Showing posts with label Gorkha Students JNU. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gorkha Students JNU. Show all posts

चिया कमानको मजदुरको जीवनको मोल कति?

9:57 PM
सम्पूर्ण चिया कमानहरुमा काम बन्द गर अनि श्रमिकहरुलाई बन्द अवधीको वेतन देऊ!

DTA अनि CCPA को दार्जीलिङ पहाड़को चियाकमानहरुमा काम संचालित रा‌ख्ने कोशिशको घोर निन्दा गरौं!

विश्वलाई त्रासित बनाएको कोरोना भाइरसको महामारी विरुद्ध हर एक देश अनि संस्थाहरु एकबद्ध भएर सक्रिय रुपमा काम गरिरहेका छन्। हाम्रो देशमा पनि यो भाइरसको विस्तारलाई रोक्नको निम्ति सरकारले कतिपय मापदण्ड या नियमहरु तय गरेका छन्। सरकारले जनाएका धेरैवटा सावधानीहरु मध्ये 'शारीरिक दूरी' प्रमुख हुन्। यस विषयलाई प्राथमिकता दिदै सरकारले २१ दिनको 'भारत लॉकडाउन' को घोषणा पनि गरेका छन्। यस निर्णयलाई देश भरिका राज्यहरुले अनिवार्यतापुर्वक पालन गर्ने सहमति जनाएका छन्। COVID-19 को रुपमा प्रकट भएको विश्वरुपी महामारीलाई ठप्प गर्न हरेक व्यक्ति अनि सरकारको जिम्मेवारी बन्न पुगेको छ।

हालैमा कालेबुंग निवासी कोरोना भाइरस पिडित महिलाको मृत्युको घटनाले हाम्रो पहाड़ पनि भाइरसको चपेटमा आइसकेको कुरा प्रष्ट हुन्छ। उनको मृत्यु North Bengal Medical College, Siliguri मा भर्ना भएको एक दुइ दिन भित्रमा २८ मार्च २०२० को दिन भयो। पहाड़मा घटित यो प्रथम मृत्युले सबैलाई सोचनीय स्थितिमा पुर्याएको छ र सरकारी स्वास्थ चिकित्सा व्यवस्था प्रति धेरै प्रश्नहरू उठ्न स्वाभाविक नै हो। के सरकारले यस्तो संकटको परिस्थिति सामना गर्न आवश्यक तयारी गरेका छन् त ? के हाम्रा क्षेत्रका अस्पतालहरु आवश्यक चिकित्सा सुविधाहरू बारे सुचित थियो त ? सामाजिक संजालमा अडियो विडियो मार्फत कोरोना संक्रमित लक्षण हुने व्यक्तिहरुले उचित ढंगमा उपचार नपाएको गुनासो गरिएको खुलासाले हाम्रो सरकारी चिकित्सा प्रावधान कति जिर्ण अवस्थामा छ भन्ने कुराको पुष्टी गर्दछ। यस घटनालाई लिएर अस्पतालको अवस्था मात्र नभएर डाक्टर र चिकित्सा कर्मचारीहरु माथि प्रश्न उठी रहेको छ। तर वास्तवमा कुरा बुझ्नु हो भने यी प्रश्नहरुको उत्तर दिने दायित्व सरकारको हो। उपचार गर्ने डाक्टर अनि चिकित्सा कर्मचारीहरुले पनि सरकारद्वारा पाउनु पर्ने आवश्यक 'Personal Protective Equipments (PPE)' पाएका छैनन्। उनीहरु त आफ्नो दायित्वलाई पुरा गर्न ज्यानलाई जोखिममा हाल्दै भए पनि सक्रियतापुर्वक अघि बढिरहेका छन्।
Darjeeling Tea Workers
Darjeeling Tea Workers

अर्को आश्चर्यजनक कुरो के छ भने, यस्तो महामारीको समयमा पनि दार्जीलिंग टी एसोशियेसन (DTA) अनि कन्सल्टेटिव कमिटि अफ प्लानटेसन एसोशियेसन (CCPA) ले चिया बगानहरुलाई पुर्ण रुपमा संचालन गर्ने मांग बंगाल सरकार सामु राखेको छ। विश्वभरिनै लॉकडाउनलाई गम्भिरतापूर्वक पालन गरिरहेको बेला हाम्रो चिया बगान कर्मचारीहरु भने आज पनि बाध्य भएर बगान धाइरहेका छन्। बंगाल सरकारले पनि यस मांग माथि विचार गर्ने कुरा स्टेट्सम्यान खबरकागजबाट बुझ्नमा आईदैछ। चिया बगान कर्मचारीहरुको हीत अनि सुरक्षा को जिम्मा DTA अनि CCPA जस्तो संस्थाहरुले लिनु पर्ने बेलामा, अझ कर्मचारीहरुलाई खाड़लमा हाल्ने मेलो गरिदैछ। DTA अनि CCPA का सदस्यहरु लगायत चिया बगानका मालिकहरुले दर्शाएको यस्तो असंवेदनशील निर्णयलाई हामी घोर भर्त्सना गर्छौ। के उनीहरु साँचै कोरोना भाइरसको प्रभावबारे अज्ञात छन्? या उनीहरुलाई लाग्छ, पुस्ता पुस्ता देखि घाउ, चोट अनि दु:ख खप्नु सक्ने कर्मचारीहरुले यो कोरोना भाइरसलाई पनि आरामले पचाईदिने छ। के चिया बगान कम्पनीले उगाउने भव्य नाफाको सामु चिया बगान कर्मचारीहरुको जीवनको मूल्य यति तुच्छ छ ?

