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ABGL ousted from rally venue again Morcha takes over dais as rivals leave – Section 144 in force, claims DM

Posted by Ramesh Khati on September 8, 2009

Members of the Janmukti Asthai Karmachari Sangatan after taking over the Chowk Bazar venue of the ABGL meeting on Monday.

Members of the Janmukti Asthai Karmachari Sangatan after taking over the Chowk Bazar venue of the ABGL meeting on Monday.

Darjeeling, Sept. 7(The Telegraph): The second time in a year, the ABGL was forced to cancel its public meeting in Darjeeling today despite the administrative permission as members of a frontal organisation of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha occupied the venue and held their own rally.

Witnesses said while the supporters of the ABGL were ready to hold the meeting as early as 8.30am, Morcha supporters came an hour later and took down the ABGL flag at Chowk Bazar, handed it over to their members and asked them to vacate the venue.

With the supporters of the Morcha outnumbering those of the ABGL, the people already on the dais had little option but to leave. However, unlike in the past when the ABGL leaders went away quietly, this time about 50-odd party supporters went to the Darjeeling Sadar police station and demonstrated against the ousting.

On December 26, Tamang’s party could not hold its scheduled meeting as hundreds of supporters of the Morcha’s youth and women wings had held a rally at the same venue half an hour earlier.

Police seemed helpless, as ever, and even though the demonstration took place for a couple of hours, the ABGL could not hold its meeting. Instead, the Janmukti Asthai Karmachari Sangatan went ahead with its rally at the same venue demanding regularisation of their jobs in the DGHC, well past 4pm.

An angry Madan Tamang, the president of the ABGL, accused the state government of shielding the Morcha for its own gain.

“I spoke to all senior police officials but they maintained they were helpless. The state government has allowed the DGHC to run for two years and now the Morcha and Writers’ Buildings are ready to settle for something, not unlike the present council. That is why the state government did not allow me to speak today,” the ABGL leader said at his office later.

Tamang alleged that the Morcha had already “sold Gorkhaland” and said the people should not allow any party to accept any arrangement that is similar to the DGHC.

Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha, said it was the “public” that had stopped the ABGL from holding the meeting.

“The people do not want to hear their false propaganda and hence they stopped the meeting. The schedule of the meeting of the Asthai Karmachari had been fixed yesterday and on finding the dais vacant at Chowk Bazar, its members went ahead with the plan.”

The bigger picture behind the confrontation between the Morcha and the ABGL is on Gorkhaland. While the ABGL feels the Morcha is insincere about its statehood demand, the Morcha believes that the ABGL and “its state agents” had started a misinformation campaign to derail the Gorkhaland movement.

“Gorkhaland is coming from the Himalayas. It will be a reality soon,” Gurung had said yesterday, hinting that a separate state should be formed in the interest of national security, especially with unfriendly neighbours like China bordering the proposed statehood area.

Tamang on his part had claimed that he would have “exposed the Morcha’s insincerity”. “I will use various mediums (like CDs, cassettes) to pass on my message to the people,” a determined Tamang said.

Surendra Gupta, Darjeeling district magistrate, denied allegations that the administration was siding with the Morcha. “This is not true. Since there was a possibility of a confrontation between two sides, the administration decided to clamp Section 144 in the area.”

However, no announcement of clamping the prohibitory orders was made at Chowk Bazar today. When told that a Morcha frontal organisation had gone ahead with the meeting till 4pm, Gupta, said: “We have taken cognisance of the violation of Section 144. The police will come up with a detailed report.”

In another development, Pemba Tshering Ola, chairman, Darjeeling Municipality, and Dinesh Gurung, his deputy, today resigned as members of the board of administrators of the civic body. “In keeping with the party stand of non-cooperation with the Bengal government for the cause of Gorkhaland, we have resigned,” said Ola.

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