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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Nothing till Assembly election......State to oppose GJMM demand at Delhi tripartite meeting today.....Gurung to skip Delhi meeting... ABGL request to lift strike ....BHARATIYA GORKHA PARISANGH and GJM CONDEMNS TRS CHIEF’S VIEWS ON GORKHALAND ... Dooars ultimatum suspended till R-Day - Delhi talks will only be on gorkhaland: morcha

Nothing till election
KalimNews: Granting of anything for the solution of Gorkhaland demand for the Darjeeling hills is not possible before the Assembly election. A home ministry source disclosed to a news agency that nothing can be granted now as a solution as demanded by GJM. In the tripartite meeting to be held on 25 January in New Delhi Home Minister P Chidamaram and Home Chief Secretary G K Pillai will represent the Center but no other ministers as stated earlier will be present in the meeting. Ashoke Bhattacharya Urban Development Minister GT Gautama, State Home Secretary and Naprajit Mukherjee State Police DG will represent the state.
In the meeting the GJM delegation will be tried to convince that the ultimate goal as of now is to ensure a fair and peaceful Assembly election.Only after the election the possible ways for formulating the solutions can be processed. Meanwhile the state government has also prepared a proposal for the solution of the problem. It wants to grant autonomy for development of the area but within and in the control of the state.
Tripartite talks today
ENS, Kolkata: With no solution in sight yet for Telangana issue, the tripartite talks among state government, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the Central government to be held tomorrow in Delhi do not hold out much of a hope.
The GJM, which is spearheading the movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland, today said if Centre considers demand for Telengana, Gorkhaland should also be discussed.
“The Central government cannot indulge in double standards. They are not considering any interim council for Telangana but are considering a separate Telangana. In that case we should not discuss an interim council at all. We will ask the Centre to spell out clearly their stand on a separate state,” said Harka Bahadur Chhetri, GJM spokesman.
While Union Home Minister P Chidambaram will preside over the meeting, the state government team comprising Home Secretary G D Gautama and DGP Naparajit Mukherjee will be led by Urban Development Minister Ashok Bhattacharya.
However, Bhattacharya who said nothing except interim council will be discussed, also said the council has to have elected members. “Let us see what turns out tomorrow,” Bhattacharya told The Indian Express.
He, however, admitted that Telengana issue always stood in the way of a solution to Darjeeling problem. “Every time the problem veers to a solution, the Telangana topic props up and everything goes for a toss,” Bhattacharya said.
According to a Home Department official, in December 2009, before the tripartite talks at Darjeeling on December 21, were on the verge of a solution, the Central government conceded demand for Telangana and Morcha leaders reiterated their demand for a separate state.
This time around, too, before the release of the Srikrishna Committee report last month on Telengana, the Morcha leders had almost accepted an interim council with elected members, but once the report was out, they pressed for Gorkhaland.
Gurung to skip Delhi meeting

TT, Bagdogra, Jan. 24: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung decided not to lead a five-member party delegation which left for New Delhi today to hold talks with Union home minister and instead, chose to stay put at Kumani.
On January 21, after receiving home minister P. Chidambaram’s letter inviting the Morcha for the talks, party general secretary Roshan Giri had announced that Gurung would be in the delegation for the meeting.
Sources at Bagdogra airport confirmed that Gurung’s ticket had been cancelled this morning. The Morcha chief has been camping at Kumani in Kalimpong subdivision since January 18 along with hundreds of supporters as they were prevented from proceeding with a padayatra to Jaigaon in the Dooars.
Asked why Gurung had not accompanied the team to Delhi, Binay Tamang, the assistant secretary of the Morcha, said: “It is part of a strategy that our party president decided to stay back at Kumani.”
He didn’t elaborate what he meant by “strategy”.
Giri, who is leading the delegation, told journalists at the airport that the Morcha would drive home the point at tomorrow’s meeting that the party was interested in discussing only Gorkhaland and nothing else.
“We want the Centre to articulate its opinion on the issue of separate statehood which is our basic demand. At the meeting tomorrow, we will insist that the central government should come clean on the issue,” said Giri.
Morcha media and publicity secretary Harka Bahadur Chhetri, L.B. Pariyar, Rohit Sharma and Anit Thapa are the other members of the delegation.
Bengal urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya, who will represent the state government at the talks, said over phone from Calcutta that he would reiterate that the proposed interim authority for the Darjeeling hills had to be formed only through elections.
“The chief minister has made it clear that there is no question of granting separate statehood to the hills. We want the interim authority to be formed through elections,” he said. “We will also hear what the Centre has to say on the entire issue.”
State to oppose GJMM demand at Delhi tripartite meeting today

