The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on Thursday sought central intervention to “restore peace” in Darjeeling and foil the West Bengal government’s attempt to make Bengali mandatory in schools. GJM general secretary Roshan Giri and BJP’s Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and placed their demands before him. “We have apprised the home minister of the prevailing situation in Darjeeling and the Mamata Banerjee government’s attempts to impose Bengali in the district-based schools. We have urged him for immediate central intervention to bring back peace there,” Giri said after meeting Singh on Thursday.
The GJM leader said they will not participate in the June 19 tripartite meeting called by the home ministry to discuss issues related to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), adding that his party would talk only about a separate state. Giri said the Bengal government is conspiring to suppress the democratic movement for Gorkhaland brutally by using force.
“We strongly condemn the raids on our offices in Darjeeling. Whatever the police found in our offices were planted by police themselves,” he said. Giri said both Bengali and Nepali, the languages spoken in Darjeeling, are in the Eight Schedule of the Constitution and hence, equal respect should be given to both.
“We will not accept the imposition of Bengali in Darjeeling,” he said, adding that the home minister had assured them that he would speak to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue and try to find a solution. Ahluwalia said the Mamata government must issue an official order declaring that Bengali will not be made mandatory in Darjeeling to assuage the feelings of the people of the hills.
The BJP MP said there should be a political solution to the Gorkhaland issue and use of police force cannot be acceptable. Protesters and police on Thursday hurled stones at each other while uncovered weapons from premises connected to the movement’s chief, Bimal Gurung. The Centre also said it is awaiting a detailed report sought from the Mamata government, which has asked the MHA to postpone the tripartite talks, which as per MHA are scheduled for June 19.