Other States

Now, Darjeeling parties seek Union Territory status

Bimal Gurung. File

Bimal Gurung. File   | Photo Credit: Shanker Chakravarty

Taking a cue from the Centre’s decision to reorganise Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories, the political parties in Darjeeling Hills on Monday demanded a similar status for the region in West Bengal. They argued that the status of Union Territory would be the best solution to the long-pending demand for a Gorkhaland state.

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leader Bimal Gurung congratulated the Centre on its decision and hoped that it would also consider the demand of the people of Darjeeling.

Roshan Giri, another GJM leader and Mr. Gurung’s close aide, said the creation of a Union Territory would be the solution for Darjeeling, Terai and Dooars.

In a statement, Binay Tamang, another GJM leader close to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and who wields control over the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), asked if the BJP government could reorganise Kashmir, why could it not take a decision on Darjeeling. The Trinamool Congress government is opposed to a division of West Bengal.

Darjeeling MLA and Gorkha National Liberation Front leader Neeraj Zimba sought to differentiate the situation in Darjeeling and Kashmir, but demanded the status of Union Territory for Darjeeling Hills. “Darjeeling and Kashmir are two different case studies, but what the developments of the day have shown us is that if there is a political will, decisions can be taken,” he said. Because of the strategic location of Darjeeling, he said, the area should come under the control of the Centre, and the status of Union Territory would be the best solution. “Given the population of Darjeeling Hills, the Union Territory should have an Assembly as in Delhi and Puducherry,” he said.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 11:28:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/jk-article-370-darjeeling-parties-seek-union-territory-status/article28827113.ece

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