Tribal outfit undecided on supporting creation of separate Gorkha state

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Jalpaiguri (West Bengal), July 12 (ANI): The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad, a tribal outfit, met in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri District, and is still indecisive about supporting the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state.

The Parishad, the dominant tribal organisation in Bengal's Terai and the Dooars foothills region, has already released a map comprising the tribal belts demanding Sixth Schedule status, which would grant more autonomy and powers to help develop the backward tribal region.

"Yesterday, (Saturday, July 10) my party members went there and heard the views of the Morcha (Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which is spearheading the movement for the separate state). Today, (Sunday) we didn't discuss anything about the so-called Gorkha Adivashi Pradesh. It is nothing but a slogan of the Morcha. We do not agree with their proposal. Our committee will decide whether we will go for a meeting with the Morcha or not in future. But still we demand the Sixth Schedule (status), which is our constitutional right, for Terai and Doars (region)," said Birsa Tirkey, the state president of the Parishad.

The GJM has held several rounds of tripartite talks with representatives of federal and West Bengal governments over the issue, but nothing concrete has emerged.

The Gorkha population in West Bengal is around one million out of the state's 80 million people. An overwhelming majority is concentrated in Darjeeling.

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

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