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Gorkhaland Movement - 4 killed in GJM protests, Mamata blames terrorist links

Darjeeling unrest in the Demand of Gorkhaland
Four people were allegedly killed in police firing and a security official was critically injured as a violent agitation for a separate Gorkha state turned the picturesque hill station of Darjeeling into a battle zone on Saturday.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee denied that police fired on protesters but did not say how they died.

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which rules the semi-autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, said four of its supporters were killed in Darjeeling’s Singamari, where the party’s supporters attacked security forces with bricks and bottles, in one of the worst violence since the flare-up on June 8.

TV footage showed forces smoke billowing from tear gas shells and security forces firing from semi-automatic weapons.

“Police did not open fire. This is absolutely wrong,” Banerjee said in Kolkata even as she blamed the GJM of having links with militant outfits based in northeast states as well with foreign countries.

“There is a terrorist brain behind this hooliganism and vandalism. We have got clues that this has terrorist connections. They (GJM) have connections with underground insurgent groups of the northeast...,” she said. 

Kiran Tamang, an assistant commandant of the India Reserve Battalion was stabbed on the back with a traditional Gorkha knife known as ‘khukri’ as security forces struggled to contain thousands-strong mobs that torched police vehicles and ransacked government property, shouting anti-government slogans. His condition was said to be critical.

Scenes across Darjeeling and nearby Ghoom resembled a battlefield with charred buses, police vehicles and bricks strewn on the road.

Officials said Tamang was among 35-odd security personnel injured in the violence, officials said, amid rising concerns that Darjeeling might lurch back to the unrest of the 80s, when hundreds of people died in a crackdown on the statehood movement.

The present crisis was sparked by fears Bengali being imposed in schools in the GJM-administered areas where a majority of the people are Nepali-speaking Gorkhas.

Though the government clarified that Bengali will be an optional subject, the GJM refused to back down and instead revived the almost 100-year-old demand for a separate Gorkhaland. A raid on the GJM’s office this week fanned anger.

Experts see the agitation as the GJM’s efforts to revive its political fortunes after the Trinamool made history by registering its first victory in a hill municipality in Mirik.

GJM president Bimal Gurung, who is in hiding, issued a video-message asking all Gorkhaland supporters to “give a fitting reply to what West Bengal government did”.

The GJM also called a 12-hour shutdown on Sunday in the Dooars, a region straddling three plains districts, posing a fresh challenge to the Trinamool government. An indefinite shutdown is continuing in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts.

The GJM ruled out any possibility of talks with the Mamata government, saying it will only negotiate with the Centre. The BJP is an ally of the GJM.

Mamata offered to hold a dialogue if the GJM called off the shut down, that has paralysed the region’s money-spinner tourism industry. Hundreds of tourists have left the hills since the violence started.

The chief minister, who saw a “deep-rooted conspiracy”, also announced an all-party meeting on June 22 in Siliguri to discuss the issue.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Banerjee on Saturday, officials said in Delhi.

Source: Hindustan Times, Darjeeling

Bimal Gurung, the undisputed mass leader of the Gorkhas

GJM chief Bimal Gurung
It is a 20-minute car ride from the popular Glenary’s cafe in Darjeeling to downhill Patlaybas. Here, at one of the narrow bends near Patlaybas, there is an unexpected traffic jam. A man in a white T-shirt, track pants and heavy boots paces up and down the road, tailed by a group of youths taking instructions. Men and women stream in, some bend to touch his feet.

Minutes later, sitting on the veranda of one of the houses by the road, Bimal Gurung, chief of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), at whose call the hills of Darjeeling have erupted over the Gorkhaland statehood demand, tells The Sunday Express: “We want Gorkhaland and nothing else.”

With that, the hills of Darjeeling are back in turmoil like they were in 2007, when Gurung had renewed the call for a separate state, breaking away from once mighty Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) led by Subhas Ghising. Bimal Gurung had then snatched the baton and, with it, power over the hills from Ghising, who had been the first to demand a separate state of Gorkhaland.

Today, like in 2007, columns of Army and CRPF march on in different parts of the hills and hundreds of policemen guard government offices and establishments that the GJM have forced shut. On Thursday, after police raided his residence and party office in Patlaybas, GJM supporters clashed with police, setting ablaze a police outpost, a sericulture office and a railway station. The GJM called for an indefinite bandh and, as the agitation spread, police lathicharged and teargassed protesters.

“The state government fooled us through the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). We have had enough,” says Gurung as the owner of the house gives him a cushion to sit on and a glass of water. “While our core target remains the same — Gorkhaland — things have changed since 2007 when we started the agitation. You will see those changes soon.” (Days after the Express met him, Gurung went underground following the June 15 raids at his house and party office.)

                              ******

“Change” has indeed come to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and its 52-year-old chief. Gurung hailed from a poor family — his mother used to pick tea leaves in one of the gardens here and he had dropped out of school. He joined politics as a teenager and rose through the ranks under Subhas Ghising, who, in the 1980s, set up the GNLF that launched a violent agitation for a separate state. Over 1,200 people are said to have died during the agitation between 1986 and 1988 and the Left Front government that ruled the state branded the agitation as a separatist movement.

