GJM getting desperate for centre’s intervention

Kolkata, July 4: Intensifying their efforts to hold tripartite talks on their demand for a separate state, the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha wrote to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee on Friday asking him to take an initiative in the matter.

“I have written a letter requesting the chief minister to arrange a tripartite meeting with the Centre. The letter is being faxed to CM’s office,” GJM President Bimal Gurung said from Darjeeling.

Bhattacherjee had asked the GJM delegation to communicate the GJM leadership’s views after returning to Darjeeling following the June 27 talks in Kolkata.

The chief minister had offered more autonomy and financial powers to the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council which the GJM has rejected.

Gurung made it clear that henceforth talks had to be held in Delhi and not in Kolkata. “How many times will we be go to Kolkata for talks?” The letter came a day before the GJM central committee is to hold a crucial meeting in Darjeeling on Saturday to decide whether the indefinite bandh would be resumed in Darjeeling hills.

Asked whether there would be further relaxation of the bandh, Gurung said “We will take a decision in our meeting tomorrow.” The relaxation of the bandh would expire on July five.

Gurung said “the Centre is in the dark about many things about the hills. The Morcha will submit all the documents and relevant facts in the tripartite meeting to keep the Centre posted on the Gorkhaland issue”.

Asked to comment on praise for the chief minister by some senior GJM leaders at a rally in Darjeeling yesterday, Gurung said “the chief minister is a gentleman, but it is to be seen how he solves the Gorkhaland issue.”

He said the state government was talking of restoration of normalcy in Darjeeling, but this would return only if Gorkhaland was created, he said. Meanwhile, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said that the chief minister during the Kolkata meeting had agreed to tripartite talks.

“Dialogue on Gorkhaland should be opened and only a tripartite talk can solve the problem,” she said. (Expressindia)

Darjeeling police raise commando force- Black fatigue, sophisticated weapons and fibreglass gear to tackle riot-like situations in district

Siliguri, July 4: Darjeeling police have raised a 120-strong specially trained commando force and have armed it with 9mm pistols and assault rifles of the AK series to tackle riot-like situations in the district.

The force will be primarily posted in Darjeeling and Siliguri.

“The idea is to maintain a stand-alone force and deploy its trained personnel in different areas of the district to handle riot-like situations or any other serious breach of law and order,” Rahul Srivastava, the superintendent of police of Darjeeling, said today.

“Considering some of the past incidents and the vulnerability of the area, it was decided to form the commando force which will work under the command of officials not below the rank of deputy superintendent or inspector,” Srivastava added.

Sources said following instructions from the state government, senior police officers of the district had selected young and vibrant constables to form the force.

“We conducted tests to shortlist them and trained them to tackle different situations,” the district police chief said. “Apart from Darjeeling Sadar and Siliguri, the commandos will be posted in groups of at least 15 in different police stations.”

Although Srivastava refused to speak in detail about arms and ammunition, the sources said the commandos would be dressed in black fatigue and have sophisticated weapons like 9mm pistols and assault rifles of the AK series.

The district police have also spent around Rs 10 lakh to buy fiberglass gear for the force, including helmets and visors, shin guards, chest guards, batons and shields. (See graphic)

“Once the cadets of the first group are posted, we plan to raise another group of 70 men selected from the existing district police force. They will be an addition to the central para-military companies,” Srivastava said.

Since September last year, Siliguri has seen a series of violent incidents, forcing the administration to call in the army or para-military forces.

On September 28, residents of Siliguri clashed with supporters of Indian Idol contestant, Prashant Tamang. The police had to open fire and later the army and the BSF were deployed.

This year, on May 2, residents beat up pro-Gorkhaland supporters trying to launch a hunger strike near the Siliguri subdivisional office. After that, came the June 8 attack by Bagdogra residents on Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters sitting on NH31, demanding permission for a meeting in Naxalbari.

Four days later, a riot-like situation developed at Bhanunagar Colony and Ganesh Ghosh Colony on the outskirts of Siliguri when Nepali-speaking people were attacked.

“This new force will be able to curb such violence much faster,” a police official said.

In another development, the government has recruited as permanent home guards all the 421 volunteers, mostly from the hills, who had helped the police during the Gorkhaland agitation in the eighties. “They will be soon posted in police stations across the district,” said the police chief. Till now, the volunteers served in the force as ad-hoc employees. (The Telegraph)

Gurung only interested in tripartite talks

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on Thursday said it was no longer interested in holding talks with the West Bengal government on Gorkhaland issue and was awaiting tripartite talks in Delhi.
GJM president Bimal Gurung made the comment while reacting to West Bengal Home Secretary A M Chakraborty’s recent statement here last week that further talks between the GJM and state government were required to find a solution to the Darjeeling problem.
Gurung said that during talks with the West Bengal Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, in the last week of June, GJM leaders had requested Bhattacharjee to take the initiative for tripartite talks involving the Centre, state government and GJM.
“But we have not received any further invitation from the government. We can give our opinion only after we receive the invitation,” Gurung said.
The GJM’s insistence on tripartite talks, meanwhile, received a shot in the arm when three major constituents of the Darjeeling district Left Front — CPI, AIFB and RSP — unequivocally stressed the need for having immediate three-way dialogue.
Darjeeling district secretary of Forward Bloc Smritish Bhattacharya told PTI that the state government should take an immediate initiative for the talks.
Similarly, the CPI district secretary, Ujjawal Choudhury, said the state government should not lose any further time for the talks and the GJM at the same time should come forward with a positive frame of mind.
RSP district secretary Benoy Chakraborty went a step further, saying, “The GJM is doing the right thing by not showing interest in talks with the state government as the government has created the situation itself by indulging Ghising for almost two decades.” (The Hindu)