GJM in touch with NE rebels, procuring arms: WB Minister
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Last Updated: Monday, February 14, 2011, 19:15
Kolkata: A minister in the West Bengal government on Monday claimed that GJM, agitating for a Gorkhaland state, was in touch with northeast rebel groups and hinted at a Maoist hand in the latest Darjeeling flare-up.

Ashok Bhattacharya, also a prominent CPI-M leader, told reporters that GJM movement leaders were in contact with extremist groups of the northeast and procuring arms from them.

Holding the GJM solely responsible for the violence in the Darjeeling hills 'in connivance with the Trinamool Congress', Bhattacharya said these parties had been out to put the blame on the state government for the present unrest in the hills.

Calling for a negotiated settlement of the hill problem, he said he did not rule out a Maoist hand in the violence in the hills.

"I can't rule out Maoist hand in Darjeeling hills," he said, adding that reports reaching him indicated that the Maoists had been holding out threats to the local people.

Bhattacharya said that ever since the brutal killing of AIGL leader Madan Tamang some months back, unrest, chaos, lawlessness and panic obtained in the hills.

After its participation in the Delhi tripartite meeting on January 25, the GJM had indulged in violence in Darjeeling knowing it well that their separate statehood demand will not be met by the state government," he observed.

Bhattacharya alleged that the food items entering Darjeeling hills were being consumed by GJM leaders while common people suffered due to the indefinite general strike.

The CPI-M leader observed that the present situation in the hills was not conducive for holding Assembly elections 'and not even election campaigns'.

"The situation in Darjeeling hills is worse than that of Khejuri and Nandigram in East Midnapore district," he said.

Demanding more central forces for Darjeeling, he said that the Election Commission had to take proper steps for holding polls in the hills.

"I would suggest that the EC hold meetings with political parties in Siliguri in this regard," he said, adding that the CPI-M had convened a 'Nagarik sammelan' (Citizens convention) in Siliguri on February 18 to discuss the situation.

Claiming that GJM workers had destroyed 62 government properties in the last few days, the minister said that the probe into the Madan Tamang killing and the disappearance of the main accused Nicole Tamang would unravel more startling facts.


First Published: Monday, February 14, 2011, 19:15

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