After talks with both the Centre and the state government, in 1998, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council — an autonomous governing body with control over civic issues, among others — was set up, with Ghising as its chairperson. Peace returned to the hills once again. Gurung, a popular leader of the Patlaybas area, was elected councillor.

Though he had made his mark as a politician, Gurung’s meteoric rise is often attributed to Indian Idol, a popular singing reality show on Sony Entertainment Television. That year, in 2007, Prashant Tamang, a 24-year-old constable from Darjeeling, had made it to the finals and Gurung, riding on ‘Gorkha pride’, managed to whip up hysteria in the hills. Eventually, Tamang won the third edition of the contest with crores of audience votes. “People came in hundreds to listen to Gurung, who spoke about supporting Prashant Tamang and collected funds for the singer. When Prashant won, a lot of the credit, at least in the hills, went to Gurung, who had become a mass leader by then. He even overshadowed the ageing Subhas Ghising,” says a senior GJM leader.

His speeches gradually turned from Tamang to how the state government and Ghising were not doing enough for a separate state. In 2007, after a public fallout with Ghising, Gurung set up GJM and launched a violent agitation over Gorkhaland that saw people setting fire to government offices and bungalows. He called a series of bandhs, one of which lasted 40 days, during which people were asked not to pay their bills and revenue to the government. Overnight, he became the leader of the people of the hills.

In 2011, Mamata Banerjee came to power in Bengal, riding the Parivartan (change) wave and ending 34 years of Left rule. She was quick to take the GJM on board. On July 18, 2011, the Centre, the state government and the GJM signed a tripartite agreement, leading to the setting up of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). Unlike the earlier Council which had control over 19 subjects, the GTA was vested with powers to regulate 59 departments, including education and agriculture. In the GTA polls of 2012, GJM won all 45 seats and Gurung became chief executive.

But the good run came to an end as the Trinamool began to expand its base in the hills. Instead of routing development funds through the GTA, the government allegedly began to disburse it through the district magistrate. Besides, the recent local polls saw the Trinamool winning from the Mirik municipal body in Darjeeling. For the first time, a party of the plains had made its mark in the hills and Gurung wasn’t going to take it lying down.

“We were fooled by the state government when we signed the GTA deal. Nearly 50 departments were to come under GTA but only three or four came. Nearly five years have passed and nothing happened. We were not allowed to work and GTA is a sham,” says Gurung.

*****

“The government suddenly imposes Bengali on us, making it mandatory in schools. What about our mother tongue, Nepali? We have asked the state government to clear its position on the language issue,” says Roshan Giri, general secretary of GJM.

On June 8, as Chief Minister Banerjee held a special Cabinet meeting at Raj Bhavan in Darjeeling, the protests turned violent, with GJM supporters pelting stones and setting fire to a dozen government vehicles and police reacting by lathi charging the crowd and lobbing teargas shells. On June 10, as the state government ordered a special audit of the funds received by GTA over the last three financial years, Gurung responded with a fresh call for Gorkhaland. Once again, the battlelines were drawn.

“It was in 1907 that the Hillmen’s Association was formed and letters were submitted to the British for a separate state. We have a distinct identity. Our language, food and clothes are different. Why can’t we ask for a separate state? Imagine the development that will take place in these areas if we were a separate state,” says Swaraj Thapa, GJM central committee member.

Party colleagues and political observers say this is a Gurung “very different” from the young, temperamental leader of 2007. This time round, they say, he is “more mature”, armed with a strategy that’s markedly different from that of 2007.

“In 2007, there was little communication with other political leaders. But now, we are placing our case before all parties and MPs, telling them that all we want is a separate state. We have been reaching out to Shiv Sena, BSP, SP and others. Our leader Bimal Gurung has been in politics for decades. It is the media which paints us as violent agitators; we have been placing our demands in a democratic way,” says Thapa, the GJM central committee member.

Gurung has also kept the BJP central leadership and Union ministers in the loop on the situation in the Hills. An ally of the BJP since 2007, Gurung was instrumental in the victory of BJP MPs from the Hills, including Jaswant Singh in 2009 and S S Ahluwalia, Union minister of state for agriculture, in 2014. The party also sent a delegation led by Giri to meet Rajnath Singh and Gurung has written letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh.

As the agitation picked pace, Gurung also roped in Gorkha outfits in the hills, including his once sworn enemy, GNLF, which called off its alliance with the ruling Trinamool Congress. GNLF was in an alliance with Trinamool in the last Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, apart from the recent civic polls. The move to unify all Gorkha parties — along with Gurung’s admission that he is ready for a “collective leadership” of the movement, knowing fully well that the GJM enjoys supremacy in the hills — is seen as a tactical one.

“It was Subhas Ghising who raised the slogan of Gorkhaland in the 80s. Though we have differences with GJM, we are united for a separate state,” says Mahendra Chetri, general secretary of GNLF. “We are not serious about our alliance with Trinamool Congress if they are not serious about our demand,” he adds.

