Centre monitoring situation in hills, ready to offer ''all help'' to state

NEW DELHI
13 Jun 2017

Concerned over continuing violence in Darjeeling, the Centre is closely monitoring the situation in the hill district and is ready to offer all assistance to the West Bengal government to restore normalcy, an official said today.

However, the Union home ministry is yet to seek a report from the West Bengal government on the situation in the hill district which has been witnessing violence for the last couple of days. "We are closely monitoring the situation in Darjeeling. We are in touch with the state government officials. If necessary, we are ready to offer all assistance," a home ministry official said. However, GJM chief Bimal Gurung today said he is in constant touch with the Centre and is hopeful that its ally the BJP will consider its demand for a separate Gorkhaland "compassionately".

"I am constantly in touch with the central government and various ministers. I am very hopeful that they will understand our pain and struggle and will consider our demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland. "The government at the Centre is our ally and they will surely consider our demand compassionately," Gurung said.
The BJP, he said, has always been in favour of small states.
The GJM chief slammed chief minister Mamata Banerjee for calling in the Army to control the situation in the hills and advised her to stay out as "the people of Darjeeling are well-equipped to take care of themselves".

"My advice to Mamata Banerjee is please stay away from the hills. We don't need your charity. The people of the hills will not accept the TMC's hegemony," he said. Hitting out at the chief minister for calling in the Army to control the situation in the hills, Gurung said: "Mamata Banerjee is just pursuing opportunist politics. In December last year, she had accused the Army of trying to attempt a military coup. She can do anything for the sake of cheap politics.
"We are not like her. We respect the Indian Army. Every year hundreds of youth from the hills join the Indian Army," he said. The Army was deployed in restive Darjeeling town on June 8 after the GJM supporters clashed with the police, damaged police vehicles and set some of them ablaze as Banerjee held a cabinet meeting at the Raj Bhawan there.

The GJM had also tried to march to the venue of the meeting. Gurung accused police of letting loose "a reign of terror" on the people of the hills. "The police are going to every household and threatening the people by saying don't listen to the GJM or we will give false cases against you. Is this the way you treat the people of the hills?" he said.