This time, violence could spread to plains

At the peak of the Gorkhaland movement, Siliguri and the rest of north Bengal plains watched from a safe distance the gory battle in the Hills. Two decades later, with the Gorkhaland demand revived, these plains may no longer be bystanders.
For Gorkha Janamukti Morcha’s Bimal Gurung, the indefinite strike call is not just another showdown between GJM and the Left Front government. It is an opportunity to flex muscles in the plains, mobilize supporters as well as arm-twist the government.
The inclusion of Siliguri in the proposed Gorkhaland has only made the situation more tense, making Bengalis living in Siliguri insecure and even ready to fight back.
Insecurity-induced violence is almost imminent. Groups such as Jana Jagran Manch and Jana Chetana Manch have emerged in the plains to oppose GJM and have started targeting Nepali-speaking people.
At least 16 people were injured on Sunday at Bagdogra and Naxalbari. A backlash from Bimal Gurung and his henchmen is only a matter of time. So far none from GJM have spoken against Bengalis and there has been no attack on Bengalis in the Hills. Gorkha Janamukti Morcha has instead tried to go out of its way to appear friendly to Bengalis, bringing in some Bengali-speaking people for a rally near Siliguri on May 7. The flashpoint for the present turmoil was the administration’s (read CPM) refusal to give permission to GJM to hold a rally at Naxalbari. The CPI-ML (Liberation) and Left Front partner Forward Bloc both feel the administration was wrong in denying permission.
“It is a democratic party recognised by Election Commission. They should have been allowed to hold the rally. The way things are going it will take a turn for the worse,” said Smritish Bhattacharya, Forward Bloc district secretary. The Naxalite parties too want the dialogue to continue.
“Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee might have rejected Gorkhaland demand but the scope for dialogue still remains. We are all for a peaceful settlement of the issue. This could be in the form of another state or more autonomy,” said Abhijit Majumdar, CPI-ML (Liberation) state committee member. [The Times of India]


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