As he prepares for a prolonged agitation, a cautious Gurung is consolidating his position in the Hills, reviving GJM’s defunct organisations such as the Gorkhaland Personnel and its youth and women’s wings. Unlike in 2007, GJM now has women at the forefront of its agitation, with members of its Nari Morcha (women’s wing) turning out in big numbers. Over the past three days, hundreds of Trinamool Congress workers in Darjeeling have joined the GJM.

“We welcomed her in Darjeeling. But she tried to divide us by making separate Boards for Lepchas and other communities for the sake of political mileage and to undermine us. Now after the Gorkhaland call, everyone is coming back to us. We will fight this battle together,” says Gurung.

His critics, however, say that if Gurung is a different, more reasonable man now, it’s not without reason. Almost all the top leaders of his party have FIRs against their names in various cases, many of them under non-bailable sections. This, they say, has forced his hand.

Gurung; his wife Asha, a central committee member and head of the Nari Morcha; general secretary Giri; and assistant general secretary Binay Tamang have all been booked for the 2010 murder of Madan Tamang. Madan, head of the All India Gorkha League, a GJM rival, was murdered in broad daylight near Planters Club in Darjeeling. The CBI has filed a chargesheet and Gurung and the others are on anticipatory bail. Trial in the case is set to start soon in a Kolkata court.

“I dare them to arrest me. I was not involved (in the murder). Miscreants backed by the Trinamool started the trouble. I am ready to go to jail and then, somebody else will take charge of the party. But the government will be responsible for the violence that will follow in the Hills. Let them arrest me and you will see what happens,” says Gurung.

Even his critics, many of them leaders of other Gorkha parties, grudgingly admit that Gurung is the rallying point for the present agitation. However, as Chetri of GNLF clarifies, they are “only with the cause, not the man”. “After he rose to power, Gurung made our workers and leaders suffer through threats, social boycott, arson and even force. We will support the cause only if it is done under a collective leadership. If he tries to take the lead, we will agitate separately,” says Chetri.

Trilok Deban, former MLA of GJM who resigned from the party over differences with Gurung, says, “He was losing popularity and had fallen out with Mamata Banerjee when this language issue came up. It’s certain that people want Gorkhaland, but he should not try to overshadow others.”

Back in Kolkata, Banerjee has already made it clear that she will not allow the “division of Bengal”. “Some goons tried to threaten me and stop me from going to the Hills. I went there and I will go there again. The people of the Hills are not with the goons,” Banerjee has been saying in various rallies since her Darjeeling visit.

“What they are doing is unconstitutional. People are not with them. The law will take its own course,” says state Tourism Minister Gautam Deb. Sitting on the veranda of his neighbour’s house, Gurung isn’t fazed. “I called her (Mamata Banerjee) mother. But she did not take care of her child. Now whenever she comes to the hills, we will show her black flags. She is not welcome here anymore.”

Team GJM

Roshan Giri
: General secretary of GJM and the second in command. Giri is not only the face of the party in regions away from the hills, but also the main channel of communication between GJM and other political parties such as BJP

Asha Gurung: Wife of Bimal Gurung and head of the Nari Morcha, the party’s women wing. The almost defunct outfit has now got a new lease of life, with women out in full force in rallies across the hills.

Binay Tamang: Assistant general secretary of the party, Tamang is a close aide of Gurung. Is known to be a youth leader

Swaraj Thapa: A former journalist, Thapa, along with Roshan Giri, is the link between GJM and other political parties. During the current agitation, he has led the party’s interactions with the media

Col (retired) Ramesh Alley:
A former Army officer, he is the head of the ex-servicemen’s wing of the GJM and a former head of Gorkhaland Personnel. He leads hundreds of former Army men in the Hills. Trained by former Army personnel, the Gorkhaland Personnel used to be the backbone for the party during agitations, but is now largely defunct. Gurung plans to revive it under Alley

Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

Condemn the brutal killing of protestors by armed state forces in Gorkhaland

Security personnel fires tear gas
 “You can crush some flowers but you cannot stop spring from coming back!”-Pablo Neruda

