Sir — It is unfortunate that after having agreed to abide by the Justice Shyamal Sen committee report, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has now refused to accept its recommendations (“Justice Sen: My judgement was based on Constitution, law and conscience”, June 13 ). Sen has said that “The criteria of homogeneity, contiguity, compactness, and ground reality is there in the GTA agreement. I did not lay down these parameters.” After such a statement, there can be no ambiguity about the report. Its rejection by the GJM leaders is unjustified.
The argument presented by the Morcha leaders has no valid ground. They have stated that they agreed to abide by the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration agreement as they expected to be given at least 150 mouzas out of the 396 that they had demanded. Such an attitude exposes their dubious mindset. On one hand, they are demanding autonomy; on the other, they have refused to accept the committee’s report and threatened the government with a fresh agitation for statehood. Do the Morcha leaders consider themselves to be the last word for all the people in the hills?
I think that the chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, has given more importance to the Morcha leaders than they deserve. The GJM’s activities must be dealt with as per the law of the land. Further concessions will only strengthen their demand for a separate state.
Mihir Kanungo, Calcutta
Sir — The Gorkhaland issue has been the talk of the town for the last few years. Gorkhaland leaders are now demanding statehood as a pre-condition for peace. Bengal has been divided earlier: another division of the state cannot be accepted at any cost.
After taking over the state , Mamata Banerjee wanted to resolve the Gorkhaland issue at lightning speed. A tripartite agreement was signed among her government, the leaders of GJM and the Union government to create the GTA pact. She then claimed that she had solved a problem that the previous government had failed to resolve. But the GJM has been demanding more areas from the Dooars and the Terai. Banerjee formed a committee headed by Shyamal Sen, a retired chief justice, who submitted his report recently. Sen included only five mouzas against the original demand of 396 mouzas.
Sen has stated that he cannot satisfy the demands of all the people. Dissatisfied with the report, the Morcha has threatened to renew its agitation that might affect tourism . Such a step will bring economic loss and immense misery to the people. If the GJM leaders opt for a peaceful settlement, the chief minister will turn the hills into an attractive place by having more schools, colleges, hospitals and hotels. The ego of the agitating Morcha leaders has to be contained to bring peace and prosperity.
Benu Kumar Bose, Calcutta
Sir — Starting with the Singur deadlock to the Darjeeling imbroglio, the chief minister of Bengal seems to be learning her lessons the hard way (“Steep climb”, June 12 ) . Her sincere efforts to raise the standard of living of the people of the hills are praiseworthy. But in her desperation to prove her worth and highlight the apathy and inefficiency of the Left Front government, Mamata Banerjee may have failed to read the mindset of the GJM leaders correctly. In her attempt to win over the Gorkhas, she unwittingly accepted the inclusion of the term, ‘Gorkhaland’, in the nomenclature of the GTA. Despite the show of bonhomie at the Writers’ Buildings, the GJM leaders have often repeated that nothing short of a separate state would suffice.
Now that the Shyamal Sen committee has recommended only five mouzas for inclusion under the GTA, the GJM is hell-bent on opposing it. The Morcha leaders have threatened to launch a massive agitation and even declared that they will burn copies of the GTA agreement. The chief minister is advised to exercise utmost caution and refrain from making any further commitments to the GJM, so that a solution for the hills does not end up creating new problems in the plains and the integrity of Bengal is protected.
I.N. Banerjee, Calcutta
Sir — Shyamal Sen’s recommendation for the inclusion of only five mouzas under the GTA has upset the Gorkhas, who have demanded 396 mouzas. The Gorkhas think that the Justice Sen committee was biased in its approach. A report compiled by a Bengali deciding the fate of the Gorkhas is bound to come across as prejudiced.
It would have been wiser to appoint a retired non-Bengali and a non-Gorkha judge from any other state to settle the dispute. To the Gorkhas, that judgment would have at least appeared impartial.
Asoke C. Banerjee, Calcutta