Gorkhatimes

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Question on loyalty, party returns cash

Posted by Ramesh Khati on September 8, 2009

Darjeeling, Sept. 7(The Telegraph): The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has returned Rs 5.8 lakh to the Hill Employees’ and Workers’ Trade Union which had earlier donated the amount to the party as its contribution to the Gorkhaland movement.

Binay Tamang, the assistant secretary of the Morcha, said: “In December last year, the union had contributed Rs 5,84,161 for the Gorkhaland movement by collecting a day’s salary from all its members. We returned the amount to them this evening.”

The union comprises employees of the state and central governments.

Tamang said the Morcha has started believing that the union was “working for the state government” and was trying to derail the movement for Gorkhaland.

“Amar Rai, the president of the union, has been giving statements which clearly suggest that he is trying to derail the Gorkhaland movement. This is why we had to take this step,” said Tamang.

At the union’s Kurseong unit meeting on September 3, Rai had reportedly said his organisation would always remain independent.

“We do not want to be caged by being affiliated to any political party and we have been maintaining this stand since the Gorkhaland agitation of 1986,” Rai had said while claiming that he was for Gorkhaland.

The very next day, Morcha president Bimal Gurung said at a gathering of the Janmukti Karmachari Sangatan members that the two employees’ unions — the other being the Hill Employees Association — should unite under his party banner.

Gurung had said all the unions should merge with the Morcha instead of criticising the hill party from “outside”.

With the union not responding to Gurung’s statements, the Morcha today returned the cash.

Morcha leaders handed over the money to union secretary Rajeeb Gazmer at the union office adjoining the district hospital in town.

In July last year, the Morcha had tried to bring the two employee organisations together in a co-ordination committee with HEA secretary B.P. Chhetri as its coordinator. However, the coordination committee failed to function as a unit and is now virtually defunct.

The union has been maintaining a stoic silence on the development and Rai could not be contacted even today. The union roughly has about 5,000 members.

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