GORKHALAND AGITATION Long Way

Gorkhaland agitators are facing a tough time following remarks by the West Bengal chief minister against their demand <br><p><strong>UMA KANTA KHANAL</strong> in Jhapa.</p>

Feb. 28, 2011, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol. : 04 No .-17 Feb.25-2011 (Falgun 13,2067)

West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya was addressing a mass meeting in Siliguri early this week when he said that Gorkhaland was not possible. He also threatened the agitating Gorkha Janamukti Morcha to suspend its Gorkhaland demand. He said if there was any kind of insecurity in Darjeeling, the government would initiate a strong action against the Morcha.


The chief minister's remarks on the eve of the state's legislative assembly elections, slated for May, meant more than met the ears. He was addressing a mass of Bengali people and it appeared that he was trying to grab their sentiment against the demand of Gorkhaland.


The ruling party of West Bengal, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), insisted on more autonomy to the Darjeeling hills, not a separate state for Gorkhas. The chief minister said, "West Bengal will not be divided."


This created a new kind of political talk in the hills. The people in the hills are minutely observing how things unfold for the future. Some have advised the Morcha to take issue with these remarks in the tripartite talks involving the central, the state and the Morcha level leaders, scheduled for mid-March.


Executive editor of a Nepali daily newspaper Sibu Chhetri said, "It would be better to discuss the chief minister’s remarks in the tripartite talks because he is the principal person in the state."


The agitating Morcha has become more aggressive in response to the "No to Gorkhaland" stand of the chief minister. Morcha's spokesperson Dr. Harka Bahadur Chhetri said that there was no use of the chief minister's threatening. He said, "His expression is unconstitutional and he is not the right person to give or not give us Gorkhaland."


The chief minister of the state has directed the North Bengal administration to be strong against the agitation of Morcha. The administration has deployed para-military forces throughout the Darjeeling district and Dooars area. The security persons have also arrested more than a hundred cadres of Gorkha Janamukti Morcha, who were involved in torching the government property.

Morcha cadres had torched many government offices and vehicles after the para-military force, CRPF, gunned down three Morcha activists in Kumani, Dooars as they were trying to sit for a hunger strike in the restricted area. Morcha leaders are in the jungles to escape being arrested.


The state’s ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) has also blamed that GJM has its connection with the Indian


Maoists who are in the armed struggle in West Bengal and other states. A wing of Indian Maoists, Bandi Mukti Committe, had called a strike supporting the agitation of GJM after the para-military forces gunned three cadres of Morcha. A leader of the party representing Darjeeling, Saman Pathak said, "It is very dangerous for the people of Darjeeling in the future if Morcha continues its connection with the maoists."


The agitating Morcha is in a long march to Dooars area where its three cadres were killed. But the administration has not permitted its people to enter the area. Thousands of Gorkhas are on the roads.

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