HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Darjeeling, May 31, 2010
First Published: 00:21 IST(31/5/2010)
Last Updated: 00:24 IST(31/5/2010)
Gorkhaland, the proposed home state of the Gorkhas, has undergone a metamorphosis to become ‘Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh’.
The change in nomenclature, announced by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung on Sunday, is designed to assuage the feelings of the tribals and to justify the inclusion of the Dooars region in Jalpaiguri district, where the adivasis are in a majority.
GJM’s demand for the inclusion of nearly the entire Dooars has met with stiff resistance from the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikash Parishad (ABAVP).
“We have nothing to do with Gurung’s announcements. Our problems are unique and not similar to the Gorkhas,” ABAVP state president Birsa Tirkey said. “Our demand is the inclusion of the region in the sixth schedule of the Constitution to safeguard the rights of the scheduled tribes.”
Appearing at a public rally to emphasise he was in charge after the murder of All India Gorkha League chief Madan Tamang on May 21, Gurung said, “We had given enough time to the government to implement our interim proposal …. As the government failed to do so, it will be the separate state demand henceforth.”
He said Siliguri would be an integral part of the new demand.
“We need the (New Jalpaiguri) railway station and (Bagdogra) airport as we are landlocked and will be handicapped without them,” he said. “We will not accept a separate state comprising the three hill sub divisions alone.”
According to the demand, the new state would have four subdivisions — Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong, Siliguri— of Darjeeling district and nearly the whole of Jalpaiguri, totalling 6,450 sq km.