|Gorkhas say their demand is neither anti-national nor anti-Indian|
Gorkhaland essential for preserving ethnicity, identity, culture: GJMM
Tea, tourism and timber will be Gorkhaland’s main economic resources
NEW DELHI: Members of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) which is spearheading the agitation for creation of a separate Gorkhaland state in Darjeeling hills reiterated that their demand was neither anti-national nor anti-Indian.
Expressing their views at the tripartite talks with the Centre and the West Bengal government here on Monday, the GJMM members argued in favour of carving out Gorkhaland.
This had become essential for preserving their ethnicity, identity, culture, customs and language.
They said that identity and development of the region were two main issues and aspirations of the people could not be fulfilled under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of Constitution.
The first round of tripartite talks among the Centre, the West Bengal government and the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) opened with the 20-member GJMM delegation forcefully putting across its views during the three-hour meeting, sources said.
The delegation said it was seeking to redress the Gorkhas’ grievance within the ambit of the Constitution and their demand for a separate Gorkhaland State should not be taken as being a secessionist or anti-national demand.
On the economic viability of a separate State to be carved out in the Darjeeling hills, the GJMM contended that tea, tourism and timber would remain main economic resources.
The unexploited potential of hydel power could also be tapped. Besides, there were tremendous opportunities for developing floriculture and horticulture in the hills which had so far been ignored, they argued. (The Hindu)