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GJM to pursue committee formation issue on statehood post winter

EOI
Darjeeling : The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has decided to wait for the winter session of Parliament to end to pursue the issue of the formation of a committee as promised by the Centre to examine the demand for a Gorkhaland state. On November 24, GJM chief Bimal Gurung led a seven-member delegation to meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi, reiterating the demand for a separate state. After the meeting, Gurung maintained that Singh had agreed to form a committee to look into the statehood issue. Speaking on Thursday in Darjeeling on the sidelines of an indoor meeting to apprise GJM leaders and the party’s frontal organisations of his Delhi visit, Gurung said, “Our meeting with the home minister was very fruitful. He gave positive assurance and said the Centre has decided to form a committee to examine our demand.” The GJM delegation reached New Delhi on November 15 and returned home on Wednesday after offering prayers in Varanasi for the statehood cause. 

The GJM chief, who will leave for Kolkata on November 29, said he would wait for Parliament’s winter session to end and then take up the committee formation issue with the Centre. “The winter session is in progress and it will not be appropriate to take up the issue. However, we will have talks with the central government once the winter session is over,” he said. Gurung also said he would request the Centre earnestly to look into the GJM’s demand to confer tribal status to 11 communities of the Darjeeling hills and plains. “I will be in Varanasi from December 9 to 16 and also meet the concerned ministers in Delhi to expedite our demand. In fact, I will also invite representatives of the communities in question to Delhi,” said Gurung. The GJM wants the Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunwar, Thami, Yakhha (Dewan) and Dhimal communities to be included in the Scheduled Tribe list. The matter has also been taken up by Darjeeling MP Surendra Singh Ahluwalia. GJM has decided to organise a massive public meeting in Darjeeling on December 7. “Several TMC and GNLF supporters joined our ranks recently for the statehood cause. The December 7 public meeting is to welcome them and give them a morale boost,” said Gurung. 

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