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28 Aug 2015

Imbalance in Darjeeling

SNS, Editorial | 28 August, 2015: Mamata Banerjee has effected a deft balancing act in Darjeeling, verily an exercise in tokenism to address the persistent manifestations of sub-regional jingoism. 
In a single stroke of the chief ministerial pen, she has put in place a development board for the Bhutias; in parallel she has dropped no fewer than 115 cases against leaders of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha. 
Further comment on whether this initiative will placate the dominant group and the Bhutias will depend largely on whether several other segments accept the arrangement. The announcement in Darjeeling’s Chowrasta that the board for Bhutias would be the last such outfit for hill groups has predictably been greeted with sullen silence. The Chief Minister may well have a point when she rules out a multiplicity of development boards, each taking care of a particular group. 
Equally, the one size-fits all formula is unlikely to be effective; her decision to “tag various communities to the four boards that have been set up over the years” cannot readily inspire optimism. It is improbable that the groups that are out in the cold will be agreeable to the patchwork quilt that stops far short of an umbrella organisation for holistic hill development. By forming the board for Bhutias, she may have responded to the cavil that resonates across the Hills, chiefly that the formation of boards for the Lepchas - the original settlers - Tamangs and Sherpas were actually attempts by the government to pursue a policy of divide-and-rule. 
Nonetheless, it shall not be easy to dispel the impression that she is engaged in selective redressal of festering grievances. The Chief Minister cannot be impervious to the fact that an additional board for the Bhutias might not be acceptable to the Gorkhas. Hence the anxiety to mollify the leading lights of the GJMM at a meeting soon after the programme for Bhutias, and the decision to withdraw cases against the morcha for blocking roads before 2011. Effectively, she has reversed a CPI-M action. 
A still more prickly issue is the GJMM demand for withdrawal of cases filed between 2007 and 2011 against statehood agitators, with many among the 650 such cases related to murder. On closer reflection, the withdrawal of such cases does seem to be peripheral to the core issue - the independent functioning of the Gorkha Territorial Authority, verily a loose form of self-government that is short of statehood. More than a year after its inauguration, the pivotal issue of devolution of powers is yet to be sorted out. Most particularly in the segment of education, with several schools and colleges still under the state government’s control. 
The GTA cannot be run on terms dictated by the state government. Small wonder the morcha is yet to firm up its response to this week’s twin strategy of Miss Banerjee.

The Psychology of Projection in Conflict

Robert J. Burrowes, KalimNews, Kalimpong, 28 Aug 2015: Understanding human conflict requires us to understand human psychology. And it is only when we  understand the psychology that drives conflict that we can take intelligent steps to address it.

Unfortunately, understanding the psychology of conflict is not easy and I would like to illustrate one  significant problem in this regard and explain what we can do about it. That problem is what is often  called 'projection' or 'transference' and it illustrates the importance of emotional, as distinct from  intellectual, content in any conflict.

Let me start by quoting a few carefully selected words from a lengthy dialogue recently published.  http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=628 The dialogue took place between two Israelis, two  Palestinians and several individuals from other countries and was focused on the Israeli occupation of  Palestine. It was concluded by the moderator's observation that 'our discussion has reached an impasse'.

I would like to emphasise that I have chosen and quoted words to illustrate my discussion about the  significance of projection and the importance of unconscious emotional content in any conflict.

Israeli 1: 'But what shall we do that they don't recognize us, among so many countries of Islam and I've  nothing against Islamic persons, I wish them all the best, provided they do not harm us and recognize our  existence. What shall we do if we have terror, terrible terror, and missiles sent into our civil population for     so many years... armed by Iran.... We are a small nation, fighting rightfully, or wrongfully, for our  existence…. We are all the time suffering from terror and nowadays surrounded by terrible terror…. And  still I and Israelis want peace...'

Russian: 'I understand you; you live in constant fear of rocket attacks, their threats, terror, etc. Of course,  this is a terrible situation and it seems to never end.... No emotions do not solve the problem. The  emotional solutions do not exist, there is no emotional work. There are only reasonable, theoretical  solutions, and work on the basis of reason and theory….'

Palestinian 1: 'Sorry to disagree with you that the violent conflict between Israel and Occupied Palestine  will never end as I’m sure that there are 2 steps that should be taken to achieve that:
1) ending the Israeli Occupation to the Palestinian lands & People very quickly
2) investing intensively in the role of informal education targeting children from both sides….'

Israeli 2: 'Attached is an important article about the Israeli Palestinian war written by an Arab Palestinian  Journalist.... It was Palestinians who hurt themselves: When Israelis were not able to hire Palestinian  workers, they simply turned to foreign workers, prefabricated construction and other industrial  innovations….'

Palestinian 2: 'It is far better if you can share your own writings (links) instead of posting Zionist tired  propaganda (hasbara) that is tagged with false names to give it credibility.... But instead of useless emails  and impersonal exchanges, I sincerely invite you and all people who can potentially open their minds to  come visit us anytime.... The truth, like the sun, is healthy and cannot be hidden for long from those out  from their caves. But those who choose to remain in their self-constructed caves of ignorance will always  stay pale and unhappy and fearful and paranoid.'


Palestinian 1: 'Sorry to tell you cousin that your allegations do not fit at all with the reality as Gaza is  under siege for more than 7 years. Israel did not leave Gaza….'

American: 'Unfortunately, as a psychologist with over 30 years of experience with sociopaths, I must  conclude that a number of people currently in power in Israel (and some from Palestine) appear to very  likely fall into the category of sociopath and/or psychopath. These types of personalities lack a normal  conscience and are unlikely to change....Because of such personality characteristics, changing the  attitudes or values of these “shot-callers” by means of peace education or psychotherapy is highly  unlikely, although not impossible….'

Palestinian 2 (to Israeli 1): 'First, please do not use all capital letters. In emails this is “shouting” and  reveals anger most people do not read it or may get irritated by it. Second, your note about “undermining  our demographic situation” is sadly racist. You are talking about fellow human beings who are legally  entitled by International law to return to their homes and lands. I suggest you get educated. You can start  here…. I will pray for you.'

This type of 'dialogue' is very common. And it cannot achieve anything for one simple reason: no one is  listening to the unconscious terror and other feelings that are driving the behaviour of several participants.  Let me explain what I mean by this, starting with the first Israeli.

This person is clearly terrified, not just badly frightened. This is obvious from her perception and  representation of some events and her belief in some demonstrably false claims. However, her  perceptions, representations and beliefs must be put aside if we want this dialogue to make progress.  Why?

When she was a child, this woman was not allowed to feel and act on her terror about the person or  persons who terrorised her. The person or persons who terrorised her must be one or both parents and/or  others with whom she lived very closely, such as one or more relatives, teachers and/or religious figures.

Because she was terrorised out of feeling her terror consciously (which would have released it but also  given her the power to hold the perpetrator(s) accountable), she was compelled to suppress her awareness  of how terrified she was and to unconsciously project it onto a 'legitimised victim' group which, in this  case, is a target used by many Israelis: the Palestinians (although the Iranians are often used as well). The  key point about 'legitimised victims' is that they are unconsciously 'chosen' because they are no real  threat: people who are terrified do not project onto powerful opponents. See 'Why Violence?'http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence and 'Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and  Practice'.http://anitamckone.wordpress.com/articles-2/fearless-and-fearful-psychology/ They must project   onto 'legitimised victims'who they feel able to control.

