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27 Jul 2017

Morcha faces questions - No plan on Gorkhaland panel: Centre

TT, Siliguri/Kalimpong, July 26: The constituent parties of the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee have posed questions to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha after the Centre said there was no proposal to form a committee to look into the statehood demand.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha had always been claiming that such a panel had been promised by the Union government.
In Lok Sabha yesterday, the Congress's Jyotiraditya M. Scindia had raised questions about the ongoing agitation in the hills. Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, the minister of state for home affairs, said there were reports that public property had been damaged during the strike. He said central forces had been provided to Bengal for maintenance of law and order in the hills.
The Congress MP asked "whether the Government has any proposal to appoint a committee to look into the merits and demerits of the demands of Gorkhas, Adviasis and others".
The minister said: "There is no proposal to appoint a committee to look into the merits and demerits of the demands of Gorkhas, Adviasis and others."
The minister's assertion has prompted many hill parties to question the Morcha.
"It is clear that the tall claims by the Morcha that the Centre is considering our demand are not correct. Let alone the constitution of the committee by the Centre, there is not even a move on that," a representative of a hill organisation, which is a member of the GMCC, said.
The leader of a party that is a constituent of the GMCC, said: "We want to know what the Morcha leaders and the Darjeeling MP would say now."
Even though Morcha chief Bimal Gurung claimed that the Prime minister had assured him of a favourable decision over their demand and central BJP leaders were considering their demand, there was no remark or written statement from the BJP or the Prime Minister's office.
"It has been proved that whatever we said is correct. The BJP has played politics in 2014 to bag the Darjeeling seat," a hill Trinamul leader said.
Neeraj Zimba, the GNLF spokesman, said: "The Morcha had on two occasions claimed that the Centre would be forming a committee to study the demand for Gorkhaland. This was never validated by the Centre. This was also borne out by a response to my RTI application. However, disappointed as all the pro-Gorkhaland parties are, I don't believe this is the concluding statement. With this new agitation and the mood of the people, I am sure a new dialogue on Gorkhaland will be opened by the Centre."

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