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.”

Tripartite meet puts GJM under pressure

SILIGURI: The tripartite meet on Gorkhaland slated for August 11 has increased pressure on GJM leaders from the tactical point of view.


We need some time to decide our standpoint at the meet, said Roshan Giri, GJM general secretary. We have received the state government s letter and discussing on that, he said while talking on the letter sent to their leadership by state chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, urging withdrawal of the indefinite bandh.

Already under tremendous pressure from large sections of the population, who have suffered due to the bandh, GJM has already let Sikkim bound NH31A to go out of the bandh ambit.

It is clear that tactically, the state government is now interested in keeping the ball in GJM court before the next tripartite meet. We do not want to create any confusion on the issue of GJM s response to CM s letter, said state chief secretary AM Chakroborty, when asked whether the state would take up any aggressive step if the GJM fails to respond positively to CM s letter.

A large section of the hill population, without any political leaning, think the next meet will not do anything significant on development of Gorkhaland. Naturally, they have already started expressing their views against the bandh; Something most unusual in hills.

At the same time, middle and lower level workers of the party, who have so far maintained a presence all along the hills, are highly enthusiastic about outcome of the meet.

But we cannot say anything about the outcome. We will present  our side at the meet and fight till we get Gorkhaland, was the only response of Mr. Giri when asked what would be his next step after the meet. But this much is clear, failing to churn out something highly positive would put him and other GJM top leadership under tremendous pressure. (The economics times)

GJM comes up with new set of demands

DARJEELING: A day after having expressed satisfaction over the government’s response to its terms for holding the third round of tripartite talks on


Gorkhaland, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) did a volte-face on Wednesday and came up with a fresh set of demands.

The GJM leadership has now demanded transfer of the police officials involved in the Panighatta incident of July 10, release of 19 of its supporters currently in jail and an impartial inquiry into alleged police atrocities on their cadres.

On July 10, police had lathicharged GJM supporters participating in a rally in Panighatta. Several persons were injured, followed by the arrest of some supporters of GJM and the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF). While most of the GNLF men had already been released on bail, prime accused Rajen Mukhia, a GNLF leader, was released on Wednesday.

However, 19 GJM supporters are still in jail. “We demand the transfer of police officials involved in the Panighatta incident, including North Bengal IG K L Tamta. Our demand is justified,” reasoned GJM secretary Roshan Giri.

In Kolkata, agitated urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya on Wednesday said GJM must withdraw the bandh considering that talks would be held soon. “I have told the chief minister that accepting the fact that the bandh will continue during the talks means we are buckling under pressure. If the bandh continues, there is no point in holding discussions,” he said. “The chief minister is worried about the issue.” He held that there is no question of a separate state, adding that Subhas Ghisingh was more responsible than Bimal Gurung.

Home secretary Ardhendu Sen said GJM had been requested not to block NH-31A. Sen said GJM had been asked to withdraw their strike, as for the talks in Delhi, a conducive environment is needed. He said GJM leaders will inform about their decision by Thursday.

Centre not to agree to separate Darjeeling state demand

NEW DELHI Dec 28: Ahead of the second round of tripartite meeting with Gorkha leaders and the West Bengal government here on December 29, the Centre has
finalised the modalities which will revolve around giving more powers to the Darjeeling Hills through special status instead of acceeding to the separate state demand.
The Gorkhas will be represented by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) which has been on the warpath since February demanding creation of a separate state — Gorkhaland — comprising the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong, besides Siliguri sub-division in the plains and the adjacent area in North Bengal.
Though GJM has been insisting on statehood, officials in the home ministry hinted that the Centre would in no way agree to the demand which has not found favour with other sections like non-tribals living in the area.
The 17-member Gorkha delegation led by GJM’s general secretary Roshan Giri will also meet home minister P Chidambaram. The first round of the tripartite meeting was here held in September.
Sources in the home ministry said the negotiators would keep in mind the unique geographical position of the area as this has implications considering the sensitivities of the people living there.
The region — a thin strip of land called Chicken’s Neck which separates China and Bangladesh and also connects India’s mainland with North-East — has always been on the radar of security agencies which have time and again resisted the separate statehood demand.
Referring to such concerns, the sources said the Centre would not agree to any decision by excluding the wishes of a majority of non-tribals in the region as it could create unrest, opening a new front for insurgents and `external elements’ to fish in troubled waters.
“Through the tripartite talks, the Centre would like to address all such concerns by taking into confidence all stake-holders, including GJM and the state government,” said a senior officer.
The Darjeeling Hills were on the boil for the first time during mid-1980s when the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) — an outfit supported by tribals in the region and led by Subhash Ghising — came to the forefront with the statehood demand. Ghising, however, later settled for the hill council following negotiations with the state and the Centre.
The GJM — another outfit led by Bimal Gurung and supported by tribals — entered into the scene much later when it started demanding a separate state while rejecting the move to give special status to the hill council.

