New Delhi, Aug. 10: The Centre, worried about the impact of the Gorkhaland agitation on Sikkim, is tacitly backing Mamata Banerjee’s tough stand.
Home ministry officials said Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders were told clearly the Centre wants the protesters to back off. “We are concerned about Sikkim. For over a week, the agitation in the hills has been adversely affecting Sikkim,” a government source said. Sikkim, which borders China, is a strategically sensitive state.
Morcha leaders earlier this week called on junior home minister R.P.N. Singh and BJP leaders, including Sushma Swaraj. “Yes, I met them but I do not want to comment on it,” Singh said.
After the meeting with the minister, the Morcha’s Roshan Giri had said Singh had promised to convey the party’s concerns to his seniors. Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde is recovering after surgery for a lung ailment.
The worry over the impact on Sikkim, also dominated by Nepali-speaking people, is one reason for the Centre’s caution. Another is that it does not want to enter into a dialogue at this stage and end up making a commitment it cannot fulfil. “The problem will not go away,” said a former senior government official, saying the projection was that the agitation would be determined.
Government analysts are hoping the Mamata Banerjee government succeeds in containing the agitation in the Darjeeling hills.