Blog on Sikkim.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has at last checkmated itself! It has become GNLF Vista!

By Barun Roy

  1. GJM’s paranoia with Subash Ghisingh could ultimately lead to it checkmating itself.
  2. GNLF and Subash Ghisingh by not offering resistance to the GJM Anti-Subash, Anti Sixth Schedule could land itself in the good books of the tribals with majority in the villages and tea gardens.
  3. GJM should at this very moment should be lobbying at New Delhi against the Sixth Schedule Bill not laying seize over Subash Ghisingh.
  4. ‘Fast Unto Death’ should have been carried out in all the state capitals of India not in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong and if possible abroad.
  5. Indefinite strike has party antagonized people. It should be immediately lifted.
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“What the hell is going on here?” was the question that I was greeted with at the market yesterday by a friend of mine, who had arrived from Germany and along with his wife just wanted to stretch his legs at one of the premier hotels in Darjeeling. “I tried to call you up but as usual you were no where to be found. We have been advised to leave as there could be security problems,” he said, concerned. “Well I think you have been wrongly advised. There simply can’t be any security problems at least for foreign guests in the Hills. Such circumstances have never risen, not even during the Gorkhaland Agitation.” “Ahhhhhh,” saying he waved his big fat hand over my face and embarked on the bus. His wife, Jolene smiled, “In better times, maybe Roy,” she cried. I straightaway approached the DSP Traffic but he was too busy writing notifications. “I have absolutely no time for you. What do you want me to say? I have been overwhelmed by work here. Please call the DIG. He is in Siliguri.” I smiled and thanking him for his much appreciated help left to see my friends. There was nothing I could do to stop my friends from leaving. We had so many plans….

The vehicles left with Police escort and with them left a score of genuine lovers of Darjeeling who vowed to come back again. I wearily rushed to the District Magistrate’s office. The roads were abandoned only to be ruled over by hordes of fledgling Tendulkars, Dhonis and Dravids. How come no body played football in the streets today? And where do all the vehicles suddenly disappear? Questions, that I don’t have any answers to. The scene at the District Magistrate’s office however, was more serious. 22 individuals lay on ‘fast unto death’. They were young and old, male and female. The first group of 11 had already been without food and water for 96 hours and the second group for 50 hours. 11 young Darjeeling Government College lads and members of Gorkha Janmukti Vidyarthi Morcha joined in. A young girl from a tea garden, Miss Sarmila Shah was so determined on playing her part in the Gorkhaland movement that she had threatened to commit suicide if she was not allowed ‘fast unto death’. Conspicuously, Mr. R. B. Rai, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Revolutionary Marxists arrived to ‘cheer up’ the hunger-strikers and offer his support to them. I tried to ask him a couple of questions, but he refused, “Barun, I am here just to offer my support. This is a great thing that they are doing. We will have our victory,” he said. In his refusal to answer my questions he had indeed answered them all. There were leaders from other opposition parties including D. K. Pradhan of the GNLF (C). But of course, none would talk only perhaps smile when caught by a camera. The entire press fraternity brimming with statements of the leaders and lay were happy with the day’s enormous catch. Disinterested I returned back home. At around 4 pm, my cousin called me up and cried, “Dada there are clashes going on. I am at the Sukna – Siliguri barricade. There are GJM on the other side, the police in the middle and CPIM protestors on the other.”

What’s going on?

Darjeeling / Kurseong / Kalimpong: The three subdivisions of the Darjeeling District is completely shut down with no news of relief. The schools and colleges have been lifted from the purview of the strike but there have been no takers. Parents are afraid of sending their children to the schools while college students have been caught with the procession and the responsibility of reinforcing the agitation down at Sukna and Salbari. The students who are appearing for their Madhyamik Exams are effected severely. They can’t even buy pens and other stationeries if needed. The phone lines and the internet services are intermittently working, no one knows when the entire of the hills could be blacked out. Of the 60 metric tons of Garbage that Darjeeling produces everyday, 240 metric tons already lies on the streets. There has been no water supply for last six days.

Pintail Village/Siliguri/Sunka: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has started ‘fast unto death’ at the Pintail Village. The place has been converted into a war zone with barricades on both sides. The Pintail Village has been surrounded by the newly raised elite Combat Troops of the West Bengal Police. And they in turn have been srurrounded on one side towards the Sukna by the hundreds of supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha have also created blockades at all the entries leading towards the hills while the West Bengal Police have erected blockades and check up posts on the other side towards Siliguri. All in all the Siliguri-Darjeeling border has been converted into a South Korea-North Korea border, where a small stone hitting on the helmet of a Combat Troop could lead to a blood bath. And if that was not enough, the CPIM cadres lead by Mukul Sengupta, mayor-in-council (conservancy) of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation and party leader, CPI-M himself asking his supporters not to allow the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha to march into Siliguri. The Siliguri administration has also arrested 44 GJM supporters and not allowed anyone to sit on ‘fast unto death’ at their Mahukma Parishad Office.

