Raise separate state demand in Delhi meet: Buddha tells Gorkhaland activists

January 21st, 2009 - 11:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Jan 21 (IANS) In its bid to draw the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) to the negotiating table, the West Bengal government Wednesday urged the outfit to raise its Gorkhaland demand at the next round of tri-partite discussions in Delhi and appealed for the restoration of peace in the violence-marred Dooars region.Briefing newspersons after a hour-long meeting between Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee-led government team and a seven-member GJM delegation, state chief secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty said cases filed against GJM activists during the recent violence in Dooars of Jalpaiguri district would be reviewed.

The state government would also arrange free of cost treatment for those injured in clashes.

“The chief minister requested the GJM not to hold meetings and bring out rallies in the Dooars to prevent any escalation of the tension. Poor families whose houses have been damaged will be compensated,” Chakraborty said.

On the Gorkhaland demand raised by the GJM, the chief minister said the issue should be raised at the tri-partitie meeting in New Delhi.

The GJM delegation, led by its general secretary Roshan Giri, alleged that false cases had been filed against its cadres while the police had made no efforts to nab the miscreants who induged in arson and violence against the GJM workers.

“The chief minister assured them if cases of police inaction against miscreants are proved, then steps will be taken. Simlilarly, all cases filed against the GJM will be reviewed and those found false will be withdrawn,” said Chakraborty, who was present at the meeting.

However, the chief minister categorically said criminal activities like arson, violence, communal violence will not be tolerated.

Giri asserted his party will not budge from its Gorkhaland demand and press for the inclusion of the Dooars and Siliguri in the separate state.

“There’s no question of giving up our demand for Gorkhaland. We’ve placed all our demands before Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and now we will see how fast the state government takes steps to resolve it,” Giri said.

“We’d also made it clear that if we’re not allowed to hold meetings in Dooars democratically, we’ll have to move away from the Gandhian way of the movement and hunger strikes.

“We will see whether the Chief Minister gives us justice,” Giri said.

He also requested Bhattacharjee to see the demographic changes because of Bangaldeshi refugees who have settled down in Siliguri and its adjoining areas.

Dooars has been on the boil recently due to clashes between the GJM and rival Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Bikash Parishad (ABABP) who oppose the inclusion of Siliguri and the Dooars in Gorkhaland.

GJM has alleged that ABABP was being patronized by the state’s ruling Left Front partners Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Revolutionary Socialist Party.

The GJM has been leading a movement in the hills for a separate state, besides opposing the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling district.

The central government in 2005 conferred Sixth Schedule status on the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)-led Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), ensuring greater autonomy to the governing body.

The DGHC was formed in 1988 through an agreement between the central and state governments and the GNLF after the hills had witnessed violence for about two years.

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