Darjeeling looks heading towards further uncertainty in the coming days

Yesterday we had reported how the whole Gorkhaland situation has thrown Darjeeling and the nearby areas in turmoil after being virtually shut down due to incidences of violence, which have reportedly led to the deaths of three Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha activists and also resulted in a life threatening injury to a security personnel.

The demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland was reportedly triggered by the fact that Bengali had been made a compulsory language in all the schools in the Hills even though Nepali is considered as the local lingo. Initially this ‘Bengali imposition’ had resulted in peaceful protests but it soon escalated to the present violent situation.

Now though things looks far from unraveling as the situation keeps getting trickier both on the diplomatic and the security front. Internet services are reportedly suspended to stop spread of violence.

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Initially talks were scheduled on Monday between the representatives of the Center, Bengal government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. But they ended up getting postponed indefinitely at the ‘request’ of the West Bengal government. This might be dubbed as an opportunity lost as the contentious issues like the imposition of the Bengali language can easily be straightened out via talks.

Furthermore, during the talks, both the center and the state together could have provided assurances like ushering in greater investment into the state, providing better infrastructure and facilities to the residents among others which could have gone a long way in pacifying the various stakeholders in the hills.

A spanner also seems to have been thrown by the fact that Mamata Banerjee chose to go on a visit to Netherlands on Monday to address a United Nations meet. Even though it was reported that her ministers were monitoring the situation, the absence of the number one at such a critical juncture might raise a few wary eyebrows.

Things might also  out to be tricky on the security front as even though an uneasy calm prevailed, the security forces have also had to contend with angry agitators, some resorting to violence, since the start of the protest. The agitators though have avoided a conflict with the army as it holds a special place in their hearts.

It now remains to be seen if the establishment manages to draw a peaceful conclusion to the whole affair, as unlike the conflict situation in Kashmir, the protesters here are not demanding a separate country but want a separate state which according to them might serve their interests in a better way.


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