Seventy one years old Chattrey Subba is considering taking sannyas from politics. However the rebel did not fail to criticize the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA- an administrative arrangement for the Darjeeling Hills) and pitched for the separate state of Gorkhaland.
It was a day of mixed emotions at the Subba household at Raushey Bazar in Kalimpong on Saturday, the day after Chattrey's release from the correctional home after 10 long years. While the family celebrated his return; bail being denied to his son Santosh Subba in a different case, cast a long shadow on the revelry.
Subba had been arrested on March 24, 2001 in connection with the Subash Ghising assassination bid case. He was finally acquitted on September 9, 2011.
Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) leader Subash Ghising, then the Chairman of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) had been attacked at Saath-ghoomti under the Kurseong sub division, on his way back from Delhi. Two police drivers died in the attack along with a suspected attacker. Six others were injured.
“Whosoever raises the demand for Gorkhaland is either murdered as in the case of Madan Tamang or sent behind bars like me. Even the GTA deal has been clinched over Madan Tamang’s dead body. Blackmailing over the murder forced a compromise” alleged Subba.
“I believe that only Gorkhaland can resolve the crisis of the Gorkhas. I do not have faith in anything less. Because I opposed the DGHC earlier Ghising along with the government conspired and sent me behind bars. The attack on Ghising was orchestrated by Ghising and the government to put me behind bars. While in the Correctional Home the government had offered me a high power Council which I could head. However I did not accept their proposal hence I was forced to languish in jail. They even tried to kill me” alleged Subba.
He stated that while he was in the correctional home in 2003 he had a severe heart ailment and was shifted from the Jalpaiguri Correctional Home to a medical facility in Kolkata. “There they had kept me under heavy security without giving me a single medicine for my cardiac ailment. But seeing that I did not die they were forced to send me back to the correctional home in Jalpaiguri.
Subba used to head the militant wing of the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) during the violent agitation of the 80’s led by Subash Ghising. He however had parted ways with Ghising over the formation of the DGHC in 1988. He had floated a new outfit Gorkha Liberation Organisation (GLO) Subba had vehemently opposed the DGHC and had given a call for the continuation of the separate state agitation.
“Councils and similar administrative bodies delay the main goal of separate State. It also does not fulfill the political identity issue not accords a political security to the Gorkhas. Only a separate state than ensure this” stated Subba.
When questioned on his future plans, Subba stated “My family members want me to retire from politics and I am planning to do so.” More than 10 years behind bars seemed to have dampened the rebel spirit.
Regarding his son Santosh Subba being arrested in the Kalimpong blast incident, Subba stated “If he is guilty he should be punished. If not they should not keep him behind bars like they did to me for 10 years after which they acquitted me. I have lost precious years of my life”
On July 26, 2011, the Kalimpong motor stand was rocked by a low intensity blast at around 3am in the morning with a stove allegedly planted below a North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) bus having exploded. Santosh was arrested in connection with this case on July 31.
“I am happy that my husband is back home after 10 long years but I am also sad that my son is behind bars though he is innocent like his father” stated Monika Subba, wife of Chattrey Subba.