Protest groups spar over Gorkhaland stir

Darjeeling, Aug 18 : The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) Sunday hinted at "some external force" behind the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League's (ABGL) decision to "back out from the Gorkhaland agitation".

"Heard that ABGL has backed out from the Gorkhaland agitation because they believe GJM is not ready to quit GTA. Why did ABGL back out after attending two GJAC meetings? Some external force? Well I guess it needs dedication and courage to lead an agitation for Gorkhaland," GJM supremo Bimal Gurung said.

Gurung comments come in the wake of ABGL deciding not to attend any meetings of the Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee (GJAC) unless the GJM sabha members resigned from the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) - the autonomous hill development council.

Reacting to Gurung's comments, ABGL general secretary Pratap Khati accused the GJM of "double standards" and being "not serious" about the Gorkhaland movement.

"Why is GJM neither resigning from GTA nor dissolving it. It is highly reflective of their leadership's double standards. It seems they are not serious about the Gorkhaland movement," Khati told IANS.

Khati said his party would continue its demand for a separate Gorkhaland but would not attend any meeting of GJAC till GJM members resigned from the GTA.

The GJM Friday joined hands with several pro-Gorkhaland parties to form the Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee (GJAC) and took a "unanimous" decision to repeal the GTA "but at an appropriate time".

Despite repeatedly dubbing the GTA a "failure and would be repealed soon", only Gurung has so far resigned as its chief executive while the other elected members are still continuing.

Armed with more powers than its predecessor the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council formed in the late 1980s, the GTA was created July 18, 2011 via a tripartite between the GJM and the central and state governments.

Meanwhile, expressing concern over the Gorkhaland issue, former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee stressed on the need for an all-party meet to resolve it.

"It seems we are getting better at breaking things. Are we heading towards breaking the country into pieces? It's a matter of concern and there should be a concerted effort by all political parties to sit together and resolve the issue," Chatterjee said in Kolkata Sunday.

--IANS (Posted on 18-08-2013)

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