The only way in which this woman can now be freed of her projection is by feeling her terror consciously.  And the only thing that anyone can do to assist this process is to listen, deeply, to her. See 'Nisteling: The  Art of Deep Listening'. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1408/S00192/nisteling-the-art-of-deep-listening.htm If she feels her terror consciously, she will both be freed of it and identify the perpetrator(s)   who actually terrorised her as a child. Moreover, she will acquire the power to defend herself against  these perpetrators (and, hence, no longer need the projection).

Interestingly, in this dialogue, the Russian usefully did a partial reflection but then went on to say that  'emotional solutions do not exist'. In fact, if this Israeli woman does not consciously feel her terror, she  will remain stuck in her projection for the rest of her life. The fact is that emotional factors underpin all  conflicts and if we do not take emotions into account and give conflict participants the chance to feel their  terror, fear, anger, sadness and other feelings then we undermine (often fatally) any attempt at conflict  resolution (as our deeper and more protracted conflicts in the world clearly demonstrate).

Unfortunately, in this dialogue, no one ventured to reflect to the first Israeli something like this: 'You  sound utterly terrified that Palestinians and their Islamic and Iranian allies are going to destroy Israel'.  And then listen to her feel, and talk about, her terror (which might include denying she is terrified  because, to her, it simply feels as if she is 'right') for as long as she needed in this context: that is, to  consciously feel how terrified she feels until it has been felt long enough to be reduced significantly and  the true culprits who terrorised her are exposed.

Usually, this would take a very long time over very many sessions but until this woman feels listened to  so that she can feel the fear and other feelings she so desperately needs to feel, she cannot change. Her  projection is not something over which she has any conscious control. It was a childhood 'defence' against  knowing a terrifying truth but it cannot be abandoned without consciously focusing on feeling the terror  that holds it in place.

Obviously, in a better world, this woman would have plenty of friends who could listen, deeply, to her  while she focused on feeling just how terrified she really feels. My own experience suggests that, in this  particular context, it should not be Palestinians who should have to do this listening: it is a role that allies  of Palestinians, whether Israeli or otherwise, could usefully perform to allow some terrified Israelis, at  least, the chance to perceive more accurately what is taking place.

It is obvious from the response of the first Palestinian in this dialogue, who ignored the Israeli woman's  feelings, that he lacked the knowledge and patience to listen (because he failed to notice the Israeli’s  terror and went straight to suggesting an intellectual 'solution').

The second Israeli's part in the dialogue revealed that his projection works slightly differently from that of  the first Israeli: his fear still makes him blame the Palestinians but for different reasons.

But the second Palestinian is frustrated by this tired repetition of what he sees as some old propaganda  and he simply abuses the Israeli. It is appropriate and useful that the Palestinian expresses his frustration  (and someone might have usefully reflected it to him) but, in this context, it would have been better for him to do so elsewhere: in this context, it will not help  the second Israeli to feel the fear that holds his belief in place.

This is because the second Israeli genuinely believes what he is presenting to be true and if we simply  dismiss it as propaganda for the sake of propaganda, we miss the underlying emotional truth of what is  happening for this individual and lose an opportunity to give him the chance to perceive things  differently. So, again, the opportunity was missed to reflect something like this: 'It sounds like you feel  that Palestinians have hurt themselves. What is it that makes you feel this way and how, exactly, does this  make you feel?' It is only if he is capable of feeling his way through his fear and other suppressed feelings  that his perceptions can change. No argument can achieve this outcome because his view is held in place  by (unconscious) feelings, not thoughts.

The American psychologist's contribution, about the unlikelihood of change when badly psychologically  damaged people are involved, is one with which I broadly agree. Nevertheless, deep listening remains a  key option that might be tried with any individual, including those in this dialogue, if the opportunity  arises. But if nisteling is rejected, doesn't work or there is no access to political leaders responsible for  key decisions, we still have a powerful option at our disposal: strategically applied nonviolent resistance.

So, in this context, if too many Israelis, particularly those in leadership positions, are badly  psychologically damaged (which will leave them trapped in a series of projections distant from reality and  for which even nisteling is unlikely to have an adequate impact), then we need to plan and implement a  comprehensive nonviolent strategy to liberate Palestine. See The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A  Gandhian Approach. http://www.sunypress.edu/p-2176-the-strategy-of-nonviolent-defe.aspx

Finally, the comment by the second Palestinian that the use of capital letters in emails represents  'shouting' that 'reveals anger' is incorrect. The first Israeli is (unconsciously) terrified and her 'shouting' is  a desperate attempt to have her (unconscious) feeling of being terrified heard. Again, even she does not  know this and it will not be easy to listen to her when she is in denial about the problem herself. But, to  reiterate, if we are interested in dealing with the conflict effectively then this woman needs nisteling (and  someone who gets irritated by her terrified claims is not a suitable person to nistel).

Moreover, responding to her claim about 'undermining our demographic situation' with the observation  that it is 'sadly racist' and offering her information about entitlements under international law while  suggesting she 'get educated' cannot help (and again reflects the understandable but, when expressed in  this context, unserviceable frustration of the second Palestinian). Moreover, his comment that 'I will pray  for you' is most likely to sound patronizing.

In essence, an argument cannot be 'won' on the basis of intellectual content if one, some or all participants  in a conflict hold views that are rooted in fear (which will invariably be unconscious). Until the fear is  felt, the 'view' of a person cannot change (and then it will do so of their own volition).

So next time you observe a conflict (including a simple one), remind yourself that, fundamentally, the  conflict has an (unconscious) emotional basis and the intellectual arguments being tossed back and forth  are, at worst irrelevant and, at best secondary, to any resolution of it. Perhaps you could ponder what you  might reflect to one or more participants if you were inclined to help them focus on the emotional  underlay to what they were saying.

And if you feel able to perceive reality yourself, you might like to consider signing the online pledge of  'The People's Charter to Create a Nonviolent World'. http://thepeoplesnonviolencecharter.wordpress.com

People who are trapped in a projection (or series of projections) are victims of their own unconscious  terror. I encourage you to never underestimate the capacity of someone's terror to delude them. And to  remember that the only thing that can help them is nisteling. Unfortunately, nisteling requires a person  who is highly Self-aware.

Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence His email address is flametree@riseup.net and his website is at http://robertjburrowes.wordpress.com


27 Aug 2015

CM steps into Lal Kothi for meeting - Mamata first chief minister to hold administrative session at GTA headquarters

Mamata at Lal Kothi on Wednesday. Picture by Suman Tamang
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Aug. 26: Mamata Banerjee today held a meeting of the Tribal Advisory Council at Lal Kothi, the headquarters of the GTA where no other chief minister conducted an administrative session during Subash Ghisingh years.
Mamata had no intention to hold today's meeting at Lal Kothi and the Darjeeling district administration had made all arrangements to conduct the session at the state tourist lodge here.
Sources said during a meeting between Mamata and a GTA delegation at Richmond Hill yesterday, the chief minister had talked about the absence of a proper place to hold a meeting in Darjeeling.
"The GTA delegation suggested that she could use the Indira Gandhi Conference Hall at Lal Kothi to hold the meeting. The chief minister promptly agreed to hold the Tribal Advisory Council's meeting at Lal Kothi," said the source.
Officials at the GTA could not recall any Bengal chief minister holding a state government meeting at Lal Kothi in the past. The DGHC office was earlier here. The building is now the GTA secretariat.
"This is definitely the first time that a state government meeting, which has nothing to do with the hill body, has been held at Lal Kothi," said an administrative official.
In 1989, Jyoti Basu as the chief minister had accompanied then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to Lal Kothi.
The meeting of the Tribal Advisory Council comes at a time the GTA has been demanding more autonomy for the hill body. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha that runs the GTA had in the past complained about alleged interference by the state government in the functioning of the hill body.
After the meeting, Mamata said: "This is a routine administrative meeting. We are meeting once a year although earlier chief ministers did not hold such meetings even in two years. The last meeting was held at Jaldapara (in the Dooars) and now a meeting has been held here. The next meeting will be in Jungle Mahal."
The meeting that lasted for about an hour was attended by ministers Gautam Deb, Sukumar Hansda and Anup Biswas, several MLAs and a host of officials, including the chief secretary and the home secretary.
Without elaborating on what transpired at the meeting, Mamata said: "We have been doing a lot of work for the adivasis. We have introduced a pension scheme for 2 lakh tendu workers. We are also providing rice at Rs 2per kilogram to tribals at Jungle Mahal. Around 1.3 lakh tea garden workers are also getting pension through the tribal development department."
Adivasis make up most of the tendu and tea plantation workers.
Tendu leaves are used to make bidis.
Mamata said a group of ministers had been formed to look into the welfare of tea garden workers. "We have built tribal bhavans in six districts, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Bankura, West Midnapore and South and North Dinajpurs. We are also building a tribal bhavan at Rajarhat in Calcutta," said Mamata.
After her brief address to the media, Mamata took a stroll around Lal Kothi. Sources said she had also visited the chamber of Lt. Col. (retd) Ramesh Allay, the deputy chief of the GTA, and that of Ravi Inder Singh, principal secretary of the GTA.
Even though Bimal Gurung's office was open, she did not visit his chamber. During her visit to Lal Kothi offices, Mamata was accompanied by Allay and Singh among others. Gurung had left for Delhi by the time the meeting started.
After her visit, Mamata was heard saying to an acquaintance: "Lal Kothi is a beautiful office."
Later, the chief minister visited Tiger Hill.

Morcha seeks hill boards under GTA

TT, Siliguri, Aug. 26: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today said more boards could be formed for other hill communities, but all such bodies should function under the GTA.
The comment came a day after chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced a development board for the Bhutia community - the fourth such body to be formed by the state - and said that no more such bodies would be formed.
Asked about Mamata's announcement, Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha and an executive member of GTA, said: "We won't comment on the issue but would like to say that all such development boards should function under the GTA. There are some other communities dwelling in the hills for whom such development boards can be formed as it can help in conservation of their culture and in their socio-economic development. However, let us reiterate that all such boards should come under the GTA."
All development boards are under the state backward classes welfare department, while the GTA runs the hill administration.
This afternoon, Giri and few other Morcha leaders, led by party chief Bimal Gurung, reached Bagdogra airport from Darjeeling to take a flight to Delhi.
Gurung did not speak to reporters.
Yesterday, at a programme to launch the "Clean Darjeeling, Green Darjeeling" project at Chowrasta in Darjeeling, Mamata had announced the board for the Bhutias.
"A Bhutia development board will be formed. We will sanction a sum of Rs 5 crore for it. Now, we will not create more boards. How many boards can we have in the hills? We will tag various communities to different boards," Mamata had said.
The state has already created three other development boards for the Lepchas, Sherpas and Tamangs.
On February 6, 2013, the state cabinet cleared the formation of the Mayel Lyang Lepcha Development Board and before the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, the chief minister announced a board for Tamangs.
On January 23 this year, Mamata announced a Sherpa development board in Darjeeling.
The Morcha had protested the formation of such boards and soon after the January announcement, Giri had said: "This is a divide-and-rule policy. If a board is formed for the Sherpas, similar boards must be set up for all hill communities."
The chief minister's assertion that no other development boards would be formed comes at a time the Mangars, another hill community, are demanding a board.
"The Morcha leadership had alleged that the state was following a divide-and-rule-policy by creating such boards. It is significant that after the chief minister said there will be no more boards, Morcha leaders are advocating for boards for all other communities in the hills," said an observer.
Yesterday, Mamata had said 115 cases slapped on Morcha leaders and supporters for blocking roads before 2011 would be withdrawn."
Today, Giri told reporters: "We had a meeting (with the chief minister) yesterday. It was decided that 115 cases pending against Morcha supporters would be withdrawn."
Today, Morcha leaders Binay Tamang, P.T. Ola, Bikram Rai and Anit Thapa, along with Giri and Gurung, took a flight to Delhi. "From Delhi, we will visit Varanasi, Mirzapur (in Uttar Pradesh) and Vindhyavasini temple," Giri said.
GTA chief executive Gurung was supposed to leave for Delhi on August 24. But he stayed back in Darjeeling and attended yesterday's programme at Chowrasta.

26 Aug 2015


PR, KalimNews, Siliguri, August 25, 2015: Disturbed by reports that Gorkhas of Manipur were being forced to leave their homes by activists agitating for the implementation of the Inner Line Permit System in the state, the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh has written to Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju, seeking protection for the Gorkhas from forceful eviction.
The Inner Line Permit system, if adopted by the Manipur legislative assembly, will require outsiders to acquire government permission to enter and stay in the state. The activists demanding the IPL system are wrongly describing the state’s Gorkhas as “outsiders”.
Rev Dr Enos Das Pradhan, national president of the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh, rued that on a day when the Gorkhas across India celebrated Balidan Diwas to commemorate the day when Major Durga Malla had died as a freedom fighter at the hands of the British in 1944, there was news that Gorkhas were facing atrocities in Manipur.
The letter to Shri Kiren Rijiju emphasised that there while the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh had no objection to the introduction of the Inner Line Permit System in Manipur, the cutoff date for identifying outsiders should be 1972, when the state had been formed.
Gorkhas were not outsiders in the state, stated Rev Dr Pradhan. “There is enough evidence to show that Gorkhas had been living in Manipur long before it was created and yet are facing a threat to their lives and properties.” He requested the Union Home Ministry to take immediate steps to stop any forceful eviction of Gorkhas from Manipur.
The National Working Committee of the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh, which met in Siliguri on August 22, has decided to send an enquiry committee comprising Shri Sukhman Moktan, Shri R. Moktan, Shri Munish Tamang and Shri Bhupendra Adhikari to Manipur to interact with the leadership of the Joint Action Committee that is spearheading the agitation for the ILP. They will apprise the Joint Action Committee of the need to recognise the rights of Gorkhas who have been living in Manipur from a time before it became a state in 1972.
A delegation is also likely to meet Shri Kiren Rijiju in New Delhi shortly to discuss the issue of Gorkhas in Manipur vis a vis the ILP.

