Darjeeling, Jan 16 — Observing that “time had come for the final battle”, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) Wednesday said it would restart the movement for a separate Gorkhaland state.
“From GJM we want to make it clear that the time has come for Gorkhaland. We will move ahead with our movement for Gorkhaland. Time has come for us to restart our movement,” party general secretary Roshan Giri told mediapersons.
“This is our final battle and the time has come for us to come on the front,” said Giri.
The GJM has planned a rally and public meeting in Darjeeling (Jan 20) and Kurseong (Jan 27) during which it will announce its future course of action regarding the movement.
The GJM’s threat to revive the Gorkhaland agitation comes in the wake of union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s remarks after the Dec 28 all-party meeting in Delhi that a decision on carving out a new state of Telangana would be made within a month.
“We had told Shinde that he should consider the country’s oldest demand — Gorkhaland. We welcome the way the centre is going to create Telangana but the demand of Gorkhaland should also be considered,” said Giri.
The agitation over a separate state out of the northern West Bengal hills has led to loss of many lives over the past two decades, besides hitting hard the region’s tea, timber and tourism sectors.
On July 18 last year, a tripartite agreement was signed between the GJM, and the state and central governments for setting up a new autonomous, elected Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), a hill council armed with more powers than its predecessor, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council formed in the late 1980s.
The GJM now runs the GTA after sweeping its maiden elections last July.
The tough stance of the GJM, ahead of chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s proposed visit to Darjeeling Jan 29, is also related to its “unhappiness” over the slow pace of transferring powers to the GTA.
“Except the name of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, what else have we got” Giri said.