Democracy died a violent death today in Gorkhaland. The brazen display of "might is right" by the dictatorial West Bengal government and facilitated by central government has been proven once again on the Gorkha people who have been demanding their constitutional and democratic right. The dance of death that has flowed today from the barrels of the oppressive regime in broad day lights is highly condemnable. Innocents murdered, rights and freedom has been crushed by the oppressive jackboots brought on by the WB government. Three Gorkhaland supporters were left dead today and many were injured when police started firing indiscrimantely on the democratic protest. In the ensuing violence a local cop is also supposed to be killed. We condemn this highly oppressive regime where it kills its own citizens for sustaining it's egomaniac leadership. The murder of the Gorkhaland supporters is highly reprehensible and is to be condemned in the strongest form possible. We condemn this mindless violence and the police high handedness. Political demands should be heard and solved politically. Violence, intimidation and killing should never be the choice of a democratic and constitutional state. We also condemn the draconian move of Bengal government to curb the freedom of speech and expression of people through intimidation with the use of armed forces and putting unjustified ban on local media and new channels. The move of deployment of paramilitary forces especially ARMY to resolve civilian issues and complete ban on local media by Bengal government is nothing but daylight murder of democracy. Such brazen display of State power to deal with genuine political discontent of people on issue of imposition of Bengali language and democratic constitutional fight for separate state has shocked everyone. In Gorkhaland, the people’s right to peaceful assembly and protest, freedom of expression and thought, right against exploitation, right to life with dignity is being increasingly curtailed. All fundamental rights of citizens are curbed at whim and fancies of the State forces. Horrid accounts of loot, molestation, intimidation and custodial torture leading to permanent maiming of those arrested by the CRPF during the 1986-88 agitation have etched deep fear which haunts the masses even today. The State has shamelessly conspired and capitalised on the CRPF’s notorious record of the 1980s by deploying these forces again to create a fear psychosis with an implicit warning that any dissent will be CRUSHED AGAIN with same CRUELTY and LEGITIMACY. We are seeing similar occurences at present as well where the police under the orders of the oppressive regime is knocking down doors at midnight, trashing the house and arresting and intimidating people. Now with introduction of ARMY and CRPF, the feelings of the people are aggrieved more than ever. Already with the widespread presence of police, CRPF and other paramilitary forces, bringing Army to deal with civilian issues sets dangerous political precedent. Deployment of Army under pretext of ‘maintaining peace’ is nothing but intimadation. How can Army which is not trained to deal with civilian issues resolve a century old political crises of this region? Can there be any military solution to civil political problems? Are we living in de-facto military rule? Under such hostile and militarised situation, can any citizen exercise his right to freedom of thought and expression without any fear or intimidation? Is democracy just a privilege of few elites and other priveleged regions? Can we take 'silence under intimadtions and threats' as hallmarks of peace and harmony? Why such a zeal to call army in certain regions and against certain people? Will you find army in civilian conflicts in cities of mainland India? Isn't interference of Army and thousands of paramilitary forces a brazen display of State power to muzzle all democratic aspirations and voices of people of Gorkhaland? How can democracy flourish under military jack boot?
During this entire movement, the dubious nature of central government is also becoming clearer in front of the public. The Party which proclaims to be ‘sympathetic’ towards the cause of Gorkhas does not think twice before sending Army and CRPF to this region to crush the ongoing movement of Gorkhaland. By repetitively sending more and more of paramilitary force and by deploying Army even in civil politic conflict, Central government (BJP) has actually helped the media to profile this peaceful and democratic movement as being ‘violent’ and ‘dangerous’ in front of entire nation. The dubious stand of the BJP is getting clearer when we see that their WB State leadership like Dilip Ghosh and Rahul Sinha have clearly stated in live news shows that they are not in favour of creation of new State of Gorkhaland but will support ‘development’. Then what is difference between TMC and BJP on issue of Gorkhaland? Are we fool to believe that a national party can have different stand in State and then at the Centre? Under Artilce 3 (a) of Indian Constitution any ruling government can create new state even when state government is completely against it. This is the manner in which new state like Telengana was created by central government even after strong opposition by Andra Pradesh government. Why even after having majority in Parliament, BJP have not even tried to table a bill for creation of separate state of Gorkhaland? Now BJP has to make clear their stand whether it’s for or against Gorkhaland? Are we fool to believe that a national party can have different stand in State and then at the Centre? Under Artilce 3 (a) of Indian Constitution any ruling government can create new state even when state government is completely against it. This is the manner in which new state like Telengana was created by central government even after strong opposition by Andra Pradesh government. Why even after having majority in Parliament, BJP have not even tried to table a bill for creation of separate state of Gorkhaland? Now BJP has to make clear their stand whether it’s for or against Gorkhaland? Now is time where every party has to come together to fight this last battle for justice. Any fight for Gorkhaland cannot be fought by any single party on its own, hence all parties should unite and form a Joint Front to democratically decide the direction and future of ongoing movement. At this juncture any act of unilateralism by any party which creates division and suspicion has to be avoided at all cost. When common people are dying on street, a leader going on hiding doesn’t give any confidence to public.
The media which is supposed to be the eye of democracy has always been biased towards the gorkhas. It has always portrayed the gorkhas as violent and their just and legitimate demand as unconstitutional. The community which has been labelled as one of the bravest in the world have been stabbed at the back by the knife of betrayal and repression by violent representation of the gorkhas. The National media is portraying the state as the white dove of peace and the Gorkhas as lovers of violence. By twisting facts, sensationalising news and cherry picking stories, media is deliberately projecting the entire movements as ‘dangerous’ thereby justifying the excess use of military forces on peaceful protesters. Such biasness and unethical journalism should be questioned and condemned.
The bizarre silence maintained by larger civil society especially those of the supposed left parties like CPI(M) etc of Bengal on such grotesque violation of human rights is baffling and beyond comprehension. Display of such level of insensitivity towards loss of life is highly shameful and only speaks of double standards. We condemn the high handedness of the repressive Bengal Government where the democratic movement for Gorkhaland is being termed unconstitutional and is being used as a pretext to curb the democratic right to protest and freedom of expression. Hence, we demand immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all paramilitary forces including ARMY from the Darjeeling and stop gagging of local media. We reiterate our support for the Gorkhaland movement and call upon all progressive people irrespective of party denominations in JNU to come out in condemnation of the Oppressive TMC reign of terror( block n italacise this) that has brought violence and oppression to not just Gorkhaland but Bengal as well. We salute the people for showing incredible compassion, courage and restraint under such brutal assaults on their freedom and appeal all people unite and fight for this just cause. Instead of relying on eternal forces, people should realise that its their strength of their struggle alone which will ensure Gorkhaland. Only if we stand united and fight uncompromising, we can change the course of history!

