Bhutan Maoists aiding Gorkha stir? (Reproduction)

Published on Jan 24 2009 // Main News

JALPAIGURI: Intelligence agencies are worried over reports that Bhutan Maoists have extended support to the Gorkhaland movement in the Darjeeling  Hills, spearheaded by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM). Under the circumstances, it is being feared that the region might witness acts of extreme violence

According to Intelligence reports, the Bhutan Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) has been regularly keeping in touch with a section of GJM leaders. The party has reportedly assured GJM leaders of extending all possible support to the statehood movement.

The two armed wings of BCP (M-L-M) Bhutan Tiger Force and United Revolutionary Front of Bhutan are keeping in touch with some GJM leaders and have assured to help them out if the movement takes a violent turn. The two outfits are active in southern Bhutan, and their help to Gorkhaland supporters in the Dooars can pose serious law and order problems.

GJM general secretary Roshan Giri, however, rubbished such fears. "There is absolutely no question of Bhutan Maoists supporting the Gorkhaland cause. If there are such allegations, I categorically deny them. GJM is following a Gandhian movement, in which there is no scope of violence. Such baseless rumours are being spread by a section of people to intentionally malign our movement," he told TOI.

Even before any anti-Ghisingh uprising in the Hills could be sensed, Intelligence agencies had reported that the Nepalese population of North Bengal might revive their demand for Gorkhaland. The Nepalese living in the Dooars were never happy with Ghisingh, as they felt the GNLF supremo had betrayed them by excluding Dooars from the DGHC.

It was due to this that organizations such as the Nepalese National Democratic Front of India (NNDFI) could penetrate into the Dooars while the Maoist movement was at its peak in Nepal. And, supporting the NNDFI was perhaps the launching pad for another Gorkhaland movement, as a section of the region's Nepalese wanted Bhutanese refugees to support their cause. Sleuths now fear that if the Bhutanese refugees do join the movement, the region will witness violence worse than what Nepal experienced.

"Bhutan Maoists have already joined hands with Ulfa, KLO and NDFB, and they already have good relations with Nepal Maoists. The organization was formed in the refugee camps of Nepal, and is being regularly helped by Nepal Maoists. It is clear that the situation is much grimmer this time than it was in the Eighties," said an official.

Due to their same origin, language and culture, it has become very difficult for police to differentiate between Bhutanese refugees and Indian Nepalese. A large number of the former had settled down in the Dooars after they were evicted from Bhutan in the Eighties. It was this section that had worked as mediators in building up relations with Bhutan Maoists, according to sources.

Times of India
25 Jan 2009, 0343 hrs IST, Pinak Priya Bhattacharya, TNN