SNS, KOLKATA, 24 JAN: The state government would iterate that it would not accept the demand of the Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha (GJMM) for nominating members to the proposed interim council during the tripartite meeting called by the Union home minister, Mr P Chidambaram, in New Delhi tomorrow. The urban development and municipal affairs minister, Mr Asok Bhattacharya, who would represent the state government at the political-level meeting, said this today.
He said the state government wants the members of the proposed council to get elected by the people of the Hills. “If members are nominated, it would not have the power to frame law and it would not be able to use funds independently. And we don't want to do this with the people of the Hills,” said the minister. Meanwhile, the chief minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, today confirmed that the state health minister, Dr Surjya Kanta Mishra, would represent the state at the meeting called by the Prime Minister on internal security.
On road and under tent till at least R-Day  All stocked up for long haul

Rajeev Ravidas, TT, Kumani More, Jan. 24: The march remains thwarted for the time being but that has done little to dampen the spirit of the thousand or so Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters as they stand eyeball-to-eyeball with police on the culvert that separates Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts.
Cries of “we want Gorkhaland” and “Terai and Dooars hamroi ho (The Terai and the Dooars are ours) fall silent in the Kumani forest village only after the sun goes down when the slogan-shouting Morcha supporters at the barricade are replaced by members of the Yuva Morcha, the party’s youth wing. “We come here (barricade) daily, carrying torches and stay till the morning when our supporters begin to arrive,” said Pasang Lama, a member of the youth wing. The Morcha camp where Lama stays is half a kilometre from the barricade.
The Morcha members stream in from neighbouring villages like Kumai, Gairibas, Johlung, Jaldhaka, Samsing and Gorubathan.
“We have about 40 vehicles to ferry the supporters, and drop them at their respective villages later,” said Rohit Chhetri, a driver.
An ambulance is also on standby to attend to any medical emergency. However, there has been no major health hazard so far. “I am least concerned about my health. We are all here for our land,” said Binita Rai, a petite young girl from Gorubathan in between shouting slogans in front of the barricade, 70km from Jalpaiguri town and on the fringes of the Dooars where the marchers dropped anchor on Tuesday. The Morcha padayatra or the “long march for Gorkhaland” had started from Gorubathan in Kalimpong subdivision with the intention to enter the Dooars and reach Jaigaon. But the Jalpaiguri district administration imposed Section 144 on the Dooars on Monday, which is still in force.
Inspector-general of north Bengal Ranbir Kumar and Darjeeling police chief D.P. Singh visited the other side of the barricade today.
A short distance from the bridge — where the crowd was urging the Morcha chief to march ahead with cries of “Bimal timi agee bara, hami timro saath chu (Bimal you march ahead, we are with you) — was housed the man himself. Morcha president Bimal Gurung has put up in a rickety wooden structure on the campus of the Kumani forest beat office. He emerged occasionally to talk to party supporters.
“He did not go to Delhi for tomorrow’s talks,” said Kamal Giri, a local Morcha leader. Gurung has been staying in the log house since the time he arrived here on January 19.
Around 1.30pm, members of the Gorkhaland Personnel queued up in front of the kitchen with paper plates for their meal of rice, dal and a curry of potato and cauliflower. “We prepare meat only on some occasions. We require 300kg of rice, 20kg of dal, and a sack full of potatoes and another full of cauliflower and a tin (15litres) of cooking oil among others every day,” said Janak Lama, the head cook.
In the adjacent room, a 12-member team of GLP women was finishing their meals. The room, they said, was being used as a kitchen for the Morcha president. “We prepare the food for Sir (read Gurung) as well as being part of his security. We don’t serve him food without first trying them ourselves,” said Khusboo Adhikary, the group captain.
Morcha leaders said there was enough stock to last the 600-odd Morcha padayatris, including 250 GLP volunteers, for over a month. “The vegetables are brought by supporters from the neighbouring villages every time they come to attend the sit-in protest in front of the police barricade,” said Naresh Nath Pradhan, a Morcha leader from Darjeeling.
The GLP volunteers have pitched about 30 tents on the forest campus for their stay. “We are here to ensure discipline and provide security to the party supporters,” said Arun Sharma, a GLP instructor. Some of the marchers have also put up with the local people.
Asked how they were coping with the problems of water and sanitation, he quipped: “These are small problems. We are coping with them knowing we are doing it for our land.”
ABGL request to lift strike
VIVEK CHHETRI, TT, Darjeeling, Jan. 24: The ABGL has requested the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha not to go ahead with the third phase of the 27-day strike from January 29 even if the meeting with the Union home minister does not turn out to be a success.
