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Ignored again, plains Morcha leaders cry

A woman walks past a wall with pro-statehood graffiti in Siliguriís Sukna on Saturday. (AFP)

Siliguri, June 9: The Justice Sen committee’s territory recommendation has come as a bitter disappointment for the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders and supporters in the plains who had fought tooth and nail for the party’s demand that Dooars-Terai areas be included in the hill set-up.

The plains leaders and supporters said they had faced stiff resistance from the people in the region and the administration.

Many pointed out that Subash Ghisingh, who had earlier spearheaded the Gorkhaland movement, had “forgotten” the people of the plains after signing the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council pact with the state government in 1988.

When Bimal Gurung launched his statehood movement in 2007, the Gorkhas in the plains threw their weight behind it.

Three persons lost their lives in police firing in Sipchu on February 8, 2011, on a padayatra held in support of the inclusion of plains areas in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). Thousands of Morcha supporters walking from Darjeeling to the Dooars were stopped by the police at Sipchu, on the Kalimpong-Jalpaiguri border.

Today, the Morcha leaders in the plains expressed their frustration at having been “ignored” once again. “Back in 1988, Ghisingh forgot us and our contribution to his movement. We have once again been ignored, this time by Justice Sen. Our aspirations have not been fulfilled even though 24 years have passed,” said Subhas Lama, a Morcha supporter in Bagdogra.

Malbazar resident Binod Ghatany, a Morcha central committee member, said the party would find it difficult to explain the situation to its supporters in the plains.

“The Gorkhas in the Dooars have been part of our movement since 2007 and even laid down their lives. Many have lost their homes in violence. What has been done is sheer injustice,” Ghatany said.

Santosh Rai, another Morcha central committee member from Samsing in the Dooars, said: “Our supporters are crestfallen.”