Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders are likely to meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh here on Sunday to request him to consider formation of a separate Gorkhaland, informed sources said. A GJM delegation, headed by its President Bimal Gurung and General Secretary Roshan Giri, is slated to reach here on Sunday morning and meet the Home Minister any time in the day, a GJM leader told IANS on condition of anonymity. “We have sought permission to the Home Minister to meet him over the Gorkhaland issue on Sunday. Our delegation will reach Delhi tomorrow (Sunday) morning. As we are yet to get the fixed time to meet the Home Minister, but we will meet him any time in the day,” he said.
The demand for a separate Gorkhaland resurfaced before the 2016 Assembly elections when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced several “development boards” for different communities in Darjeeling district – such as the Lepchas and Tamangs. The GJM has maintained that setting up separate boards outside of the functioning of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) is a part of Banerjee’s “divisive politics”.
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The demand picked up steam right after the Assembly election. While the GJM continued to retain all seats in the district, its vote share had fallen alarmingly by nearly 40 per cent and Banerjee’s Trinamool had managed to make inroads in the region. Two vehicles were set ablaze by the Gorkhaland agitators in the Darjeeling hills on Wednesday amidst special security arrangements as the indefinite shutdown called by the GJM entered its 56th day.
Singhmari and Patlebas areas in Darjeeling have witnessed several incidents of violence involving the GJM activists and police in the last couple of months. Besides the GJM, various other hill parties and intellectuals marched on the streets of Darjeeling with black flags and placards demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.