Left Front expresses concern over Gorkhaland crisis

West Bengal’s ruling Left Front expressed concern on Monday over the “critical” situation prevailing in Darjeeling hills in the wake of the agitation launched by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), demanding a separate Gorkhaland state.

The LF Committee, which met in Kolkata, also expressed its concern over GJM’s decision to launch an agitation signifying “non-cooperation” with the state government.

“The situation in Darjeeling is critical where civic life has been seriously hit. We have asked the state administration to take appropriate steps as boycott of certain sections of people was being planned”, the Left Front chairman Biman Bose said after the meeting.

Calling for the unity between the people living in the hills and plain areas of Darjeeling district, Bose said “such boycott is not proper especially on the basis of linguistic division and is fraught with dangerous consequences”.

Bose said support base of the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) headed by Subhas Ghishing, the former chairman of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council had eroded but the GJM should take steps so that the state’s tradition of communal harmony and social equilibrium was maintained.

“There is an attempt to segregate the people on the basis of language. This will only harm the state’s harmony”, he said.

Bose’s comment came in the wake of GJM chief Bimal Gurung’s announcement on Sunday to launch a non-cooperation agitation in an apparent bid to prove that he wields control in the hills after Ghishing was hounded out of the hills, following the recent killing of a GJM supporter.

The GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told PTI from Darjeeling on Monday that as part of the non-cooperation movement with the state government the hill people had been urged by the GJM not to pay any taxes to the government to press for its demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

He claimed that the GJM enjoyed support of ninety percent of the population in Darjeeling district.

He said GJM was considering to issue directive to all business establishments in the hills to write “Gorkhaland” on the signboards erasing the words “West Bengal”.

He, however, denied a report that GJM activists were forcibly collecting money from the businessmen in the plain areas of the district. “This is not true. It is an allegation against us.”

Reacting to Bose’s statement Giri said GJM chief had appealed for peace and if there was tension prevailing in the hills it was due to activities of the “miscreants” belonging to the GNLF and state government should take steps against the elements trying to destabilise the situation.

A bullet allegedly fired from the house of Ghishing’s lieutenant Deepak Gurung killed Pramila Sharma, a GJM supporter on Friday last. The GJM has asked the GNLF leaders to leave Darjeeling soon following the incident.

Giri said only full statehood could usher in lasting peace and fulfil the aspiration of the people of the region, who have a different identity, culture and language and do not conform to the people of Bengal.

“We are for a tripartite talks comprising the Centre, West Bengal Government and GJM”, he said.  (Howrah News)

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