THE OPPOSITION came together on Thursday, slamming Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her alleged failure in controlling the violence in Darjeeling. Maintaining that just like in Kashmir, the problems of Darjeeling hills will not be solved with the use of Army or force, the CPM asked the state government to solve the sensitive issue with a cautious approach. “The situation in Darjeeling is concerning. The policy adopted by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is equivalent to the Centre’s policy regarding Kashmir. However, the problems of Darjeeling will not be solved by force. It requires discussion. Let peace prevail in the hills,” said CPM Secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra in a statement.
Echoing him, CPM Lok Sabha MP Mohammad Salim said the situation in Darjeeling has turned worse due to Mamata’s “divisive politics”. “She intends to capture everything — be it a municipality, club or any other establishment. Instead of allowing the Gorkha Territorial Administration to work freely, she interfered in its functioning. She created development boards based on ethnic groups, which created further division among people of Darjeeling. She broke their unity and now the outcome is clear. It is a sensitive issue, and must be dealt with a human touch,” he added.
Salim asked the state government to make all necessary arrangements to help tourists stranded in Darjeeling to return to the plains. “We have seen how similar policies adopted by the Centre had jeopardised the situation in Kashmir and Manipur. This kind of policy will not work in Darjeeling hills. Deploying Army will only aggravate the situation. Banerjee must show her political will to solve the problem. But first protection must be provided to stranded tourists,” he said.
Slamming Mamata, state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said the CM should restrain herself from making “provocative comments”.
“Darjeeling hills has been turned into a place of showdown between Gurung and the chief minister. The persistent provocation of the chief minister has certainly aggravated the situation. Banerjee as usual did not recognise the verdict of the people and entangled herself in a turf war in the hills. I am concerned for the safety of the tourists. The CM should restrain herself from making any provocative comments,” said Chowdhury.
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh also accused Mamata of escalating the situation. “Banerjee is herself responsible for this. If she can go to Delhi and organise protest against the central government, GJM too has the right to organise protests against the state government,” he said.