WB chief secy differs with minister on Darjeeling issue

A senior West Bengal minister claimed that Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, agitating for a separate Gorkhaland state, was in touch with the rebels of the North East and the Maoists, but the Chief Secretary differed with him.

Updated: Feb 15, 2011, 00:27 AM IST

Kolkata: A senior West Bengal minister
on Monday claimed that Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, agitating for a
separate Gorkhaland state, was in touch with the rebels
of the North East and the Maoists, but the Chief Secretary
differed with him.

Ashok Bhattacharya, the MLA of Siliguri which is the
gateway to Darjeeling hills, told reporters here that GJM
movement leaders were in contact with extremist groups of the
north eastern region and procuring arms from them.

Darjeeling district shares border with Sikkim, Bhutan
and Nepal while its neighbouring Jalpaiguri district has a
common border with Assam.
"I can`t rule out Maoist hand in Darjeeling hills,"
the minister said, adding that reports reaching him indicated
that Maoists had been holding out threats to the local people.

State Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh, however, differed
with him saying he had no such information.

"I have no such information from the intelligence or
any other sources," Ghosh said.
Holding the GJM responsible for the violence in
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.

Bhattacharya, also a senior CPI-M leader, said 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.
In this point too, the chief secretary, without naming
the minister, begged to differ.

"I don`t have any such information that the present
situation in Darjeeling is not conducive for holding Assembly
elections. I have not received any formal complaint in this
regard from any political party", Ghosh told reporters.

"If the situation is conducive for election or not
will be assessed by the Election Commission. The EC will
make its own assessment in this regard", Ghosh said.

The state government was sending its report on law and
order to the Ministry of Home Affairs on a regular basis, he
said. "The state government is ready to send its opinion, if
the EC asks for it."

Stating that the state already asked the Centre for at
least 100 companies of central forces `immediately` for
Darjeeling and other areas where similar law and order problem
existed, Ghosh said the government was yet to receive any
feedback from the Centre in this regard.

PTI