Sikkim backs ‘Gorkhaland’, mends past wounds

DARJEELING, Nov. 9: Sikkim government has extended an olive branch to mend its fall-out with Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha by announcing that it would help strengthen the Gorkhaland movement spearheaded by the party as and when required.
“The demand for Gorkhaland is justified because the Gorkhas are not demanding a separation from the country rather a separate state within India. Even the Union Minister has said that this is not an unconstitutional demand. We will support the demand in all ways that we can”, said Mr BB Goorong, advisor to Sikkim chief minister Mr Pawan Chamling at the release of a book based on Indian Idol Prashant Tamang in Darjeeling today.
Differences had marred the once cordial relations between Sikkim government and GJMM over the frequent blockade of NH 31 A- Sikkim’s only link with the rest of the country- a stretch of which falls within the Kalimpong sub-division of Darjeeling district that is disrupted due to the frequent strikes for the separate state movement.
The issue escalated when the Supreme Court reacting to a PIL by a Sikkim resident Mr OP Bhandari had instructed the West Bengal government to intervene in the matter. Sikkim though has always verbally supported the cause of Gorkhaland and had gone on record saying it would adopt a resolution in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly in favour of it.
But of late it had maintained a stoic silence despite several appeals from the GJMM to officially sponsor the demand.
Today, Mr Goorong condemned two or three political parties coming in way of a “genuine leader” as GJMM president Mr Bimal Gurung. “History will not pardon those who are trying to pose hurdles to the Gorkhaland movement. The future generation should not forgive them”, he said. The GJMM leadership appreciated the gesture. “Mr Goorong has spoken and we value their support greatly” Mr Gurung said.
Meanwhile the All Transport Joint Action Committee, a GJMM affiliate has decided to bar movement of vehicles on all routes within the Gorkhaland territory on 11 November protesting the Left-Front government’s effort to transfer the Motor Vehicle department to Siliguri. (The Statesman)

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