Treaty A Small Step, Ultimate Aim Is Gorkhaland, Says Asha Gurung

Sukna (WB), Jul 18: The tripartite agreement for formation of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration is just a ‘small step' and the ultimate aim is a separate state of Gorkhaland, a top leader of Gorkha Janmukti
treaty a small step ultimate aim is gorkhaland...
PTI July 18, 2011 15:51 IST

Sukna (WB), Jul 18: The tripartite agreement for formation of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration is just a ‘small step' and the ultimate aim is a separate state of Gorkhaland, a top leader of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha said today.

The chief of the Gorkha Mahila Morcha, the women's wing of the GJM, Asha Gurung, said she was happy at the inclusion of the word ‘Gorkhaland' in the GTA agreement, but the ultimate aim is to achieve a state of Gorkhaland. “We are happy at the stand taken by (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee. The previous Left Front government did not allow the inclusion of the name Gorkhaland,” Gurung, wife of GJM chief Bimal Gurung, said.

She said those in Dooars and Terai agitating against inclusion of those areas under the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration comprised only 15 per cent of the population in those areas. “They are being enticed by the CPI-M (into the agitation),” she said.

Meanwhile in Sukna, thousands of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters gathered at the Pintal Village to witness and celebrate the signing of the tripartite agreement for the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. Clad in traditional dresses, the supporters including women gathered under the tents erected on the sprawling ground near the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council bungalow amidst tight security.

Activists of the GJM women's wing, Gorkha Nari Morcha, took to the stage, dancing and singing to celebrate the occasion.

Many of the supporters were heard shouting slogans like, ‘Mamata Banerjee zindabad,' and ‘Bimal Gurung zindabad,' while shouts of ‘we want Gorkhaland,' ‘we want a separate state,' were also heard.

“This is a turning point in our movement and not a permanent settlement. This is only a temporary settlement to address the basic problem. The separate state issue must not be a closed chapter,” P Arjun, a member of the GJM think tank 16-member Study Forum, told PTI.

Describing the signing of the agreement as the result of a reciprocal attitude on both sides, Arjun, a former member of the West Bengal Civil Service, said, “this attitude, which is demonstrated by Mamata Banerjee, was not displayed by the previous Left Front government in finding out a solution.” Arjun said GJM president Bimal Gurung would not hold any position in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. A section of the Gorkha people, however, said it would have been better if the agreement was signed after demarcation of the boundaries of the GTA.

The GJM has been demanding inclusion of the Gorkha-dominated areas of the Dooars and Terai under the GTA. PTI In Kolkata,  the Left Front today expressed doubt over the outcome of the tripartite agreement and said it has been kept in the dark.

“We feel that the outcome of the agreement being signed on such a sensitive issue through unilateral discussion may not be good,” Left Front chairman Biman Bose told reporters here.

The Left Front was not aware about what was discussed with the GJM or the contents of the agreement, he said, adding the people in Dooars and Terai in North Bengal have expressed anger over with it with a bandh being observed there today. Bose also feared that the agreement might harm the amity between adivasi, non-adivasi and the Nepali population. It would not be good if it led to clashes, he said.

Earlier, major LF partner CPI (M) had rejected the West Bengal government's invitation to the Leader of the Opposition Suryakanta Mishra to attend the signing ceremony of the tripartite agreement that will pave the way for establishment of a new elected administrative body for Darjeeling.

Mishra had said that the CPI (M) rejected the invitation since the contents and the basis for the tripartite agreement were not known.

He had also said the name of the new hill council, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, was misleading and confusing and was bound to create disunity in the Darjeeling hills. PTI

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