GJM slams Mamata regime, wants President’s rule

Darjeeling, Feb 17: Terming the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government “fascist”, the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) Sunday said it has lost its faith in her and demanded President’s rule in the state.

“The state government has been intentionally interfering and encroaching in our functioning. It has been totally behaving like a fascist government. We demand imposition of President’s rule in the state,” GJM chief Bimal Gurung said.

The GJM also signalled intensifying its movement for the separate state of Gorkhaland, calling for shutdowns on March 14-15 and March 21-22 as well as forcing shut all state and central government offices in the northern hills of the state from March 9 to March 27.

Gurung said the “life of the new hill council – the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) – was not much”, and accused the Banerjee regime of lacking in principles and ideals.

“We were opposed to the (erstwhile) Left Front regime but still they had some principles and ideals. But this government is totally devoid of any such virtues,” he said.

Stating that it has lost faith in the state government, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said: “We don’t think talks with the Bengal government will yield anymore results. We now will hold discussion with the central government regarding our demand for Gorkhaland.”

“GTA was never our demand. It is an interim arrangement and we will not sit quietly until we get our state of Gorkhaland,” he added.

The GJM also reiterated its demand from an apology from Banerjee as her “remarks hurt the sentiments of the people of the hills”.

Banerjee, earlier during a government programme in Darjeeling, tried taking a tough stand on the separate Gorkhaland state demand, saying “Darjeeling was a part of us (Bengal)”.

The long-standing agitation for a separate state of the northern hills of West Bengal has led to loss of many lives over the past two decades. The region’s tea, timber and tourism industries have all taken a hit because of the agitation.

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 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 with Gurung as its chief, after sweeping its maiden elections last year.

IANS