Darjeeling, June 28: Bimal Gurung today requested Mamata Banerjee to hasten the recruitment of Gorkhaland Personnel into the police and the DGHC, hinting that the party was finding it difficult to sustain its force of youth volunteers.
“We have requested Madam (Mamata) to recruit the 13,000 GLP into the police and the DGHC. This is mentioned in the Memorandum of Agreement (signed by the Centre, state and the Morcha on July 18, 2011),” the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief said after meeting the chief minister.
A Morcha leader, who was in the delegation that met Mamata, told The Telegraph that Gurung had raised the GLP issue with Union home minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday. “Our party president is of the opinion that the recruitment of the GLP boys and girls into the police and the DGHC should start soon. Mamata assured us that she would look into the plea, while Chidambaram said the matter would be taken up.”
The clause in the agreement for the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration reads: “The GTA youth would be considered for recruitment in the police, army and para-military forces subject to their suitability for such appointment.”
Observes said the words “GTA youth” was incorporated and the acronym “GLP” omitted in the agreement as it would be incorrect to mention the name of a voluntary force raised by a political party for jobs.
The Morcha leader said that chief secretary Samir Ghosh told the delegates today that the government could explore the possibility of setting up police recruitment centres in the hills.
Although Gurung demanded that the GLP should be given jobs in the DGHC, the council doesn’t figure in the GTA agreement regarding the plan for employment of the “GTA youth”.
Many also believe that Gurung’s figure of 13,000 GLP cadres is exaggerated and only about 2,000 to 3,000 youths are currently in the force.
The Morcha had raised the GLP in 2008 to supervise at the party’s public meetings. But there have been allegations of the GLP indulging in moral policing, to the chagrin of the local people.
Gurung’s insistence on the hastening the recruitment of the GLP into the police or the DGHC points to Morcha’s desperation to find an alternative livelihood for the volunteers, most of whom are less than 30 years old.
Each GLP guard is paid Rs 1,700 every month by the Morcha. If Gurung’s figure of 13,000 cadres is taken to be true, the Morcha would end up shelling out a couple of crores for the force.
“It is easy to speak before the mike but I have to face one problem after another every day. The GLP question me about their future. They tell me that they are ageing with every passing day and the girls say they will have crossed their marriageable age in the next five years. The boys, too, tell me that they will be unemployed if they do not land any job soon,” Gurung said on June 24.
“The question is about providing them with food and shelter. We pay them Rs 1,700 a month and have to take care of their uniforms, shelter and other needs also. It is not easy. Has anyone thought of how I am maintaining the force? Those who sermonise have never come forward to give us a fistful of rice for the GLP,” Gurung said.
It is believed that the Morcha raises the money by collecting subscriptions from its supporters and select business establishments. Morcha leaders, however, refused to comment on the source of the funds.
Sources in the administration said it would be technically impossible to conduct special recruitment for the GLP. “The government can invite applications from all youths, including the GLP, for certain jobs. After all, the clause in the GTA deal says: “…subject to their suitability for such appointments,” said an official.