– ‘CM has ignored our rights
June 8: The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad has opposed the formation of a high-powered committee that will carry out a survey to recommend if Gorkha-dominated areas of the Dooars and the Terai can be brought under the ambit of the new set-up for the hills.
The state government had yesterday announced that the committee would be formed within two weeks to examine the “geopolitical situation” and “regional issues” in the Dooars, the Terai and Siliguri. The recommendations of the panel will form the basis on which the territorial reach of the new administrative set-up would be decided.
But the Parishad today made it clear that it would resist any attempt to identify mouzas in the Terai and the Dooars for their inclusion in the proposed setup for the hills as demanded by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
“The new chief minister has ignored our rights. She cannot hand over areas that are dominated by people of our community to the hill set- up. We are strongly opposing this so-called high-powered committee that will be formed by the state government and the Morcha. We will not allow any kind of survey to be carried out. If there is a law and order situation, the state government would be responsible,” said Tezkumar Toppo, the state general secretary of the Parishad.
The Parishad’s state committee president, Birsa Tirkey, and other leaders handed over a memorandum to the chief minister’s office in Writers’ Buildings today.
Tirkey said over the phone from Calcutta that the Morcha’s demand to bring territories in the Terai and the Dooars under the new authority was absolutely “irrational”. “There are no areas here that are Gorkha-dominated, the Adivasi community is in the majority. If the state government tries to include the areas in the hill set-up, we will begin an intense agitation, we have said this in our letter to the chief minister,” Tirkey said.
He said the Parishad had been demanding autonomy under the Sixth Schedule for the Terai and the Dooars and would continue to do so. “We have been exploited, neglected for long and the state government’s decision that was announced yesterday has hurt us,” he said.
In Siliguri, former state urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya said the process of identifying the Gorkha-dominated areas for the proposed administrative arrangement through a committee would create fresh unrest in the region.
The government has said the committee will be made up of the district magistrates of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri and four Morcha members.
“We are apprehending that the decision to demarcate the Gorkha-dominated areas in the Dooars and the Terai after forming a committee, where apart from government officials, all the members will be from Morcha, will create further unrest in the region. We think the committee should be formed with the representation from different organisations, or else any recommendation will be one sided,” Bhattacharya, who is also the Darjeeling district Left Front convener, told reporters at the CPM office in Siliguri this afternoon.
He also claimed that whatever decision was taken yesterday at Calcutta was the continuation of the series of dialogues that took place between the central and state governments and the Morcha at different levels.
Jibesh Sarkar, a state committee member of the CPM, also echoed Bhattacharya. He said the decision of the government on forming a committee would create a rift among the residents of the region. “We feel such step will create a fresh strife in the region and hamper the peaceful atmosphere here,” Sarkar said.Courtesy:TheTelegraph.