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17 Jul 2017

Gorkha leaders demand proof of Maoist, China links from Bengal government

Gorkha National Liberation Front spokesperson Neeraj Zimba speaks as Gorkha Janmukti Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri and other party leaders look on at a press conference in Darjeeling. |
Aishik Chanda, ENS, 17  July 2017, KOLKATA: Pro-Gorkhaland leaders have demanded proof of serious allegations made by the West Bengal administration regarding the involvement of neighbouring China and Maoists from ‘across the border’ into the current Gorkhaland agitation that started since June 8 over the implementation of Bengali language in all schools of the state.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee wrote a letter to union home minister Rajnath Singh alleging that China was meddling in West Bengal’s affairs. She claimed that China was fuelling the Gorkhaland agitation which lies close to the strategic Siliguri corridor, also called India’s chicken neck. The 30 km wide corridor between Nepal and Bangladesh connects Northeast with the rest of the country.

On the other hand, additional director general of police (law and order) Anuj Sharma had submitted an affidavit in the Calcutta High court stating that Maoists from neighbouring countries were responsible for burning public properties and government offices to aggravate the situation. More than 50 government buildings have been partially or fully gutted since June 8.

However, Gorkha leaders stated that the West Bengal government is trying to scuttle the century-long democratic movement by defaming it. “There is no China or Maoists in the democratic Gorkhaland agitation. These are false allegations to defame our struggle. If West Bengal has proof against us, they should present it,” said Gorkha Janmukti Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri.

Gorkha National Liberation Front general secretary Mahendra Chhetri said that leveling false allegations against a ‘people’s movement’ would be detrimental for the state administration. “ The Gorkhaland agitation has now become a people’s movement. People’s rage would explode if such false allegations such as links with Maoists and China are leveled. The statehood movement can’t be suppressed now,” said Mahendra Chhetri.

Mahendra Chhetri added that a resolution might be taken in the next Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC) meeting on Tuesday against these serious allegations.

“With China eyeing the chicken’s neck corridor through Doka La, if West Bengal is making allegations of a Chinese hand behind Gorkhaland and Nepalese Maoists crossing over to create trouble in Darjeeling, then it’s a serious national security concern and the investigation should be handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the entire administration, including law and order, should be taken over by the central government,” said political analyst Upendra Pradhan.

“Such allegations also demoralise the thousands of Gorkha soldiers guarding the borders of our nation in Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and other parts of the country,” Upendra Pradhan added.

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