Narayan Chhetri, spokesperson for the ABGL, said: “We will request the Morcha not to go ahead with the strike even if the meeting with the Union home minister is not fruitful. Only two per cent of the hill people are in the services and many are daily labourers. This section is finding it hard to cope with the strike.”
Instead, the Morcha should forward its indefinite hunger strike in which its chief Bimal Gurung and other central committee members of the party are scheduled to participate, the ABGL said. “The hunger strike will put much pressure on the Centre as had been done by the Telangana Rashtra Samiti leader K.C. Rao on an indefinite fast,” said Chhetri. The ABGL, however, condemned KCR’s statement that Gorkhaland should not be created. “The issue does not concern KCR and he should not make any comments on our demand.”
The ABGL also said whatever solution was arrived at after tomorrow’s deliberations should be finalised only after consulting all political parties from the hills.
The Morcha, however, is determined to go ahead with its scheduled agitation if the Delhi meeting does not turn out to be fruitful. “Daily workers who do not have regular jobs are sacrificing (their wages) for a separate statehood but people who are financially strong are enjoying themselves in the plains,” said Raju Pradhan, assistant general secretary of the Morcha while addressing a rally in town today. “If the state is formed, these very people who have now gone down to the plains will be making a beeline to get the benefits of statehood.”
Dipen Mallay, a central committee member of the Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha, threatened to start a padayatra across the Terai and the Dooars on Republic Day if the administration failed to give Gurung the permission to march to Jaigaon. “Our rally is for peace and communal harmony and we fail to understand why permission is being denied. We are ready to sacrifice our lives and we are ready to start numerous padayatras across the Terai and Dooars on Republic Day,” said Mallay.
CBI in Darjeeling- Will also probe escape of the prime accused
ENS, Kolkata: The CBI today started fresh investigation into the killing of All India Gorkha League (AIGL) leader Madan Tamang.
The agency will also investigate the mysterious escape of Nicole Tamang, main accused in the Tamang murder case, from the custody of the Criminal Investigation Department. The CBI today set up an office in Darjeeling to conduct the probe.
On January 20, the High Court had asked the CBI to take over Nicole’s case and file a report within four weeks.
The agency filed a fresh FIR on the killing of Madan Tamang at Darjeeling court yesterday. Another FIR - in connection with the missing Nicole Tamang case - was submitted at Siliguri court on Saturday.
Arun Bothra, Deputy Inspector General, CBI, said: “Investigation is underway. At this stage it is not possible to give details.”
Madan Tamang had been killed in Darjeeling on May 21, 2010. After taking up the investigation, the CID filed chargesheet on August 30 in the Darjeeling court, but dropped the names of some of the main accused mentioned in the FIR. There were names of 30 people in the chargesheet, but only eight were arrested by the CID. The state government decided to hand over the case to the CBI in the third week of November, when the CID had already filed the chargesheet in the Darjeeling court.
The state government took the decision to hand over the case when Madam Tamang’s wife Bharati had filed writ petition in the Calcutta High Court seeking an order for CBI probe.
A source in the CBI, meanwhile, said that the agency decided to keep the CID chargesheet submitted in the case “in abyance”. “‘The CBI would conduct fresh investigation and the agency has examined the CID evidence available with the chargesheet,” said the source.
Advocate Taurang Pandit, a counsel for the accused persons in the Tamang murder case, said: “Seven persons are in jail custody now and one accused person was released on interim bail. The Darjeeling court issued arrest warrant against 22 persons, who are absconding.”
Nicole Tamang, prime accused in the Madan Tamang killing case had escaped from CID custody at Pintale village on August 22 and the CID failed to trace him till date. Pema Tamang, wife of Nicole, had filed a habeas corpus petition in September in the Calcutta High Court demanding that her husband be produced before court. According to the petition, Pema apprehended that Nicole had been killed in custody by the police.
BGP Media Cell, New Delhi, KalimNews, : The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh strongly regrets the views expressed by Telangana Rashtra Samithi President K Chandrasekhar Rao that the creation of Gorkhaland will compromise the security of the country. The BGP also feels that Mr Rao’s belief that people are divided over the idea of Gorkhaland is unfounded. In a press statement issued by the Media Cell of the Parisangh it has stated so.
It has added that the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh is of the opinion that Mr Rao, who is a seasoned political leader who has been fighting for the rights of the people of the proposed state of Telanagana, has made the statement  in the erroneous belief that by denying Gorkhaland, his own cause will find favour with the Centre. 