Rajnath Singh meets Mamata Banerjee to discuss situation

Union home minister Rajnath Singh
Kolkata: Union home minister Rajnath Singh speaks to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to discuss situation in Darjeeling. Details of the meeting are yet not available.

Besides, Banerjee has called Darjeeling unrest a ‘deep rooted conspiracy’. The ongoing GJM-led agitation in Darjeeling hills for a separate Gorkhaland is a conspiracy, supported by insurgent groups of the north east and some foreign countries, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee claimed on Saturday.

Banerjee said the kind of “hooliganism and vandalism,” being seen during the unrest in the hills, can only be executed if there is a “terrorist brain” behind it and the Centre should extend full help to the state to contain it. “There is a terrorist brain behind this hooliganism and vandalism. Only a terrorist and not a common man can do this. We have got clues that this has terrorist connections. They (GJM) have connections with underground insurgent groups of the north east ... I request them (insurgent groups) not to extend any support to the GJM,” Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat.

She said the GJM was being helped by some other countries too but did not elaborate. “What is happening today is a deep-rooted conspiracy. So many bombs and arms cannot be gathered in a day... These have been gathered for a long time.

“From where are they (GJM) are getting their support? Their advantage is it (Darjeeling) is a hill area and there are borders with other states and international borders. They are using the national flag for vandalism, which they cannot do. I will request the Central government not to encourage them to behave like this. If anything happens to any foreigner (tourist) it will bring bad name to the country,” Banerjee said.

She said in such a scenario, the Centre and the state must start talking on the matter. “The Centre must extend its full cooperation to us.” Rubbishing reports of firing by the police in Darjeeling this morning, Banerjee said “This is absolutely wrong.

There was no police firing. They (GJM) started firing. They are using arms, throwing bombs and indulging in vandalism in such a way ...

“I am sorry to say it has never happened earlier that my journalists friends have been kidnapped. Their lives are in danger. They (GJM) have evacuated foreign tourists from the hotels forcefully,” she said adding that the activists were not obeying the Calcutta High Court order that the bandh is illegal.

On GJM supporters setting fire to several government offices and damaging water supply lines, the chief minister expressed concern over keeping up the supply of provisions to the hills.

“We want to feed the people and I am worried how we will provide rations to the people in the hills.” Referring to the CBI naming senior GJM leaders in the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang’s murder, Banerjee said its chief Bimal Gurung was a “corrupt leader” trying to sell off the hills and hampering the development work taken up by the state government there.

She repeatedly urged the people of the hills not to pay heed to Gurung and withdraw the indefinite bandh. “This way (bandh and violence) they (Gorkhaland supporters) have hampered development works in the hills for the last 50 years. I request them again not to continue agitating behind a veil of false allegations. Do not listen to Bimal Gurung. He is a corrupt leader. Hill is your right, protect it. If people stop visiting the hills, how will you run your families?” she said adding that the state government will continue with its development work in the hills.

Banerjee said that the GJM has taken to violence because its term in GTA was coming to an end. “You (GJM) have enjoyed five-year term in the GTA. Now when the term is about to end, you have started violence because you have lost your credentials,” she said.

Referring to the agitation against alleged imposition of Bengali, she said it was only an optional subject and not mandatory and GJM was spreading rumours to misguide the people of the hills.

Asked whether the state government was open to talks with the GJM, the chief minister said, “We have discussed so many times. But, they have to withdraw the bandh first and restore normalcy. Political party can talk to any other party. The state government can talk to any government agency, but the government cannot bear hooliganism,” she said. On whether the government is likely to arrest any GJM leader, Banerjee said, “Law will take its own course. We cannot support hooliganism, vandalism. We cannot allow them to violate the national flag.”

The state government, meanwhile, held a meeting on Saturday with chairmen and vice-chairmen of 15 development boards working in the hills, which have already constituted a committee to appeal to the people to maintain peace.

The chief minister, other ministers, the chief secretary, home secretary were present at the meeting held at the secretariat. The state government will hold an all party meeting in Siliguri on June 22 for peace in the hills.

“I want peace to be restored in the hills,” Banerjee said adding that Tourism Minister Goutam Deb and PWD Minister Arup Biswas will take full care of the hills. 