पुरा पश्चिम बंगालमा लॉकडाउनको आदेश दिने सरकारले, कसरी चिया बगानका कर्मचारीहरुसंग पक्षपात गर्न सक्छ? चिया बगान र कारखानासंग जुडिएको प्रत्येक काम नै संगठित ढंगमा गर्नु पर्ने हुन्छ, यसैले 'शारीरिक दूरी' पालन गर्न असम्भव छ। चिया बगान खोलिनु नै यहाँ काम गर्ने कर्मचारीहरुको ज्यानलाई खतरामा पार्नु हो अनि उनीहरुको वर्तमान अनि भविष्यलाई जोखिममा हाल्नु हो। कथांकल दुर्भाग्यवस भोलीको दिनमा केहि क्षति पुग्न गए, के बंगाल सरकार, DTA अनि CCPA ले सम्पूर्ण चिया बगान कर्मचारीहरुको अनि उनीहरुको भावी पिडाको जिम्मेवारी लिने छन् त? त्यस बखत शायदै DTA अनि CCPA ले निर्धारित गरेको चिया बगान केन्द्रित 'Strict Safety and hygiene guidelines' प्रभावशालि हुने छन्।

विशेषगरि, DTA अनि CCPA को मांगबारे स्थानीय प्रसाशन (GTA) अनि अरु राजनैतिक दलहरुको परिप्रेक्ष्य बारे केहि प्रश्न गर्न चाहन्छौ। प्रथम, DTA र CCPA ले गरेको मांग अनि कर्मचारीहरुको सुरक्षाबारे विवाद हुँदा, GTA का प्रतिनिधि, दार्जीलिंग जिल्लाको MP अनि MLA हरुको के-कस्ता प्रतिक्रियाहरू आएका छन् ? दोश्रो, यस्तो विवाधित क्षणमा पहाड़को स्थानीय राजनैतिक दलहरु साँचै नै श्रमिकवर्गको जीवन र सुरक्षाको अधिकारको पक्षमा छ भने, किन DTA र CCPA को निर्णयको विरुद्ध किन निमुखा दर्शक बनिरहेको छन् त ? यदि आफ्नो राजनैतिक सहायकहरुलाई खुशी पार्न मात्रै राजनीति गर्न हो भने, आफ्नो कुम्लो कटेरो बाँधे हुन्छ। तेश्रो, एकातिर हाम्रो राजनैतिक प्रतिनिधिहरु मुख्यत: सांसद क्षेत्रको भावी योजनाहरूबारे ट्वीट गर्नमै व्यस्त देखिन्छ भने अर्कोतिर DTA र CCPA को हालैको निर्णयलाई लिएर आफ्नो मन्तव्य राख्नबाट टाढ़िएको सर्वविदित नै छ। उता पहाड़का तिन विधायकहरुले पनि DTA र CCPA को अमानविय निर्णय, जसले हजारौ श्रमिकहरुको ज्यानलाई जोखिममा पारेको छ, त्यस विरुद्ध चुँ सम्म पनि गरेका छैनन्। राज्य सरकार, विधायकहरु र सांसद, मालिक पक्षले खुल्लम-खुल्ला श्रमिक बर्गको जीवन र सुरक्षाको अधिकारको हनन् गरेको देख्दा देख्दै पनि सबै किन‌ मौन छन् ? उनीहरुको मौनताले हामीलाई यो प्रश्न तेर्साउनुमा मजबूर गर्छ कि, के सरकार, विधायकहरु र सांसद, उही मुट्ठीभर मालिक पक्षले मात्र बनाएको हो ? हाम्रो प्रतिनिधिहरु यस्ता विपतको क्षणमा पनि DTA र CCPA को कमानलाई संचालित राख्ने अमानवीय र निन्दनीय कोशिशको विरुद्धमा एक शब्द पनि किन बोल्नु सकिरहेको छैन त ?

