Thirty years on, hill parties unite to call for Gorkhaland

The GNLF, which has been spearheading the ongoing protests against “forcible imposition of Bengali language” on people in the Hills, asked the GJM to resign from the assembly and all government bodies.

Written by Ravik Bhattacharya | Darjeeling | Updated: June 14, 2017 8:45 am
Gorkhaland, Gorkhaland agitation, darjeeling agitation, Gorkha Janmukti Morch, GJMgorkhaland agitation, TMC, trinamool congress, indian express news, india news, kolkata news, darjeeling news Police clash with protesters at Chowk Bazaar in Darjeeling on Tuesday. Source: Partha Paul

The crisis in the Darjeeling Hills deepened Tuesday when the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and other hill parties, including the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) which is an ally of the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, adopted an unanimous resolution seeking a separate state of Gorkhaland. Three decades ago, the GNLF under Subhas Ghising had led a violent movement in the Hills for a separate state.

The GNLF, which has been spearheading the ongoing protests against “forcible imposition of Bengali language” on people in the Hills, asked the GJM to resign from the assembly and all government bodies.

The GNLF said while it would rethink its alliance with the Trinamool Congress, the GJM too should resign from all government posts, be it the Gorkhaland territorial administration, assembly or municipal bodies.

The Gorkha Rashtriya Nirman Morcha, Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists, Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh were also present at the meeting where the resolution was adopted.

Another all-party meeting will be held on June 20. GJM chief Bimal Gurung is likely to meet ex-servicemen from the Hills Wednesday to step up the demand for Gorkhaland. Sources said he also spoke to GNLF’s Mohan Ghising, son of the late Subhas Ghising.

Roshan Giri, GJM general secretary, said: “We will jointly fight for Gorkhaland. A collective leadership will now form a road map for a separate state. We demand status quo on the government’s decision to make Bengali mandatory in schools. Right now, it is optional.”

GNLF spokesperson Neeraj Zimbo told reporters that it was joining hands with its “worst enemy in the Hills” for the sake of Gorkhaland.

“It is the demand of the people and this is the right time. People are agitating and their demand is Gorkhaland. We will fight together for a separate state. For this goal, we have joined hands with the GJM who are our worst enemy in the Hills,” Zimbo said.

During the mid-1980s, the GNLF led a violent movement for Gorkhaland. By 2007, Bimal Gurung broke away from GNLF and formed the GJM which emerged as the dominant force in the Hills.

“We will have to rethink on the alliance with Trinamool Congress. We had an electoral tie-up with Trinamool Congress. Our central committee will take a decision soon. I will request (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee not to oppose the (demand for a) separate state and write her name in history,” Zimbo said.

PTI adds: Roshan Giri claimed that the BJP district leadership too attended the meeting. But BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said: “We are not aware of any of our leaders attending any kind of all-party meet in Darjeeling.”

The Centre dispatched 600 additional paramilitary personnel to assist the West Bengal government in restoring normalcy in the Darjeeling Hills which witnessed incidents of stone pelting on the second day of an indefinite bandh.

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