Kalchini (Alipurduar),: The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad has decided to sit on a dharna in Calcutta to seek autonomy for the Dooars and the Terai and to protest the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s demand that Gorkha-dominated areas be brought under the proposed administrative set-up for the Darjeeling hills.
The decision to sit on a dharna in the state capital was taken at a three-hour-long meeting attended by about 200 state leaders of the Parishad and the heavyweights in the Terai and the Dooars at the Kalchini Dharamsala today.
“Our meeting centred on two main issues, the autonomy under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and the Morcha’s demand for territory. They have been demanding 194 mouzas in the Terai and 234 in the Dooars, and today it was unanimously decided that not an inch of land would be ceded to them. We are also firm in our decision to keep on demanding autonomy under the Sixth Schedule for the Terai and the Dooars,” said Birsa Tirkey, the state president of the Parishad.
He said the people in Calcutta were far removed from the reality that the Adivasis were facing in north Bengal. “I will return to Calcutta on Friday and approach the police commissioner for permission to launch a dharna at the Metro Channel. As and when the permission is granted, we will hold the agitation in the state capital,” Tirkey said.
John Barla, the president of the Parishad’s Terai-Dooars coordination committee, said the Mamata Banerjee government should hear the Adivasis as well. “Mamata Banerjee has promised the Gorkhas a new council as they comprise 80 per cent of the population in the hills. In the Terai and Dooars, our community makes up 75 per cent of the population and she should listen to us also,” said Barla.
Tirkey added that the Parishad had already submitted a plea to the chief minister’s office seeking a meeting with Mamata Banerjee. “Her office is in touch with us and we are hopeful of an early date to meet her. We will be able to convince her that there will be a law and order problem in the Terai and the Dooars if she agreed to the Morcha’s territorial demand. Moreover, we are in the majority in the region and the new government in Writers’ Buildings should have thought twice before deciding to form a committee to address the Morcha’s territorial demands and should have taken us into confidence,” Tirkey said.
The Parishad also decided to hold regular motorcycle rallies and meetings in tea gardens for their demands. “We are waiting for the outcome of our meeting with the chief minister before announcing the dates for these agitation. The state can form any committee, but we will decide if it should be accepted or not,” said Barla.
The Parishad leaders said they were scheduled to meet the joint labour commissioner in Jalpaiguri in connection with the revision of the daily wages for tea garden workers.Courtesy:TheTelegraph.