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Two voices in Adivasi camp

John Barla

Siliguri, June 9: The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad, which was opposed to the inclusion of plains areas in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration termed the high-powered committee’s recommendation a “major victory” for the outfit.

Parishad state president Birsa Tirkey said: “It is certainly a major victory for us. When the Morcha and those supporting the party began an agitation in the plains in April and even called a bandh, they were rejected by the people. Now, the high-powered committee report has proved that the Morcha’s demand was totally illogical.”

An expelled Parishad leader, who is influential in Kalchini and Madarihat in the Dooars, however, threatened to launch a statehood agitation.

The Parishad had informed Justice Shyamal Sen about its stand and held several meetings in the Dooars-Terai region opposing the inclusion of plains areas in the GTA.

“We had told the committee that the tribals and the other communities residing in the plains did not want the inclusion of these areas in the GTA. Our stand has been vindicated. People in the Dooars-Terai region are relieved. We want peace in the entire region and urge the government to take firm action against those who try to vitiate the atmosphere,” Tirkey said.

John Barla, the expelled Parishad leader, said he was “utterly disappointed”. “We are utterly disappointed. Till now, we have maintained peace and refrained from holding public meetings in support of our demand for the inclusion of certain Dooars-Terai mouzas in the GTA because the government requested us not to do so. We will discuss our next course of action with the Morcha at a meeting tomorrow.”

“We may start a movement demanding a Gorkha Adivasi Pradesh, as our tribal leaders had proposed two years ago. The movement will be intense and we won’t listen to any appeals from the government. The government will be responsible for any consequences,” Barla added.

Barla, who is also the Dooars convenor of the Joint-action Coordination Committee, a forum of Morcha and other small groups that are in favour of inclusion of plains areas in the GTA, said the panel would “give full support to our movement”.

The Jalpaiguri administration deployed police at many places in the Dooars this afternoon, apprehending trouble.