Guwahati, June 19: As the hill town of Darjeeling and neighbouring places in West Bengal are witnessing bandh and violence for several days now, in neighbouring Assam, the indigenous Bodo tribes have once again renewed their demand for a separate state, Bodoland.
While extending their support to the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha's agitation for "Gorkhaland", the Bodo groups in Assam issued a statement saying the demands for Bodoland and Gorkhaland are "historically and constitutionally legitimate" but the Centre is apathetic towards these demands. The groups have asked the Centre to intervene immediately to end the violence in Darjeeling.
The statement, jointly issued by the All Bodo Students' Union, People's Joint Committee for Bodoland Movement and the NDFB (P), added that movements demanding creation of separate states gained momentum in the country after the UPA government created Telangana state in 2009.
"The outburst of tension in Darjeeling is nothing but an unwarranted outcome of the autocratic rule of the West Bengal government and the Centre's negligence towards the problem," the statement said.
It added, "We condemn the unprovoked atrocious act by West Bengal police and their torture of unarmed civilians on the streets of Darjeeling."
The agitation in Darjeeling took a violent turn when three GJM supporters were allegedly killed in a police firing on Saturday. On the same day, several policemen sustained severe injuries because of alleged attacks by protesters.
On Sunday, during the seventh day of the indefinite bandh called by the GJM, an uneasy calm prevailed in the hill town. The last rites of the three protesters, who died on Saturday, were performed on Sunday after a procession was carried out by the GJM members on the streets of Darjeeling.