As the indefinite strike continues in the Darjeeling hills for Gorkhaland, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung feels there is a conspiracy by the state government to break all-party unity in the region. In a press conference held at Patlaybas, Bimal Gurung said, “There is a conspiracy to bring back the sixth schedule by the state government. There are some political parties who are involved in it. I do not want to name them. However, the conspiracy to break Gorkha unity will be foiled by the people of the Hills.”
The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, applicable in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, gives tribal people freedom to exercise legislative and executive powers through an autonomous regional council and an autonomous district council.
Including Darjeeling in the schedule had been a demand of Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) during the 80’s. However, they later agreed for Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.
Gurung also stated that a message from the Centre has come through Darjeeling MP S S Ahluwalia for talks. However, he claims, the agenda was not right.
“We are willing to sit for talks for Gorkhaland and nothing else. A message from the Centre had come through the MP, but the agenda has to be right. We are ready to fight for Gorkhaland and wait, be it six months or years,” said Gurung. Gurung also stated that the agitation will be beefed up, and there is no question of withdrawing the indefinite strike that was called on June 15.
Meanwhile, he wrote to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, formally demanding a CBI inquiry into the deaths of three GJM cadres during clashes with police on June 17. Gurung stated that the three party cadres died in police firing. He wrote that his party did not trust the police investigation.
GJM leaders also demanded that GNLF should officially drop its demand to include the Hills in Sixth Schedule, and its leader Mann Ghising — son of Late Subhas Ghising — should resign as vice-chairman of North Bengal Board for Development of Sports and Games.