said committee has not even passed a single statement condemning the atrocities in Darjeeling, unwarranted arrests, or even the killings. They also observed solemn silence throughout the entire process of a new administration set up by the state government.
The key takeaway this time has been the sad realization that the people of Darjeeling have no role in the politics of their land. The narrative is scripted outside of Darjeeling – in Delhi and Kolkata, and a template is handed over to the self-proclaimed political leadership, with strict rules on what to do and more importantly what not to do. Even the so-called local administrators have very little say in the politics of the land.
Democracy in theory roots for a ‘Government of the People, By the People, and For the People. As is the norm, the mandate of the majority public is integral to Democracy. However, the irony is that Gorkhaland, a movement that prides on being Constitutional and Democratic showed very little respect for it. Elected representatives were forced to flee the land, aspirations of the people trampled ruthlessly using brutal force, and the right to expression simply became a joke.
Dinesh tweets under the handle @OyeKeta and can be reached at: https://twitter.com/OyeKeta
***NOTE: In context, Upendra had sounded an early warning bell against the same lot, you can read it here: https://facebook.com/TheDarjeelingChronicle/posts/899442646860184
NATIONAL GORKHALAND COMMITTE E ( NSG) RELEASE VISION DOCUMENT FOR GORKHALAND. LEADERS OF GNLF, JAP AND OTHER PARTIES PARTICIPATES
दार्जीलिङ, 22 अप्रेल
भारतमा आठवटा क्षेत्रले राज्यको माग गरिरहेका छन्। ती हुन् हरित प्रदेश (पश्चिाम उत्तर प्रदेश), पूर्वाञ्चल (उत्तरी उत्तर प्रदेश), बोडोल्याण्ड (आसाम), सौराष्ट्र (दक्षिण गुजरात), लद्दाख (पूर्वी जम्मु तथा काश्मिर), गोर्खाल्यान्ड (उत्तरी पश्चि म बंगाल), कोङ्गु नाडु (दक्षिणी तामिलनाडु) र विदर्भ (पूर्वी महाराष्ट्र)। गोर्खाल्यान्डको माग उपर्युक्त सबैभन्दा पुरानो 1907 देखिको वा 111 वर्षअघिको माग हो।
Darjeeling: The sudden visit of the chairperson of the National Commission of Women, New Delhi, to Darjeeling to look into alleged atrocities committed against women during the Gorkhaland agitation in 2017, has sparked controversies.
Her arrival was met with protests, with the women's wing of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) claiming that there is a conspiracy to disturb the peace and normalcy of the Hills. On the other hand, the chairperson tweeted that the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police were avoiding a meeting with her. On Monday evening, the DM had a meeting with the chairperson.
Rekha Sharma, the chairperson, arrived at Darjeeling on Sunday and will be leaving for Delhi on April 18. On Sunday evening, Gorkha Janmukti Nari Morcha leaders met the chairperson and presented a memorandum while supporters protested outside.
Placards stated that a few people with vested interests were using the Women's Rights Commission to foment trouble and disturb peace in the Hills.
"Our question to the chairperson was, where was the commission when we required them when the 104-day-long bandh was clamped in 2017? We had approached many NGOs to get a Human Rights and Women's Rights Commission to the Hills, but no one came. They left us to our sorry plight. Now that there is peace and normalcy in the Hills, why try to create unrest? A group of people from outside Darjeeling are chaperoning the chairperson around and presenting false cases. They have vested political interests," alleged Prathibha Rai, Nari Morcha leader and chairperson, Darjeeling Municipality.
Bimal Gurung, who is on the run, sent an audio clip from an undisclosed location, welcoming the visit of the chairperson and criticised the protests against her visit.
5 Nari Morcha leaders, who had submitted a memorandum to the chairperson on Sunday, lodged a complaint with her through the DM on Monday, stating that one Puran Singh of Mirik, a supporter of Bimal Gurung, had outraged their modesty on a social networking site, using filthy language. They requested prompt action against him.
On Monday, the chairperson had tweeted that the DM and SP of Darjeeling were avoiding meeting her. "The administration is working overtime to stop victims and complainants from meeting me. I can imagine what must have happened in those 104 days," tweeted Sharma.
