Demand for a separate Gorkhaland resurfaces in Darjeeling

January 4th, 2008 - 4:44 pm ICT by admin  

Darjeeling, Jan 4 (ANI): Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) andabout half a dozen other parties have announced that they would intensify their movement for a separate Gorkhaland in Darjeeling and surrounding hills in West Bengal from the second week of January.
Over the past few months, the GJM has been organising rallies and protests in Darjeeling Hills to press their demand for a Gorkhaland state.
The powerful Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) has favoured the Central Government’s move to create an autonomous self-governing Gorkha Hill Council in Darjeeling under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
But the GJM, a breakaway faction of the GNLF, led by Bimal Gurung, has vehemently opposed it.
“We want Gorkhaland. Now the government is talking about Sixth Schedule, when they had already rejected it in 1988. Then why is the government talking about it now. We do not want Sixth Schedule,” said Gurung.
Gurung added that they do not want to move out of India, but need a separate state.
“We want to stay in India. We are protecting India by Gorkha forces then why are we not being given a separate state,” added Gurung.
In December 2007, the Central Government deferred the consideration by Parliament of a Constitution Amendment Bill to create an autonomous self-governing Gorkha Hill Council in Darjeeling reportedly under pressure from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The government has referred the Bill to a Parliamentary Standing Committee as demanded by the opposition.
GNLF launched the agitation for a separate state in 1980, but dropped the demand for Sixth Schedule after New Delhi agreed to confer partial autonomy in 1988 for the Nepalese-speaking people.
An agreement was signed by the Central Government, the West Bengal Government and the GNLF paving way for the setting up of the Autonomous Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (ADGHC) in 1988.
The State Government in West Bengal has been resisting demands for a separate state to Gorkhas. (ANI)

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