SANTOSH K. KIRO
Ranchi, June 25: A tribal delegation from north Bengal today met Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Shibu Soren in Ranchi and requested him not to support the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in its battle for statehood.
Members of the Bengal and Jharkhand chapters of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad urged Soren to instead back their fight for autonomy of the Terai and Dooars under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
“We spoke to Guruji about our demands . Our effort was to highlight the fact that his party’s support to the Morcha would go against the interests of the tribal people in (north) Bengal, many of whom migrated more than 200 years ago from Jharkhand,” said Birsa Tirkey, the Bengal state unit president of the Parishad.
Soren is said to have assured the delegation that he would act only in the interest of the tribals.
“Guruji has asked me to study the memorandum given to him (by the north bengal tribal leaders). He assured them that our party will take a stand that will be in the interest of the tribal people,” said Vinod Pandey, a JMM core committee member who was present at the meeting.
Tirkey said the tribals of north Bengal do not want a separate state, unlike the Morcha. Neither do they want the Gorkha Territorial Administration area to be formed.
On June 15, Soren along with son Hemant and a few party leaders visited Darjeeling and met Gurung and other Morcha leaders.
As the JMM had led a statehood movement for Jharkhand with success, the Morcha had asked Soren to extend his support to their cause.
“We discussed the political developments in the state and the region. We have decided to extend all possible political support. We have the experience of being able to carve out a separate state,” Soren had said.