Morcha tells state: label tea packets ‘Made in Gorkhaland’

The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) tried to hit back at the state government for cracking down on its supporters in Jalpaiguri,with demands that all packets of Darjeeling tea be marked “Made in Gorkhaland” before they are transported from the tea gardens.

Written by Kartyk Venkatraman | Kolkata | Published:January 19, 2009 1:51 am

The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) tried to hit back at the state government for cracking down on its supporters in Jalpaiguri,with demands that all packets of Darjeeling tea be marked “Made in Gorkhaland” before they are transported from the tea gardens. The GJM president,Bimal Gurung,announced this on Sunday.

On Saturday evening,he had demanded that all government revenue from Hill sub-divisions will henceforth have to be paid directly to the GJM. He had also said that all tea produced in Darjeeling will be sold at outlets run by Morcha’s women’s wing,the Gorkha Narimukti Morcha.

Moreover,all tea auctions will be shifted from Siliguri and Jalpaiguri to a DGHC guest house in Pintai village.

Darjeeling District Magistrate Surendra Gupta said though the administration was aware of the latest diktats,it was yet to decide on the next course of action. “A report on the latest developments has been sent to the state government,” he added.

The shutdown of government offices continued in Darjeeling,despite the GJM calling off its general strike.

Meanwhile,after two days of clashes between the supporters of the GJM and the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad (ABAVP),which left 25 police personnel and a large number of locals injured,no incidents of violence were reported in Jalpaiguri district’s Malbazar and Nagrakata towns on Sunday.

Prohibitory orders,however,remained in place for the fourth consecutive day in the area. The Jalpaiguri district police’s strength of 2,000 personnel has been augmented by four companies of the West Bengal Armed Police to combat any resurgence of violence,said Superintendent of Police Manoj Verma.

“We have not asked for Central Paramilitary Forces. The situation was peaceful today,” said Verma,who along with Special IG (Jalpaiguri Range) Zulfiqar Hasan had sustained injuries in clashes on Friday.

“To bring the situation under control,we have held a number of peace meetings involving all parties,including the ABAVP and the GJM. In a couple of areas,joint peace processions were taken out. Both the sides have withdrawn their bandhs. We’ll take a call on extending prohibitory orders on Monday,” Hasan said.

Anti-Gorkhaland parties and organisations like Amra Bangalee and Shiv Sena based in Siliguri and Dooars have supported ABAVP’s agitation against the GJM’s demand that Dooars be included in their proposed Gorkhaland state.

Amra Bangalee’s Alipurduar and Cooch Behar general secretary Dolen Roy told The Indian Express that GJM was carrying out “excesses” on the people.

“We support the adivasis. The police are not taking any action. The Left Front is responsible for this situation,as they had created GNLF and GJM. Now,these entities are committing crimes in the name of their movement and the Front is unable to confront them.”

He added: “The police are bound by orders from Alimuddin Street (CPM headquarters)

to look away. We are going to start largescale protests in Siliguri on January 23,Netaji’s birth anniversary.”

Shiv Sena’s Darjeeling district secretary Dr Brajagopal Haldar echoed similar views. “We have always been against Gorkhaland and will support any party that opposes the Morcha. We are with the ABAVP in their struggle,” he said. “The state government has become non-functional. They couldn’t even arrest GJM leader Pradip Pradhan from Bagdogra airport. The GJM continues to regularly flout laws and resort to unconstitutional and undemocratic measures. The Left Front is clearly indulging in vote bank politics,” Haldar added.

The CPM’s Darjeeling district secretary Jivesh Sarkar,however,said his party has appealed to all parties and organisations to stand united and avoid violence. “There should be no communal lines drawn in the region. In Salugara,where the GJM indulged in violence on Saturday,all communities have come together to denounce the same,” Sarkar said.

For all the latest Kolkata News, download Indian Express App

    Live Cricket Scores & Results