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GJM meets MoS Reddy, demands separate Gorkhaland state


New Delhi: Stepping up its demand for creation of a separate state of Gorkhaland, comprising Darjeeling and adjoining areas in West Bengal, a delegation of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) met Union minister of state for home G Kishan Reddy on Wednesday.

The GJM team came to the national capital to participate in a tripartite meeting convened by the home ministry to discuss “issues related to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA)”, said officials. However, no representative of the West Bengal government attended the meeting, they said.

Reddy assured the delegation that the home ministry will examine the demands and discuss the same with home minister Amit Shah before the next rounds of discussions.

GJM working president Lopsang Lama said they did not discuss the GTA but submitted a memorandum demanding the creation of a separate state of Gorkhaland. “We have not discussed anything about the GTA. We have submitted a memorandum on how and why the GTA has failed. Our only demand is a Gorkhaland state and we have raised that,” Lama said after the meeting.

He also said the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had promised in its poll manifesto that it would find a political solution to the Gorkhaland issue. GJM leader Kalyan Dewan said the Union minister gave them a patient hearing and assured them that the dialogue on their demands would continue. Later, Lama said in a statement that the seven-member delegation raised the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland and grant of Scheduled Tribe status to 11 Gorkha sub-communities.

“When the issue of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration was raised, the GJM delegation submitted that the delegation was there to discuss the statehood demand and grant of Scheduled Tribe status and not the GTA since the Memorandum of Agreement signed between the Union of India, government of West Bengal and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in 2011 was not honoured by the State of West Bengal,” said the statement.

The memorandum submitted by the GJM delegation mentioned alleged “irregularities, interferences and obstacles committed by the state government, thereby rendering the GTA defunct”.

The GJM said that all the elected members of the GTA had resigned en masse in 2017, rejecting the said body. The delegation further submitted that Gorkhaland was the oldest statehood demand in the country and presented various materials supporting it, said the statement.

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