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Morcha’s GTA stand

Jalpaiguri, May 31: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today stuck to its demand for the inclusion of the entire Dooars and Terai in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration and said the statement made by John Barla contrary to that effect was “purely personal”.

Rebel adivasi leader Barla had said on Sunday that towns in the brew belt of Jalpaiguri district should be kept out of the purview of the GTA. He said only villages and tea gardens in the foothills could be brought under the GTA as there was stiff resistance from the people in the urban areas to the demand.

A Morcha central committee member from the Dooars and a member of the Joint Action Co-ordination Committee, Madhikar Thapa, today countered Barla’s statement. “Barla’s statement that towns should be left out of the GTA is purely personal. We have not endorsed any resolution to that effect on behalf of the Morcha at any meeting of the co-ordination committee. Such a resolution has never been placed before the committee,” he told The Telegraph.

Thapa said the inclusion of towns like Birpara, Banarhat, Kalchini, Jaigaon and Hasimara in the GTA was very much on the agenda of the co-ordination committee. “It is not correct to say that these towns would not be included in the GTA. We have strong support base in these areas as was evident during Bimal Gurung’s stay there in March.”

Barla today reiterated his earlier claim that he had scaled down the demand after consultations within the committee. “The committee has met and taken a decision and that will be conveyed to the Morcha. I won’t say much on the matter,” said Barla.

The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad today decided to hold candlelight rallies across the Terai and Dooars on June 8 to oppose the demand to include the areas in the GTA.