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Mamata proposes separate council for Lepchas, Gurung disposes

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 19:27

Kalimpong: After ruling out division of West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday hinted at formation of a separate development body for Lepchas and Buddhists, prompting GJM chief Bimal Gurung to allege that she was trying to drive a wedge among communities in the region.

The hint came during a visit to Alagarh in Kalimpong sub-division where she talked to representatives of the local Lepcha community.

The chief minister also visited a Buddhist monastery in Lava and talked to the monks there where she reiterated her proposal for a separate development council (for Lepchas and Buddhists), sources close to her said.

"She is trying to set a divide and rule policy for the hills. She is discriminating between the Lepchas and the Gorkhas," said Gurung, who had agreed to the GTA following a recent tripartite agreement but is now demanding a separate Gorkhaland state taking a cue from Telengana stir.

The Lepchas, considered the original inhabitants of the hills, make up 20 per cent of its population. The formation of a Lepcha development council was a long-standing demand to which the Mamata Banerjee-led government has agreed in principle.

The Lepchas have no territorial demand and want the council to be formed to preserve the community’s culture and work for its general uplift.


First Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 19:26

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