Reiterating her stand that West Bengal wont be bifurcated to create a separate Gorkhaland,Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday termed the politics of shutdown in Darjeeling hills as destructive and said it cannot solve the identity crisis that has gripped the Gorkha community.
This is a destructive politics going on here. I do not want to see people in the hills starve. I can say that the Gorkhas would not get their identity by calling an indefinite strike in Darjeeling. I would not allow the three sub-divisions to be carved out of the state and I would not allow the politics of strike, Mamata said.
She was addressing the members of the Lepcha community meeting in Kalimpong during a function which the latter had organised to felicitate her.
Without naming the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha or its leaders,who are spearheading the agitation in the hills,Mamata said that no work has been done by the local leaders,even though the government has given whatever you have asked for.
Criticising the lifestyle of the leaders in the hills,Mamata said,I know how the leaders lead their lives while the people in the hills starve. The children of these leaders study in Indonesia,New Zealand and Australia,while those of the villagers are deprived of their education as the same leaders have shut down all the schools.
(GNLF leader Subhas) Ghising was forced to leave the hills. People make a leader and people bring down a leader too, Mamata said,adding that those leading the agitation were not allowing the ration shops to open even as the government has sent huge quantity of food grains for distribution.
The chief minister also rubbished the allegation that she was playing a divide and rule game in the hills by segregating Lepchas away from the Gorkhas.
I have never told the Lepcha brothers to get separated from their Gorkha brothers. The Lepcha people are the primitive tribe and the original people of the region. At least 1.5 lakh Lepcha brothers stay here. I want their development and I want them to exercise their rights, Mamata said.
She said that she had also given the GTA (Gorkhaland Territorial Administration) to the Gorkha brothers. But every six months,there is a drama here. They make tall claims,but have done nothing. They dictate people,like the kings used to, she added.
Mamata also announced several sops for the Lepcha community,including an amount of Rs 1 crore for the Lepcha development office, employment to 5,000 youths from the community in the police force and a cultural centre for them.
The Lepchas later bestowed her with the title Kingchum Darmit (Goddess of Fortune).