CHIEF MINISTER Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday announced compensation for those killed and injured during the recent 104-day-long agitation for Gorkhaland, and thanked the people of the Hills for bringing back peace. Presiding over an all-party meeting at Pintail village in Darjeeling district, Mamata said there would be “no compromise” on development in the Hills and made a string of announcements for the same.
“Those who lost their lives will get Rs 2 lakh (provided there are no cases pending against them) while those who received injuries will get Rs 50,000. There is also a proposal for including Nepali as a language in WBCS (West Bengal Civil Service) examination. We will deliberate on it. Peace has returned to the Hills and I thank the people and all parties,” she said.
Mamata added that the government would consider giving Group D jobs in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) to family members of those killed during the agitation.
Earlier in the day, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung released an audio clip from an undisclosed location to say that he would visit New Delhi shortly and then return to the Hills.
“The Supreme Court has provided 15 days of relief. False charges were levelled against me. I thank the Supreme Court and the people in the Hills who prayed for me. I will shortly go to Delhi and file similar cases…,” said Gurung in the clip. He was referring to the Supreme Court, on Monday, restraining the West Bengal Police from taking any “coercive action” against him.
Asking his followers to not fall prey to instigation, Gurung said: “The conspirators (Binay Tamang and Anit Thapa) may try and instigate you so that the stay is cancelled… Maintain peace and do not fall into the trap. We will agitate democratically.” Tuesday’s all-party meeting was held a day after GJM leader Binay Tamang claimed majority support in the party and suspended Gurung and 13 others for six months. Tamang, who was made GTA chief by the state government in September, was present at the meeting. Representatives of Trinamool, Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League and Gorkha National Liberation Front also attended.
The GJM claimed that nearly a dozen people were killed (apart from a civic volunteer and police sub-inspector) during the agitation. While the party had alleged that their supporters had died in police firing, the administration had claimed that GJM cadres were responsible for the deaths. Mamata said she had come to the district after a long time, and that the next all-party meeting will be held in Darjeeling.
“There will be no compromise on development in the Hills. We have decided to hold tourism festival in the Hills. It will be followed by an industry meet. This will help us generate employment,” said the CM, adding that festivals will be held with the help of GTA.
A development plan is being chalked out for Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong among other areas, Mamata said, adding that the government is considering setting up colleges in Kurseong with the help of private partners.