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
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
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
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