Gorkhaland a Matter For the Central Government, Says Mamata Banerjee

In the all-party meet to end the Darjeeling crisis at the state secretariat Nabanna, Banerjee stuck to her stand that she will not let West Bengal will not be divided and requested the representatives of all the hills party to call off their indefinite bandh which has reached 78th day.

Sujit Nath , News18.com
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that she could not agree on Gorkhaland simple because it is the matter of the Centre.

In the all-party meet to end the Darjeeling crisis at the state secretariat Nabanna, Banerjee stuck to her stand that she will not let the state will not be divided and requested the representatives of all the hills party to call off their indefinite bandh which has reached 78th day.

While addressing the media, Banerjee said, “I am happy that the dialogue started but the Gorkhaland demand is not in my hand. There are constitutional issues and binding obligations. We cannot ask the Centre for a separate state. We don’t agree on it. It is the Centre who will take the call.”

The next round of meeting will be held on September 12 at Uttarkanya in Siliguri at 3PM, she added.

Meanwhile, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) Chief Bimal Gurung announced that the indefinite strike in the Darjeeling hill districts will continue as the outcome of the meeting didn’t favor the people.

Issuing a statement from an undisclosed location, Gurung said, “The hill party delegates should have walked out of the meet when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said no to Gorkhaland and passed the buck on Central saying that it is the matter of the Central government.”

“Let her give in writing that Gorkhaland is not in her hand as this is the matter of the central government. Then, we will directly approach the Centre with our demand,” he added.

“We cannot ignore that the demand for separate Gorkhaland is a long pending issue. It is the expectation of people in the Hills but we don’t agree on it since it is the matter of the central government. They have democratic rights to demand for a separate state and we will never suppress or bulldoze their voice. It is their right to demand for a separate state but for us there are binding obligations,” Banerjee said.

On indefinite strike on the Hills, she said, “I cannot bulldoze their movement. It is their democratic rights. I requested them to withdraw it. They will have their meeting tomorrow to take the final decision on bandh.”

GJM joint secretary (central committee), Binoy Tamang, while hinting at the failure of Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA), Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), said, “No other alternative or modified bodies will do justice to our plight and apathy of being lumped with any other arrangement other than creation of a separate state of Gorkhaland. Under the current situation we request the state government to initiative a political dialogue on the long pending demand of the Gorkhas wish is Gorkhaland to help to resolve the present crisis in Darjeeling.”

On the context of withdrawing bandh, he said, “Tomorrow the central committee comprise of all hill parties will have a meeting and will take the final call whether to call off the indefinite strike or not. We also want compensation for the victim’s (45 injured and 8 killed) family members, restoration of food supplies and essential commodities, restoration of internet, cable TV and local TV channel. We also demand that all cases (old or new) filed against the agitators should be withdrawn and those who were arrested or detained should be released immediately.”

The Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), Jan Andolan Party (JAP) and the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) attended the meeting along with the GJM.