‘Mamata is playing with fire’

DARJEELING CRISIS Union minister and MP from hill district, SS Ahluwalia, blames Didi for the unrest; says she is behaving like Trinamool chief, not CM

‘Mamata is playing with fire’

NEW DELHI:

Union Minister SS Ahluwalia is the Lok Sabha MP from Darjeeling, the picturesque hill station in turmoil over demand for a separate state. In an interview with

Kumar Uttam, the five-term Parliamentarian blames Mamata Banerjee for the current crisis and reiterates party’s position on separate state and said will fight to get justice for Gorkhas. Excerpts:

Why is Darjeeling in turmoil?

The crisis was triggered after West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s statement about making Bengali mandatory in schools. The protest started as a peaceful demonstration, but police action made matters worse. Mamata Banerjee should clarify that there is no order and that she is not going to impose Bengali as compulsory language for the hills and Dooars regions.

What has the present crisis to do with the Gorkhas’ demand for a separate state?

The demand for a separate state by Gorkhas, Santhalis and others has been pending. Mamata Banerjee’s is desperate to make inroads to Darjeeling and Dooars by dividing the Gorkhas, Adivasis and Rajbonpolicy shis. This divisive is to be blamed for the crisis.

Do you blame Mamata Banerje for the crisis?

She is playing with fire in Da jeeling. To suppress the voice of the people, she is denying access to the internet, a violation of human rights… We hope Mamata Banerjee will correct herself and perform her duty as the chief minister, and not as the president of the Trinamool Congress.

But why is the Centre not c fying its stand on Gorkhal

There is a procedure to followed. We are work on it. It is an old deman and a solution cannot delivered overnight.

Have you taken up the matter with the central government?

It’s my duty, as the local MP, to act as a bridge between the people and the central government. I briefed the home ministry and the BJP leadership about the situation as well as the state of affairs, and have appealed to them to intervene. But, unfortunately, when the Centre requested the state to send a ground report and officials for discussing the problem, Mamata Banerjee refused to send a team to Delhi.

How do you see the protest turning violent in Darjeeling?

The killing of unarmed protesters is unpardonable, and I have asked for an inquiry. The administration is responsible for this and shall be held accountable.

How do you respond to Banerjee’s remark on Gorkha Janmukti Morcha as insurgents

The CM seems to have forgotten that she is dealing with Gorkhas, people known for their valor and loyalty to India. It is shameful that Mamata Banerjee and her administration treated them like insurgents

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