ROY’S MUSINGS: GJM to give up Statehood Movement in favour of Presidential Rule/Union Territory Status

From Himalayan Beacon: By Barun Roy

Gorkhaland Movement maybe given up in favour for Presidential Rule /Union Territory

2010 dateline extended to 2017

Is this a UTURN in Gorkhaland Movement?

In what can be termed as a definite u-turn in Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s stance, the delegation now in New Delhi will be pursuing a demand for Union Territory status for the area specified earlier by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha as the state of Gorkhaland. No specific and categorical statement so far has come out of the party. However, sources within the party has confirmed that Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s has already submitted a ‘Status Report’ to the Central Government and proposed that if the Central Government was willing to impose Presidential Rule over the specified area – involving Darjeeling District, and parts of Jalpaiguri including the Bhutan Dooars as a step towards Union Territory, the demand for the separate state of Gorkhaland will be given up. The 2010 Gorkhaland State dateline has further been extended to 2017 postponing the inauguration of the State of Gorkhaland by another 7 years, which had until recently been held sacred by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. There have also been rumours of infighting inside the party, however nothing has so far been substantiated. 

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s stated change of stance has sent shock wave all over the nation especially among the Gorkhas. There have also been confusion over what the Gorkha Janmutki Morcha actually wants to pursue in the future. Sources in the party say that some leaders favour Union Territory and some Presidential Rule. However, the majority have now come to believe that the achievement of separate state of Gorkhaland by March 10, 2010 was impossible. 

“Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has realized that it was following an impossible dream. Gorkhaland was not possible within the time they had themselves stipulated. And this has been the setback. If they had not come up with a dateline and forced up the people the idea that the date was inviolable and that Gorkhaland will be achieved within the said dateline, this would not have happened. Gorkha Janmukti Morcha could have carried on with the struggle for Gorkhaland at least for next 10 to 15 years. But since the came up with a rather strange concept of dateline, things seemingly fell apart for them. I am also greatly concerned now that they are asking for Presidential Rule in Darjeeling Hills and Dooars Terai when a better idea would have been a demand for Union Territory. Presidential Rule cannot be implied over certain parts of a state. If at all Presidential Rule were to be invoked it would be over the entire state. I really can’t understand why Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has all of a sudden come out with this concept. Maybe Gorkha Janmukti Morcha wants Presidential Rule implied over Darjeeling Hills and Dooars Terai so that the involvement of Bengal is negated. And once that is done a Union Territory can be achieved, and thence statehood.” said Jeevan Baraily, a social activist and a social worker. 

The delegation which is presently in New Delhi will first meet with the Union Home Secretary and the State Home Secretary. Once the said meeting is said to be fruitful the delegation will then be offered a ‘hearing’ by the Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram. Sources in New Delhi suggest that nothing much should be accepted from the Second Tripartite Meeting.

“The meeting will be not be held at South Block. This is suggestive of the fact that the Government is not taking Gorkha Janmukti Morcha seriously. The delegation will meet the Union Home Secretary and the State Home Secretary and once that meeting is completed, the delegation will possibly get to see the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram who will give them a sympathetic hearing. Now remember the new Union Home Minister already has too many things in his plate and so far as politics in Delhi is concerned the looming war scenario is something which is giving nightmares to the politicians including the Prime Minister , the Defence Minister and the Home Minister. The  buildup of the Pakistan Troops along the Indian Border has forced the Cabinet to rethink a lot of things. P. Chidambaram hardly has much knowledge of the Gorkhaland issue and the Ministry brief has so far been based on the brief sent by the West Bengal Government, as such the Union Home Minister is not very sympathetic to the issue of ‘division of West Bengal’ at a time when the nation faces serious challenges,” said a source close to South Block, in New Delhi. 

“Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has developed a habit of giving up its demands and agitational programme. This was evident since its inception. On one day, they would call for a strike and then the next day withdraw it. They packed off tourists by truckload saying that they would declare an indefinite strike and the moment the time came they gave up the demand. The only thing they ever pursued were relay hungerstrike and the closing of DGHC and state government offices. Now they are planning to give up the statehood demand in favour of Presidential Rule. What happened to the do and die calls. The movement is now fading into a whimper,” said a local trader in Darjeeling. 

While Gorkha Janmukti Morcha will definitely give up the demand for statehood as sources within the party has confirm this saying that the 2010 dateline has been reschedule at 2017, whence the statehood for Gorkhaland will be inaugrated, the demand for Presidential Rule and Union Territory may be taken as the party’s attempt to buy time and achieve at least ’something’ before the advance of 2010. And it is again true that it will take time even for the demand for Union Territory to be realized, the party may still have opened its cards too early. Possibly, tomorrow the Party may come out and negate everything but then again, it will have to accept that it made the mistake nu setting dateline to the struggle it was to champion and yet again it has committed another mistake by possible giving it up for another ‘alternative’. And then again there is this ultimate catch – If West Bengal was to accept Union Territory Status for Darjeeling Hills and Dooars Terai, why not accept statehood for the same. Union Territory also implies the redrawing of Bengal’s map. If the State Government’s stance was to be believed, even the formation of Union Territory would require the division of Bengal. 

Shiv Rana Comments:

1. There is no provision of Presidential Rule in some part of state. Constitutionally not possible.

2. May be what they imply is Union Territory status of the areas as mentioned, which is possible.

3. I hope the negotiators know that the present Union Home Secretary, Mr Madhukar Gupta, was the first Home Secretary and then the Chief Secretary of Uttaranchal/ Uttarakhand. So he would know much more about the bifurcation of state and its accompanying baggage. Just for information so that they can use this tool as well during the negotiation.

Barun Roy Adds:

While Union Territory and Presidential Rule are two different things, lets wait for a few days or at least till tomorrow to confirm whether GJM’s concept of Presidential Rule and Union Territory can be implied interchangeably.

For one thing – Presidential Rule cannot be imposed upon certain parts of a state! Hence, Presidential Rule over Darjeeling Hills and Dooars Terai will be against the spirit of the Indian Constitution and in fact a Constitutional anomaly. There is simply no such precedence in Indian History.

Secondly, the Union Territory will imply Bengal’s acceptance to the same. Which further implies that if Bengal can accept for Union Territory Status for Darjeeling Hills and Dooars Terai why can’t it accept separate statehood of Gorkhaland. Because in both cases – Union Territory of Darjeeling and the State of Gorkhaland needs to be created by carving an administrative zone from the map of Bengal on which thence Bengal will have no say.

Thirdly, the issue of Gorkhaland has never been based on administrative or economical parameters. The demand for the state of Gorkhaland is based on fulfilling the identity of 1.25 Gorkhas in India, which parties in favour of Gorkhaland including GJM, AIGL, CPRM and so on have stood by, the demand for the Union Territory status in essence goes against that idea and as such in the future may be counter-productive as non Darjeeling Hills based Gorkhas and more so Gorkhas who are sympathetic to the issue of Gorkhaland but have never been to Gorkhaland may feel betrayed and the parties later struggling for the Statehood of Gorkhaland may not be trusted by more than 1 Crores Gorkhas in the rest of the nation. If the achievement of Gorkhaland at this moment is impossible, the achievement of Union Territory status may also be impossible at this this stage. However, downgrading the movement from the movement for Gorkhaland to Union Territory status may only lead to the eventual destruction of the Gorkhaland movement status. Is this possibly Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s reaction to BGP/CPRM politicking in New Delhi. If Gorkha Janmukti Morcha intends to downgrade the Gorkhaland movement to a Union Territory for Darjeeling movement the 1 crore non Darjeeling Hills based Gorkhas involvement in the movement may be negated. If this is in essence an attempt to bring down other parties and convert a national movement into Darjeeling based movement, the possibility is that Gorkhaland Movement with Gorkhaland as the Israel for all Gorkhas irrespective of where they work and live, everything will be lost.

I hope all the leaders and parties alike instead of coming out with declarations and indulging in the ‘Politics of Haste’ relaxes and restragizes everything and looks into the future. Shortcuts and pathetic alternatives may only lead to the final killing of the Gorkhaland Movement itself.