Darjeeling hills brace for three-day shutdown from today

While the Darjeeling hills braced itself for a three-day shut-down from Monday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has asked why the Centre was playing with fire by undermining peace in the region to serve “vested political interests,” adding that “it is a matter of shame.”

Accompanying this is the fresh uncertainty over the future of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) with its chief executive, Bimal Gurung, who is also GJM president, saying that he is prepared to quit the GTA. “For Gorkhaland I can quit GTA. Give me your hand and I will lead you to Gorkhaland. Be prepared for the Final Battle for Gorkhaland,” wrote Mr. Gurung in a social networking site on Sunday.

The GJM’s call for its “final battle” comes at a time when the Centre is reportedly going ahead with the creation of Telangana.

“Politically our demand may not be equated with Telangana, but historically, socially, culturally, ethically similarity exists. So if Telangana can be created why not Gorkhaland?” the GJM supremo asks.

But Ms. Banerjee disagrees. “Telangana cannot be compared with Darjeeling,” she has said. “Darjeeling is a part and parcel of our State… We will not allow anybody to divide and rule.”