All Party Delegation to New Delhi for Gorkhaland

.All Party Delegation to New Delhi : An Appeal After the declaration by the UPA Government to carve out the state of Telangana as the 29th State of India, the century old demand for a separate state comprising of Darjeeling and Dooars has become an imminent possibility. The long cherished aspirations of the people of Darjeeling district and Dooars including that of the people in the hills like the Gorkhas, Bhutias, Lepchas and others and people in the plains like the Adivasis, Bengalese, Rajbongshis, Biharis, Marwaris and others and all religious groups like the Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jains and Sikhs are now likely to be fulfilled. A separate state will bring identity to its people; massive development for all in the hills and plains; ensure and strengthen national security in this region with four international boundaries; safeguard the cultures, history and heritage of our region; conserve natural resources and environment and connect our youths and institutions with national and global world. It will bring large number of national and global educational, heath, environmental and professional institutions to this region. It will also correct the historical injustices done to the people and the region. All our children and youths will have huge and diverse career opportunities. All the professionals and tea and cinchona workers and NGO activists will reach their professional heights. Huge public, private and foreign investments will flow and business-industrial ventures will thrive. It will be a tax free state like Sikkim and the North East region. And this new state will be one of the best states in the country. Bengal and the North East states and all other neighbouring states will gain. India will benefit. Today the situation in the hills is deteriorating which requires instant attention and the state government has to come above its usual role of maintaining law and order and governance. The State Government has to rise above its parochial thinking and accept this long pending demand. This is where the political sagacity and inclusive democratic values of the present Government will be tested. At the moment, the critical priority is to bring the hills back to peaceful normalcy. It is against this backdrop we propose a delegation of all political parties from Darjeeling district and Dooars to meet the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India. The likely date of the meeting will exclusively depend on the office of the Hon’ble Prime Minister. Depending upon the response of the political parties an effort would be made to seek the audience with the Hon’ble Prime Minister during 20-30 August 2013. It is a very critical moment for all of us to stand united both in the interest of our region and the country. We urge all the national and regional political parties and their esteemed leadership in Darjeeling district and Dooars to rise above the usual political bickering, parochial thinking, partisan actions and one-up-manship attitude. We appeal them to show that when it comes to a common cause like the Statehood demand we all are one and one only. We ought to respect a united platform. We also appeal to all the political parties, social and community organisations to maintain peace, tranquillity and stability for which we the people of Darjeeling district and Dooars are traditionally known for. In this proposed delegation, all the political parties will be represented by their distinguished Presidents and Secretaries. We would also appeal to all the present and former Members of Parliament and all the present and former Members of Legislative Assembly of Bengal to join this delegation. Political parties may kindly contact the following civil society members for their participation in the delegation. A comprehensive memorandum is being prepared for presentation before the Hon’ble Prime Minister. This will be circulated before hand to all the political parties to read and ratify. We also propose that this delegation is led by two senior most retired Army Officers, one from the hills and the other from the plains. This far reaching initiative would certainly bear fruits.

BK Pradhan, Darjeeling : Ph 9434045521

Bishnu Chettri, Kalimpong : Ph 9332044626 E mail : <megh1963@rediffmail.com> Bharat Prakash Rai, Darjeeling Ph 9832031234 E mail : <fosepdarjeeling@gmail.com> Jiwan Nath Adhikari, Siliguri, Ph 9832388092 E mail : <bhavyaadhi@gmail.com> Mahendra P Lama, New Delhi, Ph 09818686637 : <mahendra_lama1961@yahoo.co.in> ——————————————————–

Proposed ALL Party Delegation to New Delhi Dear All, Warm greetings from New Delhi ! Let us start working on the modalities of organising and sending the delegation. Since it is a high level delegation only the heads of the political parties are included in the same. This is besides the MLAs and MPs both sitting and former. The following are the basic norms : i) we shall not provide any air/train/taxi fare ii) we shall not provide any accommodation. However we could arrange reasonably priced accommodations on payment basis. iii) we shall send the memorandum to be submitted to the Prime Minister much ahead of the meeting so that the parties could give their comments. iv) since the PMO may give appointment at a very short notice, all the political parties should be ready to reach Delhi at a very short notice. v) political parties from both the hills and the plains and also MPs and MLAs of all the parties from the hills and the plains. I hope there will be adequate response to our initiative. Please circulate this APPEAL NOTE to as many political parties as possible. Warm regards Mahendra P Lama”

