TMC protests against division of West Bengal for creation of Gorkhaland

New Delhi, Sept 6 (ANI): Trinamool Congress (TMC) party members protested against the division of West Bengal amid an ongoing demand for the creation of a separate state of Gorkhaland in the region.

TMC supporters blamed the Central Government for playing petty politics over creation of new Gorkhaland state.

"There are three legislatures in Darjeeling. How can you form a state from only three legislatures? One needs to understand this. Not even single, full session of the lower house of the parliament has taken place. Some people come up and demand a separate state. We would never allow the division of West Bengal and we would like to alert the federal government that they should take their steps carefully," TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who visited Bagdogra in Darjeeling, said she wanted peace in the region.

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on September 2 forced a complete shutdown over their demand for a separate Gorkhaland state.

The GJM had intensified their agitation for the formation of the separate state of Gorkhaland after the approval by the Congress party on the creation of a new Telangana state.

Bimal Gurung, GJM president, said a seven member delegation of the autonomous region committee had gone to Delhi to press their demand for the separate state.

"Today, a forum comprising of lawmakers and legislatures have left to hold talks with the federal government. We will accordingly take the decision after the completion of the talks," said Gurung.

Earlier the Government of West Bengal had asked the GJM to call off the strike failing which they would arrest it leaders.

However the regional party refused to budge from the position.

The Gorkhaland movement that began in 1980s had ended with a truce between the then Gorkha leader Subhash Ghising and New Delhi, after he accepted limited autonomy in 1988 with a new Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).

At least 1,200 people died in the first Gorkhaland campaign, but protests ended a few years later after Gorkha leaders accepted limited autonomy.

The Darjeeling hills region is geo-politically and strategically important for India as it lies close to the borders of China, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

On July 18, 2011, a tripartite agreement was signed between the GJM and the state and central governments for setting up a Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), an autonomous and elected hill council armed with more powers than its predecessor-the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council formed in the late 1980s.

The GJM now runs the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration after sweeping to its maiden elections held in July 2012. (ANI)

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