KPP leaders write to Narendra Modi for Kamtapur state
Leaders and workers of the Kamtapur Progressive Party (KPP) sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi through the district magistrate of Jalpaiguri on Friday, demanding the separate Kamtapur state and inclusion of Kamtapuri (Rajbanshi) language in the eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution.
The KPP leaders, who also demonstrated in front of the district magistrate’s office, lent support to a demand that north Bengal be declared as a separate state or a Union territory but said it should be named Kamtapur.
The demand was raised by Alipurduar BJP MP John Barla, who is also the Union minister of state for minority affairs.
Manabendra Roy, an assistant secretary of the KPP, said the party had been formed with the demand for separate Kamtapur state which would comprises the entire north Bengal region. “We also want constitutional recognition of our language. We support John Barla’s demand for a separate north Bengal state but it has to be named Kamtapur and nothing else. That is why we have sent the letter to the Prime Minister,” said Roy.
During the demonstration, the leaders demanded that the central and state governments hold talks with them. “If required, John Barla can also join the talks. BJP has MPs and MLAs from the region and they should pay heed to the aspirations of residents who live in north Bengal,” said Budharu Roy, a vice-president of the KPP.
For the past few years, the KPP had been silent on the statehood demand. Atul Roy, the founder-president of the party who died recently, had extended support to chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
Other demands which the KPP has raised include announcement of national holiday on the birth anniversary of Chila Roy, the fiercest fighter of the Cooch Behar royal family, and establishment of AIIMS in north Bengal.
“We do not support the demand for a separate state. The state government is sincerely carrying out development in the region and we believe it is the only way through which peoples’ issues can be addressed,” said K.K. Kalyani, the district Trinamul chief.
Bapi Goswami, the district BJP president, was cautious in his remarks.
“Our party does not want any further partition of Bengal. But we want to point out that because of lack of development, such demands are being raised from this region,” he said.