The Morcha supporters assembling for the meeting in Chowk Bazar. Picture by Suman Tamang
Darjeeling, Dec. 26: Hundreds of supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Yuva and Nari Morcha today brought out a procession in town around 10.30am while others climbed up the stairs to the podium at Chowk Bazar to put up posters against anti-Gorkhaland for-ces.
The ABGL leaders did not turn up for their scheduled public meeting, which was supposed to start at 11am with the Morcha supporters refusing to budge from Gitanga Dara, the podium. The Morcha later held a public meeting there.
A police official had said on Wednesday that the Morcha had been allowed to bring out a procession but not given any “mike permission”. The official had also said ABGL had been given permission for a public meeting.
Today, ABGL president Madan Tamang blamed the state government for orchestrating the entire show.
“The administration called me up last evening and requested me to postpone our public meeting to prevent law and order problem. This morning, the administration allowed a party which had no permission to hold a public meeting. Is this the democracy that Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee believes in?” said Tamang. However, he did not say who had called him up last evening. “The government is responsible for everything.”
The ABGL president alleged that the Morcha had entered into some sort of pact to accept a “council” as an alternative to statehood in lieu of money and that was why the government was siding with Bimal Gurung’s party.
“Why has a central committee member of the Morcha been appointed as the chairman of the District School Board? Who is running the council by default?” questioned Tamang.
He also launched a scathing attack on the Morcha and asked it to stop terrorising “our own people”. “What is the use of carrying batons and moving around in town? You should be carrying batons and going to Kalchini and Siliguri where our people have been beaten up,” said Tamang.
The ABGL claimed that it wanted to tell the Morcha through the meeting that it should not compromise on statehood.
“The Sixth Schedule bill is still pending and unless it is withdrawn from Parliament, there can be no headway on the demand for Gorkhaland,” said Tamang.
“The Morcha can lead the agitation. I have no problems, but they must listen to everyone. I will not allow anyone to accept anything less than statehood. In 1986, Subash Ghisingh scuttled all Opposition voices only to accept the council. I see a similar trend,” said Tamang.
The ABGL claimed that the Morcha has shown its true colours. “They made a hue and cry when they were not allowed to hold a rally in Siliguri (in May) and talked about human rights in Kalchini, but today they have been exposed,” said Tamang.
Calling upon the Morcha to start a stronger agitation, he said Delhi must be forced to come to Darjeeling for talks. “On April 13, 1981, the then Union home minister Gyani Zail Singh was forced to come to Darjeeling following our two week agitation for statehood. This movement must adopt such a strategy,” said Tamang.
Diwarkar Gurung, the organising secretary of the Morcha, said: “We are not against stopping ABGL from holding its public meeting. We are only against insincere leaders trying to derail the Gorkhaland movement.”