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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

GJMM trying to fortify its castle..Protest in hills, unrest in Morcha

KalimNews: After facing resentment from the public of Darjeeling GJMM Chief Bimal Gurung his associates entered Darjeeling. It was told that supporters from Singamari and Tukvar area were brought in the town for letting in Bimal Gurung and his party workers in the Darjeeling town. They were halted at Jorebunglow-Ghoom by thousands of Pro Madan Tamang supporters  for about 3 hrs. People were seen beating the vehicle with lathis and kicking them while the Police made tthe GJMM way. Bimal had arrived at Jorebunglow from Kalimpong with a big contingent of GLPs. With the police escort they entered Darjeeling amidst peoples' curse and Murdabad slogans. 
His convoy stopped at Motorstand, there he addressed his supporters with a short speech and left for Singamari. 144 CrPC was clamped in Darjeeling fearing a clash between Pro and Anti GJMM supporters.
GJMM is facing strong resentment in all the areas of Darjeeling Hills. It was a big challenge for the party as people of Darjeeling had declared that he will not be allowed to enter Darjeeling.
10 Big stalwarts and members of Study Forum of GJM like Trilok Dewan, Lalit Pariyar, Anmole Prasad, Dr. C.K.Subba, C.R.Rai, Rajiv Tamang, Bhawajit Tamang, Amar Rai, Amar Lama, Narayan Thapa, Nima Palden and others have resigned from the party. HB.Chhetri had resigned from the party but later in the night withdrew his resignation. A source said that he withdrew under duress. 
People from all corners of the hills and plains are under search of a suitable leader to lead the mass. A source informed that the Democratic Front formed just a couple of weeks ago will be leading the people of Darjeeling so that peace is maintained in the hills and GJMM is dethroned. The only organised party in the hill is CPRM which has a base in almost all the areas of hills. The others like GNLF C, ABGL, Cong I, BJP, CPI M, GNLF and others have handful supporters. People like C.K.Shrestha, R.B.Rai should lead the people now in crisis of a leader, people opined.  
Late Tamang’s wife has consented to join politics and was welcomed by one and all.
In Sukhiapokhri people have joined ABGL after leaving the GJMM. In Kurseong a rally was organised by GNLF but was confronted with GJMM and a clash took place. GJMM has filed a GD in Kurseong Police Station against GNLF leaders. Peace rally was organised in Kalimpong by Citizens’ Right Forum as well as GJMM at different times. In Sonada and North Bengal University hill people and students organised a peace and candle lit rally.
Meanwhile the two injured GJMM supporters in the incident of 21st May in Darjeeling are admitted with bullet injury in a Nursing Home of Kalimpong.
Convoy of Bimal Gurung Report and picture from Darjeeling times: Darjeeling, May 25: GJMM has been facing a huge setback after the assassination of Madan Tamang in Darjeeling. GJMM has been criticized sharply from every nook and corner, under such circumstances GJMM is now trying their desperate attempt for its survival by entering into Darjeeling. Bimal Gurung, with his GLP cadres and limited supporters marched towards Darjeeling town in a situation where IPC section 144 is imposed, creating a hyper tense in Darjeeling town.
Since morning securities has been alert and section 144 is imposed in Darjeeling town anticipating probable unrest in town.  Bimal Gurung was stopped in Ghoom by the police, while he was on the way from Kalimpong, later he was allowed to enter Darjeeling with his convoy of vehicles and big contingent of GLPs.
“It is not the GJMM but it is the conspiracy of Bengal that killed Madan Tamang,” said Bimal Gurung in a short speech at Supar market. He also assured that he is working for Gorkhaland and warned the Bengal government if the arrests and raids continue for his supporters, there will have a dire consequence. A press conference has been called in Singamari today by GJMM. 
During the brief speech at Super 
Market today  
Defiance overcomes fear in Darjeeling

A mourner tries to rip out a Morcha flag from a pole that was pulled down at Darjeeling Mall on Monday. (Suman Tamang)
Vivek Chhetri,TT, May 24: Defiance overcame fear and coursed through the funeral procession of slain leader Madan Tamang today, stoking the first signs of protest and rebellion against the so-far unchallenged Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
People ripped apart posters, tore down flags as well as banners of the Morcha and then some did the unthinkable by raising slogans asking Morcha spearhead Bimal Gurung to “quit Darjeeling”.
The backlash has also given disgruntled sections within the Morcha itself the courage and opportunity to walk out. Seven senior leaders of the Morcha, including Tamang’s brother Amar Lama, resigned today. Three influential people whom the Morcha used to tap for talks have also distanced themselves from the party.
The dissent has brought upon the Morcha its worst crisis since it was formed in 2008. Some of those who resigned referred to their “conscience”, lending credibility to charges that the Morcha was linked to the murder.
