Demands for Gorkhaland, Karbi Anglong, Bodoland after Telangana
A day after Congress gave its nod to formation of Telangana as India's 29th state, the repercussions of this decision are already being felt across India as statehood demands for Karbi Anglong, Bodoland, Gorkhaland and Vidarbha gain momentum.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati also revived her three-year-old demand of splitting Uttar Pradesh into four states -- Purvanchal, Bundelkhand, Awadh Pradesh and Pashchim Pradesh. While that remains a political issue with people's support to it minimal, statehood issue has led to violence in Assam and bandhs in Darjeeling. The Centre has asked security forces to stay extra vigilant to counter any law and order problems.
Assam: Bodoland and Karbi Anglong
Agitators belonging to Karbi Students Association and Karbi Riso Adorba attacked the houses of Congress MP Birensing Ingti and MLA Bidyasing Engleng on Wednesday and set cars on fire on Wednesday. The police had to fire in air to quell the agitators.
A demand for separate Karbi Anglong state was first raised in 1951. The banned militant outfit, Karbi Peoples' Liberation Tigers (KPLT), has now threatened an indefinite bandh if the issue is not taken up in Parliament's monsoon session.
The All Bodo Students' Union (ABSU) has also threatened to launch a mass movement for Bodoland. The executive council of the Bodoland Territorial Council has decided to adopt a resolution to demand creation of separate state and is sending a delegation to Union home ministry. Meanwhile, blockades and bandhs have also been called in the state. "We are going to hold a 12-hour rail blockade on August 2. We have also called a 60-hour Assam bandh from August 5," said an ABSU leader.
The movement which began in the '70s saw an accord being inked between the NDA government and ABSU which led to the formation of the Bodoland Territorial Council under the Sixth Schedule in 2003.
ABSU leaders said they had accepted the BTC as the NDA government had said there was no policy for creation of another state. "But now as the Centre has approved the creation of Telangana state, a separate Bodoland state should also be created," an ABSU leader said.
A three-day bandh called by Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) in support of Gorkhaland ended on Wednesday but the party has threatened to launch an indefinite strike.
"Our demand for Gorkhaland is older than the demand for Telangana. If the Centre announces a Telangana state then it should also declare a Gorkhaland state," GJM leader Bimal Gurung has said.
Gorkhas demanded a separate state for themselves from the British and have been reiterating their demand ever since then. In 1980s, Gorkha leader Subhash Ghising lead a violent agitation seeking autonomy. Consequently in 1988, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, a body with certain administrative powers, was formed.
After Mamata Bannerjee took over as West Bengal's chief minister, she formed the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration giving the Gorkhas a semblance of an autonomous administration. However, GTA has failed to live up to its promise. Mamta has also made it clear that her government will never let Darjeeling become a separate state.
Pro-Vidarbha activists have called for rallies in Delhi and Vidarbha region in Maharashtra on August 5. "I have sent a letter to the Congress president Sonia Gandhi as she had promised that whenever Telangana is considered, Vidarbha will be discussed too. I just wanted to remind her that our demand is more genuine and an emotional one," said Vilas Muttemwar, a Congress leader from Nagpur.
A group of eight Marathi speaking areas in Madhya Pradesh, this region was annexed to Maharashtra in 1956, under the linguistic reorganisation of states by the government of India in 1956. Though rich in minerals, coal, forests and mountains, Vidarbha has been underdeveloped and has seen a spurt in suicides by thousands of farmers.
(With inputs from PTI and IANS)