The demand for a separate state for Gorkhas is founded on the aspirations of the Gorkhas to concretise their Indian identity after decades of misrepresentation in polity and society as people from another country. The movement for Telangana mainly aims at bringing equitable economic changes in areas that are currently in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Not only are the impetus for the two demands dissimilar, but the facile impression that Mr Rao holds of Gorkhaland being one more ground for insurgency is totally false and unwarranted. Gorkhas have been patriotic citizens of India and have guarded its borders with integrity and sacrifice. A new state peopled by Gorkhas cannot subvert the nationhood of India. On the contrary, a Gorkha state will only stabilise what is considered a volatile and strategically important region of India.
No one involved in the movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland, be it the political parties or social organizations like the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh, have ever linked their demand to the exigencies of statehood agitations anywhere else. The Gorkhaland movement is premised on a unique lacuna in Indian political and social life and cannot be hostage to decisions taken by the government with regard to any other statehood demand. In a similar way, the Telangana demand is unique and a decision on its creation cannot be influenced by the popular upsurges in other parts of the country.
The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh asks Mr K Chandrasekhar Rao to take back his opposition to the creation of a state for Gorkhas on the grounds so stated in his statement. As a people who have suffered for decades due to official misconceptions about their identity, the Gorkhas understand the aspirations of the people of Telangana. However, denigrating one to achieve something for the other is not only politically naïve but also a rejection of democratic norms that hold the people’s will to be supreme.
The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh has also decided to send its publications to the TRS chief to educate him on the history and salient features of the demand for a separate state by India’s Gorkhas.
Dooars ultimatum suspended till R-Day- Delhi talks will only be on gorkhaland: morcha
Rajeev Ravidas, TT, Kalimpong, Jan. 23: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today suspended the ultimatum it had issued to the state government on allowing its padayatra to enter the Dooars till January 26, a day after it holds talks with the Centre in New Delhi.
Morcha president Bimal Gurung also said the party would discuss only Gorkhaland, and not the proposed interim administration, at the meeting in which Bengal minister Asok Bhattacharya, too, would take part.
“I am a citizen of India. I am not engaged in any anti-national activity. The government, I mean the Bengal government, must explain why we are not being allowed to enter the Dooars,” Gurung told reporters at Kumai on the fringes of the Dooars.
He said the padayatra was not being terminated and the marchers would stay put in the village.
Last week, the Morcha had threatened to forcibly enter the Dooars if the government failed to provide a safe passage for the party supporters by today. Gurung and more than 1,000 Morcha members had set out on the march from Gorubathan to Jaigaon in the Dooars on January 18. However, the marchers were stopped at Samsing, following which the Morcha set the three-day deadline on Thursday.
Elaborating on Gurung’s statement, Morcha spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri told The Telegraph that a decision on whether or not to continue the padayatra would be taken depending on the outcome of Tuesday’s talks.
“The meeting will take place on January 25. January 26 is Republic Day. We will take a decision on the padayatra after that; may be on January 27,” he said. Chhetri reiterated that the talks would be held on Gorkhaland, and not on the interim administration.
“Some analysts are saying the talks offer is a ploy by the Centre to take the steam out of our on-going agitation. But we will not get sucked into it (such tactics). This time, we will pressure the Centre into making its stand clear on the final solution, which is separation from Bengal.
Asked whether the Morcha would be averse to accepting an interim administration provided the Centre made its stand clear on the post-interim arrangement it had in mind, Chhetri said: We will not talk about any interim administration. It is the Centre’s baby, and if they raise the issue, the party will make its position clear, but without compromising the final solution. However, the main issue will be the stand the Centre has on the final solution. Does it have Gorkhaland in mind or a Union Territory or any other thing.”
The spokesperson said if the talks failed to satisfy the Morcha, it would launch an intensified agitation, the consequences of which would not be good for either of the sides.
CBI team
A four-member CBI team reached Darjeeling on Sunday to investigate the murder of ABGL chief Madan Tamang and the escape of Nickole Tamang, a prime accused in the case. Darjeeling district police chief D.P. Singh confirmed the arrival of the team.
Blockades to protest meeting

