Gorkha Janamukti Morcha threatens indefinite agitationMarch 24th, 2008 - 5:44 pm ICT by admin
Kolkata, March 24 (IANS) The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), opposed to the Sixth Schedule status that envisages greater autonomy to West Bengal’s Darjeeling district, has threatened an indefinite political agitation in the hills towards their demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland. “We will carry out a peaceful and democratic agitational programme in different parts of Darjeeling, Siliguri and Dooars area in north Bengal. We want that the tripartite accord of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) signed in 1988 be immediately withdrawn,” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told IANS.
“We would not only undertake the political agitation in Darjeeling but would also extend our activity in Siliguri (the plains) and Dooars as these two places are inseparable parts of Gorkhaland,” Giri said.
While the Sixth Schedule of the constitution envisages greater autonomy, the GJM, which has challenged the over three-decade hegemony of Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) leader Subhas Ghising, has raised the demand for a Gorkhaland.
Giri said the Memorandum of Settlement signed on Dec 5, 2005, should also be nullified because people of Darjeeling do not want any Sixth Schedule status for the region.
The central government had in 2005 announced Sixth Schedule status to the region to ensure greater autonomy to the governing DGHC in the hill district. The proposal is now pending union cabinet approval.
GNLF was the principal political force in hills till GJM emerged.
Ghising was a signatory to the Memorandum of Settlement for Sixth Schedule status to the region.
Under the Sixth Schedule, the district council gets more powers, similar to those enjoyed by the Autonomous District Councils of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.
Followed by indefinite protests, the GNLF chief was forced to knock on West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya’s door after hundreds of GJM supporters confined him at Pintail village, a resort located three km from Siliguri, for five days after his return from New Delhi Feb 18.
He had held talks with the central government over inclusion of Darjeeling in the Sixth Schedule.
The beleaguered GNLF supremo later stepped down from the post of caretaker administrator of the DGHC.
Tags: assam, autonomous district, buddhadeb bhattacharya, cabinet approval, chief minister, darjeeling district, dghc, district councils, giri, hegemony, meghalaya, mizoram, national liberation front, north bengal, political agitation, roshan, siliguri, tripura, union cabinet, west bengal