Fissures in the Morcha and the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee
Darjeeling, August 26: Both the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) sailed into choppy seas with fissures appearing.
While Gorkha Janmukti Morcha Supremo Bimal Gurung made an oblique comment that some political leaders (also from within his party) were trying to frame him and were trying to get him arrested.
On the other hand, the scheduled meeting of the GMCC was cancelled on Sunday bringing to the fore difference among the constituent parties.
Gurung in an audio dispatch to media persons from an undisclosed location stated, "There is a conspiracy being hatched by some leaders from Darjeeling and Kurseong who are hand in glove with the West Bengal Government. They are trying to trap me. In the next 10 or 12 days I will make their names public."
Gurung claimed that despite the conspiracy being hatched he would not compromise on the Gorkhaland demand.
"I will not spare anyone who compromises on the Gorkhaland demand too," warned Gurung.
"Some leaders have written to the State Government without seeking my permission. Whichever party sits in talks with the State Government on August 29 will have to walk out if any other issue is discussed other than Gorkhaland. If the parties discuss any other agenda then we will not allow them to return to the Hills" warned Gurung.
He stated that his whereabouts were being leaked to the police by some leaders.
"However I have evidence that there are some leaders from within our party and other parties hand in glove with the State Government trying to get me arrested and derail the agitation. I will make all this public along with evidences," claimed Gurung.
Incidentally, Gurung has remained incommunicado since the Security Forces have set up base at Patleybash, 8km from Darjeeling town where Gurung resides and is a GJM stronghold. The police have also implicated him in the Darjeeling town and Kalimpong police station blasts on August 19 under Sections pertaining to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA.)
However, on August 23 Gurung had shot a letter to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee requesting her to open dialogues on the Gorkhaland issue. However, the CM claimed that she had received no letter from Gurung. Instead, she stated that Binay Tamang, Chief Coordinator, GJM had written to the State stating that the GJM would attend talks in Kolkata on August 29.
Meanwhile, the GMCC (a conglomeration of 14 pro Gorkhaland outfits) was scheduled to meet at Kalimpong on Sunday to discuss whether the GMCC would be attending the Kolkata talks. They had demanded that the State should send the GMCC an official invitation for the talks.
"No such invite was received by the GMCC till Sunday, hence we could not hold the meeting on Sunday" stated Kalyan Dewan, Chief Coordinator, GMCC. Strong voices of discontent from constituent parties regarding the sudden cancellation were heard in Kalimpong.
"I had not heard of the cancellation hence I travelled to Kalimpong. In Kalimpong, we were told that the meeting has been cancelled. The reason behind this could have been GJM's unilateral declaration that they will be taking part in Kolkata talks. Going a step further the GJM even announced the names of the 5 member teams. We will sit in a Central committee meeting on Monday and announce the names of GNLF team attending the Kolkata talks." stated Neeraj Zimba, Spokesperson, Gorkha National Liberation Front.
The GJM and GNLF will be attending the Kolkata talks along with others. Jan Andolan Party (JAP) will also be sitting in a meeting in Kalimpong on Monday. "We will then decide whether we will attend talks or not. In case we decide to attend we will announce names of the team members" stated Dr. Harka Bahadur Chettri, President, JAP.
Though the Hill parties have been claiming that they will be pressing for Gorkhaland in the Kolkata talks, the letter of invite from the State Government for the talks clearly states that the meeting is being held with the objective "..... to restore peace and normalcy in the hills and remove the sufferings that the people now face in their daily lives."
The meeting will be chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on August 29 at 4pm at Nabbanya- the State Secretariat.
With Sunday's development questions have been raised regarding the very existence of the GMCC. "The GMCC was constituted for a collective movement for Gorkhaland. How can constituent parties unilaterally declare that they will be attending talks with the State Government even before the GMCC meeting has taken place? When the constituent parties of the GMCC have already received invitation letters from the State Government and have decided to participate then what is reason for calling a GMCC meeting to decide on whether to attend or not. This makes the GMCC meeting redundant," claimed a political observer.
Members of the Civil Society have stated that as per resolution No 2 of the GMCC meeting held on 25th August 2017 in Kalimpong, it was unanimously decided that If GMCC does not get the formal invitation from the West Bengal Government, GMCC will not participate in the talk with the West Bengal Government on 29th August 2017.
It was also resolved that no political party will go as an individual and a separate entity in the talks with the West Bengal GGovernment.Only the representatives of the GMCC will participate in the proposed Talk.
Members of the Civil Society are of the view that if GMCC does not get any invitation from the West Bengal Government no political party should participate in the talks.
"If they decide to participate then GMCC's very existence will be questioned. In that case, the GMCC should be immediately dissolved and dismantled " stated a member of the GMCC preferring anonymity.