Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday slammed the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM),spearheading the agitation for a separate Gorkhaland state,for stalling development work in the hills by imposing indefinite shutdown even as she appealed to the people in Darjeeling to shun the politics of strike.
Mamata,who began her two-day visit to the troubled hills at a time when the GJMs Ghar Bhitro Janata (people staying indoors) agitation has just begun,said,Asking people to remain indoors is nothing but a shutdown call. For political reasons,doors may be closed,but I appeal to the people to open their doors for development.
Rs 300 crore was granted to the Gorkha Tribunal Administration (GTA) for development,but they are not carrying out their job. We want peace in Darjeeling. Its children should get education and the poor should get food. We want Bengal to remain united, Mamata said while talking to reporters at Bagdogra airport on her way to Kalimpong,where she will be felicitated Tuesday by the Lepcha community.
Mamata said lack of development was the root cause for unrest in the hills. She also criticised the ongoing agitation and the ones carried out in the past for a separate state.
First it was (Subhas) Ghising (leader of Gorkhaland National Liberation Front) and now (Bimal) Gurung (GJM supremo). I ask,when will development take place? Do not set your house on fire on provocations from outsiders, Mamata said.
The GNLF,led by Ghising had spearheaded the movement for Gorkhaland from the mid 1980s,launching a series of bandhs and strikes.
The movement also claimed many lives. The GJM upstaged the GNLF in 2007-08 and has been leading the movement since.
The chief minister singled out Gurung for roping in students in the agitation. I am shocked to see children being denied education and their right to go to schools, Mamata said.
She appealed to the GJM to accept the Calcutta High Court verdict,terming all bandhs illegal and asked the Morcha to call off the indefinite shutdown in the hills.
Meanwhile,over 10,000 Lepchas assembled at Kalimpong on the day. Lepchas from all over the hills have come, said Bhupendra Lepcha of the Indigenous Lepcha Tribal Association.
He rubbished the allegations that people have been brought from the plains and the doors to make the function,where Mamata will be honoured,a success.
At the function,the Lepchas will confer the title Kingchoon Barmit (divine of faith) on Mamata,who has already announced setting up of Lepcha Development Council.