DARJEELING HILLS: Centre responsible for peace in the Hills, says GJM chief

FROM INDIAN EXPRESS

Gurung dismisses relevance of tripartite meeting, says ‘people losing patience, want immediate results’

“Our agitations will be peaceful. But if the law and order situation goes haywire in the Hills, the Centre will be responsible. If they can consider Telangana, why not Gorkhaland?” asked Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung on Sunday while hinting at the possibility of violence erupting in Darjeeling and surrounding areas if their demand for a separate state is not fulfilled.

Describing the four-day bandh in the Hills as their “last battle” to get a separate Gorkhaland, Gurung warned the Central government to consider the matter seriously.

Gurung said that everything will come to a standstill during the four-day strike from December 14 to December 17 in the Hills, including movement of government and police vehicles.

“The people of Darjeeling are losing patience and now they want results rather than meeting after meeting,” said the GJM chief.

Delivery of essential services like fire services, examinations, LPG gas, marriage, funeral, and media will be exempted from the bandh purview. Sources said that the superintendent of police and the district magistrate have requested GJM leaders to not stop their vehicles from plying in the area.

“We have considered their request. I have also asked all my activists to ensure that no tourist is harassed. We have already set up several assistance booths across the Hills to assist tourists. Those needing any help or wanting to lodge a complaint may consult our men in these centres,” Gurung said.

Dismissing the December 21 tripartite meeting on the Gorkhaland issue involving the GJM, West Bengal government and Centre, Gurung said, “The meeting has lost its relevance. There is no point in discussion. We want immediate results.”

Gurung expressed his displeasure at Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s recent statements against Gorkhaland.

“They are senior political leaders and have the right to speech. He (Pranab) is speaking politics and we are speaking about rights. I request Pranab babu to understand that it is in the Centre’s hand to maintain peace in the Hills. This land is ours and it does not belong to Mamata Banerjee,” said Gurung.

On Monday, 21 members each from the Janamukti Secondary Teachers’ Organisation, the Janamukti Primary Teachers’ Organisation and the Janamukti Karmchari Sangathan will launch an indefinite hunger strike in Darjeeling, Kurseong, Pintail village in Siliguri, Kalimpong, and Kalchini in the Dooars.

Students and ex-servicemen are expected to join the hunger strike. Also, from December 15 onwards, nearly 150 members of the Nari Morcha from Darjeeling-Dooars-Terai will be on hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi and in Kolkata.

The GJM has already placed its concerns before UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, BJP president Rajnath Singh and other Central leaders in Delhi.

The four-day bandh in Darjeeling is expected to hamper the Tourism industry in addition to landing a major blow on tea and wool businesses.

DARJEELING HILLS: GJM says talks losing meaning, warns of violence

FROM INDIAN EXPRESS

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung on Sunday hinted at the possibility of violence in Darjeeling and surrounding areas if the outfit’s demand for a separate state was not fulfilled.

He described the four-day bandh in the hills that starts from Monday as the “last battle” to get a separate Gorkhaland and stated that the people of Darjeeling are losing their patience. Everything will come to a standstill during the strike from December 14 to December 17, he warned, including movement of government and police vehicles.

Speaking to The Indian Express over the phone, Gurung warned the Central government to consider the matter seriously. “Our agitations will be peaceful. But if the law and order situation goes haywire in the hills, the Central government will be responsible. If they can consider Telangana, why not Gorkhaland?” he said.