यसै संदर्भमा हाम्रो छिमेकी राज्य आसम सरकारले २१ मार्च २०२० को दिन नोटिफिकेसन नो: L.E.16/2018/4035-98 मार्फत चिया बगानहरुलाई पूर्णरुपमा लॉकडाउन गर्ने आदेश दिएका थिए। यस नोटिफिकेसन अनुसार चिया बगानको लॉकडाउन साथसाथै कर्मचारीहरुले पाउने हाजिरा, उनीहरुको रोजगार अनि अधिकारहरु माथि ठप्प नलागिने निर्णय लिएका थिए। तर हालैमा चिया कमानको मालिक वर्गहरुको प्रेसरमा आएर आसम सरकारले आफ्नै निर्णय फिर्ता लिने भएका छन। र यस्तो स्थितिमा हाम्रो पनि क्षेत्रको जन प्रतिनिधिहरुको साथै राजनैतिक दलहरुको मौनता, DTA र CCPA को निवेदन, बंगाल सरकारको मनोवृत्ति हेर्दा मालिकवर्ग संग केन्द्र र राज्य सरकार दुवै मिलेर मजदुरहरुको जीवन संग खेलवाड गर्दैछन् भन्ने कुरा बोध हुन्छ। के चिया बगानहरु पृथ्वीमा नभएर अर्कै ग्रहमा छन् जहाँ कोरोनाको खतरा छैन ? के चिया बगानको मजदुरहरु 'Right to life and safety' देखि वञ्चित छन्? बंगाल सरकारले DTA अनि CCPA को मांगलाई स्वीकार गर्नु नै मजदुरहरुको विरुद्ध उभिनु हो। यस्तो अमानवीय सोंचको हामी कडा शब्दमा खण्डन गर्छौ।
जब सम्पूर्ण विश्वनै एकबद्ध भइ यो महामारीको विरुद्ध संघर्ष गर्न कम्मर कसी रहेको छ भने यहाँ दार्जीलिंगमा चाहिं केहि तुच्छ विचार भएका चिया कमानका मालिकहरु र उनीहरुका चम्चाहरुले DTA र CCPA को संकीर्ण स्वार्थ पूर्ति हेतु कमानको काम बन्द हुन नदिने निर्णय लिएको छ। विधित नै छ कि चिया कमानमा काम गर्ने मजदूरहरु अधिकांश नै गोर्खा अनि आदिवासी समुदायकाहरु छन्। त्यसैले मालिक पक्षको कमानलाई सुचारु राख्ने निवेदनले उनीहरुको क्रुर परजीवी मानसिकतालाई अभिव्यक्त गर्दछ। DTA अनि CCPA ले मजदूरहरुलाई कामबाट केहि दिन विश्राम, राशन पानी, अग्रिम बेतन आदि सुविधाहरु प्रदान गर्नको सट्टा कमानको काम चालु राख्ने निवेदन टक्राई आफ्नो शोषक परजीवी प्रवृतिको झलक स्पष्ट देखाएको छ। हामी मालिक पक्षको यो अमानवीय निर्णयको कडा शब्दमा भत्सर्ना गर्दछौ अनि यो संकटको समयमा मजदुरवर्ग संग काँधमा काँध मिलाई उनीहरुको अधिकारको निम्ति आवाज उठाउन कटिबद्ध छौ।

यसर्थ सरकार समक्ष हामी यो मांग राख्दछौ कि भारत लॉकडाउनको अवधि चियाकमानहरु सम्पूर्ण रुपमा बन्द राखियोस अनि चिया श्रमिकहरुलाई अग्रिम वेतन, राशन पानी, स्वास्थ्य सेवा र अन्य सहुलियतहरु समयमा प्रदान गरियोस्!

सरकारी स्वास्थ्य व्यवस्थाको हालत बुझी सकेको छौं, हामी आफै सचेत र सावधान भएर घर भित्र नै बसौं, शारीरिक दुरी पालन गरेर कोरोनाको प्रकोपबाट बाचौं र अरुलाई पनि बचाउँ!   
      
गोर्खा स्टूडेंट्स, जे.ऐन.यू               ०२.०४.२०२०

Condemn the attempt by D.T.A & C.C.P.A to operate the Tea plantations in Darjeeling

6:00 PM
Shut Down Plantations and Pay Wages to the Workers.

Darjeeling Tea Association and Consultative Committee of Plantation Association has turned deplorable and inhuman by shamelessly requesting the West Bengal State Government to allow the complete operation of Tea Plantations in Darjeeling as reported in the Statesman on 27th March 2020.

How indifferent, insensitive and self- centered can the Plantation Owners/ Company Heads get under this dire threat to the entire human species? Are the members of the D.T.A. and the C.C.P.A – “uneducated”, “illiterate” and so “ignoble” (often phrased as reasons for avoiding quarantines) that they do not understand the seriousness of the pandemic at hand? Then how’s it possible they have a stomach to appeal in such a mean spirited and draconian move to make tea labourers work under present circumstances. Is the common consensus within the D.T.A. and C.C.P.A an absolutely unscientific and superstitious hope and belief that tea workers of Darjeeling would exclusively remain immune to the novel Coronavirus? Or are they of the opinion that the life of our fellow brothers and sisters is so cheap that they can be readily disposed for the sake of a few crores petty profit? Isn’t this move of the D.T.A. and C.C.P.A consolidating the belief that tea plantation workers are merely slaves?

