North Bengal: Now, Adivasis demand land areas from DGHC

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Gorkha janmukti Morcha
Kolkata: The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad (ABAVP) on Monday demanded return of 18 land areas under the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC). This, the tribal body, did as a counter-move to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which has rejected the Justice (retd) Shyamal Sen Committee's (SSC) recommendation to allow inclusion of five moujas from the Dooars and Terai region in the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA). The GJM had demanded 398 moujas to be included in the GTA.

An ABAVP leader on Sunday said from Malbazar in Jalpaiguri after a meeting, held to mark the 112th death anniversary of Birsa Munda, that they have written to the state government to return the 18 land areas from the DGHC. "It is now for our Dooras and Terai units to decide on the expert panel's recommendation to include five moujas in the GTA as against 398 demanded by the GJM," the leader said. ABAVP leader Birsa Tirkey had earlier welcomed the recommendation made by the SSC. Chief Secretary of the state Samar Ghosh said the recommendations were made on the basis of homogeneity, compactness, contiguity and ground realities of the moujas.

Meanwhile, the GJM turned down the request made by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to abide by the panel report for all other parties had already given their consent to it. The outfit also threatened to burn the GTA agreement if the 398 moujas sought by them from the Dooars and Terai were not met. The GJM met the ABAVP faction led by John Barla near Darjeeling on the issue and soon after, declared their plan to launch agitation programmes. The outfit led by Bimal Gurung also threatened that if their talks with authorities including the CM did not bear fruits, they would withdraw all their civic candidates, oppose GTA polls and also disrupt the Teari and Dooars in early July. They would also ask their MLAs to quit.

What lies in store for these highly-sensitive parts is left to time to judge. Much depends on what strategy is adopted by the GJM and the Barla faction. According to some quarters, the GJM had pledged earlier this year to accept the recommendation made by the high-profile committee, but now it seems they are in no mood to back their promise in action.

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