West Bengal’s Darjeeling district is in the middle of a triangular fight. The UPA’s move to create Telangana state has roused similar demands in Bengal and Assam as well, namely Gorkhaland, Greater Cooch Behar and Kamtapur, and all three movements are staking claim to Darjeeling.
While Kamtapuris claim only the plains of Darjeeling, the other two movements want the entire district. It will be interesting to see how things work out, especially as West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has flatly ruled out any kind of division. “Darjeeling is part and parcel of Bengal,” she said earlier this week.
Proponents of Gorkhaland want a separate state for people living in the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Siliguri Terai and Dooars areas. The proposed Greater Cooch Behar state wants the undivided Goalpara district of Assam and five districts of Bengal — Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, North and South Dinajpur. And Kamtapur lays claim to Malda in addition to the other five districts of Bengal that Greater Cooch Behar demands and four districts of Assam — Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Dhubri, and Goalpara.
The Greater Cooch Behar People’s Association (GCPA) plans to rally thousands of its supporters, mainly Koch-Rajbonshi ethnic people, to protest soon. A six-member GCPA team met Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Wednesday to press their demand for a separate state or union territory.
“In a meeting on February 3 they (Centre) promised to look into our demand. But now they have given Telangana a separate state status. We have told the Union home minister that we will wait till August 5. If nothing happens we will launch agitations and an indefinite hunger strike,” said GCPA leader Namita Burman.
TMC to govt: No new states, please
New Delhi: Terming the creation of Telangana as an “election gimmick”, Trinamool Congress on Friday sought a categorical assurance from the government that no new state will be created.
“We have pointed out to the Speaker that creating Telangana just before the polls is an election gimmick and it is creating trouble in the entire country,” TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee told reporters here after the all-party meeting convened by Speaker Meira Kumar.
He said, “Unless the home minister comes out with a statement that no other state will be created, agitations won’t stop. In Assam, agitation has already started.”