Therefore, in complete solidarity with the workers and their vulnerabilities during this time, we condemn this inhuman, insensitive and draconian move by the D.T.A & C.C.P.A for appealing the State Government to operate the plantations in Darjeeling.
We are confounded to observe that the State Government actually appears willing to deliberate on this request and may even consider it. In a situation where this very government has ordered a complete lockdown throughout the state, how can it even think of taking a contradictory position on the fate of thousands of workers and their dependent families? Especially, when working in the fields and factories entails gathering and socialising in a way that cannot be substantially avoided (which the workers are very much aware of) regardless of the D.T.A & C.C.P.A proposed precautionary measures such as “strict safety and hygiene guidelines”. However, under the same circumstances, in the neighbouring state of Assam, their state government has ordered a complete lockdown of the tea industry vide notification no. L.E. 16/ 2018/ 4035-98 dated Guwahati, 21st March 2020. The plantation owners there have complied to not only shut down the industry but also to cooperate with the government order that states categorically- “not to terminate employment or reduce wages” of any worker whether permanent or contractual and to consider them to be on paid leave. When such a socially relevant decision can be taken by Assam what bothers and stops the West Bengal Government to toe a similar line? What’s so special about Darjeeling that its workers don’t deserve a right to life and safety? It would be utterly draconian if the state government grants the requests of the D.T.A. & C.C.P.A. and we stand firmly against any such move by the government to endanger the workers’ lives.

Moreover, it is imperative now to ask few extremely crucial questions to all administrative and political bodies immediately concerned with the region regarding their positions on the latest move by the D.T.A& C.C.P.A. First, what is the local administration i.e. the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration(G.T.A.) and political representatives like the M.P & M.L.A(s)of Darjeeling going to do to reconcile this division of interests between the Plantation Owners (DTA & CCPA) and that of the workers? Second, what are the positions being opted, perhaps now, if they are truly concerned, by all the local parties proliferating on the soil of the hills? If they cannot be nonchalant to this move by the D.T.A& C.C.P.A to bereave workers from their right to life and security, our best suggestion to all parties is to shut down their clientele based politics and disband their organisations.

Third, our political representatives, especially the M.P. has so far been busy tweeting future plans for the region while the present move by the D.T.A & C.C.P.A is left conspicuously unaddressed by him. Then, what is RajuBista (M.P. Darjeeling) doing at the moment to tackle this new found situation? Whereas, the three MLA’s from Darjeeling hills, who are nowhere to be heard right now, what are they doing about D.T.A & C.C.P.A’s inhuman move to push the workers to risk and endangerment? Shall the State Government, the M.L.As, the M.Pas well as the G.T.A remain a mere onlooker without a voice during such an attack by the plantation owners on the right to life and security of the workers?All of their silences would make any one ask whether the Government, the MLA(s) and the M.P of the region were rather elected by a minority i.e. the handful of lobbying planters. It raises doubt as to who these political representatives from the region are really accountable to? Why haven’t they been able to utter a single word against such an inhuman and deplorable attempt by the D.T.A& C.C.P.A to open and operate tea plantations?

While the whole world is gearing towards international solidarity to fight a global pandemic as it has become impossible for any country to fight it alone. Darjeeling’s manypetty minded planters/ owners are lobbying through D.T.A & C.C.P.A for their parochial interests. To the extent of risking a major section of the Gorkha- Adivasi population who are prominently tea plantation labourers. Their deplorable and inhuman appeal is nothing else but the manifestation of their crude and cruel vision to exploit the workers. Instead of the relieving the labourers fromwork, so they too may stay in house quarantines, by providing them wages in advance, ration and other basic amenities to protect themselves, the D.T.A& C.C.P.A has shown their true oppressive and exploitative character. We thoroughly condemn every word and intention of their attempt to operate Tea Plantations in Darjeeling and stand in complete solidarity with the Workers in such trying times. Hence we demand the State Government to rather ensure that the tea plantation owners' must pay the workers their full wages in advance during the entire lockdown period.

Only way to fight corona in Darjeeling- Shut down the Tea Plantations!

Gorkha Students, JNU                     
Date: 28/03/2020

Rs.172 - Price of blood, sweat and life of a Tea garden worker in Gorkhaland!

12:28 PM
‘All wealth is the product of labor’- John Locke 

Tea plantations of Darjeeling, Dooars and Terai encompass the two extremes of human existence, the unimaginable opulence of Tea garden owners and the abject impoverishment of workers. Behind the idyllic hills, the scenic gardens, the “romance of the two leaves and a bud”, and the “smiling faces” of the workers, what remains carefully hidden is the ugly truth of sub-human wages, more than a thousand starvation deaths, and seething anger.
Tea workers in Gorkhaland

