GJM to intensify Gorkhaland movement

Darjeeling, Jan 30 (IANS) Calling for an "intensified movement", the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) Wednesday warned of "violence and bloodbath" if their demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland was not met.

"What will they do? Get the police to fire on us? If that be, we are ready to die," GJM chief Bimal Gurung said, adding: "If there be riots, violence and bloodbath, we are ready for it. But we will not sell our conscience."

"We have been running our movement peacefully but we will not sit quiet until we have our Gorkhaland," Gurung said.

He said a decision on intensifying the movement would be taken by Feb 12.

Gurung's comments came a day after the GJM had a face-off with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. During a four-day visit to North Bengal, the chief minister Tuesday was confronted with pro-Gorkhaland sloganeering by GJM activists while addressing a programme here.

"We have lost all faith in the chief minister, especially after what happened yesterday. If our demand for a separate Gorkhaland is not met, things can take a turn for the worse, for which the state and the central government will be responsible," GJM leader Vinay Tamang said.

While the GJM leadership expressed annoyance over Banerjee stepping on the toes of the new Hill Council GTA by doling out sops, the chief minister tried taking a tough stand saying "Darjeeling is part of us".

A GJM delegation, led by its general secretary Roshan Giri and women's wing chief Asha Gurung, is currently demonstrating at Delhi's Jantar Mantar, where too they have warned of grave consequences if their demand for Gorkhaland as a separate state is not met.

"GTA was never our demand. The responsibility will be on the Bengal and central governments for I don't know what will happen if Gorkhaland does not materialise," Asha Gurung said in Delhi.

The long-standing agitation for a separate state carved out of the northern West Bengal Hills has led to loss of many lives over the past two decades. The region's tea, timber and tourism industries have all taken a hit because of the agitation.

On July 18 last year, a tripartite agreement was signed between the GJM, and the state and central governments for setting up a new autonomous, elected GTA -- a hill council armed with more powers than its predecessor, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, formed in the late 1980s.

The GJM now runs the GTA with Bimal Gurung as its chief, after sweeping its maiden elections last July.

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