Courtesy: http://www.livemint.com

Gorkhaland Movement - 3 GJM supporter killed in firing, one police officer critically injured

Police firing over Gorkhaland supporter
On the third day of the indefinite strike, Darjeeling turned into a war zone with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha claiming three of their cadres were killed in police firing. One police officer who was attacked with sharp weapons is in critical condition. The army was subsequently called in to cordon and patrol the disturbed areas. Tensions still prevail in several parts of the Hills with heavy deployment of police and paramilitary personnel.

Various areas in the Hills saw pitched battles between GJM supporters and police. Four vehicles, including a police van, were torched at various places. As police allegedly resorted to firing and lobbing tear gas shells after lathi charge, GJM workers in return hurled petrol bombs and stones on policemen.

“Police did not fire. What is happening today is deep rooted conspiracy. Bombs and arms were stockpiled. It is sad that one assistant commandant is critically injured. We are shocked and sad. They are not listening to the court, which passed a verdict which said bandh is illegal. I will request to central government not to indulge them. There is connection between Northeast insurgency and the agitators. There is the hand of some country. I will not like to reveal,” said Mamata Banerjee at a press conference in Kolkata.

“Home secretary will hold an all party meeting on 22 June to bring peace in the Hills in Siliguri. Anyone can talk with anyone but first bandh should be lifted,” stressed Banerjee.

Darjeeling violence, Darjeeling agitation, Darjeeling Gorkhaland demand, GJM, Gorkhaland, GJM supporters versus police, Bimal Gurung

On the other hand, Bimal Gurung, chief of the GJM, alleged the security forces, prodded by the state government, fired at protesters.

“Peaceful and democratic rallies were taken out by women Morcha. Bengal government, an autocratic government fired on us. I ask the people of Hills to protest,” said Gurung in a recorded message in Nepali.

According to GJM, three persons – Bimal Sashankar of Goke busty, Sunil Rai of Kainjalay, and Mahesh Gurung of Relling were killed in the clashes. While Bimal and Sunil were killed in Singmari area, GJM claimed Mahesh was killed in Ghoom.

“Three of our people have died after police resorted to firing. Five persons are injured. Are we terrorists? Police fired on us when we took out rally for Gorkhaland in a democratic way. We will,” said Binay Tamang, assistant general secretary of GJM.

Kiran Tamang, assistant commandant of IRB was attacked by GJM workers and sustained critical injuries.

The clashes began in the morning when Gorkha Nari Morcha, GJM’s women wing, brought out a rally in Singmari carrying national flags and chanting pro-Gorkhaland slogans. A contingent of policemen tried to stop the rally. When GJM workers tried to walk towards the District Magistrate’s office, police resorted to lathi-charge on the women.

GJM workers started pelting stones at the police who then lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the mob. Within minutes, the area turned into a battle zone. GJM workers lobbed crude bombs while gunshots were also heard. Police claimed they fired rubber bullets.

Several media personnel, including the Indian Express team were caught in between the crossfire and managed to find shelter at a nearby house as clashes continued outside.

Meanwhile, clashes broke out in other parts of Hills, including Lebong, Chowbazar and Ghoom railway station areas.

Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

पुलिस फाइरिङमा गोर्खाल्याण्ड समर्थक मारिनसाथ मङपुमा पोस्टरिङ

Poster in mungpoo after police killed gorkhaland supporter in Darjeeling
दार्जीलिंगको विभिन्न स्थानमा आज गोर्खाल्याण्डको माग लिएर निस्किएको रयाली र पुलिस प्रशासन माझ भएको झडपमा पुलिस द्वारा चलाइएको गोलीले तीन जना मोर्चा समर्थकहरु मारिएको खबर फैलनसाथ मङपु क्षेत्रमा व्यापक पोस्टरिङ भयो | पोस्टरमा “ गोर्खालाई माया देउ केन्द्र सरकार, हामी सिमानामा खुन दिन्छौं होइन भने सिमाना छोडेर फर्केका हुन्छौं, शहीदहरुलाई गोर्खे सलाम, गोर्खाल्याण्ड तिम्रो कारणले पाउँछौँ, सम्पूर्ण गोर्खाहरु एक भएर लडौं मरौं या बाँचौं तर चिन्हारीको लडाई नहारौं, हामी शान्तिको पुजारी, हाम्रो आन्दोलन अहिंसाको आन्दोलन, प्रशासन तिमीले गरेको खुनले हामीलाई बिचलित पार्दैन, शहीद तिम्रो खुनले गोर्खाल्याण्ड लेखेको छ, तिम्रो सपना हाम्रो कर्तब्य हो आदि लहरहरु संगै केन्द्र सरकारलाई गोर्खाल्याण्डको माग राखेको साथै सम्पूर्ण गोर्खाहरुलाई यो चिन्हारीको अन्तिम लडाई सफल पार्ने आह्वान गरिएको छ | गोर्खाल्याण्डको मागमा गणतान्त्रिक ढंगले कसैलाई कुटपीट नगरी रयाली गर्दा पनि पुलिस प्रशासन द्वारा गोर्खाल्याण्ड समर्थकहरुमा गोलि चलाएर मारिने घटनाले सम्पूर्ण गोर्खाहरु फेरि एकजुट हुनसक्ने छाँट चारैतिर देखा परेको छ भने भोलिदेखिको रयाली तथा कार्यक्रमहरुमा मङपु क्षेत्रबाट टीएमसीका समर्थकहरु पनि आफ्नो झण्डा त्यागेर गोर्खाल्याण्डको मागमा सरिक हुने सम्भावना देखिएको छ ||

