Darjeeling: GJM office raided, some weapons seized, hill party announces indefinite strike
- Gorkhaland demand uphill task for national parties, Left to Right
- Politics of language: As old as the hills, now new trigger for statehood stir
- Language matters
Amid the ongoing agitation in Darjeeling over demands for a separate Gorkhaland, West Bengal Police raided Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung’s office, new agency ANI reported on Thursday morning. The police reportedly seized knives, machetes, sickles and arrows.
This comes a day after Gurung announced that the agitation for a separate Gorkhaland will continue and asked tourists to avoid visiting Darjeeling. In a statement to the media on Wednesday, Gurung said, “It is not only a matter of tourists. They should try and avoid Darjeeling. Our agitation will go on. Let CRPF and Army men be deployed.”
The renewed demands for a separate Gorkhaland has effectively put mainstream national parties in a tight spot with their units in the Darjeeling Hills breaking ranks with their own leadership in West Bengal, and backing calls by the hill parties. Spearheading the movement, the GJM is now actively mobilising support for a separate Gorkhaland. This move has prompted BJP’s Darjeeling MP S S Ahluwalia to ask the Union Home Ministry to appoint a committee of experts to look into the demand.
In the meantime, state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also met Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi in Raj Bhavan on Wednesday even as the government appointed C Murugan as the new secretary of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) in the backdrop of the ongoing unrest in Darjeeling hills.
Starting out as a protest against the “forced imposition of the Bengali language”, the agitations have now transformed into renewed demands for a separate Gorkhaland.
Responding to the government’s decision, GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri told the Indian Express on Wednesday: “This decision hardly affects us. The GTA has been ineffective. Mamata Banerjee has never allowed it to function. And now if she decides to change the secretary, how does it matter to us? As far as we are concerned, when we have Gorkhaland, GTA is irrelevant.”
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