शहीद दुर्गा मल्लको स्मरणमा भागोपले पालन गर्‍यो बलिदान दिवस

डी के वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ 25 अगस्त। भारती गोर्खा परिसंघ (भागोप)को आयोजनामा आज यहाँको रामकृष्ण रङ्गमञ्चमा बलिदान दिवस पालन गरियो। भारत स्वतन्त्रता आन्दोलनमा होमिएका मेजर शहीद दुर्गा मल्ललाई 25 अगस्त 1944 को दिन अङ्ग्रेजहरूले फाँसीमा झुण्डाएको हो। त्यसै दिनको स्मरण गर्दै भागोपले 25 अगस्तको दिनलाई बलिदानको दिवसको रूपमा पालन गर्दै आइरहेको छ।
शहीद मेजर दुर्ग मल्लाको स्मरणमा आयोजना गरिएको बलिदान दिवस कार्यक्रमको पूर्वार्द्धमा यहाँको नोभेल्टि परिसरमा स्थापित स्वतन्त्रता सेनानीजंगबीर सापकोटाको सालिग, थाना डाँडामा अवस्थित शहीद दलबहादुर गिरीको सालिग, त्रिकोण पार्कमा स्थापित शहीद स्मारक, मोटर स्ट्याण्डमा स्थापित शहीद स्मारक अनि शहीद रोशन राईको सालिगमा माल्यर्पण गरेर श्रद्धाञ्जली अर्पण गर्ने कार्य सम्पन्न भएको थियो।
यस अवसरमा देशका निम्ति आफ्नो प्राण आहुती दिने वीर शहीदहरूलाई सम्झना गर्दै मुख्य अतिथि, विशिष्ट अतिथि अनि अन्य अतिथिवर्गले माल्यार्पण गरेर श्रद्धाञ्जली चढाएका थिए। सोहीक्रममा शहीद दुर्गा मल्लालाई श्रद्धाञ्जली अर्पण गर्न यहाँको टाउन हल परिसरमा गरिएको दुर्गा मल्लको शहीद बेदी विशेष रूपले निर्माण गरिएको थियो। जहाँ साई इन्टिट्युट अफ् एजुकेशन एण्ड रिसर्चका विद्यार्थीवर्गले व्याण्डको साथमा शोक धुन प्रस्तुत गरेपछि सबैले क्रमबद्ध रूपले श्रद्धाञ्जली चढाएका थिए।
यस अवसरमा भारतीय स्वतन्त्रता आन्दोलनमा शहीद भएका गोर्खा शहीदहरूको पनि स्मरण गर्दै श्रद्धाञ्जली चढाउने कार्य सम्पन्न भएको थियो। कार्यक्रमको उत्तरार्द्धमा रामकृष्ण रङ्गमञ्चमा सम्पन्न भएको बलिदान दिवस कार्यक्रमलाई भागोप कालेबुङ शाखाका कर्यकारी अध्यक्ष दिनेशचन्द्र पौड्यालले अध्यक्षता गरेका थिए भने मुख्य अतिथिका रूपमा अधिवक्ता प्रभाकर देवान उपस्थित बनेका थिए। यसअवसरमा विशिष्ट अतिथिका रूपमा भागोप राष्ट्रिय कार्यकारी अध्यक्ष सुखमन मोक्तान, महासचिव मुनिष तामाङ, सर्वोच्च न्यायलयका अधिवक्ता पी.निरूप, क्रामाकपा उपाध्य्क्ष जे.बी.राई आदि उपस्थित रहेका थिए।
यसक्रममा कार्यक्रममा विभिन्न विद्यालयका विद्यार्थीवर्गको पनि विशेष उपस्थिति रहेको थियो। यसैक्रममा कार्यक्रममा शहीद मेजर दुर्गा मल्ल माथी निर्माण गरिएको वृतचित्र पनि प्रस्तुत गरिएको थियो भने पी.के प्रधानले सहीद दुर्गा मल्लको जीवनी प्रस्तुत गरेका थिए। विभिन्न विद्यालयका विद्यार्थीवर्गले शहीद लालबहादुर बस्नेत, शहीद रवीलाल भुजेल, शहीद दलबहादुर गिरी अनि शहीद ठाकुर प्रसाद कुमाई माथी वार्ता प्रस्तुत गरेका थिए। यता कार्यक्रमलाई सम्बोधन गर्ने क्रममा मुख्य अतिथि प्रभाकर देवानले शहीद दुर्गा मल्लले देशलाई दिएको बलिदान विषयमा जानकारी गराएका थिए।

Mamata's balancing act in hills - Bhutia board, case drop by CM

Mamata and Gurung at the Chowrasta programme on Tuesday. Picture by Suman Tamang
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Aug 25: Mamata Banerjee today played the ringmaster of hill politics, announcing a development board for Bhutias and dropping 115 cases against leaders of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha a little later, which had earlier accused the chief minister of resorting to a divide and rule policy by forming such panels.
Mamata capped the day's developments by saying she would, for the first time, hold a meeting of the tribal advisory council tomorrow at Lal Kothi, the administrative headquarters of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).
At the launch of the "Clean Darjeeling, Green Darjeeling" project at Chowrasta in Darjeeling, the chief minister said the board for the Bhutias would be the last such body for hill communities. The Morcha had protested the formation of boards for Lepchas, Tamangs and Sherpas, saying these were attempts by the government to divide and rule the hill population and diminish the influence of the party.
"A Bhutia development board will be formed. We will sanction a sum of Rs 5 crore for it," Mamata said. "Now, we will not create more boards. How many boards can we have in the hills? We will tag various communities to different boards."
Morcha chief Bimal Gurung, who had postponed his trip to Delhi by two days to welcome the chief minister, sat quietly as the chief minister made the comments.
Aware that the announcement might not go down well with Morcha leaders, Mamata tried to do a balancing act. Soon after the programme, Mamata met a seven-member Morcha delegation, including senior party leaders Roshan Giri, Binay Tamang, Trilok Kumar Dewan and Harka Bahadur Chhetri and announced after the session: "In the first phase, we have decided to withdraw 115 cases slapped on Morcha leaders and supporters for blocking roads before 2011. We must all work together and we are working together."
During the tripartite agreement to form the GTA, it had been agreed upon that all cases slapped by the state government on statehood agitators, except for murder, would be withdrawn.
Till today, none has been withdrawn despite the Morcha raising the issue at various bipartite and tripartite meetings.
The Morcha claims the government had registered around 650 cases against party leaders and activists between 2007 and 2011.
When Giri was asked about the formation of the Bhutia board after the meeting with Mamata, he said: "Leave it now."
Hill sources said the Morcha was not sure how to react to Mamata's twin strategies. Development boards have been Mamata's trump card to expand her support base among various hill communities. The strategy has yielded results to some extent, strengthening the party and creating a platform to take on the Morcha.
A day after her relations with Gurung strained in 2013 after Morcha supporters protested at a government programme in Darjeeling against her announcement that Bengal would not be divided, Mamata expressed her wish of forming a Lepcha development board. On February 6, 2013, the cabinet cleared the formation of the Mayel Lyang Lepcha Development Board.
When the Morcha renewed its agitation after the Centre agreed to form Telangana, Mamata visited Kalimpong on September 3, 2013, responding to an invitation from the Indigenous Lepcha Tribal Association. Thousands of Lepchas had attended the programme although the Morcha had urged people not to step out of their houses.
Just before the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the chief minister had announced a board for the Tamangs, who make up about 15 per cent of the hill population.
On January 23 this year, Mamata announced the formation of a Sherpa development board in the presence of Gurung at Chowrasta.
Immediately after the announcement in January, Giri had said: "This is a divide-and-rule policy. If a board is formed for the Sherpas, similar boards must be set up for all hill communities. The (Sherpa) board should be brought under the GTA."
All development boards are under the state's backward classes welfare department while the GTA runs the hill administration.
Many believe that the decision to form the development board has paid dividends for Trinamul as during the last parliamentary elections, the party had managed to get around 90,000 votes in the Darjeeling hills.
The Bhutia community maintains it has around two lakh members in Darjeeling district. In the hills, there are around 50,000 Lepchas and more than 2 lakh Tamangs. The Sherpa community claims that its population is over one lakh.