अन्तिम लडाई लड्न मङपुमा गुञ्जियो गोर्खाल्याण्डको नारा

Morcha rally on Gorkhaland in Mungpoo
सारा गोर्खा आफ्नो जातीय सुरक्षाको माग गर्दै यसपल्ट रंग भेद नछुटाई, ज्यानको पर्वाह नगरी छुट्टै राज्य गोर्खाल्याण्डको माग लिएर सडक उत्रन थालेपछि मङपुबासीले पनि आफ्नो मौनता तोडेको छ | आज गोर्खा जनमुक्ति मोर्चाको आह्वानमा यहाँको कटुवाल गोलाईदेखि नालीडाँडासम्म सयौं जनताले वी वान्ट गोर्खाल्याण्डको नारा लगाउंदै रयाली गरे | पानी झरीको पर्वाह नगरि मङपुका विभिन्न विभागहरुबाट गोर्खाल्याण्ड समर्थकहरु रयालीमा सम्भागी बन्न जुटेका थिए | बर्तमान पहाडमा भइ रहेको पुलिस प्रशासनको अत्यचार र बङ्गाल सरकारको षड्यन्त्रपूर्ण नीतिको विरोध बोल्दै गोर्खाल्याण्डको नाराले मङपु गुन्जियो | रयालीले अन्तमा यहाँको नालीडांडामा आएर पथ सभाको रुप लियो जुन सभालाई सम्बोधन गर्दै गोर्खा जनमुक्ति मोर्चा केन्द्रीय समिति सदस्य मिरेन लामाले भने हामी कसैको विरोध गर्न आएका होइनौ, हामी हाम्रो छुट्टै राज्य गोर्खाल्याण्डको मागलाई गणतान्त्रिक पध्व्तीमा उठाइरहेका छौँ | हामीसंग दुइवटा विकल्प छ कि हार्नु पर्छ कि जित्नु पर्छ | यदि सबैजना घरमै बस्ने हो भने हामीले घुँडा टेकेर भन्नु पर्छ हामी हार्यौं, तिमी जे भन्छौं हामी त्यही मान्छौं भन्नुपर्छ कि चैं हामीले सडकमा ओर्लेर लडाई लड्नुपर्छ, हामी अझै हारेका छैनौ भन्नु पर्छ | तर आज गोर्खाल्याण्डको मागमा रयाली गर्न उत्रेका अनुहारहरुले यही प्रमाणित गर्छ कि हामी हारेका छैनौ, हामी हार्दैनौ अनि यही सन्देश जान्छ बङ्गाल सरकारलाई | हामीलाई कति अत्यचार गर्छौं अझै गर, कतिलाई मार्छौं, कतिलाई पक्रिन्छौ, कतिलाई जेल लान्छौं लैजाउ | तर हामी अझैं तातिएको हुन्छौं, गोर्खाहरु अझै निस्किएको हुन्छ बाहिर सडकमा | हामी हार्दैनौ, बरु मौरीको राणा मरेको जस्तो एक एक गर्दै मर्छौं तर झुक्दैनौ, किन भने यो हाम्रो अन्तिम लडाई हो | उनले अझ भने हामीले कसैको जमीन मागेका छैनौ, हामीले हाम्रै पुर्खाको जमीन मागेका छौँ | हामीले न्याय मागेको हो | बङ्गाल सरकारको जमीन मागेको होइनौ | १९८८ सालमा ज्योति बाबुको सरकारले निकालेको स्वेत पत्र छ हामीसित | सिक्किम सरकारबाट लिएको जमीन, नेपाल र भुटान सरकारबाट लिएको जमीनको दस्तावेज हामीसित छ | हामीले तिम्रो जमीन मागेका होइनौ | जसरी बिहारीहरुलाई बिहार दिएको छ, पन्जाबीहरुलाई पंजाब, नागाहरुलाई नागाल्याण्ड, उडियाहरुलाई उडिसा, असामीहरुलाई आसम दिएको छ त्यसरी नै गोर्खाहरुलाई गोर्खाल्याण्ड देउ भनेको मात्र हौँ, अरु केही पनि मागेका छैनौ | भारतको संविधान भन्दा कोही पनि माथि छैन यसैले संविधानको धारा तीन पल्टाएर हेर जहाँ भाषाको आधारमा, भाषिक क्षेत्रको आधारमा छुट्टै राज्य दिनुपर्छ भन्ने कुरो स्पष्ट लेखिएको छ | संविधानको कुरा गरेको हामीले, संवैधानिक माग गरेको हामीले तर आज हामीले आफ्नो अधिकार माग्न पाउदैनौ भने, बोल्न पाउदैनौं भने हामी सबै मरेको हुनपर्छ, मर्न सक्नुपर्छ हामी | बङ्गाल सरकारले जति हामीलाई अत्यचार गरेको छ त्यति हामी हाम्रो लक्ष्यको झन नजिक बन्दै जाँदैछौं | कति मार्नु सक्छ हामी मर्नु सक्नुपर्छ, ८६ को आन्दोलनमा मरेको बाह्र सय भन्दा बेसी मर्नुपर्छ तर गोर्खाल्याण्डको मागदेखि एक पाइला पनि पछि सर्नु हुँदैन भन्दै सम्पूर्ण जनतालाई आफ्नो पार्टीको झण्डा बिर्सेर गोर्खा जातीय उन्मुक्तिको निम्ति अन्तिम लडाई लड्न सबै एक भइ सडकमा ओर्लिने आह्वान गरे | सभालाई गोजमुमो मङपु लाब्दा समष्टि नारी मोर्चा प्रतिनिधि सुर्यमणि राईले पनि सम्बोधन गरेका थिए भने अब मङपुमा हरेक दिननै गोर्खाल्याण्डको मागमा रयालीहरु हुने जानकारी दिंदै दलीय विभिन्नतालाई भुलेर केवल गोर्खा जातिको एकमात्र चीरस्थायी समाधान छुट्टै राज्य गोर्खाल्याण्डको लडाई लड्न हरेक दिन र्यालीमा सहभागी भइदिने अपिल पनि लामाले गरेका छन् ||

