This is our final battle for Gorkhaland, says Bimal Gurung
Siliguri: Describing the ongoing agitation in Darjeeling Hills as the "final battle" for a separate Gorkhaland state, the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) on Sunday threatened to resort to violence if it was pushed to the brink even as the administration tightened security ahead of the 96-hour shutdown beginning on Monday.
"This is our last battle. We will carry out a peaceful and democratic movement to achieve our goal," GJM president Bimal Gurung told mediapersons.
However, when asked to react to union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's comment that news states would not be created everywhere, Gurung shot back: "What Pranab-babu has said is based on his political understanding. We will tell Pranab-babu we don't want to resort to violence. But if the government wants to resort to violence, then they have to take responsibility for the consequences."
"If the government pushes us like this, we will be forced to take up violence. I will request Pranab-babu not to push us in that direction," Gurung said.
He also brushed aside the rejection of Gorkhaland by the Congress, Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) and the Trinamool Congress.
"The CPI-M, its leader Buddha-babu (state Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee), (Trinamool chief) Mamata (Banerjee), have the right to say they are opposed to Gorkhaland. Similarly, we also have the constitutional right to demand Gorkhaland," he said.
"The government must concede our demand," Gurung added.
The GJM chief said his party would take part in the Dec 21 tri-partite talks in Darjeeling on the vexed issue, but stressed that it should discuss only the granting of Gorkhaland.
Meanwhile, both the GJM and the administration were gearing up in view of the party's call for a 96-hour shutdown in the hills from Monday.
GJM assistant general secretary Benoy Tamang said all units of his party have been directed to ensure peace during the shutdown.
He said even police and district administration vehicles would not be allowed to ply.
"On earlier occasions, we had given relaxation during shutdowns. But this time we will ensure strict enforcement. Only emergency services and the vehicles of the district superintendent and the district magistrate will be allowed to move. Two-wheelers cannot hit the streets," Tamang said.