GJM assails Ahluwalia on tribal status for Darjeeling communities

23 Aug 2018

The visit of Darjeeling M.P. and Union Minister of State S.S. Ahluwalia to Siliguri on Wednesday and his statement on issues relating to the hills have angered the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), prompting the latter to put up posters across the town against the BJP leader.
The GJM in their posters questioned the absence of the M.P. during the 104 days crisis faced by people living in the hills caused by the bandh called by Bimal Gurung and Ahluwalia’s reluctance to speak on the demand for Gorkhaland even after being handsomely voted to the Lok Sabha, capitalizing on the issue.
“Where was he (Ahluwalia) when the people of the hills faced hardship during last year’s 104 days strike and agitation? He is a hill MP but did not even utter a single word to calm and soothe people who voted him as a legislator,” said GJM Darjeeling sub-division spokesperson Sandip Chhetri.
The BJP M.P. had given a statement that the Centre would hold official level talks with the West Bengal government next month and the issue of granting tribal status to 11 communities from the hills of Darjeeling would be resolved soon. On Tuesday, the Union Minister had led a GJM delegation owing allegiance to Bimal Gurung to New Delhi and submitted a memorandum to Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram.
The GJM however criticizing the M.P.’s statement alleged it was a futile exercise, keeping an eye on the general elections next year. “The M.P. only talks about memorandum and promises. But he has failed to work and deliver for the hills in right earnest. Now that the Lok Sabha election is round the corner, he (Ahluwalia) talks about tribal status and supporting Gurung,” Chhetri said. The GJM sub-division spokesperson advised the M.P. to refrain from
stoking trouble for political mileage when the people in the hills were enjoying a normal life. “Peace is prevailing in the hills and people are going about their life normally. The MP should not try to create disturbances, now,” Chhetri said.
The GJM posters also warned about a cold reception if the M.P. made an attempt to visit the hills region; a reminder of the treatment Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh was subjected to last year when he visited Darjeeling. (EOIC)