It is not clear if the rare display of outrage against the daylight murder of Tamang, a vocal critic of the Morcha who was hacked to death at the venue of a meeting on Friday, is a sustainable force or a momentary explosion of pent-up feelings that found an outlet on the emotive occasion of the funeral.
But ever since the Morcha was formed two years ago and it started a systemic campaign to stamp out all alternative voices, the hills had not seen an expression of outrage as it did today.
As the funeral procession snaked its way from the Tamang’ party office on Ladenla Road to the spot in front of Planter’s club where he was killed, hundreds of supporters pulled down Morcha flags and banners that had been fluttering at various points along the route. They were helped by groups of residents who egged them on – one torn poster featured an outsized Gurung.
Many shouted slogans like “Bimal Gurung quit the Darjeeling hills” and “Bimal Gurung murdabad”, the rest of the crowd peppering the defiance with loud applause. People also shouted from rooftops, asking others below to bring down the Morcha’s green-and-yellow flags.
But not many wanted to identify themselves, mirroring the deep sense of security still pervading the hills.
“I have come to condemn the killings and on seeing the turnout (5,000-plus) today, I am hoping that the parties will realise that the common people do not accept the politics of violence,” said a resident who did not want to be named, though he is well known in the hills.
Familiarity is a factor that had crushed earlier initiatives for civil society movements. “With everyone knowing almost every other person in this town, no one wanted to be in the bad books of the ruling party and this is how the movement fizzled out,” a resident said of an earlier campaign seeking water.
“We had tried to start a civil movement regarding the water problem in this hill station around four to five years ago. Meetings were held but somewhere along the line, none really wanted to take the plunge,” he added
He recalled that the movement was planned the when Gorkha National Liberation Front chief Subash Ghisingh’s writ ran. “We knew then that if we raised our voices, we would probably be targeted by the toughs Ghisingh controlled. However, as peace-loving and responsible citizens, we could not ignore the stain on our society that was caused by spilling Tamang’s blood.”
On Saturday, the residents took the first tentative steps by organising candlelight rallies.
The “disillusionment” found reflection within the Morcha, too.
“We are stunned by the gruesome murder. Respecting the people’s sentiments and looking at the present political situation, we have decided to resign from all posts of the party,” a statement signed by C.R. Rai, Narayan Thapa, C.K. Subba, Palden Lama and Bhawajit Tamang read.
In Kalimpong, media and publicity secretary Harka Bahadur Chhetri, said: “My conscience has been troubling me…. I have thought my decision over the last few days and put in my papers today.”
Gurung tried to cut a brave front, saying the leaders who quit had fallen from grace because of their “proximity to the state government”.
However, another leader asked: “Why is it that for the first time, they have summoned the courage to speak up? It is because the backlash of the Tamang killing is such that it gave them the chance to vent to their feelings.”
The protests were not restricted to Darjeeling town. At Tamang’s native village, Meghma, 45km from here and near the Nepal border where the ABGL leader was cremated this evening, people brought down the Morcha’s banners and flags.
Overwhelmed by show of support, Tamang’s wife Bharati thanked the people of Darjeeling. Bharati has told her close aides that “she would not allow her husband’s sacrifice to go in vain”, raising the possibility that she might enter active politics.
Rumblings of resentment-Vocal voices give courage to resign  
TT, Darjeeling, May 24: The hacking to death of Madan Tamang, believed to be the handiwork of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, has brought upon the party the worst crisis that it has faced since it was formed over two years ago.
Seven senior members, including Tamang’s brother Amar Lama, quit the party “stunned by the gruesome murder” of the ABGL chief.
Their statement indicated that they were convinced of the Morcha’s involvement in the murder of Tamang. Their “conscience” too did not permit them to stay on in the party any longer.
What must have come as a blow to the party is the resignation of central committee member and media and publicity secretary Harka Bahadur Chhetri.
Harka Bahadur made it clear that he had resigned because “my conscience has been troubling me ever since the killing of Madan Tamang”, clearly indicting the party in the killing of the ABGL leader. Harka Bahadur was a trusted leader, close to Morcha chief Bimal Gurung and his resignation reflects the churning in the party that has started after Tamang’s death.
Late at night after resigning, Tamang’s brother Amar Lama said: “I was in mourning and I was waiting for the cremation to be over (to resign)…The Morcha had not put in the required effort to catch the culprits.”
Gurung tried to brush aside the resignations, saying the leaders had fallen from grace because of their “proximity to the state government”. However, party sources said the defiance of the people at the grassroots level, which was clearly on display during Tamang’s funeral procession, provided the Morcha leaders the courage to resign and speak against the party.
“If leaders like Narayan Thapa and C.K. Subba had fallen from grace some time ago, how is it that they resigned today,” a party leader asked. “Why is it that for the first time they summoned the courage to speak against the party? It is because the backlash of the Tamang killing is such, especially at the common people level, that it provided them with the opportunity to give vent to their feelings.”
