Showcause Notice for Hill Poster

The district municipal officer has issued showcause notices to Binay Tamang, the assistant general secretary of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, for allegedly trying to "foment divisiveness" through "Gorkhaland versus Bengal" posters.

Joyoshi Dasgupta, the district municipal officer, in an order dated May 8 said: "Whereas it has been brought to our notice that posters stating "Gorkhaland banam (versus) Bengal", the contents of which reads in Nepali, 'Bangal ko Dashatwalai jaraibata marna hamro bhavishya surakshit rakna sabai mili gojamumo prarthilia jitaw' & 'gorkhalandamalai paraiko hatma bikri hunudekhi bachawna gorkhahuruko sunoulo bhavishya banawana gojamumo prarthilai vote dinushos' have been pasted on your behalf at public places in Darjeeling for the purpose of garnering for Municipal General Elections."

The contents of the two posters written in Nepali loosely translate as "to uproot Bengal's slavery and to secure our future, let us all vote for the Morcha's candidate" and "to stop the sale of mother Gorkhaland to outsiders and for a golden future of Gorkhas vote for GJM candidates."

Dasgupta has asked Tamang to reply within 24 hours of receiving the notice, explaining why action should not be taken for "appealing to caste/language/race and trying to foment divisiveness" which is in contravention of various rules.

Tamang today said: "Our posters are not against any community. To start with, we have written 'Gorkhaland versus Bengal' and both 'Gorkhaland' and 'Bengal' do not denote any communities."

However, when told that the administration's concern was not with the word "Gorkhaland" but the contents of the poster, Tamang said: "During every election, the administration sets up media certificate and monitoring cell, which vets contents of all posters and issues us certificate for printing the same. In this election, such a cell was not set up by the administration."

The district magistrate, however, clarified that all political parties had been briefed on various provisions related to elections. "An all-party meeting had been convened by the administration in April and all the provisions had been explained to all parties," said Dasgupta.

He said as per the Supreme Court's order dated January 2, 2017 "an appeal in the name of religious, race, caste, community or language" was impermissible.

Darjeeling Sadar police station also issued a notice to Tamang to appear for questioning in two days.

Vivek Chhetri

In pic: The poster published by the Morcha


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