Gurung claimed the people of Darjeeling now wanted results rather than meetings after meetings, and dismissed the tripartite talks on the Gorkhaland issue among the GJM, West Bengal government and Centre on December 21. “The meeting has lost its relevance. There is no point in discussion. We want immediate results,” he said. While the four-day strike will be total, the GJM has decided to exempt vehicles of essential services like the fire brigade, LPG gas and media as well as examinations, weddings and funerals from the bandh purview.

Mediator holds out hope for trouble-torn Hills

DARJEELING: A path for solving the crisis in the Hills has been identified, according to interlocutor Lt-Gen (retd) Vijay Madan, who met Gorkha
Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders in Darjeeling on Thursday. The GJM leaders, on their part, assured the Centre and the state government that no disturbance would occur in the run-up to the December 21 tripartite meeting.
At the end of a 90-minute-long meeting at Mayfair Hotel, attended by GJM chief Bimal Gurung, general secretary Roshan Giri and party central committee leaders Amar Lama and L B Pariyar, Madan said talks on the demand for Gorkhaland have been fruitful.
“We are trying to find out steps for a way forward towards an acceptable solution. We are on some sort of a path now. An issue like this one can’t be solved overnight and hopefully we will have a roadmap by the time the tripartite meeting is held on December 21,” said Madan.
GJM leaders, too, expressed satisfaction with the talks. They would write to the Union home ministry, assuring it of peace in the Hills, they said. “We will maintain peace in the Hills and provide our cooperation in maintaining an environment conducive to talks,” said Gurung after the meeting. The possibility of including Siliguri on the proposed Gorkhaland map was also discussed at the meeting, said Giri.
Madan, on the other hand, said the Union government had no apprehension about disturbances in the Hills. “There is no fear of any trouble. It is the media that has been speculating about a possible flare-up. After this meeting, that should now be laid to rest,” said Madan.
On his role in the tripartite talks, the interlocutor said he would be a facilitator. “My job is to highlight the points on which the three sides have a consensus. It will also be my responsibility to help the parties reach an agreement on the contentious issues,” he added.

Madan visited the Dooars on Wednesday and met members of the local communities. “I met the tribals and Gorkhas. I wanted to survey their socio-economic conditions in person. The interaction was quite enlightening and I would include my observations in my report to the Union government.” Madan added that he was open to discussions with other parties as well, but none had approached him so far.

This is Madan’s second visit to the Hills in the last two months. He had visited Darjeeling on November 2 to meet GJM leaders. He will leave for Delhi on Friday.

Morcha starts slush clean-up

The “brown envelope”, which has been the talk of the hills for the past week, has finally started reaching Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders asking them to refrain from in any party activity.

The move, apparently aimed to cleanse the party of corruption, could also be one of the biggest tests for the Morcha. The outfit has sent notices, slipped inside brown envelopes, to at least one central committee member who has been with the Morcha since its inception on October 7, 2007.

“Brown envelope” was a term used by the British press to imply below-the-table transactions of slush money or information that politicians indulged in.

Even though Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri refused to divulge the names until the list was completed, sources said notices have been sent to Bimal Darjee, the convener of the party’s Tindharia-Sukna unit, who is also a central committee member. According to well-placed sources, notices have also gone to Sujan Rai and Saran Lama, both from Liza Hill unit, apart from Praveen Tuladhar of Kalimpong.

Darjee admitted that he has received the notice. “I got the letter on October 28 and I will obey the decision taken by the party president,” he said over the phone from Tindharia in Kurseong subdivision.

Morcha president Bimal Gurung, while addressing a public meeting in Darjeeling on October 25, had said he was aware of some leaders who had bought SUVs and were taking “pact-money” from contractors. The Morcha president had urged the people not to speak on behalf of these leaders and instead mark them out as those who were not sincere towards Gorkhaland.

Darjee, however, said he had always stood by his principles. “I have not bought cars or taken pact money (for contracts). Anyone can meet me for a clarification. I am not against the cause of Gorkhaland and its people either,” he said.

Darjee, however, said since no clarification was sought by the Morcha from him, he would not explain his stand to the party leadership on his own. “The letter states that I should no longer interfere with party activities in the Tindharia-Sukna area and also should not participate in the workings of the development committee of the Morcha,” said Darjee. Technically, Darjee has not been expelled from the party’s primary membership if one is to go by the content of the notice.

