The people of Darjeeling district should unite to stop Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) from dividing the state and forming Gorkhaland, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said on Tuesday. “People of plains and hills of Darjeeling district should unite and stop GJM from dividing West Bengal and forming Gorkhaland,” Bhattacharjee said in a written statement to mediapersons.
Bhattacharjee also said the continuous agitation at Darjeeling was hampering the economy and tourism industry. “GJM’s demand for separate statehood Gorkhaland in Darjeeling is causing huge losses to the economy and tourism industry of the district, especially in Siliguri, Terai and Dooars areas. Besides, these political movements are disrupting peace and harmony of the hills,” the statement said.
On GJM’s replacing the words “West Bengal” with “Gorkhaland” from all vehicle number plates and signboards, Bhattacharjee said, “West Bengal government requests people of Darjeeling not to fall into the trap of GJM and participate in their illegal activities. There is no possibility at the moment that government will give in to the demand for Gorkhaland.” He said these kinds of ‘illegal activities’ might work against GJM at the forthcoming tripartite meeting on the Darjeeling issue in Delhi.
The GJM, led by its president Bimal Gurung, has been spearheading a movement in the hills demanding a separate state and also opposing the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling.
The central government in 2005 announced the Sixth Schedule status to the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)-led Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) that ensures greater autonomy to the governing body. But Gurung’s group, which is opposed to the GNLF, is demanding full statehood. (IANS)