DOOARS TERAI: Camps to deter tribal youths from joining GJM

SILIGURI, Feb. 9: The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikash Parishad (ABAVP) has decided to hold village level camps across the Dooars to ‘free’ a section of the adivasi youths who have succumbed to the GJM clutch.
According to the ABAVP sources, there are about 550 adivasi youths who recently joined the Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP) ~ a voluntary force being raised by the GJM to strive for a separate Gorkhaland state. “GJM activists were luring youths from different parts of the Dooars with false assurances. By holding camps at every village/tea garden, we would try and let them know the sinister design of the GJM and the negative consequences of supporting it,” the ABAVP Dooars-Terai secretary, Mr Rajesh Lakra said.
The issue figured prominently at the tribal body’s Dooars-Terai conference held at Pradhannagar in Siliguri yesterday. The daylong conference was attended by over 300 delegates from across the region. Mr Lakra said that backwardness and unemployment were to be blamed for the adivasi youths joining the GJM way.

“With tea estates being locked out and the failure of the state government in creating some alternative livelihood opportunities, the adivasi youths of Dooars face a bleak future. Under these circumstances, it is only natural for them to be mislead by destructive forces like the GJM, especially when it promises employment,” the adivasi leader said. During it’s meeting with the chief minister Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharya in Kolkata on 29 January, the ABAVP cited these issues and demanded Sixth Schedule status for the Dooars for redress.

The chief minister, however, assured the adivasi body that the state government henceforth, would try its best to solve their issues and there was no need for Sixth Schedule status. “Let us see if the CM lives up to his promise. In case he fails, we would push for the Sixth Schedule autonomy in a vigorous way,” Mr Lakra added.