The ongoing wage negotiations for tea gardens in the Hills, Dooars & Terai has yet again brought to fore what the West Bengal government and the industry wishes to brush under the carpet. It is another manifestation of the complicity of the state in depriving the workers of their basic minimum level of sustenance. Darjeeling tea derived its value (even has its own Geographical Indication-GI mark) from its qualitative excellence and high exportability. Darjeeling, Dooars and Tarai produces one of finest and most sought after tea in the international market (Iran, Japan, UK, Russia, UAE). Such is the demand for Darjeeling tea that in the year 2016 the finest quality of Darjeeling tea was sold at Rs 1.12 lakh per kg. Tea industry makes valuable contribution to both Central and State Government coffers by way of different Central and State taxes. The West Bengal State enjoys approximately 1500 crores of revenue generated from tea gardens annually along with the revenue from tea tourism, forest, hydel project etc. However, the contributions of the tea garden workers have been rewarded by hardship, struggle, denial of basic rights, untimely medical facilities, forced lockdown of tea gardens and starvation deaths. This perennial appalling condition has compelled the workers of 273 tea gardens to hit the streets and raise their voice for higher wages. Examining the closest history, the wage of workers’ was Rs.45 per day in 2001, Rs. 90 per day in 2010 and Rs.95 per day in 2011. After repeated pressure from workers trade unions, it was increased to Rs 132.50 in 2016. In February 2018, the wage was decided upon as Rs 150/day. However, following the disagreements and protests from the tea gardens workers trade unions, the planters agreed to increase the wage only to Rs 172 per day on 5th August 2018, which the workers have out rightly rejected.

How low is the wage rate in tea gardens?
First, workers of Darjeeling, Dooars, Tarai and Assam are paid the lowest wage among all tea plantations located in India. Eg. Tamil Nadu pays Rs. 303, Karnataka pays Rs 317 while Kerala pays Rs. 600 per day. Ironically tea produced from these locations are not much demanded in international market and fetches low price, even then the tea garden owners are able to pay decent wages more than that of Darjeeling. Secondly, wages of tea garden workers of Darjeeling, Dooars and Tarai is even lower than the government mandated minimum wages in similar occupations in West Bengal. The recently proposed wage rate by the planters and state government for the tea garden workers of Darjeeling, Dooars and Terai is Rs 172, which is even lower than minimum wage paid in Cinchona plantation located in the same region (Rs. 211), in Beedi leaf plucking (Rs. 255), in Agriculture (Rs 278). Thirdly, the money wage was Rs 90 in 2010 and it was proposed to be hiked to Rs 172 on 5th August, 2018. However, if we take into account the rising living expenses (due to rising prices over time-inflation), the real wage (what money wage is able to buy in terms of goods and services) hike is miniscule in terms of purchasing power. For e.g. the goods and services, which could be purchased using Rs. 90 in 2010, will cost Rs.141 in 2018. Even Rs.90 in 2010 was the lowest wage received by workers among workers in other industries during that time. This implies that workers until last year (Rs 132.5 in 2017) were not even getting wage, which could buy same amount of goods they used to buy with Rs. 90 in 2010. Similarly, Rs 172 of 2018 will only buy the same amount of goods what workers could have bought with Rs.109 in 2010. This means that the wage hike proposed by planters is very low if we take into account the rising daily expenses of tea garden workers. Workers are demanding Rs 239.82 as minimum wage, which is just equal to the purchasing power of Rs 152 of 2010. The minimum wage of Rs 239.82 is not even 40% of minimum wage of tea garden workers in Kerala. In an era where LPG refilling costs around Rs 1000, the tea garden workers are bound to survive on a monthly average income of Rs 5000. Since, tea garden is the main source of income for the families, it is beyond impossible to maintain a decent livelihood with such a minimum wage leading intergenerational poverty trap. Contrary to this deplorable condition of workers, the CEO of a tea company (Goodricke Group Limited, Annual Report, 2017-18) has a salary scale of Rs. 4-7 lakhs per month with additional Rs. 50,000 special allowance per month.
What do various reports say? Nearly 1500 tea plantation workers of Dooars and Terai have died due to starvation in the last ten years. According to the state government’s Labour Department Survey (2013) report, nearly Rs 47 crore rupees of provident fund was unpaid to workers in 75 tea gardens in 2013. Around 80% of the gardens had no medical staff and most of the gardens had no access to basic health facilities. The International Labour Organisation in its 2005 report clearly states that the Tea Board, which is the regulating authority of the Tea Industry, has failed to fulfill its stipulated function. They have continuously ignored wage and provident fund defaults of tea gardens, while portraying this crisis only as a marketing mismanagement. The ILO report also suspects that there is collusion between the planters and the State, which is highlighted by the non-implementation of the Tea Act, 1953. Studies show that 70% of the people of the closed tea gardens suffer from chronic energy deficiency III stage. The scale of deprivation and dispossession of livelihoods is such that the workers are forced to languish till they die of hunger and malnutrition. The Supreme Court’s order (dated 06.08.10) categorically asked the Government of India to carry out its statutory duty under Tea Act 1953. This allows the central government to take over the management/control of sick tea gardens (under section 16 B/D/E of the Act) and take steps thereafter to ensure that the interest of the workers are well protected and dues are all paid in time but such clauses never get invoked to protect the interest of the workers. Such low wages and exploitative conditions have resulted in large migration of workers from the tea estate. Human trafficking is also very rampant in the region. A report of a joint study by Unicef, Save the Children and Burdwan University (in 2010) estimates around 3,500 minors alone were trafficked from 12 gardens of Dooars alone.

