The unrest and turmoil that erupted in the Darjeeling hills last week, is not likely to settle down anytime soon, as leaders from the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) have made it clear that they are unlikely to settle for any sort of compromise with the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal.
“We will not get into any compromise with the Mamata Banerjee government unless there are concrete talks on our demand for Gorkhaland. There is also no question of going back to the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) in the state. GTA has failed and we do not accept GTA anymore,” Roshan Giri, general secretary of the GJM, told The Sunday Guardian.
The GJM, which is also an ally of the NDA government at the Centre, is looking forward to the Central government for a positive intervention in the matter. A delegation of the GJM leadership, including Giri, was in Delhi earlier this week and met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to apprise him of the incidents in the Darjeeling hills.
S.S. Ahluwalia, BJP MP from Darjeeling, who was also a part of the delegation that met Rajnath Singh in Delhi, also condemned the actions of the Mamata Banerjee government in the hills. He said, “The strength that the Bengal government is showing is sad. It is a political problem and should be solved politically with debate and discussion and not with the might of the police. We have apprised the Home Minister about the high-handedness of the police in dealing with the protesters in Darjeeling and have asked him to look into the matter.”
The hills have been under lockdown for the past 10 days and GJM leaders have said that the call for an indefinite strike will not be rolled back unless demands for Gorkhaland are met.
Rohit Sharma, GJM MLA from Kurseong, Darjeeling, told The Sunday Guardian, “The call for an indefinite strike will be there till there are discussions and the Centre intervenes in the matter. We also want peace and normalcy to return to the hills, but with such an attitude of the Bengal government, it is unlikely to happen.”
“After the Bengal government tried to crush a peaceful protest by sending its police force to the hills, I see less chances of any compromise with the Bengal government,” Sharma said. Unrest in the Darjeeling hills started last week when the West Bengal government decided to make Bengali a compulsory language in all schools in Bengal. The first incidents of violence were reported from the hills soon after Mamata Banerjee and her Cabinet were about to leave the Raj Bhawan in Darjeeling after their Cabinet meeting there. After this, several incidents of violence were reported from the hills and panic has gripped tourists spending their summer holidays in the hilly region. However, the GJM has condemned all sorts of violence in the region and said that miscreants, rather than GJM volunteers, were involved in the violence.