Darjeeling: The GJM, agitating for a separate Gorkhaland state in Darjeeling, on Wednesday pinned hope on West Bengal Governor MK Narayanan while accusing the state government of going on an `arrests spree`.
"We ... Welcome the Governor of West Bengal`s announcement that he was ready to mediate. We hope he takes the appropriate steps as early as possible, GJM President Bimal Gurung said in a Facebook post as there was no political programme in the hills which was lashed by heavy rains.
The governor, however, has declined to mediate, but has offered to hold talks with Gurung if he was willing to do so.
Gurung took a dig at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee`s warning that she was `rough and tough` saying that she should respect the sentiments of the hill people.
"The demand of Gorkhaland is an aspiration of the entire Gorkhas and other hill communities. Instead of respecting this sentiment the Chief Minister has talked of being rough and tough," Gurung said.
"Instead of respecting the sentiments the chief minister is going on a rampant arrest spree," the GJM president said in reference to the arrests, the number of which rose to 651, with the arrest of another 32 GJM members last night.
Among those arrested was Kalimpong Ward Commissioner Barun Bhujel, a local committee member of GJM, police sources said.
"Perhaps in the history of this region this is the
first time that over 600 people have been arrested in 20 days that too in old cases. Is this the respect the Chief Minister is showing to the hill people for peaceful voicing their aspirations?" Gurung asked.
".... It will be wrong of the Chief Minister to think that the aspirations of the hill people will be wiped out by merely arresting Morcha activists ... This is not a development issue but an identity issue that the Chief Minister must understand," Gurung said.
He also accused the state government of violating the the tripartite agreement by not withdrawing political cases against GJM leaders from 2007-2011.
Gurung said that GJM leaders and supporters granted bail were being shown as arrested in other cases before release from judicial custody.
He also said that every clause of the GTA agreement mentioned "with the approval of the Government which proves that GTA is not autonomous."