On Monday evening, Joyoshi Das Gupta, District Magistrate, Darjeeling, met Sharma. "The chairperson has referred some cases requiring medical assistance for children of those killed during the unrest," stated the DM. She even forwarded the complaint lodged by the Nari Morcha members. "The chairperson has stated that she would also look into this issue," stated the DM.
Rekha Sharma, the chairperson of National Commission for Women, is in Darjeeling hills for three days to examine allegations of violation of women's rights and police atrocities during the statehood agitation last year.
National Commission for Women has scheduled to visit Kurseong, Mirik and meet common people, including some of the complainants. Commission has also scheduled to visit jails and conduct an inquiry into police atrocities and examine cases where women have been named as accused and are behind bars. Recently, a Darjeeling resident had accused a police officer of threatening to torture women members of his family, following which a complaint was sent to the commission.
Meanwhile, Nari Morcha (GJMM women wing) supporters have protested the visit of National Commission of Women in Darjeeling today as their visit to Darjeeling at present may disturb the current situation.
The National Commission for Women is sending a high-level team headed by Chairperson, Ms. Rekha Sharma to examine the instances of atrocities meted out against women during the phase of current Gorkhaland agitation.
The NCW has collected number of grievances, prominent among which is a threat over phone allegedly issued by Darjeeling Inspector-in-Charge Soumyajit Roy, in which one of the voices is head threatening to rape the mother and sister of one Achutyam Bhattarai.
The NCW team will also visit various jails to take stock of the women who are still in jail and will inquire about their wellbeing.
The NCW has requested any and all persons with grievances and complaints against administrative atrocities to approach them when the team visits Darjeeling region from 15th of April to the 17th of April.
You can also send in your complaints at:
Phone: (011) -26944808
“There are fake news being spread that I am seeking meeting with Mamata Banerjee with the intention to surrender.
These are fake news being spread by newspapers with vested interests, I request our people not to believe in these being spread to create confusion among our supporters and to cause the morale of Gorkhaland supporters to weaken.
I have always believed in democratic forms of agitation under the provisions of our constitution, and I am fighting my battles legally, and I assure my supporters that I will be among all of you very soon and till my last breath, I will continue with the struggle for Gorkhaland statehood with honesty and sincerity.”
Bimal Gurung will go to Press Council of India against this statement
On the other hand Gorkha Janmukti Morcha Media (Bimal Gurung Faction) on the social Media posted the following
"Another Day, Another Story and its Fake and baseless
There is a dedicated attempt at spreading disinformation and misinformation, aimed at making the Gorkhaland loving people confused.
Please DO NOT BELIEVE in rumoros, unless it is posted officially by us.
Bengal government and their agents are desperately trying to create confusion among the masses to undermine the credibility of our President Bimal Gurung, it shows how terrified they all are.
Gorkhaland is the one and only agenda for our President.
Jai Gorkhaland "
"First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me - and by then there was no one left to speak out for me."
- Pastor Martin Niemöller
Of late, a very scary trend has started in our Darjeeling hills, notices are being issued to those Gorkhaland supporters who have gone underground or missing, asking for them to show up at various designated Government offices with 'relevant documents by a certain date', barring which their names will be removed from the voters list.' In a democratic nation like India, where Majority will always thrive, this is a very scary scenario unfolding for the minorities, and especially for micro-minority communities like the Gorkhas, it could translate to the end of any and all forms of resistance and rebellion against the powers that be.
Legally and technically, the district administration is entitled to seek revision of voters list, and as per rule if a person doesn’t live at a local address for over 6 months, her/his name can be removed. The most famous such case was the removal of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's name from the Lucknow Municipal electoral list in September of 2017. However, Mr. Vajpayee had been residing in Delhi for long, and the removal of his name didn't really affect his fundamental right as a citizen of our great nation.
However, in Darjeeling region, the district administration is using this rule to target those Gorkhaland supporters against whom various cases have been filed, and who have gone or remained underground, for fear of injustice looms large.