GJM strategy:

  1. Indefinite Strike all over the Hills
  2. Fast unto Death
  3. Pintail Village Gherao
  4. Economic Blockade of Timber, Tea and Cinchona

GNLF strategy:

  1. Wait and watch

ABGL and other opposition parties:

  1. No activity
  2. Wait and watch

CPIM

  1. Procession against the incorporation of Siliguri and adjacent non DGHC area in Gorkhaland agitation programme by the GJM
  2. No activity in the Hills
  3. Wait and watch

West Bengal Government:

  1. “We view this entirely as Law and Order situation. We are worried about the situation in the Hills. We are committed towards doing everything in our power to maintain peace,” Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, Chief Minister of West Bengal
  2. Sending elite Combat Troops newly raised under the auspicious of the Indian Army. Armed with Insas and Ak-47. High trained and highly motivated!

OBJECTIVES:

GJM

  1. Withdrawal of the Sixth Schedule Amendment Bill
  2. The formation of the state of Gorkhaland under the provisions of the Indian Constitution
  3. Removal of Subash Ghisingh

GNLF

  1. The Implementation of the Sixth Schedule status as soon as possible.

CPRM

  1. Against Sixth Schedule Amendment Bill
  2. “We morally support GJM on the issue of Gorkhaland,” R. B. Rai General Secretary, CPRM
  3. “We will contest the Sixth Schedule Election if the status is implemented,” R. B. Rai, General Secretary, CPRM

ABGL

  1. Against Sixth Schedule Amendment Bill
  2. “We do not support GJM because this is not the right time for the Gorkhaland Movement,” Madan Tamang, President, ABGL.
  3. “We will contest the Sixth Schedule Election if the status is forcefully implemented,” Madan Tamang, President, ABGL.

CONGRESS

  1. “We are strictly against the Sixth Schedule Amendment Bill, it is anti people.” President, Darjeeling Zilla Pardesh Congress
  2. “Speaker, Sir, we introduce this Sixth Schedule Amendment Bill, to usher Darjeeling Hills into an era of happiness and prosperity,” Union Home Minister, Shivraj Patel and the All India Congress Committee leader.

What has happened in New Delhi?

  1. The Parliamentary Standing Committee has submitted its report to the Parliament on the Sixth Schedule Amendment Bill
  2. The Bill will now be placed in the Lok Sabha during the Budget Session.

The balance of Power in the Union Parliament

Those in favour of the Sixth Schedule Amendment Bill:

  • Indian National Congress
  • Rashtriya Janata Dal
  • Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
  • Nationalist Congress Party
  • Pattali Makkal Katchi
  • Jharkhand Mukti Morcha
  • Lok Janshakti Party
  • Kerala Congress (J)
  • Indian Union Muslim League
  • Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party
  • Republican Party of India (Athvale)
  • All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen
  • Communist Party of India Marxists
  • Communist Party of India

Those concerned about it about it:

  • Bharatiya Janata Party
  • Shiv Sena
  • Janata Dal (United)
  • Biju Janata Dal
  • Shiromani Akali Dal
  • Nagaland People’s Front
  • Jammu & Kashmir National Conference
  • Indian National Lok Dal
  • Lok Jan Shakti Party
  • Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
  • Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
  • All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
  • Pattali Makkal Katchi
  • Rashtriya Lok Dal
  • Indian Federal Democratic Party
  • Trinamool Congress
  • Telugu Desam Party

It may be noted that L. K. Advani has been in record saying that BJP is not strickly against the Sixth Schedule Amendment Bill but against the way the Bill was placed in the Parliament without being first submitted to the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

Those against it:

  • None

MEMBERS OF XII LOK SABHA

(Party Wise)

S.No.

Name of Party

Members

1

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

182

2

Indian National Congress (INC)

139

3

Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M))

32

4

Samajwadi Party (SP)

20

5

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)

18

6

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)

17

7

Samata Party (SAP)

12+1(Nominated)

8

Telugu Desam Party (TDP)

12

9

Communist Party of India (CPI)

9

10

Biju Janata Dal (BJD)

9

11

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)

8

12

West Bengal Trinamool Congress (WBTC)

7

13

Independent (IND)

6

14

Shiv Sena (SS)

6

15

Janata Dal (JD)

6

16

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)

6

17

Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP)

5

18

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)

5

19

Republican Party of India (RPI)

4

20

Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK)

4

21

Haryana Lok Dal (Rashtriya) (HLD(R))

4

22

Tamil Manila Congress (Moopanar) (TMC(M))

3

23

Lok Shakti (LS)

