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Anti-state outfits in plains set up forum

Siliguri, Aug. 28: The Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee, Amra Bangali and two other anti-Gorkhaland organisations from the plains have set up a joint forum, Bangabhanga Birodhi Mancha, to counter the demand for a separate state raised by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the hills.

The setting up of the forum in the plains follows the formation of the Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee, a joint body of eight hill outfits supporting the statehood demand, last week.

Mukunda Majumdar, the chief of the Bhasha Banchao Committee and the president of the newly-formed plains forum today announced that they would oppose any attempt to divide the state and take up a series of activities demanding Morcha chief Bimal Gurung’s arrest.

“We formed the forum late last week. The new body will not only counter the demand for statehood but also protest against any movement organised in any part of the state that has an agenda to divide Bengal,” Majumdar told journalists here this afternoon after formally announcing the forum.

The two other constituents of the body are the All India Namasudra Vikash Parishad and the Marwari Yuva Sangh.

“We will organise a rally across Siliguri on Friday to condemn the demand for separate statehood. We will also urge the administration to take stern steps against the Morcha and demand immediate arrest of Bimal Gurung who has violated the order of Calcutta High Court by going ahead with the indefinite strike,” he added.

Majumdar also criticised the state government for its alleged double standards.

“When we call a day-long hartal we are immediately arrested. But when Bimal Gurung calls the same for an indefinite period, no step is taken against him. We condemn such double standards of the state and want his (Gurung’s) arrest as he has at least 10 cases pending against him.”

Khusi Mondal, the secretary of Amra Bangali, and the treasurer of the new forum, said: “If the state still fails to take any steps against him we will come out on the streets and voice our protests.”

Mukulchandra Bairagya, the secretary general of the All India Namasudra Vikash Parishad and the secretary of the forum, said: “We are not against the development works taken up in hills. But we would vehemently oppose any attempt by the state government to appease the Morcha leaders. The (statehood) movement should be stopped by taking stern legal and administrative steps.”