Gorkhaland supporter killed in firing in Darjeeling

Gorkhaland supporter killed in firing in Darjeeling
Atleast two Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporter was allegedly killed and several injured in police firing in Darjeeling as violence convulsed the hill town Saturday morning even as army and para military forces have started patrolling the area.

By 1:30 pm, security forces managed to establish some degree of control on the situation even as police and the hill party traded blame.

This was the first loss of life since the latest round of clashes broke out on June 8. The identity of the man, who was shot in front of St Joseph’s College on the outskirts of the town, was not known yet. His body was taken to the army hospital.

Additional director general of police (law and order), Anuj Sharma denied police had shot at protesters, claiming that it was GJM supporters who had opened fire. GJM supporters also allegedly set fire to a few police vehicles on fire near the GJM office Singamari.

The GJM insisted the police had fired on the protesters.

“One of our supporters was killed by police fire at Singamari,” claimed Binay Tamang, the assistant secretary of the GJM.

Tamang also demanded a probe into the death of the man. “We want judicial inquiry into the firing. Police did not fire rubber bullets or water cannons. They opened fire using .303 bullets. Are we the enemies of India?”

He also said two GJM supporters were hit by bullets in Ghoom Bhanjyang where GJM had broken through police barricades.

The scene in front of the GJM office in Singamari looked like a battlefield with a few police vehicles on fire, stones and bottles lying all around the area.

There were bloodstains on the road on Lebong Cart Road opposite St Joseph’s College.

Earlier Saturday morning, the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state exploded with violence, turning Darjeeling into a battle zone as GJM supporters clashed with the police at Singhmari on the outskirts of the town that left several policemen and protesters injured.

Police fired tear gas shells and caned GJM supporters who started throwing stones at them. GJM supporters threw both stones and bottles at the police. Policemen were seen picking up the stones thrown at them and hurl those back at the agitators.
A large number of women GJM workers also came out on the streets to agitate.

The clashes broke out at 11 am. There were conflicting reports on what sparked off the clashes. While police claimed that GJM supporters started pelting stones forcing them to retaliate, protesters said that the police stopped their rally and started firing tear gas shells first.

GJM supporters brought out protest rallies that they called ‘Dandi March’ after Mahatma Gandhi’s famous 1930 agitation against the British. They were supposed to converge at Patlaybas where police raided the GJM office on Thursday.

The GJM supporters had the advantage of knowledge of the local terrain and lanes through which moved and caught the security forces by surprise.

“Morcha supporters are exploiting the locational advantage and attacking the police. It is unfortunate. We hope to resist the vandalism in the hills with the people,” Darjeeling district Trinamool president Goutam Deb, who is also the tourism minister of the state, told the media.

Meanwhile, Bikram Rai, the GTA media cell employee and son of Darjeeling MLA Amar Singh Rai, who was arrested from his residence last night was released on Saturday.

In Kolkata, the state government has called all the heads of the 17 development boards for the different hill communities and Terai and Dooars for a meeting this afternoon. The development boards were set up by the Mamata Banerjee government created between 2013 and 2017.

GJM leaders have alleged that the prupose of setting up these boards was only to weaken the GJM in the hills and the Gorkhaland movement by dividing the hill communities.

After Thursday’s raid on GJM office, its president Bimal Gurung had urged all the development board functionaries to step down and join the movement for a separate state. GNLF, the other major political party in the hills has also made a similar appeal.

With HindustanTimes input.

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