DARJEELING ROW Dissension Grows

<br><STRONG>UMA KANTA KHANAL</STRONG> in Jhapa

July 3, 2011, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol. : 05 No.-2 July 01-2011 (Ashar 17,2068)

The agreement between Gorkha Janamukti Morcha and the chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, has invited strong condemnation from the other pro-Gorkhaland parties. They have reacted that the agreement is not in favour of the Gorkhali people of India.


The party agitating for a separate state for Indian Gorkhas, or Gorkhaland, Gorkha Janamukti Morcha had been launching the agitation for at least four years in the hill district of West Bengal, Darjeeling and its peripheral areas.


But recently, when it made an agreement with the chief minister to form an interim authority to develop Darjeeling in various sectors, the other parties which favour the formation of Gorkhaland have strongly reacted that the agreement is a betrayal for the people of Darjeeling and the Gorkhali people residing throughout that country. The interim authority entails formation of an autonomous council in Darjeeling.


The organisation secretary of Revolutionary Communist Party of India (Marxist), Govinda Chhetri, said, "The Indian Gorkhas had not been involved in the agitation of Gorkhaland to get the autonomous council only. The formation of the council is not the real demand of people of Darjeeling and the Indian Gorkhas."


Chhetri further said that the agitation was to obtain the real identity for Indian Gorkhas.


In the legislative assembly election of West Bengal, the candidates of Gorkha Janamukti Morcha won from all the three constituencies of Darjeeling. Dr. Harka Bahadur Chhetri, Rohit Sharma and Trilok Dewan are MPs from the hills.


The umbrella organisation of Indian Gorkhas, Bharatiya Gorkha Parisang is also not satisfied with the agreement between GJM and the chief minister of West Bengal. Parisang has said it is a shock for the Indian Gorkhas. The acting president of Parisang, Dr. Enos Das Pradhan said, "The problem of Darjeeling is different from the problem of Indian Gorkhas. The agreement can solve the problem of Darjeeling but the main demand of the Indian Gorkhas has not been addressed by it."


The last ruling party of West Bengal, Communist Party of India (Marxist), was also ready to provide autonomy to Darjeeling. But the agitating parties did not agree. When the same kind of agreement has been made with the latest chief minister, it is said that GJM's intention was only to phase out the communist rulers and politicians from the hills.


An MP, Dr. Harka Bahadur Chhetri, claims that the agreement is the result of eleven rounds of tripartite talks with the state and the central government. He said, "There is no use of condemning the agreement between GJM and the state government. We have not found out that there is possibility of a separate state directly, that is why this is the first step towards the separate state."


The MPs from the hills are busy now-a-days in the collection of problems of Darjeeling to find their solutions and to raise the voice of the people in the state legislative assembly. They are trying to convince the people that the agitation has not been suspended instead they will raise the voice of demand of Gorkhaland in the assembly. There had not been the discussion of the demand of Gorkhaland in the assembly during the rule of the communist parties.

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