TT, Siliguri, Jan. 23: The Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee will organise hour-long road blockades across north Bengal on January 25 to protest the Centre’s talks with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha New Delhi on that day.

The Bhasha Committee has also said it will request the Prime Minister to refer the demand for Gorkhaland to a “state reorganisation commission”. “We will organise road blockades in different places, including Siliguri, and the Terai and the Dooars, from 12noon to 1pm on Tuesday to protest the Morcha’s conspiracy to divide the state,” said Mukunda Majumdar, the president of the Bhasha Committee.

“We will also observe January 25 as a protest day across north Bengal and will submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister and Bengal chief minister through the Siliguri subdivisional officer, demanding that the issue of a separate state be referred to the state reorganisation commission.”
The Amra Bangali, another anti-Gorkhaland organisation, also criticised the Union government’s decision to hold parleys with the Morcha despite the hill outfit’s agitation to divide Bengal. Khusiranjan Mondal, the secretary of the organisation, said its members would carry black flags and wear badges on January 25 as a mark of protest.

Mind-own-business message to TRS chief

VIVEK CHHETRI, TT, Darjeeling, Jan. 23: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has strongly condemned Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief’s opposition to the Gorkhaland demand with the hill party advising him to “concentrate on his movement instead of making unnecessary statements”.

In an interaction with The Telegraph that was published today, TRS chief Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao said: “I am against Gorkhaland. You cannot simply have a new state on an international border when the country is grappling with insurgency in the Northeast and militancy in Kashmir. It is too sensitive an issue.”
Arguing why he objected to the Morcha’s statehood demand, Rao had said unlike Telangana, Gorkhaland comprises only one district of Bengal. “Even there, the people of the plains are divided,” he had said.
In Darjeeling, reacting to Rao’s statement, Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri told a media conference today: “The Constitution does not say only Telangana should be formed. The Constitution has provisions for the creation of states. KCR should concentrate on his movement instead of making unnecessary statements. He need not bother about our demand.”
The Morcha is particularly piqued as it had often argued that creation of Gorkhaland in the Chicken’s Neck area would give more stability to the region hemmed in by international borders but the TRS chief had used the same point to say otherwise.
“The region is hemmed in by international borders and is the Chicken’s Neck for the northeastern states. Statehood is needed to ensure that there is stability in this region and to strengthen national security,” Morcha president Bimal Gurung had often said in various public meetings. But KCR said a new state on an international border was not a good idea “at a time when the country is grappling with insurgency in the Northeast”.
Today Giri said: “No matter how much opposition we might face, we will continue to go ahead with our agitation. Two of our central committee leaders, Dawa Lama and Taranga Pandit, have left for Calcutta to organise a dharna there tomorrow. We are holding regular dharna in Delhi, too.”
On the birth anniversary of Subash Chandra Bose today, Giri said his party had very high regards for him. “Netaji had understood the hill people and had he been alive Gorkhaland would have been a reality by now.” But no celebration could be held at Netaji’s house at Giddepahar in Kurseong this time because of the Morcha general strike. The 27-day strike in three phases started on January 12.

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