Parishad rethink after state stir plan
Siliguri, Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad leaders in the plains today said they would back out of the agreement with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha if the hill outfit revived its movement for a separate state.
The tribal and Gorkha outfits had agreed last month to work together for the formation of an administrative body that would comprise the Darjeeling hills, and the Dooars and the Terai.
But the Morcha youth wing’s decision yesterday to renew the statehood agitation forced the Parishad leaders to take a relook at the deal.
“We are aware of the announcement by the Yuwa Morcha yesterday that a public meeting would be held at Mungpoo on December 18 to resume the Gorkhaland agitation. This has made us rethink the proposal to form Gorkhaland and Adivasi Territorial Administration,” Tezkumar Toppo, the state general secretary of the Parishad, said today.
He was one of the five Parishad leaders from the Dooars and the Terai who were instrumental in forging the tie-up with the Morcha.
“We are clear on our stand that if the demand for the statehood is raised by the Morcha again, we will withdraw from the deal. We cannot agree to the inclusion of the Adivasi-populated areas in a separate state. We are only interested in an autonomous body whose jurisdiction stretches to the the tribal-dominated areas also,” said Toppo.
The tribal outfit said it would wait till December 18 to decide if the relationship with the Morcha should continue. “If the Yuwa Morcha rakes up the old demand of the separate state at the December 18 meeting, we will have no other option but to scrap the agreement and seek autonomy for the Adivasi populated areas under the Sixth Schedule,” said Toppo.
Observers said “Gorkhaland” had given breathing space to the Parishad dissidents, who had joined hands with the Morcha without the consent of the state leadership.
“The Parishad state committee had accused the leaders in the plains of breach of discipline for signing the agreement with the Morcha. The dissidents have an opportunity now to prove that they are with the tribal population,” said an observer.
The Morcha announcement didn’t go down well with Adivasi trade union leader Sukra Munda either. He was among the five Parishad leaders showcaused by the state committee for the tie-up with the Morcha.
“We took the decision to join hands with the Morcha only after the Centre and the state had endorsed the formation of the GTA. If the Morcha takes a decision that is against the spirit of the autonomy, we will reconsider our stand,” said Munda, a state committee member and the chairman of the Parishad-backed Progressive Tea Workers’ Union.
John Barla, the ousted president of the Dooars Terai regional unit of the Parishad, said he couldn’t comment on “media reports”.
Birsa Tirkey, the state president of the Parishad state committee which had show-caused the five, said: “We have alerted the regional leaders several times and have expressed our apprehensions. It is time that they clarify their stand.” Courtesy:TheTelegraph.