25 Aug 2015

CM coming, close school early - Cop plea hours before Mamata reaches hills

Members of the Bhutia community offer khadas to Mamata Banerjee in Darjeeling.
on Monday. Picture by Suman Tamang
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Aug. 24: Barely two hours before Mamata Banerjee's cavalcade was to cross Kurseong town, police there today requested 22 schools near NH55 to give over an hour early so that the highway could be kept clear for the chief minister to pass.
While the police said the request was made to the schools so that students would not be inconvenienced, an educationist from Kurseong, who did not want to be identified, said he found the police's action "hilarious". "I have never come across such a thing in my life, most of which has been spent as an educationist. Education is more important than ensuring a hassle-free drive for the chief minister."
Sources in various schools said they received a call from police between 1pm and 1.45pm, requesting their co-operation and asking that students be allowed to leave for home by 2pm, instead of 3pm that is the regular closing time. "The request also came a bit too late in the day," said the educationist.
One school source said: "It was not a diktat but a request from the police, who even went to the extent of saying that their jobs would be at stake if we did not co-operate."
Classes usually start in hill schools at 8.30am and get over by 3pm. Soon after the police called up the schools, many institutions did close for the day at 2pm. All schools in Kurseong could not be contacted individually. Those schools that declared an early holiday today did not want their institution's names to come on print. "Please don't print the name of my school as we don't want to be in the firing line," joked one teacher.
The chief minister has earlier too taken the same highway to Darjeeling but on most occasions, she reached Bagdogra in the afternoon and after administrative meetings, left for the hills around evening.
Today, the chief minister landed at Bagdogra airport at 2.35pm and left for Darjeeling in 12 minutes. The chief minister's convoy touched Kurseong town at 3.45pm, about two hours after the police called up the schools to make the request for an early closure.
The chief minister reached Richmond Hill in Darjeeling at 5.35pm.
When schools give over in Kurseong, a traffic jam usually follows as NH55 runs right through the town. "To make matters worse, there is no foot path in the heart of town," said a resident, which means that students walk right on the road while going home.
Since morning today, Kurseong police had been minding traffic in the heart of the town.
Many students walk back home and in the absence of a proper footpath, there is traffic congestion.
An equal number of students also go home in pool cars which too slow traffic.
When asked if the school authorities had managed to inform the parents, a principal said: "No, we could not. So we decided to keep the students back in school. However, parents usually come a bit early to fetch their children."
The GTA is constructing a parking space in Kurseong but work is not over yet.
C.B. Subba, the acting subdivional police officer of Kurseong, today denied that they had closed the schools. "We definitely cannot close schools. We don't have such powers. However, we sought their co-operation to basically ensure that students who would be returning home would not be inconvenienced and get caught in a traffic jam."
CM in hills
Mamata Banerjee will attend two government events in Darjeeling in the next couple of days and return to Calcutta on August 27.
The chief minister, who arrived at Bagdogra airport on Monday afternoon, spoke briefly about her programmes in the hills.
"We want to carry out development in the hills in association with the GTA. Tomorrow, we will launch the 'Clean Darjeeling, Green Darjeeling' project and on August 26, we will hold a meeting of the Tribal Advisory Council (TAC) to discuss various projects aimed for improvement of tribal people dwelling in the state. On August 27, I will return to Calcutta," Mamata said at Bagdogra airport.

अपाङ्ग कल्याण संगठनले चक्काजाम गर्ने

डीके वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ 23 अगस्त। अपाङ्ग कल्याण संगठनले आफ्नो हक र अधिकार सरकारबाट प्राप्त नभएको आरोप लगाउँदै आगामी 14 सितम्बरको दिन कालेबुङमा चक्काजाम गर्ने घोषणा गरेको छ।
संगठनका अध्यक्ष छोटेलाल प्रसादले एक पत्रकार सम्मेलन आयोजन गरेर उक्त घोषणा गरेका हुन्। अहिलेसम्म अपाङ्गहरूले सरकारबाट प्राप्त हुने सरकारी सहुलीयत पाउन नसकेको आरोप लगाउँदै यसैको बिरोधमा संगठनले चक्काजाम गर्ने निर्णय गरेको जानकारी दिएका हुन्। पार्वत्य अपाङ्ग कल्याण संगठनका सदस्यवर्गलाई लिएर बसेको बैठकमा उक्त निर्णय गरेको प्रसादले अझ बताए। 
संगठनले उक्त चक्काजाम गर्ने सम्बन्धमा केन्द्र अनि राज्य सरकार अनि प्रशासनलाई समेत पत्रचार गरेर जानकारी गराउने बताएका छन्। 
“अहिलेसम्म अपाङ्गहरूलाई सरकारबाट प्राप्त हुने सहुलियतहरू सही प्रकारले प्राप्त हुन सकेको छैन। आफ्नो हक र अधिकारका निम्ति अब हामी सडकमा ओर्लिने निश्चित गरेका छौँ। यसैकारण सभामा आगमी 14 सितम्बरको दिन चक्का जाम गर्ने संगठनले सभामा निर्णय गरेको हो” छोटेलाल प्रसादले भने। उनले अपाङ्गहरूको हक र अधिकारका निम्ति सधैँ लड्ने बताउँदै सरकारले सहुलिय प्रदान नगरेर आफूहरूलाई अवहेलना गरिरहेको पनि आरोप लगाएका छन्।

24 Aug 2015

चुनाव बहिस्कारको चर्चामा मुख्यमन्त्रीको पहाड आगमन ममता-बिमलको चुनावी चलखेलमा पहाड ?

