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Cabinet told of Telangana domino effect Bengal, NE on ministry mind

New Delhi, Jan. 21: Creation of a Telangana state can lead to disturbances in north Bengal and the Northeast by local statehood campaigners, the Union home ministry is understood to have warned in a cabinet note this month.

“According to the cabinet note, the country will see disturbances because the Gorkhas of Bengal and the Bodos, Karbis and Dimas of Assam will rise once again. It will be an uncontrollable situation…. It may give rise to ten more insurgencies,” a source said.

The note would have come days after home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, on December 28, promised a decision on Telangana “within a month” — a deadline that has just seven more days to run.

Sources said the two major challenges would come from the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the Darjeeling Hills and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), both waiting expectantly for the Centre to grant statehood to Telangana.

Although the Bodoland demand has strategic implications for the rest of India’s connectivity with the entire Northeast, it’s the Gorkhaland issue that worries the Centre the most because of possible international repercussions.

The cabinet note was apparently sent to the Prime Minister’s Office sometime before Gorkha leaders came to New Delhi for talks.

Morcha boss Bimal Gurung recently met Shinde and told him to declare statehood for Gorkhaland along with that for Telangana. NDFB (Progressive) leader Govinda Basumatary, too, has warned that if a Telangana state is created, a Bodoland state would have to be.

To the Morcha, Telangana offers an opportunity to shake off criticism of its acceptance of the Shyamal Sen committee recommendations, which granted only five of the 398 Terai and Dooars mouzas it had sought for the interim Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.

These factors have made the Centre cautious as it approaches Shinde’s one-month deadline. Sources said Telangana was not discussed in much detail at the Congress’s Chintan Shivir in Jaipur last weekend.

Against this background, a group of about 20 anti-statehood Congress leaders from Andhra Pradesh, including MPs and state ministers, met Shinde today demanding the state not be divided.

“We told the home minister not to repeat a ‘December 9 statement’ that could once again arouse sentiments,” they said, referring to former home minister P. Chidambaram’s statement of December 9, 2009, that raised statehood hopes and stoked unrest.

The visiting delegation included MPs G. Venkat Reddy and V. Hanumantha Rao and ministers Seelam J.D. and T.G. Venkatesh. They were heard shouting the slogan: “Jai Samaikya Andhra (Victory for a united Andhra).”

A 50-member team from the Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers’ Union, too, called on Shinde. “From his expression, we could say that Andhra will remain united,” said the union’s general secretary, Ashok Babu.