West Bengal: Chief Minister of state Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) slamming them claiming an ‘autocracy’ is going on in the hills. She said she is willing to give up her life rather than allow the division of the state. Claiming all districts were assets of the state, Mamata Banerjee said all religions and castes will coexist here. She urged all political parties in the hills to endeavor to restore peaceful normal life in Darjeeling. The indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling has now entered its 48th day.
In a rally in North Dinajpur, the CM stated, “This is India. It is our duty to protect it, not to divide it. I love the hills like all other districts of West Bengal. But people must remember that the hills are a part of West Bengal and will remain so in the future.” She said she would do everything within her power for the development of Darjeeling but would refrain from doing anything that would cause riots or unrest among the people. She slammed GJM for spearheading the shutdown in Darjeeling and demanding a separate Gorkhaland.
Ms. Banerjee rued that normalcy was affected in the hills and that Darjeeling tea is a ‘global brand’ which people shouldn’t ‘spoil.’ She said any movement must be aimed toward the welfare of the people, but the ongoing one by GJM was done solely ‘for the sake of politics.’ She said common people were the worst affected by the crisis claiming tea garden workers are deprived of food, children unable to go to schools and colleges and tourism was also affected in Darjeeling. The CM said that GJM was troubling common people for no fault of theirs. She said it wasn’t the people of the hills creating trouble but political leaders who brought ‘goons’ from outside with the aim to disrupt law and order in the state.
Bimal Gurung, the Chief of GJM, had asked Ms. Banerjee yesterday to ‘come and see the sad situation’ in the disrupted hills. Her last visit to Darjeeling was on 8th June when supporters of GJM had clashed with state police outside the Raj Bhavan while the Cabinet meeting was in session. This led to an agitation which subsequently resulted in the call for an indefinite strike in demand for a separate Gorkhaland.