GJM threatens more agitation if Gorkhaland demand not metFebruary 4th, 2009 - 8:25 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Feb 4 (IANS) The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) Wednesday threatened to launch more agitation if its six-point demand, including that for a separate state of Gorkhaland within the country, was not met by the government. “I would like to make it very clear that we will not budge from our Gorkhaland demand,” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told reporters here.
Giri said his party, leading the movement for creating a separate state of Gorkhaland out of Darjeeling district and Dooars area in Jalpaiguri district in northern West Bengal, would continue with its “democratic agitation” to achieve Gorkhaland.
Giri denied that his party was facing resistance from the tribals in its bid to make inroads in the Dooars area. “We have absolutely no difference with the tribals. They are with us,” he said, pointing to some tribal leaders present at the media meet.
The GJM and the tribals’ Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Bikash Parishad (ABABP) indulged in violent clashes recently in the Dooars that left several people injured and property damaged.
The ABABP has strongly opposed the GJM’s efforts to include the plains and Dooars areas in their agitation for a separate Gorkhaland state.
Detailing the six-point charter of demands, Giri said the state government should allow his party to hold meetings and processions in the Dooars.
“The state government should also ensure that the life and property of our supporters in the Dooars are secure. Compensation must be paid to our workers whose houses have been damaged and their cars set afire. The false cases against our leaders and workers should also be withdrawn,” he said.
Meanwhile, reacting to the state’s ruling Left Front chairman Biman Bose’s condemnation of the GJM’s decision that only the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would be allowed to hold political meetings and rallies in the Darjeeling hills, Giri said: “Bose’s claim is completely baseless and it’s nothing but an allegation. The GJM had never declared any such things in Darjeeling hills. It’s absolutely wrong.”
Giri also demanded that the closed tea gardens in the Dooars be opened.
“We are Gandhiites. We are holding Gandhian protests. But we will launch a bigger agitation if our demands are not met,” he said.
Seventeen GJM activists have been on an indefinite fast at Gorubathan in Kalimpong sub-division of Darjeeling district to press for their demands.
GJM president Bimal Gurung is scheduled to reach the city Wednesday evening to hold discussions with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhatacharjee on the fast which has now gone on for a week.
But Gurung has said he would not discuss the Gorkahland demand with the chief minister as the the tri-partite parleys in Delhi were the best forum for the issue.
The GJM has been leading a movement in the hills for a separate state, besides opposing greater autonomy for the hill governing body Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), under the sixth schedule of the constitution.
The DGHC was formed in 1988 through an agreement between the central and state governments and the Subhas Ghising-led Gorkha National Liberation Front after the hills witnessed violence for about two years.