The Hindu: “Even as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee assured the people of the Darjeeling hills that their demands would be met and urged them to refrain from getting into a conflict with the government, the spectre of a separate Gorkhaland loomed over the swearing-in of the elected and nominated representatives of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Sabha here on Saturday.
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung addressed the gathering as the people of “Gorkhaland,” and said the newly-elected representatives would work to usher in development and peace for those who live in the “Gorkhaland region.” After they were sworn in, most of the members of GTA Sabha hailed “Jai Gorkhaland” from the podium. The GJM leadership used the word “Gorkhaland” repeatedly, but avoided mentioning the party’s earlier demand for a separate State. The GJM leadership has already stated that it isn’t giving up on its demand for a separate State.
The Darjeeling hills have been on the boil in recent years, with a series of agitations and bandhs called by the GJM. On July 18 last year, a tripartite treaty was signed among the Centre, the State government, and the GJM and it paved the way for the setting up of the GTA — a development for which Ms. Banerjee takes the credit, for “having restored peace to Darjeeling in three months” (since her government came to power). “The process that began on July 18 has reached its final conclusion with the swearing-in of all members of the GTA Sabha,” said Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh.”
Indian ethnic minorities continue to demand separate states.
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