Reiterating the March 27 deadline, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on Wednesday proclaimed that if the government fails to form the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) within the above date, the GJM would launch an agitation for a separate state of Gorkhaland. West Bengal Governor MK Narayanan will be arriving in Darjeeling on February 6.
A GJM Central committee meeting on Wednesday resolved that the GJM would be resurrecting the Gorkhaland agitation if the Government fails to meet the March 27, 2012, deadline. “We will hold a massive rally in Sukna near Siliguri on April 17 from where we will announce the political programmes for Gorkhaland” stated Jyoti Rai, GJM Central Committee member.
The GJM has also decided to observe February 8 as “Black Day” throughout the Hills. On this day in 2011, three GJM supporters had died in police firing at Sibchu bordering Dooars while agitating. West Bengal Governor MK Narayanan will be in Darjeeling on February 6, 7 and 8th. In Darjeeling the Governor is scheduled to attend a Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) programme on 7th and visit Chongtong Tea Garden on the February 8. On the same day he will be leaving for the plains.
Political observers however feel that the Governor’s sudden winter visit to the Darjeeling Hills could be in connection with the GTA. In Darjeeling he would definitely study the political environment and hold parleys with the GJM which could revolve around the GTA issue, opined political observers.
Since October 2007, the Darjeeling Hills have been a witness to a separate state agitation led by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM.) Several rounds of tripartite talks between the Centre, State and the GJM finally paved way for the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on July 18, 2011, between the Centre, State and the GJM for the formation of an autonomous body named the GTA.
The MOA led to the passing of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Bill 2011 in the West Bengal Assembly on September 2, 2011. However with the territory issue (area to be incorporated in the GTA) remaining a bone of contention, the GTA has not seen the light of day yet.
Along with the three hill subdivision of the Darjeeling district namely Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong, the GJM has demanded the inclusion of 199 “Gorkha dominated” mouzas of Terai and another 199 mouzas of Dooars of the Jalpaiguri district in the GTA.
A joint committee has been formed constituting of members representing the Union, State and the GJM to look into the territory issue. After the expiry of the 6 month term of the committee on January 27, 2012, the Government has further extended the term by another 6 months.