Gorkha group demands full statehood for Darjeeling HillsMay 9th, 2008 - 8:07 pm ICT by admin
Kolkata, May 9 (IANS) The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), which is spearheading a movement for a separate Darjeeling Hill state, Friday submitted a memorandum of demands to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. “I have received a written statement from GJM specifying their demands and expectations from the government Friday morning. It is good to know that they too want to sort out the issue through mutual discussion,” Bhattacharjee told reporters at a press conference here Friday.
“After going through the details of their demands, I will talk to the ministry concerned over the issue. I am sure we will soon arrive at a permanent solution,” Bhattacharjee said, adding: “The relationship and communication between the hills and plains have always been peaceful and constructive.”
“The allround development of neither the hills nor the plains is possible unless there is harmony and peace among the residents,” he stressed.
The GJM supporters went on hunger strike May 1 demanding permission to organise political rallies and meetings in Siliguri town of Darjeeling district. The fast was called off May 4.
Commenting on the hunger strike, Bhattacharjee said Sunday: “I still don’t know what the GJM actually wants from the state and the central government. They went on a fast unto death programme, demanding permission to hold public meetings at Siliguri. But why they want to hold these public meetings is still not clear to me.”
The GJM, led by its president Bimal Gurung, has been spearheading a movement in the hills demanding a separate state and also opposing the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling.
The central government in 2005 announced the Sixth Schedule status to the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)-led Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) that ensures greater autonomy to the governing body. But Gurung’s group, which is opposed to the GNLF, is demanding full statehood.
Tags: autonomy, central government, chief minister, darjeeling hills, dghc, friday morning, gjm, governing body, gurung, harmony, hunger strike, kolkata, may 1, memorandum, national liberation front, permanent solution, political rallies, public meetings, statehood, west bengal