West Bengal Gorkha outfit, tribals vow to fight unitedly

Kolkata, Feb 18 : The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), which is spearheading a movement for a separate Gorkhaland state in Darjeeling hills, and tribal activists in Maoist-hit Lalgarh region Wednesday vowed to fight unitedly against the anti-development policies of the West Bengal government.
“We have decided to unitedly oppose the state government as both the communities (Gorkhas and tribals) are deprived of development by the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front government in our respective regions,” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told IANS Wednesday.
A three-member team, led by Giri, Wednesday visited Lalgarh and interacted with tribal leaders there. The team met Chattradhar Mahato, a leader of the Police Santras Birodhi Janajagaran Committee (anti-police atrocity committee) in the trouble-hit region.

“The tribals in Lalgarh expressed solidarity with our movement. We’ve welcomed them to come to the Dooars and address the tribal community there also,” Giri said.

He added that Mahato said they would definitely visit the Dooars.

“They are yet to fix the date. They would fix the date and will let us about that,” he said.

Trouble erupted at Lalgarh after the district police arrested some school students and allegedly harassed tribal women after a landmine blast near the convoy of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and central ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasad near Bhadutala Nov 2 last year.

Protesting alleged police excesses, the tribals dug up metalled roads and placed large tree trunks across them, virtually cutting off the region from the rest of the district.

Leaders of various tribal groups - some of which are suspected to have links with Maoists - have been protesting against alleged police actions on the people.

They had also demanded a public apology from the district police for the alleged excesses committed against them during investigations into the landmine blast.

The GJM activists, led by their party president Bimal Gurung, have been leading a movement in the hills for a separate state, besides opposing the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling district.

The central government in 2005 conferred the Sixth Schedule status on the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)-led Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), ensuring greater autonomy to the governing body.