‘Mamata is out to divide the hill people’
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung has again given the call for Gorkhaland. Intent on confronting Mamata Banerjee (with help from Delhi), he has announced a shutdown in the hills. Excerpts from an interview with Romita Datta.
Q. Have you sought the Centre’s intervention?
A. I have written to the PM, demanding president’s rule in the hills to end Mamata’s autocracy. If a state government has to take the army’s help to bring the situation under control, it’s shameful. The new GTA committee will only be formed under president’s rule as the state police have turned into TMC cadre.
Q. But Mamata has ruled out tripartite talks.
A. The GTA was formed on the basis of a tripartite agreement, including the Centre. Mamata is overruling its basic principles. She’s formed 17 boards for the different hill communities, giving them sops, trying to break the hill people’s unity. But our call for Gorkhaland will unite us.
Q. How can you justify the violence over the optional inclusion of Bengali in hill schools?
A. We don’t want Bengali even as an optional subject. Why burden our students who are already learning Nepali as mother tongue, Hindi and English?
Q. Mamata says you’re frustrated because the government is auditing GTA accounts.
A. The GTA was audited once in 2016 and twice in 2017. No one found anything amiss. Why doesn’t she audit the crores her party got from Saradha, Narada and Rose Valley?
Q. TMC says you’re nervous about Mamata’s visits to the hills. A. She’s been here 35 times. She comes to divide the hill people, pitting one community against another. We won’t let it happen. Gorkhaland will unite us.