विशेष प्रतिनिधी, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ 23 अगस्त। गोर्खाल्याण्ड क्षेत्रिय प्रशासन प्रमुख बिमल गुरूङले आगामी विधानसभा चुनाव बहिस्कार गर्न सक्नुपर्छ भन्ने दिएको बयान आज प्रकाशित भएपछि चारैतिर चर्चाको विषय बनेको छ। विशेष गरेर राजनैतिक शिविरमा उक्त बयानले निक्कै चर्चा पाएको थियो। मुख्यमन्त्री ममता ब्यानर्जीको पहाड आगमनको अवसरमा दिइएको उक्त बयानले गोजमुमो पार्टीभित्रै पनि निक्कै चर्चा पाएको छ। कसैले यसलाई राजनैतिक रणनीति हुनसक्ने अनुमान लगाएको छ भने कतिले गोरामुमो प्रमुख स्व सुवासको बाटो अप्नाएको पनि बताइरहेका थिए। यद्यपी यसबारे अहिले नै खुलेर टिप्पणी गर्न भने कसैले मानेनन्।
जसरी सुवास घिसिङले बङ्गालमा ब्रामफ्रण्टको सत्ता स्थापित गर्न चुनाव वाइपास गरे ठिक त्यस्तै गोजमुमो अध्यक्ष बिमल गुरूङले पनि तृणमूल कङ्ग्रेसलाई अघोषित सहयोग गर्न चुनाव बहिस्कारको चर्चा उठाएको हो कि ! भन्ने प्रश्नले सबै मानिसहरू चर्चा गरिरहेका थिए। किनभने तृणमूल कङ्ग्रेसले यसचोटीको विधानसभा चुनावमा दार्जीलिङ पहाडबाट मोर्चालाई सोझो टक्कर दिने निश्चित बनाइसकेको पार्टी सुत्रले बताएको छ। यस्तो अवस्थामा गुरूङको बयानले राजनैतिक शिविरमा निक्कै हलचल ल्याएको हो। यद्यपी अहिले नै किटान गरेर केही भनिहाल्न भने नमिल्ने सबैको मत रहेको छ।
अर्कोतिर बङ्गालकी मुख्यमन्त्री ममता ब्यानर्जीको यसपल्टको दार्जीलिङ आगमन राजनैतिक रूपले निकै महत्वपूर्ण मानिन्दैछ। घरी घरी दार्जीलिङ पहाड आउन रूचाउने मुख्यमन्त्रीको यसपल्टको भ्रमण आगामी 2016 मा हुने विधानसभा चुनावको प्रारम्भिक कसरत हुनसक्ने राजनैतिक सचेतकवर्गको भनाई रहेको छ। यसबारे पार्टीका विशेष सुत्रले पनि आगामी 2016 को विधानसभा चुनावलाई केन्द्र गरेर नै पहाडमा मुख्यमन्त्री ममता ब्यानर्जीको यो भ्रमण हो भनि दाबी गरेको छ। “दिदीसँग पार्टीको बैठक हुने सम्भावना छ। उनी व्यस्त भएको खण्डमा उनकै निर्देशनमा अन्य नेताहरूसँग हिल तृणमूल कङ्ग्रेस नेताहरूको बैठक हुनेछ। बैठकमा विशेष 2016 को विधानसभा चुनाव नै चर्चाको विषय हुने हामीले ठानेका छौँ” हिल तृणमूल कङ्ग्रेसका नेताले आफ्नो नाउँ सार्वजनिक नगर्ने सर्त राख्दै भने।
अहिलेघरी पहाडमा आगमी हुने विधानसभा चुनावलाई केन्द्र गरेर अहिलेसम्म कुनै राजनैतिक कसरत खुल्ला रूपले सुरू भएको छैन। यद्यपी भित्र-भित्रै भने सामान्य रूपले तृणमूल कङ्ग्रेसले चुनावी कसरतलाई अघि बडाउँन सांगठनिक क्रियाकलाप गरिरहेको स्रोतले बताएको छ। विशेष रूपले आगामी 2016 मा सम्पन्न हुने बङ्गालको बिधानसभा चुनावमा दार्जीलिङ पहाडमा आफ्नो वर्चस्व स्थापित गर्न तृणमूल कङ्ग्रेसले आफ्नै बुतामा चुनाव लड्ने प्राय निश्चित गरिसकेको स्रोतले बताएको छ। यसको निम्ति हिल तृणमूल कङ्ग्रेसलाई मुख्यमन्त्री ममता ब्यानर्जीले चुनावी मन्त्र यसचोटीको भ्रमणमा दिएर कोलकोता फर्कने सम्भावना रहेको छ। यसपल्टको भ्रमणमा मुख्यमन्त्रीले हिल तृणमूल कङ्ग्रेसका नेताहरूसँग एकाधिक बैठक गर्न सक्ने सम्भावना रहेको पनि स्रोतले दाबी गरेको छ।
उक्त बैठकमा दार्जीलिङ पहाडको बिकासको मुद्दालाई आगामी बिधानसभा चुनावमा हतियार बनाउने चर्चा हुनसक्ने सम्भावना प्रबल रहेको सुत्रले दाबी गरेको छ। उक्त भ्रमण अवधी पार्टी समर्थकहरूसँग सांगठनिक गतिविधीको जानकारी पनि मुख्यमन्त्रीले लिने अनि चुनावको निम्ति तृणमूल स्तरदेखि नै संगठनलाई बलियो पार्ने निर्देश दिनसक्ने चर्चा पनि बैठकमा निश्चित रूपले उठने स्रोतको दाबी छ। यता हिल तृणमूल कङ्ग्रेका कार्यकर्ताहरूले भने मुख्यमन्त्री समक्षा आगामी बिधानसभा चुनावमा भूमीपुत्र उम्मेद्वार खडा गर्ने मागलाई स्पष्टरूपले राख्ने निश्चित गरेको पनि दाबी गरेको छ। यसैक्रममा हिल तृणमूल कङ्ग्रेसका एक नेताले आफ्नो परिचय सार्वजनिक नगरिदिने आशय पोख्दै आगामी 2016 को बिधानसभा चुनाव तृणमूल कङ्ग्रेसको निम्ति चुनौतिपूर्ण रहेको बताएका छन्।
“2016को विधानसभा चुनाव दार्जीलिङ पहाडमा तृणमूल कङ्ग्रेस आफैको निम्ति चुनौतिपूर्ण छ। पार्टीको अस्तित्व बाँचेर जाने हो अथवा सधैँका निम्ति पहाडबाट तृणमूल कङ्ग्रेस मेटिएर जाने हो भन्ने निर्णय पनि 2016को बिधानसभा चुनावले नै गर्नेछ” तृणमूल नेताले भने। उनले विगत लोकसभा चुनावमा ममता ब्यानर्जीले जसरी दार्जीलिङ पहाडका पार्टी समर्थकहरूको बिरूद्ध भाइचुङ भोटियालाई टिकट दिएका थिए ठिक त्यस्तै घटना यसपल्ट पनि भए तृणमूल कङ्ग्रेसको अस्तित्व पहाडबाट मेटिएर जाने उनले दाबी गरे। यद्यपी यसलाई मुख्यमन्त्री ममता ब्यानर्जीले बुझेर निर्णय गर्नेछन् भन्ने कुरामा पार्टी कार्यकर्ताहरू आशावादी रहेको पनि तिनले बताए।

23 Aug 2015

30 Crore Presidency University Campus in Kurseong

IANS, Kurseong, 22 Aug: The Presidency University here will soon have a Rs.30 crore campus in West Bengal’s Kurseong that will focus on astrophysics and space sciences as well as Himalayan ecology and geology.
The announcement was made on Friday by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who visited the varsity upon their invitation in connection with the forthcoming bicentennial celebrations.
“The proposed setting up of the ‘Himalayan Centre of Presidency University at Dow Hill, Kurseong’ in Darjeeling at a cost of Rs.30 crore was also approved (by the state government).
“Here subjects like astrophysics and space sciences, Himalayan ecology and biodiversity, Himalayan geology and tectonics, among other subjects will be taught at the UG and PG levels,” she said on her Facebook page.
She said the state government would grant Rs.118 crore for another campus of the varsity coming up at Rajarhat in the city’s eastern fringes. She announced a grant of Rs.30 crore during the day for the campus.
“Also, for the repair, renovation and beautification of this existing heritage campus for the approaching bicentenary celebrations as also for up-gradation of the university’s library, I announced a grant of Rs.11.78 Crore from the government.
“We are committed to make Presidency University an institute of global reckoning,” she said.