“In future, if Bimal Gurung thinks I should take up some party responsibilities, I will definitely shoulder them to the best of my abilities as I am always committed towards the cause of Gorkhaland,” said Darjee.

Analysts believe that the move to send the notices, virtually sidelining some of the leaders in the party, could be one of the biggest tests for the Morcha. “If the dissenters manage to influence a section in the Morcha, which has had intra-party squabblings in some areas, the party could face some troubled times,” said an analyst.

However, other observers believe that given the overwhelming support that the Morcha currently enjoys in the hills, the leaders against whom notices have been sent cannot be a major threat immediately. “In fact, the political careers of some of these leaders could be doomed,” another analyst said. (The Telegraph)

Morcha to close block offices in hills

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today announced that it would lock all the block development offices across the hills from November 7 even as the interlocutor for the talks involving the Centre, the state government and the party arrived here.

“However, we have decided to exempt those sections which deal with registration and issuing of birth and death certificates at the BDO offices from the agitation,” said Binay Tamang, the assistant general secretary of the Morcha.

The move is expected to paralyse administrative and development works in rural areas. Bimal Gurung, the president of the Morcha, had announced one week back that all panchayat offices would be closed indefinitely from November 7 as part of its non-co-operation movement.

The party has also decided to close down all the liquor offshops in the hills from the same date and asked business establishments to use the word “Gorkhaland” on their signboards.

Lt Gen. (retd) Vijay Madan, who had been appointed the interlocutor to look into the demands of the Morcha, arrived in Darjeeling yesterday.

The decision to appoint the interlocutor had been agreed to at the third rounds of talks among the Central and state governments and the Morcha in Delhi on August 11. The Union home ministry had announced Madan’s appointment on October 23.

According to sources, Roshan Giri, general secretary of the Morcha, along with the party’s central committee members Amar Lama and Asha Gurung, met Madan in Darjeeling last evening. “It was basically a courtesy call,” said a Morcha source.

A meeting between Gurung and Madan has been fixed at a Darjeeling hotel at 3pm tomorrow. “The meeting has been confirmed,” admitted Tamang.

Gurung is expected to reach Darjeeling late this evening after his five-day tour of Sandakphu-Rimbick. According to sources, Madan will be leaving Darjeeling on November 3. His visit is seen as a move to prepare the groundwork for the next tripartite meeting scheduled to be held in Darjeeling on December 21.

Gurung had already announced that he would intensify the agitation and impose “home rule and declare “Gorkhaland”, if the December talks were not fruitful.

The closure of the BDO offices is likely to affect the Central government’s 100-day work programme and projects like construction of roads.

The BDO offices look into every aspect of development in rural areas like the implementation of the Indira Awaas Yojna, under which houses are built for people below poverty line. (The Telegraph)

GJM expresses satisfaction

The Hindu
KOLKATA: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leadership has expressed “satisfaction” with the outcome of the third round of tripartite talks held in New Delhi on Tuesday to end the political stalemate in the Darjeeling hills arising from the GJM demand for the creation of a Gorkhaland state.

“In the right direction”
“The results of the talks are a step in the right direction but the new administrative set-up for the region as proposed by the Centre will have to be a Gorkhaland State,” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri, told The Hindu on the phone from Darjeeling.
He was referring to reports from the capital that Union Home Secretary G. K. Pillai suggested an alternative set-up for the region that is to be finalised through mutual consultations and agreement between the parties concerned.
“The decision taken at the meeting to repeal the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) Act, 1988, to pave the way for an alternative administrative set-up is one that we have been demanding for a long time,” Mr. Giri said.
“It has also been agreed that the proposal for granting Sixth Schedule status to the Darjeeling Hills will be dropped. This was another one of our demands.”
The GJM called for a CBI probe into corruption cases during Subash Ghisingh’s (former DGHC chairman) tenure, Mr. Giri said.
A Central team will be visiting the hills to “study the ground realities.”