In such a situation, the people who are missing, cannot and in all likelihood will not, file for their names to be transferred to other jurisdiction to register as voters. Removal of any name from an electoral roll means such individuals cannot exercise their basic duty as a citizen of our nation - to elect the government of its choice. In a country like India, where criminals of all hues and colours thrive, it is rare for the state government to pursue individuals in a manner which deprives them of their citizenship rights. Case in point, Vijay Mallya still features in the electoral list in Bangalore, and Sanjay Dutta - a convicted terrorist supporter/helper also features in the voter list of Mumbai.
What is worrisome in this exercise the district administration has embarked upon, is that, it cruelly curtails our 'right to protest' against a powerful government. The government, in such a case may slap severe charges (actual and fabricated) against any individual forcing him or her to go underground, and then the government may proceed to struck off the name from the electoral roll, thus barring that individual from becoming a part of the democratic process of our nation - they won't get to vote or contest in elections. Which translates to the government, if it so desires, being able to slap cases against its political opponents, cause them to run and then remove their names from the electoral roll, thereby emptying the political field.
Moreover, the government may, if it so decides, start this process of review for everyone from the micro-minority community who have lived outside their home constituency for over 6 months. Imagine, if such a scenario were to play out, almost everyone who were yelling 'Gorkhaland' at Jantar-Mantar or writing and shouting for/against it from anywhere outside Darjeeling region, may actually not retain their voting rights in Darjeeling, if the government of West Bengal decides to take a more draconian stance.
What is really worrisome, in all this is the silence of ALL THE GORKHA POLITICIANS. May be, many are secretly rejoicing at the prospect of having the names of their most detested opponents removed from the voting list, but what they seem to fail to realize is that someday, this same tool of oppression can be and will be used against them. As the Nepali adage goes, " ऊसलाई खाने बाघले तिमिलाई पनि खान्छ है - one cannot ride a tiger forever, the tiger will eventually get hungry and run out of other animals to devour." Their silence speaks volumes about how strongly they feel about the welfare of our community.
In comparison when BJP threatened to kick out illegal Bangladeshi refugees from Assam, the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee went on record to challenge the BJP and threatened them with dire consequences if even a single Bangladeshi was touched - forget Indians, she fought for the rights of Bangladeshis, and here in our hills, the Gorkha politicians who are busy serving under her, are instead defending cops who allegedly threatened one of our Gorkha mother and a sister with rape.
Perhaps such is the curse of being born a Gorkha, we seem to be loyal to everyone else, but our own people.
The politics of Vendetta which had consumed a generation of our people, has today infested our community again. When Subash Ghising was removed from the hills GJM had rejoiced, today when Bimal Gurung is removed and hounded similarly, GNLF is rejoicing, so is AT-BT group of GJM. While CPRM, ABGL and JAP have maintained a seemingly dignified silence, their silence too speaks out loud about how they feel about the whole issue. In the race to play the politics of vendetta, the Gorkhas are losing big time. Today we have become so fragmented that we cannot even dare to speak against this hounding out of Gorkhas from our own lands.
It has begun with the missing GJM leaders, but I am certain, this is just the beginning. The Bengal government will use this on everyone of us, who dare to raise our voice for the welfare of our community and people. From asking for "Family tree since 1950" to those who went to seek residential certificate the Bengal government has made it abundantly clear that they view all of us with suspicion. If we are not careful today, a day may come when the Gorkhas will be rendered homeless. Much like what happened in the rest of North East could end up happening here, and we may end up being rendered homeless in our own lands.
So, please speak out against what's happening in Darjeeling today. Because if we let this trend continue, soon a day may come, when you may want to speak out, but your tongues may have been cut without you even realizing it.
Remember, "if you are afraid to speak out against tyranny, you are already a slave"
Bimal Gurung also popularly called as Gorkha Tiger has possibly geared up for the next level of politics towards accomplishing his main objective of attaining statehood for Indian Gorkha community, Gorkhaland.
Parliament is where bill has to be passed for a new state and he seems to have made up his mind to roar inside Parliament by contesting 2019 Parliament election himself from Darjeeling. He has been in the hiding for over 9 months and matters are sub judicial related to multiple cases slapped against him by West Bengal Mamata Banerjee Government.