We reject the recent offers by the Planters and Government of abysmally low wage hike from Rs.150 to Rs. 172.
We demand: 1. Declare and implement decent Minimum Wage for tea Plantation workers equivalent to that of state of Kerala 2. Grant legal ownership of land rights to workers 3. Reopen closed and abandoned tea estates immediately 4. Casual labour in tea gardens should be regularised as soon as possible 5. Backlog of unpaid provident fund and gratuity should be cleared immediately. We salute and stand in solidarity with the uncompromising struggle of workers for their rightful demand. Any attempt to break the unity of the workers or dilute the demands or betray the struggle must be resisted at all cost.

Gorkha Students, JNU Issued on 13/08/18

JNU students protest against Mahendra P Lama leveling allegations of sexual harassment

6:47 AM

JNU students protest against 2 other professors alleging sexual harassment

ANI | New Delhi Students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) staged a protest against professors Mahendra P Lama, and Rajesh Kharat leveling allegations of sexual harassment against them. The students demanded that they should be arrested.

Recently, JNU's another professor Atul Johri was arrested in a sexual harassment case and was later granted bail.
JNU students protest against professors Mahendra P Lama leveling allegations of sexual harassment

A student of JNU filed a case against Lama and Kharat, who work in the Centre of South Asian Studies of JNU. The professors allegedly took the student to China for work and tried to harass her sexually.

She asked the Internal Complaint Committee of JNU to suspend the professor. However, no step been taken against him as yet.

Both the professors were arrested by the Police on the basis of the complaint registered by the victim but were later granted bail. The varsity authority has not taken an action against them since then.

Via B S

Gorkha Students JNU condemns police firing and killing in Gorkhaland

10:16 PM

Condemn the brutal killing of protestors by armed state forces in Gorkhaland

“You can crush some flowers but you cannot stop spring from coming back!”-Pablo Neruda

Democracy died a violent death today in Gorkhaland. The brazen display of "might is right" by the dictatorial West Bengal government and facilitated by central government has been proven once again on the Gorkha people who have been demanding their constitutional and democratic right. The dance of death that has flowed today from the barrels of the oppressive regime in broad day lights is highly condemnable. Innocents murdered, rights and freedom has been crushed by the oppressive jackboots brought on by the WB government. Three Gorkhaland supporters were left dead today and many were injured when police started firing indiscrimantely on the democratic protest. In the ensuing violence a local cop is also supposed to be killed. We condemn this highly oppressive regime where it kills its own citizens for sustaining it's egomaniac leadership. The murder of the Gorkhaland supporters is highly reprehensible and is to be condemned in the strongest form possible. We condemn this mindless violence and the police high handedness. Political demands should be heard and solved politically. Violence, intimidation and killing should never be the choice of a democratic and constitutional state. We also condemn the draconian move of Bengal government to curb the freedom of speech and expression of people through intimidation with the use of armed forces and putting unjustified ban on local media and new channels. The move of deployment of paramilitary forces especially ARMY to resolve civilian issues and complete ban on local media by Bengal government is nothing but daylight murder of democracy. Such brazen display of State power to deal with genuine political discontent of people on issue of imposition of Bengali language and democratic constitutional fight for separate state has shocked everyone. In Gorkhaland, the people’s right to peaceful assembly and protest, freedom of expression and thought, right against exploitation, right to life with dignity is being increasingly curtailed. All fundamental rights of citizens are curbed at whim and fancies of the State forces. Horrid accounts of loot, molestation, intimidation and custodial torture leading to permanent maiming of those arrested by the CRPF during the 1986-88 agitation have etched deep fear which haunts the masses even today. The State has shamelessly conspired and capitalised on the CRPF’s notorious record of the 1980s by deploying these forces again to create a fear psychosis with an implicit warning that any dissent will be CRUSHED AGAIN with same CRUELTY and LEGITIMACY. We are seeing similar occurences at present as well where the police under the orders of the oppressive regime is knocking down doors at midnight, trashing the house and arresting and intimidating people. Now with introduction of ARMY and CRPF, the feelings of the people are aggrieved more than ever. Already with the widespread presence of police, CRPF and other paramilitary forces, bringing Army to deal with civilian issues sets dangerous political precedent. Deployment of Army under pretext of ‘maintaining peace’ is nothing but intimadation. How can Army which is not trained to deal with civilian issues resolve a century old political crises of this region? Can there be any military solution to civil political problems? Are we living in de-facto military rule? Under such hostile and militarised situation, can any citizen exercise his right to freedom of thought and expression without any fear or intimidation? Is democracy just a privilege of few elites and other priveleged regions? Can we take 'silence under intimadtions and threats' as hallmarks of peace and harmony? Why such a zeal to call army in certain regions and against certain people? Will you find army in civilian conflicts in cities of mainland India? Isn't interference of Army and thousands of paramilitary forces a brazen display of State power to muzzle all democratic aspirations and voices of people of Gorkhaland? How can democracy flourish under military jack boot?           
                      