गोरामुमोले पालन गर्‍यो दागोपाप सम्झौता दिवस

डी.के.वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ 22 अगस्त। गोर्खा राष्ट्रिय मुक्ति मोर्चाले आज यहाँको डम्बर चौकमा दार्जीलिङ गोर्खा पार्वत्य परिषद सम्झौता दिवस पाल गर्‍यो। गोरामुमो कालेबुङ ब्राञ्च कमिटिको आयोजनामा पालन गरिएको उक्त सम्झौता दिवस कार्यक्रमको अवसरमा अहिलेसम्म गोरामुमो पार्टीले गरेका उपलब्धिहरूबारे जनतालाई अवगत गराइएको थियो। यसक्रममा पार्टीले शहरमा पार्टीको उपलब्धिहरूबारे प्रकाशित गरेको पर्चा पनि वितरण गरेको थियो। 
कठोर सुरक्षा व्यवस्था बिच पालन गरिएको उक्त दागोपाप सम्झौता दिवसमा विभिन्न स्थानहरूबाट पार्टी समर्थकहरूको उपस्थिति रहेको थियो। यसैक्रममा उक्त पथसभालाई सम्बोधन गर्दै कालेबुङ ब्राञ्च कमिटिका संयोजक मौरिस कालिकोटे जनजातिको मुद्दालाई गोजमुमोले चोरेको आरोप लगाउँदै सुवास घिसिङले सम्पूर्ण गोर्खाहरूलाई भूमी सँगै जनजाति बनाउँनकै निम्ति छैटौँ अनुसूचीको उठान गरेको दाबी गरे। तिनले गोर्खा जनमुक्ति मोर्चा पार्टीको आलोचना गर्दै आफूहरूले गोर्खाल्याण्डको कहिल्यै बिरोध नगरेको बताए। “गोरामुमो पार्टीले गोर्खाल्याण्डको बिरोध कहिले गरेन। हामीले गोर्खाल्याण्ड ल्याउँछु भन्नेहरूलाई छ वर्ष बाटो छोडिदिएका हौँ, तर गोर्खाल्याण्डको नाउँमा यहाँ जनतालाई धोका दिने कार्य मात्र भयो। यसर्थ अब बाटो छोडिदिएको उचित हुनेछ” मौरिस कालिकोटेले गोजमुमो प्रति कटाक्ष गर्दै भने।
तिनले अस्सिको दशकमा चलेको गोर्खाल्याण्ड आन्दोलनलाई दबाउन सरकारले हतियार प्रयोग गरेको बताउँदै त्यसैको फलस्वरूप गोर्खाहरूले अत्याचारको बिरोधमा हतियार बाध्य भएर उठाएको स्पष्ट पारे। गोर्खाहरू अर्काको अन्याय र अत्याचार नसहने प्रवृत्ति भएको कारण अस्सिको आन्दोलनमा पनि सरकारले गरेको अत्याचारलाई सहन नगरेको दाबी गरे। उनले गोजमुमो पार्टीले गोर्खाल्याण्डको नाउँमा चलाएको आन्दोलन सरकार प्रायोजित रहेको आरोप लगाउँदै गोरामुमोले सरकारसँग आफ्नो जातिको निम्ति जोडदार लढेको दाबी गरे। 
सोहीक्रममा सरकारसँग गोरामुमोले बराबरको सम्झौता गरेको बताउँदै बराबरीकै सम्झौता अनुरूप गोरामुमो नेताहरूलाई सरकारले मुद्दा लगाउन नसकेको दाबी गरे। गोर्खा जनमुक्ति मोर्चाले चलाएको गोर्खाल्याण्ड आन्दोलनमा भूतपूर्व सैनिकहरूको टाउको फुटेको प्रसङ्ग झिक्दै मोर्चाले आजसम्म उनीहरूको झुकेको शिर खडा गर्न नसकेको आरोप लगाए। यसक्रममा उनले सुवास घिसिङको जयजयकार गर्न पनि भुलेनन्। भारतको राजनीतिमा सुवास घिसिङले छैटौँ अनुसूचीको मुद्दा उठाएर उथुलपुथुल ल्याएको दाबी गर्दै असममा मात्र लागु हुने छैटौँ अनुसूचीको सुवास घिसिङकै पहलमा देशका विभिन्न स्थानहरूमा लागु हुनसकेको दाबी समेत गरे। 
यसक्रममा कालिकोटेले भूमी बिनाको जनजातिको कुनै महत्व नहुने दाबी गर्दै गोरामुमोले भूमिसितै जनतालाई जनजाति बनाउने प्रयास गरेको बताए। उनले अब गोरामुमो पार्टीले दाजु भाइसित आन्दोलन नगर्ने बताउँदै आफूहरू सिलगडी गएर बस्नु राजनैतिक चाल रहेको दाबी गरे। यहाँक़ो डम्बर चौकमा सम्पन्न भएको पथसभालाई गोरामुमो पार्टीका दिमङ्कर लामा, लोब्साङ लामा आदिले सम्बोधन गरेका थिए।

22 Aug 2015

Gurung, Chamling join hands

Photo Courtesy: The Voice of Sikkim
Nirmal Mangar and Vivek Chhetri, TT, Gangtok, Aug. 21: Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling and GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung have for the first time decided to join hands to pursue the demand for inclusion of 10 Gorkha communities in the Schedule Tribe list.
Gurung today called on Chamling at his residence at Mintokgang in Gangtok and held a two-hour-long meeting.
In a joint media address, Gurung said: "I have approached the chief minister of Sikkim so that we could jointly move the demand of granting tribal status to Gorkhas with the central government. He (Chamling) is an experienced person with huge knowledge. His guidance on the matter would be a blessing for us. We will together raise the issue of tribal status with the central government."
Chamling, while appealing to all political parties in the hills to join hands, said: "The tribal status demand for Nepali Gorkha speaking community would be supported by the Sikkim government. I thank Mr Gurung for taking up this initiative. This is a political right and a demand of all Gorkhas and I request all political parties in the hills to unite in this issue and look for a political consensus."
Chamling, whose relation with Gurung has seen many ups and downs, especially when the hills were agitating for Gorkhaland, today said: "We might have regional problems but the tribal issue is a matter which would unite all Nepali Gorkha speaking community. We also seek suggestions and opinions from the civil society members."
Gurung said he will leave for Delhi "to pursue the matter with the Centre".
He also said he has requested Chamling to train GTA officials in capacity building and skill development.