The decision of Trilok Dewan, former Andra Pradesh government chief secretary, L.B. Pariyar, former principal secretary of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council and Amar Singh Rai, former vice-principal of Loreto College, to “distance” themselves from the Morcha will also hurt the image of the party in the intellectual community.
Though they were not members of the Morcha, they represented the party at the tripartite talks with the state and the Centre and provided credibility and respectability to the party.
“The reputation of some of the Morcha leaders is such that the party requires people respected in the hills to be with it,” a Morcha leader said. “This will send a wrong signal to the people of Darjeeling.”
The party’s discomfiture at leaders like Harka Bahadur leaving is clear from the fact that despite the media and publicity secretary himself announcing his resignation, party general secretary Roshan Giri claimed tonight that he was still with the party.
“There will be a few more surprises in the coming days,” a Morcha leader said. “The fear that Gurung has instilled in the party had to start dissipating at some time.”
SNS: Life remained paralysed in the Darjeeling hills for the fourth successive day today. The public had convened a bandh today and so had the GJMM. The public pulled down GJMM flags and banners at a number of places in the hills and replaced those with AIGL standards demanding democracy and an end to the hostilities. The GJMM leadership, which had enjoyed unbridled mass support in the Darjeeling hills for the past two years, came for criticism from the public in connection with the AIGL chief's murder.  Confusion arose at Kurseong after GJMM flags were pulled down from atop houses. According to police, GNLF supporters took advantage of the prevailing public rage to remove the GJMM flags at some places in Kurseong. Sensing trouble, police intervened and dispersed them. The situation in the Hills continues to remain tense and police  have sought one company of CRPF to maintain law and order. GJMM chief Mr Bimal Gurung, meanwhile, attended a party meeting at Delo in Kalimpong sub-division where he has been camping for the past few days.
People Yearn for peace
A Morcha hoarding being torn down in Darjeeling on Monday. Pictures by Suman Tamang
Vivek Chhetri, TT,  Darjeeling, May 24: Madan Tamang’s funeral evoked spontaneous response from the general public in Darjeeling town, sending a clear message that the hills have had enough of violence and the stifling of other voices by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
Even though Darjeeling does not have a strong civil society, it was evident that people wanted to send across a strong message to all the parties in the hills that have invariably resorted to violence when given an opportunity.
“Please, no more killings,” read a placard, when Tamang’s body was passing in front of the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League’s office at Ladenla Road today. The placard, many felt, actually summed up the mood of those who attended the funeral.
“I have come to condemn the killing and on seeing the turnout today, I am hoping that the parties will realise that the politics of violence is something that common people do not accept,” said a citizen who did not want to be named.
In fact, the gentleman, who is not affiliated to any party, was seen taking part in the candlelight rallies on Saturday and Sunday held spontaneously by people who exchanged text messages and decided that they should not sit at home when a popular figure in town and the most vocal anti-Morcha leader was butchered in broad daylight.
“It is important to show our solidarity when something terrible like this has taken place. Everyone might not agree with the ABGL’s political stand, but we all agree that the murder was heinous and such acts must end,” he added.
The fact that the general public took the initiative to start the candlelight rallies and did not need any organiser for the purpose even suggests that the hills have been truly pained by the murder of Tamang.
“We do not want to live with fear that we might be killed for simply speaking out in public against some political party. This fear has been there for over two decades now. Democracy must no longer suffer, irrespective of which party comes to power,” said a retired government official.
The palpable fear that the hill people live in is probably one reason why there is no strong civil society in Darjeeling. “We had tried to start a civil movement regarding the water problem in this hill station around four to five years ago. Meetings were held but somewhere along the line, none really wanted to take the plunge. With everyone knowing almost every other person in this town, no one wanted to be in the bad books of the ruling party and that is how the movement fizzled out,” said another resident who was in the funeral procession.
He recalled that the movement for water was planned during the era when GLNF chief Subash Ghisingh’s writ ran in the hills.
“We knew at that point of time that if we raised our voices against the DGHC, we would probably be targeted by the toughs that Ghisingh controlled, so no one actually had the guts to face him. However, as peace-loving and responsible citizens, we could not ignore the stain on our society that was caused by spilling Tamang’s blood,” he said.
Not a single person in the crowd who still remembers the violence that had rocked the hills during the GNLF agitation in the late eighties, wants a repeat of the situation.
“There were regular killings and many participants in the movement fell to police bullets. We are not willing to witness that all over again, the movement for statehood should be taken up collectively like Madan Tamang had always advocated, and it should be democratic and peaceful,” said another bystander.
Maoists rap Gurung
Maoists in Nepal today condemned the statement of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung, implicating them in the murder of Madan Tamang, reports our Kathmandu correspondent.
