Gorkha Janamukti Morcha demands setting up of a regional council

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Darjeeling, Mar. 16 (ANI): The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) on Tuesday proposed the central government to establish a regional council till Gorkhaland state is created.

GJM, which is demanding a separate state for ethnic Nepalese to be carved out of West Bengal, has demanded a set-up within a state in the Darjeeling district and areas contiguous to it.

The council, which would be called 'Gorkhaland Regional Authority', or 'Darjeeling and Doars Regional Authority', will be an interim set-up, which, according to the GJM, is a step forward for the separation of Gorkhaland.

GJM chief Bimal Gurung had submitted a secret proposal for the same to the federal Home (Interior) Minister.

"In our Preamble, we have included 102 departments for our council. But the state government has given from their part 54 departments in the interim council and that too with the authority of the state," said Harka Bahadur Chettri, GJMM spokesperson.

"But, we have made it clear that there will be 102 departments in the Authority, and there should not be any touch of the provincial government. We also mentioned that we are not going to the hilly regions upto Doras. We also sent a map depicting what regions we are demanding and why," he added.

The Gorkhaland Regional Authority seeks to have legislative powers on matters such as town and country planning, culture and certain minerals.

Gorkhas have been demanding a separate state to help them protect their culture and heritage.

Four rounds of discussions have been held so far with the GJM activists insisting upon political talks during the last round.

At least 1,200 people had died in the first Gorkhaland campaign in the 1980s, but protests ended a few years later after Gorkha leaders accepted limited autonomy.

The Gorkha population in West Bengal is around one million.(ANI)

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