Darjeeling heading for fresh unrest


With the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha's (GJM) decision to start relay fast in Kallimpong, the possibilities of another unrest in Darjeeling seems to be increasing. The GJM, which runs the autonomous board in the hills, has asked the schools in Darjeeling to hold their examinations ahead of schedule. Also, it has asked the Gorkhas, living in the plains of Terai and Dooars, to prepare for agitation.

GJM leader Bimal Gurung refused to clarify whether the party would start agitation immediately and bring back the days of unrest, but mentioned that they are not ruling out the possibilities.

Roshan Giri, second in command in GJM, said, "We cannot sit idle as West Bengal chief minister has decided to break Darjeeling on the basis of its ethnic identity. We cannot accept it." But he, too, said that nothing had been decided yet.

The situation has forced Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to rush to the hills with her senior cabinet ministers and officials. The CM reached Kallimpong on Thursday and held meeting with Lepcha board members. She has lined up series of meetings with other community members including Lamas and Tibetans.

Mamata had recently opened up several boards for Lepachas, Lamas, Bhutias and Tibetans in Darjeeling. Though these boards are not autonomous like the GTA and have not got the central government stamp, Mamata has given them recognition under the Society Acts and granted them money under the state budget.

This irked the GJM which called the move an interference in the autonomy of Darjeeling’s Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). The GTA received autonomous status under a tripartite agreement involving central government (during UPA rule), West Bengal government and the GJM.

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