With most doors closed for him at this juncture, he seems to have taken strong decision to make his come back into the mainstream politics.
As per reports, if contested, Gurung will single-handedly sweep Darjeeling MP election in his favour and any candidate against him won’t even stand a chance.
Darjeeling and Doars are abuzz with rumours of many aspiring MP candidates preparing themselves for 2019 by playing the community card. A local Darjeeling resident, Bishal, said “if Daju contests, all rats can go back to their holes. He matters to us the most and not any party”. People at large seems to share similar sentiments towards Gurung. Another Darjeeling local, Upendra, said “When Daju’s sun shines again all these seasonal mushrooms will vanish within no time. He is a true Gorkha son and will definitely get us Gorkhaland”
The Supreme Court had dismissed Centre's plea seeking review of its judgment debarring arrested persons from contesting polls back in November 2013, saying it is not necessary to look into the issue in view of amendment in law by Parliament. “As a consequence of amendment a person does not cease to be elector only by reason of his being in police custody or in imprisonment. Therefore, he can contest election to state legislature as well as Parliament," the bench said in its order. The judgement opens his road to contesting MP election and hence, Parliament.
“Bimal Daju need not come to Darjeeling to win the election. Wherever he may be, he will win by thumping majority, no matter how hard anyone strives. His MP candidates in Terai & Doars will also clearly win the 2019 election. Gorkhas were and are always with him” a prominent local resident said.
With Gurung’s massive supporter base in Darjeeling hills, Terai and Doars, he seems to be gaining momentum for 2019 elections much ahead of time.
Via Gorkhaland Flag Campaign
Later on The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha Media made it clear that the news of Bimal Gurung contesting 2019 election for Darjeeling MP was fake. The following statement was posted by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha Media on the social Media:-
There is a dedicated attempt at spreading disinformation and misinformation, aimed at making the Gorkhaland loving people confused.
Bimal Gurung is not arrested, and the fake news being circulated that Bimal Gurung is contesting MP elections is also done to create confusion among our people.
Please DO NOT BELIEVE in rumoros, unless it is posted officially by us.
Bengal government and their agents are desperately trying to create confusion among the masses to undermine the credibility of our President Bimal Gurung, it shows how terrified they all are.
Gorkhaland is the one and only agenda for our President.
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]
Joint rally in Delhi for statehood
Debraj Deb| Mar 20, 2018 00:00 IST - Telegrapg
Agartala: A group of the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) leaders on Monday joined a Maha Rally in New Delhi organised by the National Federation of New States seeking new states.
Failing this, the federation has threatened to launch a united political front before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Twipraland is a proposed separate state for indigenous communities of Tripura.
The federation organised a collective session on statehood demands at Hansraj College in Delhi on Sunday.
The rally on Mondaystarted from Rajghat and ended at Parliament Street.
Youth IPFT leader Shuklacharan Noatia told reporters that they were protesting to raise statehood demands from across the country at the national level. "Twipraland is a political demand and so are all others. The protest was successful," he said.
No central government representative has met the delegates so far.
NFNS general secretary Pramod Bodo said the protest was the first agitation of its type done jointly by all statehood demand groups in the country.
"After Telangana, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand, no new states were created," NFNS president Srihari Aney said.
The NFNS comprises the leaders of statehood movements of Vidharba, Bodoland, Bundelkhand, Gorkhaland, Twipraland, Kukiland, Karbi State and Poorvanchal.
On why his party leaders joined the rally despite being in alliance with the BJP in Tripura, which summarily rejected demand for a separate state, IPFT chief N.C. Debbarma said, "It was a pre-scheduled movement. A team of our party joined the agitation."
The All Bodo Students' Union, one of the participants in the rally, warned that the new state demand issue would "impact" the BJP in the next year's Lok Sabha polls.
It complained that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh did not reply to their letters for an appointment to discuss the issue.
Absu president Promod Boro told The Telegraph on Monday that if the BJP-led government did not fulfil their separate state demands, the NFNS would form a political front before the Lok Sabha elections. "Today we request the government to take a policy decision on the issue soon or the government will face the consequences," he said, adidng that the joint movement would continue.
*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