At a time when the credibility of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), vis a vis its threat of final battle for Gorkhaland, is questioned its disillusioned supporters in Terai and Dooars want the leaders to pass the litmus test before they expect them to join their bandwagon.
The GJM’s movement for separate state of Gorkhaland that concluded with the signing of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Accord on July 18, 2011, gained momentum only after it was spread in Terai of Darjeeling district and the Dooars in Jalpaiguri district.
Unlike the first phase of Gorkhaland movement under the leadership of Subash Ghisingh that, ended after the formation of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) in August 1988, more people in Terai Dooars joined the movement led by Bimal Gurung.
Five people, including four GJM supporters, died during the movement in the Dooarsthree of them in police firing and two in political clash between the pro and anti Gorkhaland supporters.
Properties of Gorkhaland supporters in Terai and Dooars were ransacked and houses were set on fire. Ethnic clashes had become regular features thus disturbing peaceful coexistence among various communities. Piles of police cases are pending against the GJM leaders and supporters in the region.
However, the GJM’s acceptance of the recommendations of the Justice (retd) Shyamal Sen Committee to add only five of the 398 mouzas of Terai and the Dooars as demanded by the GJM in the GTA came crushing for the party supporters in Terai and the Dooars.
Though the GJM is insisting that the party doesn’t exclude Terai and the Dooars in its second round of movement, its supporters in the region are sceptical.
“The supporters of the GJM in the Dooars have already suffered lots and are in no mood to be fooled once again.” A former president of GJM Dooars committee said, who left the party after some differences with the leaders in the hills.
“Demoralised GJM supporters in Dooars need a concrete assurance from the hill leaders if they want them to support the movement,” Rohit Thapa a senior GJM leader in the Dooars said.
SN Pradhan a member of GJM’s study forum opined that lots depend on the GJM’s strategy and plan. Though Dooars people are feeling alienated after the GTA was formed, the Gorkhas of Dooars will back the ‘final’ battle for Gorkhaland if the leaders show their commitments, Pradhan said.
However, some former GJM leaders who left the party after it signed the GTA Accord opined that the hill leaders just want to make the Dooars people scapegoats to bring home their bargaining power. Kamal Pakhrin a former GJM leader said that the Gorkhas of Dooars have become sceptical to join the movement led by untrustworthy leaders. In Terai also the mood is sombre.
“This time it is very hard to get spontaneous support from the Gorkhas of Terai as they are feeling cheated while hill leaders are busy enjoying the power,” a senior GJM leader from Siliguri said.
Most of the Terai supporters believe that even if the GJM starts its Gorkhaland movement, it would hardly find takers in the plains. They also said that the GJM’s threat is just aimed for its own political survival.