GJMM, ABABP tussle over tribal youths

JALPAIGURI, Jan. 29 : Resisting the Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha’s drive to collect Adivasi youths from the Dooars for recruitment as Gorkhaland personnel (GLP), the Akhil Bhartiya Adivasi Bikash Parishad (ABABP) today detained a busload of tribal youths, apparently assembled by the GJMM for recruitment as GLP.

The incident happened near old Hasimara in Jalpaiguri district when a bus containing about 60 to 70 tribal youths was travelling towards Garubathan where the GJMM is scheduled to launch a hunger strike tomorrow. ABABP activists stopped the bus near old Hasimara and sent them back home.

According to ABABP Jaigaon regional committee president Mr Raju Bara, GJMM activists were trying to “mislead” the Adivasi youths. “Learning that GJMM activists were snaring Adivasi youths, we went to the spot and rescued our boys. All of them were from the Bhatpara Tea Estate area of Kalchini and unemployed. The GJMM had offered them jobs and were trying to misguide them,” he alleged.

The Adivasi leader further stated that the youths have been advised against enlisting with the GLP as it was an unconstitutional set-up. “We pointed out that the GJMM was trying to create disturbance in the area and assured them that we’ll try to find them employment opportunities as early as possible. Ultimately they went back home convinced,” Mr Bara said.

Commenting on the development, a member of Terai-Dooars Coordination Committee of ABABP, Mr Rajesh Lakra, said: “We will report the incident to the chief minister during our talks in Kolkata tomorrow and urge him to create job opportunity for the Adivasi youths. We will not allow the GJMM to sway away our youths,” he added.
The GJMM has protested against the ABABP’s act. The organisation’s media and publicity secretary of East Dooars, Mr Rajesh Sharma, said that the Adivasi supporters had “unlawfully” stopped the youths. “All of them are committed GJMM supporters but the ABABP activists threatened them to stay away from our organisation. It is undemocratic and we strongly protest against it,” he said.