3

24

Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK)

3

25

National Conference (NC)

3

26

Arunachal Congress (AC)

2

27

Muslim League Kerala State Committee (MLKSC)

2

28

Forward Block (FB)

2

29

All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimmen (AIMIM)

1

30

Peasants and Workers Party of India (PWPI)

1

31

Haryana Vikas Party (HVP)

1

32

Janata Party (JP)

1

33

All India Rashtriya Janata Party (AIRJP)

1

34

Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF)

1

35

All India Indira Congress (Secular) (AIIC(S))

1

36

United Minorities Front, Assam (UMFA)

1

37

Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC)

1

38

Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya) (SJP(R))

1

39

Kerala Congress (M) (KC(M))

1

40

Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP)

1




Nominated Members

1


Vacant

2





Total Members

545

Future Predictions:

  1. The Sixth Schedule being an Official Bill could be passed in this session of the Parliament.

Why:

  1. It is an Official Bill – An Official Bill not being passed amounts to a No-Confidence Motion in the Parliament. The Government would fall in such instances.
  2. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha could be helping in speeding up things for the passing of the Sixth Schedule Amendment Act.
  3. The Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India Marxist is the strongest lobby in the UPA Government.

What then

  1. In the even of the rectification of the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution by the Indian Parliament Gorkha Hill Council Darjeeling could be formed with an IAS to look after the administration of the ‘Tribal Areas’ until an election is held. The election could be held three to six months after the rectification of the Constitution.
  2. Every political party could be forced to contest the Gorkha Hill Council Darjeeling election.
  3. This could lead to the fading away of the Gorkhaland Movement.

Mistakes Committed:

  1. GJM’s paranoia with Subash Ghisingh could ultimately lead to it check mating itself.
  2. GNLF and Subash Ghisingh by not offering resistance to the GJM Anti-Subash, Anti Sixth Schedule could land itself in the good books of the tribals with majority in the villages and tea gardens.
  3. GJM should at this very moment should be lobbying at New Delhi against the Sixth Schedule Bill not laying seize over Subash Ghisingh.
  4. ‘Fast Unto Death’ should have been carried out in all the state capitals of India not in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong and if possible abroad.
  5. Indefinite strike has party antagonized people. It should be immediately lifted.

Summary:

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has the majority of the People’s support. And since the majority rules in a democracy the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today is the People’s voice. Gorkhaland is the ultimate aspirations of the People. However, in the four months of the coming up of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the enigmatic Bimal Gurung, the mistakes that the party is committing in implementing its programmes could ultimately backfire. For instance, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s call of indefinite closure of the hills smells of its desperation to stop Sixth Schedule. Secondly, the fixation with Subash Ghisingh has lead to waste of time, strategy and manpower. The removal of Subash Ghisingh today or tomorrow should have been on no consequence. By stopping Sixth Schedule Amendment Bill from being passed in the Parliament, Subash Ghisingh would have ultimately been defeated. The ‘fast unto death’ instead of being organized in Darjeeling hills should have taken place in all the state capitals of the nation and abroad if possible. Gorkha Janmukti Morcha should have reached out to the Gorkha communities over the Globe. India should have been affected and ashamed before the national and international communities. Instead Darjeeling Hills have yet again been brought to her knees. When we are fighting for the freedom of our mother, why are we raping her instead? The leaders be it Bimal Gurung, Amar Lama, Roshan Giri or the rest and the intellectuals behind them, they will have to understand that by gheraoing Subash Ghisingh, calling for indefinite strike in the hills, ‘fast unto death’ which basically remains uncovered by the media, unnoticed by the world and least bothered by Bengal should have been done at their doors, in their capitals, where the national and the international media would have caught on. If the Tibetan can fast at Time Square why can’t we fast unto death before the United Nations in New York, before the Western embassies in New Delhi, Kathmandu, London, Hong Kong, Singapore etc. Sadly, we are stilling fighting the same old agitation, same old khukuri welding rowdies, short sighted leaders, indefinite strikes, no water, no electricity, no garbage disposal, no education for our children, no freedom of expression for our intellectuals. In this 21st Century we are stealing fight for Gorkhaland with weapons of 16th Century. Perhaps, it is will still take another twenty years for the real Gorkhaland movement to be fought by the people and for the people, Only! For this once instant let me also raise a cry, even if it goes against my ethos of being a journalist – Jai Gorkha! Jai Gorkhaland!

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When i started my blog on Sikkim way back in 2007, i had it clear on my mind that this blog shall help people look out for knowledge on Sikkim. I always wanted a knowledge house about Sikkim, its past, present and future. I do not know over the years how much did i succeed but my determination to let other understand my Sikkim is always giving me a push. with regards Shital Pradhan (himalayanreview@gmail.com)

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