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Assam’s Bodoland demand group supports Gorkhaland movement

The People’s Joint Action Committee of Bodoland Movement (PJACBM) blamed the Centre and the West Bengal government for the outburst of tension in Darjeeling.

india Updated: Jun 24, 2017 15:59 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Hundreds of Indian troops and riot police patrolled the streets after the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) party called a general strike as they pushed for separate Gorkhaland in the hill region.(AFP)

An umbrella organisation seeking statehood for areas inhabited by Bodo tribal people has extended its support to the Gorkhaland movement led by Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) in the Darjeeling hills of West Bengal.

A movement to “divide Assam fifty-fifty” has been on intermittently since 1967. It eventually led to the creation of the Bodoland Autonomous Council in 2003 but activists now want a Bodoland state.

The All Bodo Students’ Union is spearheading the Bodoland statehood movement by People’s Joint Action Committee of Bodoland Movement (PJACBM), the umbrella body.

In a statement on Saturday, the PJACBM said: “The outburst of tension in Darjeeling area is nothing but an unwarranted outcome of the autocratic rule of the Bengal government as well as government of India’s utter negligence towards the problem.”

Condemning the “unprovoked atrocities on the part of the Bengal police and their indiscriminate torture on unarmed civilians on the streets of Darjeeling”, the organisation said: “Recovery of so-called lethal weapons from the office of GJM as shown in the media footage is nothing but a plant of Bengal police. The torching of media vehicles is a part of conspiracy hatched by Bengal police to blame the GJM.’’

The PJACBM expressed solidarity towards the Gorkhaland movement as a member of the National Federation for New States. But at the same time it urged the GJM leadership to lead the movement through democratic, peaceful and non-violent means.

“We hereby appeal both the agitating leadership and the Bengal administration to restrain from violence and maintain peace in the area. We also urge Government of India’s immediate intervention in the matter and concede Gorkha people’s demand for a Gorkhaland for restoring permanent peace in the region,” the Assam-based organisation stated.

The PJACBM further said that movements for creating separate states had been active in different parts of India after the previous UPA government had created Telangana state in 2009.

“Telangana state was created in 2014 but the government of India has maintained deliberate indifference and discrimination towards people’s aspirations for separate state in other parts of the country.

“In order to establish their historical prerogative, to ensure their political and land right, to assert their distinct identity with language and culture and also to eradicate the regional disparity of socio-economic development, the demand for creating Bodoland, Gorkhaland, Vidarbh, Bundelkhand, Twipraland, Purbanchal, Harid Pradesh, etc., started some considerable decades back and are still restive,” the organisation said.

“Their demands are historically and constitutionally legitimate, correct and justified. But the Government of India is apathetic towards the movement and is unwilling to resolve the problem,” it said.

First Published: Jun 18, 2017 13:31 IST