The former rebels said Gurung was deliberately attempting to divert attention from his own party’s role in the ghastly murder. “Our party strongly denounces these ill-intentioned, hypothetical and baseless charges and news articles. The murder of Tamang, a good friend of Nepal, who was leading a just movement against national oppression and national identity, has shocked our party immensely,” the party said.
Signs govt should have noticed
People bring down on Monday a Morcha flag at Clubside motor stand where Tamang was killed. (Suman Tamang)
TT, Siliguri, May 24: The GNLF today accused the state government and police of being negligent, saying the murder of Madan Tamang could have been prevented had all the tell-tale signs that preceded the murder been heeded.
The outfit referred to three incidents in the past one month — the killing of two GNLF leaders, and the arrest of a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporter with firearms at a CPRM rally on May 1 — that had been pointers to the impending violence that would unfold eventually into Tamang’s murder.
“Madan Tamang would have been alive if the state government, instead of giving indulgence to the violence and terror unleashed by the Morcha, had taken steps to control crime,” said Dawa Pakhrin, a senior GNLF leader. “In the past one month, two GNLF leaders were killed and a Morcha supporter was caught at the CPRM rally in Darjeeling on May 1 with firearms and live cartridges. Tamang was present at the rally. If the state had instructed the police, things might have been different.”
On April 22, suspected Morcha supporters murdered Pushpajang Thapa at Chungtung Tea Estate on the outskirts of Darjeeling. Tikaram Chhetri, another GNLF leader in Kalimpong, was assaulted on May 12. He died of his injuries three days later at a private nursing home in Siliguri.
“We had filed FIRs on both occasions but the police have not arrested the murderers who are still roaming free as the government has asked them not to do so,” Pakhrin said. “We have talked to several police officials who are ready to act but cannot, as the chief minister has stopped them. It seems that the state government is waiting for more bloodshed in the hills.”
The CPRM said given the change in the hill situation, it was irrelevant to hold tripartite talks with the Morcha.
“In no way, do they represent the majority of the hill populace. Right now, we want the state to arrest those responsible for conspiring and finally killing Tamang. This can only restore peace to the hills,” said Govind Chhetri, the CPRM organisational head. “Regarding the talks, it has become evident that holding discussions with all political parties in the hills, as we had insisted earlier, is the need of the hour.”
In the Terai and the Dooars, the Morcha stepped up its door-to-door campaigns, criticising central committee members who have “deserted the party in troubled hours” and branded them cowards.
“We don’t need darpoks (cowards) but brave persons who can face the trouble to carry out the Gorkhaland movement. Those who have resigned were unnecessary in the movement that we have been carrying out. Unlike our party president and other leaders, those who walked out of the party were not leaders of the common people and lacked support,” said Shankar Adhikari, the convener of the Siliguri subdivision of the Morcha. 
Double blow ti hill family-After crash, wait for DNA test
TT, Kalimpong, May 24: Pachimi Rana is yet to come to terms with the death of her elder son Yugantar in the Mangalore air crash, but she is going through another ordeal with the body yet to be identified and uncertainty remaining over the number of days it would take for the DNA test results to come out. 
The 26-year-old steward’s fledgling career was cut short in mid-flight when the ill-fated Air India Express Boeing 737-800 crashed at Mangalore airport on Saturday, killing 158 people.
Yugantar’s brother Rupantar is away in Mangalore to identify the body. He telephoned his mother last night and told her that he was unable to identify the body. “She couldn’t believe her ears when Rupantar told her that he was unable to identify Yugantar’s body. She has told him to do whatever it takes and return home with the body,” said a family friend. The Ranas will have to wait for some more time — till the DNA tests are over —before they can get their loved one home for one last time. The Ranas initially heard about the plane crash from television news. 
“Even though the news reports were saying that the majority of people in the plane were feared killed, we were praying for Yugantar. Later, however, his office called and gave the shattering news about his death,” said the friend. A student of Dr Graham’s Homes here and St Joseph’s College in Darjeeling, Yugantar, friends said, had always wanted to join the aviation sector and was thrilled when he had landed the job with Air India. “He was my childhood friend. Even though he came from a privileged background, he didn’t have any airs about it. He was a very grounded person, and used to mingle with one and all,” said Avik Das, a friend of Yugantar. 
Other friends The Telegraph spoke to also had only good things to say about the young man. Yugantar used to live with his family at their Rinkingpong Road residence. He has also a married elder sister. His late father C. B. Rana was the principal of Kumudini Homes in Kalimpong. Rupantar pursues engineering in a Calcutta college. If his life had not been cut short so cruelly, Yugantar would have come home for holiday during Dasain in the middle of October.
“He was last here in February. And the last time he spoke to his mother was just before boarding the plane in Dubai. He was a loving kid and used to keep in regular touch with his family,” said the family friend.

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