West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has rejected the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state but said he could consider giving further autonomy to the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) within the purview of the DGHC Act.
At a meeting with a delegation of Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) leaders here yesterday, the chief minister ruled out their demand for a separate state and inclusion of any new area other than the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling district in the council's jurisdiction.
The delegation comprising GJM general secretary Roshan Giri presented a map of the proposed Gorkhaland to the chief minister and claimed that their demand was legitimate and within the ambit of the Indian Constitution.
State home secretary Ashok Mohan Chakrabarty said that the chief minister made it clear to the GJM delegation that they should not harp on the demand for a separate state as it would create mistrust among the people of the plains.
Bhattacharjee also rejected their demand for a separate police force but assured the delegation of his readiness to hold further discussion with the morcha on the extension of autonomy within the purview of thee DGHC Act.
Meanwhile, a Siliguri report said GJM president Bimal Gurung today rejected the chief minister's proposal to find a solution without dividing the state and reiterated the GJM's firm stand on the statehood demand.