During this entire movement, the dubious nature of central government is also becoming clearer in front of the public. The Party which proclaims to be ‘sympathetic’ towards the cause of Gorkhas does not think twice before sending Army and CRPF to this region to crush the ongoing movement of Gorkhaland. By repetitively sending more and more of paramilitary force and by deploying Army even in civil politic conflict, Central government (BJP) has actually helped the media to profile this peaceful and democratic movement as being ‘violent’ and ‘dangerous’ in front of entire nation. The dubious stand of the BJP is getting clearer when we see that their WB State leadership like Dilip Ghosh and Rahul Sinha have clearly stated in live news shows that they are not in favour of creation of new State of Gorkhaland but will support ‘development’. Then what is difference between TMC and BJP on issue of Gorkhaland? Are we fool to believe that a national party can have different stand in State and then at the Centre? Under Artilce 3 (a) of Indian Constitution any ruling government can create new state even when state government is completely against it. This is the manner in which new state like Telengana was created by central government even after strong opposition by Andra Pradesh government. Why even after having majority in Parliament, BJP have not even tried to table a bill for creation of separate state of Gorkhaland? Now BJP has to make clear their stand whether it’s for or against Gorkhaland? Are we fool to believe that a national party can have different stand in State and then at the Centre? Under Artilce 3 (a) of Indian Constitution any ruling government can create new state even when state government is completely against it. This is the manner in which new state like Telengana was created by central government even after strong opposition by Andra Pradesh government. Why even after having majority in Parliament, BJP have not even tried to table a bill for creation of separate state of Gorkhaland? Now BJP has to make clear their stand whether it’s for or against Gorkhaland? Now is time where every party has to come together to fight this last battle for justice. Any fight for Gorkhaland cannot be fought by any single party on its own, hence all parties should unite and form a Joint Front to democratically decide the direction and future of ongoing movement. At this juncture any act of unilateralism by any party which creates division and suspicion has to be avoided at all cost. When common people are dying on street, a leader going on hiding doesn’t give any confidence to public.

The media which is supposed to be the eye of democracy has always been biased towards the gorkhas. It has always portrayed the gorkhas as violent and their just and legitimate demand as unconstitutional. The community which has been labelled as one of the bravest in the world have been stabbed at the back by the knife of betrayal and repression by violent representation of the gorkhas. The National media is portraying the state as the white dove of peace and the Gorkhas as lovers of violence. By twisting facts, sensationalising news and cherry picking stories, media is deliberately projecting the entire movements as ‘dangerous’ thereby justifying the excess use of military forces on peaceful protesters. Such biasness and unethical journalism should be questioned and condemned.

The bizarre silence maintained by larger civil society especially those of the supposed left parties like CPI(M) etc of Bengal on such grotesque violation of human rights is baffling and beyond comprehension. Display of such level of insensitivity towards loss of life is highly shameful and only speaks of double standards. We condemn the high handedness of the repressive Bengal Government where the democratic movement for Gorkhaland is being termed unconstitutional and is being used as a pretext to curb the democratic right to protest and freedom of expression. Hence, we demand immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all paramilitary forces including ARMY from the Darjeeling and stop gagging of local media. We reiterate our support for the Gorkhaland movement and call upon all progressive people irrespective of party denominations in JNU to come out in condemnation of the Oppressive TMC reign of terror( block n italacise this) that has brought violence and oppression to not just Gorkhaland but Bengal as well. We salute the people for showing incredible compassion, courage and restraint under such brutal assaults on their freedom and appeal all people unite and fight for this just cause. Instead of relying on eternal forces, people should realise that its their strength of their struggle alone which will ensure Gorkhaland. Only if we stand united and fight uncompromising, we can change the course of history!

Solidarity from Gorkha Students, JNU for tea garden workers

10:26 AM

A statement of solidarity from Gorkha Students, JNU to the protesting tea garden workers for their minimum wage

