The Root Cause – Government Of West Bengal Needs To Apologize


Darjeeling was left bleeding yesterday, yet there was not a single word of sympathy or regret on the part of West Bengal government towards those who lost their lives, or those who were injured. The Chief Minister who had once announced that she was “rough and tough,” yesterday went berserk, and there was no one to protect the Gorkhas from her wrath.

The genesis of this ongoing agitation Can be traced back to May 15th announcement by the West Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee when he announced that “the government [of WB] will introduce three language policy, the students will have to take Bengali compulsory as one of the three languages.”

This same fact was reiterated by Mamata herself in a Facebook post dated May 16th.

As the protest against the proposed imposition of Bengali language intensified, lots of mixed messages were given out, the Darjeeling DM called the protests “a result of rumour mongering”, while Mamata who had come to Mirik claimed she had never said the three language policy would be imposed in the hills. Later Hill TMC leaders and DM Darjeeling kept on repeating that the protests were in vain, as “no official notification had been published, so there was no need to protest.”

What had started as a protest against the proposed imposition of Bengali language, metamorphosed into a full-blown demand for Gorkhaland, when protesters were lathi-charged and tear gas shells were fired upon them on June 8th. While the police and administration maintain that the protesters pelted stones on security forces, so the forces retaliated, the GJM has resolutely claimed that the stones were pelted from the police’s side. Tensions quickly escalated across the hills, this is when the Bengal government should have shown maturity and call for talks, instead they sent additional forces and things quickly went south from there onwards.

All of this has culminated in the deaths of three youths, and over 20 seriously injured due to police firing and lathi-charge. Yet, the administration continues to claim that they didn’t fire upon the protestors.

Perhaps what happened yesterday could have been easily avoided, had the government of West Bengal had the fortitude to call upon Hill leaders and explain their intent before announcing the proposed three-language policy. Perhaps the bloodshed could have been avoided, had the government of West Bengal called for a meeting with all hill-based parties and clarified their position on. i) if Bengali would be exempted from the hills, Terai and Dooars. ii) if Gorkha’s, Adivasis and Rajbanshis would be exempted from taking Bengali as a compulsory language across West Bengal or would they have to take it outside north-Bengal districts.

The protest against the proposed forceful imposition of Bengali as one of the three languages and the deaths and injuries and the general air of fear and chaos that prevails in our hills today is resultant from the confusions created by the mixed messages sent out by Mamata, her education minister and Darjeeling DM. All of them will do well to start the healing process by apologizing for the mess.

THE ROOT CAUSE – Government of West Bengal Needs to Apologize Editorial: UpendraDarjeeling was left bleeding yesterday, yet there was not a single word of sympathy or regret on the part of West Bengal government towards those who lost their lives, or those who were injured. The Chief Minister who had once announced that she was "rough and tough," yesterday went berserk, and there was no one to protect the Gorkhas from her wrath. The genesis of this ongoing agitation, Can be traced back to May 15th announcement by the West Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee when he announced that "the government [of WB] will introduce three language policy, the students will have to take Bengali compulsory as one of the three languages." This same fact was reiterated by Mamata herself in a Facebook post dated May 16th. As protest against the proposed imposition of Bengali language intensified, lots of mixed messages were given out, the Darjeeling DM called the protests "a result of rumour mongering", while Mamata who had come to Mirik claimed she had never said the three language policy would be imposed in the hills. Later Hill TMC leaders and DM Darjeeling kept on repeating that the protests were in vain, as "no official notification had been published, so there was no need to protest." What had started as a protest against the proposed imposition of Bengali language, metamorphosed into a full blown demand for Gorkhaland, when protesters were lathi-charged and tear gas shells were fired upon them on June 8th. While the police and administration maintain that the protesters pelted stones on security forces, so the forces retaliated, the GJM has resolutely claimed that the stones were pelted from the police's side. Tensions quickly escalated across the hills, this is when the Bengal government should have shown maturity and call for talks, instead they sent additional forces and things quickly went south from there onwards. All of this has culminated in the deaths of three youths, and over 20 seriously injured due to police firing and lathicharge. Yet, the administration continues to claim that they didn't fire upon the protestors. Perhaps what happened yesterday could have been easily avoided, had the government of West Bengal had the fortitude to call upon Hill leaders and explain their intent before announcing the proposed three-language policy. Perhaps the bloodshed could have been avoided, had the government of West Bengal called for a meeting with all hill-based parties and clarified their position on i) if Bengali would be exempted from the hills, Terai and Dooars. ii) if Gorkha's, Adivasis and Rajbanshis would be exempted from taking Bengali as a compulsory language across West Bengal or would they have to take it outside north-Bengal districts. The protest against the proposed forceful imposition of Bengali as one of the three languages and the deaths and injuries and the general air of fear and chaos that prevails in our hills today is resultant from the confusions created by the mixed messages sent out by Mamata, her education minister and Darjeeling DM. All of them will do well to start the healing process by apologizing for the mess.

Posted by The Darjeeling Chronicle on 17 जून 2017


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