Inculpating the ruling All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) Party for the ongoing protest in Darjeeling by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) over the formation of ‘Gorkhaland’, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday accused the state government of alienating the community, which results in them facing an identity crisis. “Gorkhas belong to India, but the state government has alienated them to such an extent that they lost their belief of belonging to this country. It is the identity crisis which has initiated such violence,” BJP state vice president Chandra Kumar Bose told ANI. Bose held the state government responsible for the escalated tension in Darjeeling and said that the ruling regime cannot solve this issue by simply providing some funds and forming the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).
“Both the Left front for 34-year and the TMC party for the last six years are responsible for this identity crisis of the Gorkhas. We need to give the Gorkhas respect and understand their problem,” he said. Meanwhile, Janata Dal (United) leader Pavan Varma told ANI that law and order should first be restored in the hills, which is the need of the hour, and that violence cannot be a solution to any problem including difference of opinion.
“I would join other voices in urging return to peace and normalcy after which a dialogue should take place, in which a resolution should be sought to be found,” he said. Earlier on Monday, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) said that normalcy is returning in Darjeeling, as the strength of the force has been increased to tackle the indefinite strike called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha for a separate Gorkhaland. Paramilitary jawans of the CRPF and the Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been deployed in Darjeeling in large numbers.
CRPF Commanding Officer Sunil Kumar Savita told ANI that “more companies have been called in controlling the agitation in the state. Everything is getting back to normalcy and people have already started arriving at offices. We have the paramilitary forces and police officers patrolling the streets 24X7”. The officer also said that the women battalions have also been deployed to beef up the security. However, GJM president Bimal Gurun has warned tourists asking them to leave Darjeeling immediately as “the situation is turning worse, and anything can happen”.
The GJM general secretary Roshan Giri earlier sought the Centre’s intervention in the political turmoil in the state. Giri had said that a delegation of members of the GJM would call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh to apprise them about the ‘ Gorkhaland movement’. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has branded the GJM protest as ‘abhorrent’ and appealed to the people of the region to maintain peace. The GJM supporters are also protesting against the alleged imposition of Bengali in the schools of the hills.
The agitation arose from an announcement made by Mamata Banerjee earlier that Bengali would be taught compulsorily up to Class 10 in the state schools. After the GJM cadres clashed with the police following their protests against Mamata’s visit to Darjeeling and her decision to make Bengali compulsory in syllabus of schools across the state, the Army was called in to control the situation. The protest led by the GJM turned violent after protesters resorted to vandalism as they torched police vehicles and attacked policemen.