All tea workers unions from Darjeeling, Dooars and Tarai under the broad banner of Joint Forum have decided to go for a 48 hour strike in Bengal against the exploitation of tea garden owners of Bengal, who are living in deplorable condition with less than minimum wage which is insufficient to live a dignified life. It is co-incidentally at the same time when the people of Gorkhaland are struggling against the oppressive linguistic imposition of the Bengal government on the indigenous people of the land.  The Hills, Terai and Dooars of Gorkhaland are gripped in seething angst when it is forced to witness the misery of its own people in the form of hunger and starvation deaths. It is outrageous to see the workers of a multi-million industry (tea plantation) dying a slow and painful death due to hunger and starvation. The irony of this situation is lies in the presence of stark poverty, chronic hunger and exploitation along-side the colossal profits these tea-gardens generate for the owners and the State. According to an estimate by the Darjeeling Chamber of Commerce, tea industry in the hills generates an average of Rs. 450 crores revenue annually, equal to that of the tourism industry in the region. Absence of workers’ rights, non-payment of minimum wages and benefits is not specific to the tea-industry alone but is rather a persistent feature of work in the highly segment labour-market in India. However, it is pertinent to highlight here the starkly Regional Aspects of Discrimination that lies so strongly visible in the tea industry. The minimum wage paid to unskilled tea labour in Kerala is Rs.301, in Assam it is Rs.158.54, in neighbouring Sikkim it is Rs. 200 while the same in Darjeeling comes to a meagre Rs.112. Even the minimum wage paid in West Bengal for MGNREGA is around Rs. 130-151 and for agricultural laborer is Rs. 206 per day. The tea workers in North Bengal are thus made to work for wages which is far below the minimum in any form of work. It is very shrewd on the part of the owners to claim low wages are due to low price being earned from the sales of tea leaves produced from these gardens. If this be the case then why the wages of workers remains same in those tea gardens which fetches the highest price in the world tea market( for instance Rs. 1.1 lakhs per kg of tea is produced by Makaibari tea garden but wages remain still at Rs.112).
In the last decade more than 1400 tea workers have died due to acute malnutrition and starvation. As recent as January 2013, 95 workers of the locked out Dheklapara Tea Estate in Dooars sent a letter to the Chief Minister of West-Bengal seeking her “order” to kill themselves because they were suffering from acute starvation. The tea workers therefore are forced to languish till they die of hunger and malnutrition. Studies show that 70% of the people of the closed tea gardens suffer from chronic energy deficiency III stage. In the gardens affected by starvation death like Red Bank, Bandapani, Diana and Kathalguri tea gardens, it was found that workers and their families have Body Mass Index (BMI) identical to those populations affected by severe famine.
The starvation death in the tea gardens, the crushing of the identity of the Gorkhas and other minorities and the denial of basic rights to oppressed communities in Bengal has been a phenomenon for centuries in Bengal. The hegemonic forces are united to crush every single voice of dissent and so now the time has come that the oppressed be united to fight against this domination for a better tomorrow.
At this hour of crisis, Gorkha Students, JNU stands in full support with the tea garden workers and the Gorkha people in their struggle for dignity, self-respect and a better life. When Oppressors are always united and consolidated, it is a historic responsibility on our shoulders to unite and fight for a just and egalitarian society!
We also demand that:
1. Closed and abandoned tea estates be reopened immediately.
2. Stop privatisation of government operated tea gardens.
3. Declare and implement Minimum Wage for tea plantation workers.
4. Grant legal ownership of housing space to workers
5. Casual labour should also be brought under the purview of Plantation Labour Act, 1951.
6. Backlog of unpaid Provident fund and gratuity should be cleared without delay.

Gorkha Students, JNU

Gorkha Students JNU appeal to people

7:23 AM

AN APPEAL TO THE PEOPLE OF DARJEELING, KALIMPONG, DOARS AND TERAI

After a lot of diversions and contradictory statements from the Bengal government, intending to create ambiguity and confusion, it has been finally declared by Mamata Banarjee in her recent statement to media that Bengali language will be made compulsory in schools for non Bengali communities in the State. 

What we need to understand is that the politics of imposing the language of the majority on the minority communities is neither new nor a region-specific phenomenon. It is a reflection of a new kind of Communal Majoritarian politics in India where powerful communities have overtly started imposing their language, their food habits, their culture and way of life on other weaker and minority communities. In this battle against the imposition of language, Gorkhas are not the only targets of the resurgence of majoritarian politics. Assam government intends to make Assamese language compulsory in school for all communities including Gorkhas living there. Only of people from Barak valley and tribal areas are exempted from this rule. Similarly, many southern states like Tamil Naidu and Kerala are protesting the indirect imposition of Hindi in their region by the Central government. 

We should also get rid of the “Messiah Complex” where we expect some saviour to appear and fight our battle. Such an attitude will not only rob our capacity and agency to fight against injustice but will also make us dependent on others to fight our struggle. Time and again, history has shown us that it is only when people actively participate in collective struggle, that victory has been possible and resolute. We should realise that our struggle has to be carried out by ourselves and cannot be outsourced elsewhere.  We should realise that people and people alone are the motive force of history.

We cannot allow this diktat to crush our linguistic freedom and further pave way for the weakening of our larger struggle for right to self-determination. We should also remain vigilant to those sinister forces that will attempt to portray this struggle as a communal fight between the Gorkhas and the Bengalis. Our struggle is not intended to disrespect either the Bengali community or their language at all. We respect Bengali language and its culture but not its imposition. We welcome and acknowledge the support of those from the Bengali community who believe that the language of the majority cannot be coercively imposed on linguistic minorities. Not only in Bengal, we are completely against any form of majoritarian politics which marginalises and exploits the other vulnerable communities.
Such continuous exploitation and injustice towards people of Gorkhaland clearly reflect that there cannot be any justice as long as we remain under Bengal. We need more than fake pre election promises, empty slogans and defunct government committees on Gorkhaland. Freedom from Bengal Majoritarian rule and formation of Gorkhaland is the need of the hour. It is time for the civil society and all progressive forces to join hands for a unified struggle against this chauvinistic act of the Bengal government.

Gorkha Students JNU, New Delhi

 
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