Monday, Jun 27, 2022
Outlook.com
west bengal: hills crisis

Siege Train

Not all their demands are unjust. A studied resolution is a must.

Siege Train
Siege Train
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

A few reasons why the Gorkhas are demanding a whole new state...

  • They allege the Darjeeling Hills region, dominated by Gorkhas, has been neglected by the state government.
  • The Hills Council set up 20 years ago under Subhas Ghising has failed to deliver.
  • The Hills region is cash rich. But it's not getting its due vis-a-vis development.
  • Gorkha leaders say the promise of accelerated growth by the West Bengal CM is too little and too late.
  • They want the centre to intervene, hold tripartite talks with the state government and Gorkha leaders.

***

When Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya announced at the end of an all-party meeting earlier this week that 'Gorkhaland' was beyond the pale of possibility, was he effectively closing all doors to an amicable resolution? Those demanding a separate state for the Gorkhas believe so. The meet, convened to evolve a consensus among political parties on the Gorkhaland issue, resolved to preserve the state's territorial integrity. This consensus against Gorkhaland led to the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) demanding the Centre's intervention. "We want Gorkhaland and nothing short of that will do," Bimal Gurung, president of GJM, which is spearheading the movement, told Outlook.

It is not as if the CM was unwilling to bring anything to the table. He offered more administrative and financial powers to the Darjeeling Gorkha Hills Council (DGHC). A senior aide to the CM told Outlook, "We are willing to discuss ways to accelerate development of the hills and give more powers to the DGHC. We're looking at autonomous development council models of Tripura and Jammu & Kashmir. We can even provide reservation for the hills people in government service and educational institutions. But we won't accept any bifurcation of our state. Gorkhaland is a subject that can't be on the table."

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