GNLF stand draws flak

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, Aug. 21: The president of the Gorkha National Liberation Front in a press release today termed the traditional dress of the Nepali community as the the official dress of Nepal, eliciting criticism from all hill parties.
GNLF president Mann Ghisingh stated in the statement in Nepali: "The Darjeeling hills has failed to recognise its own land (that would have come through the inclusion of the area in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution). Everybody became fools not to understand the Gorkha's own land and the Gorkha Hill Council. They started going to Delhi and Calcutta wearing the official dress of Nepal."
Mann's statement did not explain who the "they" referred to.
Many hill leaders have worn the traditional daura sural and chowbandi choli to meet state-level and central leaders on many occasions. Few years ago, the Morcha had issued a diktat making it compulsory for hill people to wear the attire for a month. Following backlash, it had removed the mandatory tag on the order.
"After having scored two major political victories, on August 22 and August 23, 1988, a third major political victory had been achieved by signing the tripartite agreement on December 6, 2005, to form the Gorkha Hill Council, that would have carried the distinct identity of the Indian Gorkhas," the signed statement reads.
The new council under the Sixth Schedule was to be named Gorkha Hill Council.
On August 22, 1988, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council accord was signed and the next day, the Centre had issued a notification stating that all those living in India before 1950 were Indian citizens.
The GNLF is of the opinion that the citizenship issue of Gorkhas in India was clarified by the notification.
The GNLF's statement terming the traditional dress of daura sural and chowbandi choli as the official dress of Nepal has surprised others.
Binay Tamang, the assistant secretary of the Morcha said: "The dress is of our community and he (Mann Ghisingh) must clarify what we should wear now. Subash Ghisingh took our community behind by 25 years by indulging in controversies and now they are again taking our community behind by raking up unnecessary controversies."
Even ABGL and CPRM, allies of the GNLF in the newly-constituted Democratic Front, criticised the statement.
"This is not a correct statement. I hope the GNLF will ponder over the statement and rectify it," said Pratap Khati, general secretary of ABGL.
Govind Chhetri, spokesman of the CPRM, said: "The GNLF must retract and apologise for hurting the sentiments of the Indian Gorkhas."
Mann did not take calls today. Biren Lama, a central committee member of GNLF, said: "I don't think this is a controversial statement."

20 Aug 2015

Gurung to meet Chamling....Move to drum up support for ST status

VIVEK CHHETRI, TT,  Darjeeling, Aug. 19: Bimal Gurung will hold a meeting with Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling in Gangtok on August 23 to drum up support for the demand of granting tribal status to 10 Gorkha communities.
Chamling is the only Gorkha chief minister in the country and Gurung believes his support will go a long way in fulfilling the demand.
The 10 Gorkha communities — Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunwar, Thami and Yakhha ( Dewan) — comprise around 55 percent of the hill population.
Gurung has also demanded to include the Dhimals from the plains in the ST list.
Today, speaking on the sidelines of a programme at Patlabas during which, 245 Trinamul supporters from Ranbull- Balasun area joined the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, Gurung said: " I will be meeting the chief minister of Sikkim Pawan Kumar Chamling on August 23. The issue is regarding the tribal status for the 10 Gorkha communities. After the meeting, I will immediately leave for Delhi from Gangtok." This means, Gurung will not meet Mamata Banerjee who is expected to be in Darjeeling on August 24 for three days.
Although the relationship between Chamling and Gurung has seen several ups and downs, ruffled feathers between the leaders were smoothened with Gurung felicitating Chamling in Darjeeling in April this year. This is the first time that Gurung will meet Chamling on the ST status issue.
On August 10, Gurung had met Jual Oram, the Union tribal affairs minister, in Delhi and had said the minister had decided to call a meeting in the first week of September to discuss the issue. Gurung had said the minister would chair the meeting and officers of the registrar general of India and representatives of several communities would attend the meeting in Delhi.
Gurung and Darjeeling BJP MP, S. S. Ahluwalia are also expected to attend it.
The Bengal government had sent its recommendation, to grant tribal status to the 10 communities, to the tribal affairs department and it had been forwarded to the registrargeneral's office in early 2014.
An RTI query by a hill resident in June 2014 had, however, revealed that the ministry had withdrawn the proposal.
The reason for withdrawal had not been stated.
Before granting ST status to a community, the Cultural Research Institute ( of a state) conducts a study. The report is sent to the state backward classes welfare department. The state sends a recommendation to the Union tribal affairs ministry, which forwards it to the registrar- general's office under the home ministry. The proposal is sent back to the tribal affairs ministry following which, the matter is placed before the cabinet for approval.
Giri meets Partha Roshan Giri, executive GTA Sabha member in charge of education department, met state education minister Partha Chatterjee in Calcutta today.
" The GTA has demanded the approval of 658 new vacancies of primary teachers. We have also demanded a consolidated amount to be paid to 515 voluntary teachers in high and higher secondary schools in the GTA area. The minister has given us a positive assurance," said Giri.

Gurung sceptic over transfer of land reform departments to GTA

EOI, DARJEELING, 19 Aug 2015:  Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung on Wednesday asserted he would not accept the Land and Land Reforms Department if it is not fully transferred to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration by the state government. 
On Monday, the state government issued a government order directing the Darjeeling district magistrate to place the services of the officers and employees of the Block Land and Land Reforms Office along with the Sub-Divisional Land and Land Reforms Office within the GTA area under the jurisdiction of the hill body as soon as possible. However, the District Land and Land Reforms Office has been kept out of the purview of the GTA. The GJM president, who is also the GTA chief executive, today expressed
scepticism over the transfer saying he would first go through the details. “I will first minutely study the government order. If we are not satisfied with the way the department is being transferred, we will write to the state government to rectify it. And if nothing happens even after that, we will not accept the transfer,” said Gurung today speaking on the sidelines of a programme to welcome TMC supporters from the Rungbull-Dhotrey constituency into his party. More than 200 TMC supporters from Dhotrey and Balasun under Kurseong sub-division joined the GJM today. The GJM wants 57 departments transferred to the GTA. The state government has complied to most but only in principle.
Important departments such as the PWD, transport, social welfare, fire services and information and cultural affairs and forest and panchayat are yet to be transferred to the GTA. The SDL&LRO and BL&LRO have been transferred to the GTA, but the DL&LR has been left alone, which is one of the factors behind Gurung’s scepticism. 
“Even though some departments have been transferred, we are still facing problems of dual jurisdiction. Under such a circumstance, we want the entire directory of the Land and Land Reforms Department to be brought under the hill body from the district magistrate’s office, as only then will it ensure the GTA’s independent functioning,” he pointed out. During the days of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council too, some departments had been transferred, but the transfers had been for namesake as the state government had the final say in almost all of them. This time, however, the GJM does not want a repeat of the farce. 
Gurung said he would talk to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to pursue the demand for the full transfer of the entire department and also seek compensation for the victims of the recent landslides that claimed 32 lives. Banerjee is slated to visit Darjeeling on August 24 to attend a government programme, but the GJM chief will not be meeting her. 
“I will be in Sikkim on August 23 and then leave for Delhi the next day to conduct a puja. But I will take up the issue with the CM on my return,” he said. Gurung is expected to meet Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling to seek his support for the ongoing demand for granting tribal status to 10 communities of the Darjeeling hills.Shared by KalimNews in Kalimpong News at http://kalimpongnews.net/2015/08/20/gurung-sceptic-transfer-land-reform-departments-gta/  and http://kalimpongonlinenews.blogspot.com/2015/08/gurung-sceptic-over-transfer-of-land.html
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