Kolkata: With the Centre conceding to the demand for a separate Telangana, the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) said its demand for a separate `Gorkhaland` should also be accepted on the same grounds. And to press for the same, they have gone on a 96-hour hunger strike starting Friday and would also enforce a three-day bandh in Darjeeling hills from December 14.
The hunger strike was started by GJM members in all the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling district, besides in the plains in Siliguri.
Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh Friday said the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland was "valid" and added that if "legitimate demands" were met, then violence would not be an option.
"Jaswant terms Gorkhaland statehood as `just` demand," Singh told reporters.
The expelled BJP leader said it is a much older demand
than Telangana, "first raised in 1907. It is necessary that
the government recognises the relevance, the validity and the
justness of this demand."
He further said such demands must be met in time to
avoid protests and backlash. "If such demands are met in time,
then protest is not there."
Moreover, to apply more pressure on the union government, a GJM delegation has arrived in Delhi yesterday. Incidentally, their Delhi visit comes just 10 days before the next round of tripartite talks between them, state government and the Centre.
"Since Telangana, on the lines of the Gorkhaland statehood demand, has been approved by the Centre, our demand for a separate state carved out of West Bengal should also be conceded by the Centre," GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri told a news agency from Darjeeling.
"Ours is a 102-year-old demand. We should be given justice and we have called a three-day bandh from December 14 in Darjeeling to press for it," Giri, who is in Delhi as the head of a four-member GJM team to take up the issue, said.
It may be noted that West Bengal government has always opposed creation of Gorkhaland.
However, the clamour for new states is growing by the day. Earlier this week, Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh, once again, articulated the need for carving out a Harit Pradesh from the western part of Uttar Pradesh.
Several such requests have been made to the Centre over the years. These include demands for the formation of Rohilkhand, Bundelkhand, Poorvanchal in Uttar Pradesh, Coorg in Karnataka and Vidharbha in Maharasthra.