Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) and Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), the two major parties in the Hills, are engaged in a war of words over the latter’s allegations that corruption was rife in the present Gorkhaland Territiorial Administration (GTA) being run by a Board of Administrators led by Morcha leader Binoy Tamang.
The Morcha on Wednesday said that the allegations were baseless, and that the GNLF should not call for an agitation as it would only cause fear among tourists who have started to visit the Hills. The Morcha reaction comes after the GNLF recently announced an agitation with the slogan ‘Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Go Back, Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council Roll Back.’
The GNLF has also said that a person “who does not have any mandate” should not be made the chairman of the GTA. The party has been demanding for an independent person at the GTA helm, and claimed that the present dispensation there was corrupt, and that leaders there practiced nepotism and victimization.
“The GNLF has been claiming that it will start an agitation, demanding removal of the GTA, and restoration of the DGHC. It also claims that our party has no mandate, but we would like to tell them that it is the Morcha that has three MLAs along with three municipalities in the Hills, while on the other hand, they do not have a single ward commissioner. They should check their history before making such statements, as their leader Subash Ghisingh had also remained an administrator for some time earlier,” Morcha (Binay camp) spokesperson Suraj Sharma said.
“Now they are talking about an agitation for Sixth Schedule status for the hills. We would like to request them not to make such statements as they will only disturb peace here, and tourists who come here will be afraid. With peace slowly returning after the agitation last year, we feel that the GNLF should also focus on development through the Hill Area Development Committee (HADC) that has been given to them by the state government,” he added.
“Rs 10 crore has already come to the GTA meant for the HADC. The GNLF should come and take it and work for the people,” Mr Sharma said. Morcha (Binoy camp) central committee leader, Keshave Raj Pokhrel, said the GTA agreement has not dropped the demand for a separate state, while the DGHC agreement had dropped the demand as a full and final settlement.
“So, the GNLF, along with the people, should understand what returning to the DGHC means,” he said. “The GNLF is also claiming nepotism and victimization in the GTA, which is totally false. If that was true, how do they explain the recent GTA move to give teachers, including those affiliated to the GNLF, their approval letters?”
“The GTA has also named Rohini Road after the late GNLF leader, Subash Ghsingh. So how can all these be called victimization and nepotism?” Mr Pokhrel said. In Kalimpong, Morcha youths pasted posters (SNS photo) on public walls, demanding a “clarification” from the GNLF if it ruled Darjeeling Hills for 21 long years with or without corruption.
“If GTA is practicing nepotism, is not the Hill Area Development Committee (HADC) doing the same?” Youth Morcha general secretary, Amir Basnet, said after pasting posters at Dambar Chowk in the town.
“Niraj Zimba should first look at his own party. What has GNLF done for the people after getting funds from the state government through the HADC?” he said. The Morcha youths also alleged that the GNLF is trying to excite the people with a view to destroying peace in the Hills. “We demand the GNLF stop inciting violence in the Hills,” Mr Basnet added.