Darjeeling turmoil is a deep rooted conspiracy: Mamata
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who had for decades been known nationally — and internationally — as a superb street fighter and resolute Opposition leader, on Saturday proved that she remains a true leader even in government and can give statesman-like inspiration and direction to the people during any crisis, no matter how grave its magnitude.
Poised, composed and unnerved by the ongoing GJM-led agitation in the Darjeeling hills for a separate Gorkhaland, she pointed out that a it was a "deep-rooted conspiracy," supported by insurgent groups of the North-East and some foreign countries. Banerjee said that the kind of "hooliganism and vandalism," being seen during the unrest in the hills, can only be executed if there is a "terrorist brain" behind it and the Centre should extend full help to the state to contain it.
"There is a terrorist brain behind this hooliganism and vandalism. Only a terrorist and not a common man can do this. We have got clues that this has terrorist connections. "They (the GJM) have connections with underground insurgent groups of the North-East ... I request them (insurgent groups) not to extend any support to the GJM," Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat.
"What is happening today is a deep-rooted conspiracy. So many bombs and arms cannot be gathered in a day... These have been gathered for a long time. From where are they (GJM) are getting their support? Their advantage is it (Darjeeling) is a hill area and there are borders with other states and international borders.
"They are using the national flag for vandalism, which they cannot do. I will request the Central government not to encourage them to behave like this. If anything happens to any foreigner (tourist), it will bring bad name to the country," Banerjee said. "The Centre must extend its full cooperation to us."
Rejecting reports of firing by the police in Darjeeling on Saturday morning, Banerjee said, "This is absolutely wrong. There was no police firing. They (GJM) started firing. They are using arms, throwing bombs and indulging in vandalism in such a way ...
"I am sorry to say it has never happened earlier that my journalist friends have been kidnapped. Their lives are in danger. They (GJM) have evacuated foreign tourists from the hotels forcefully," she said adding that the activists were not obeying the Calcutta High Court order that the bandh is illegal.
On GJM supporters setting fire to several government offices and damaging water supply lines, the chief minister expressed concern over keeping up the supply of provisions to the hills. "We want to feed the people and I am worried how we will provide rations to the people in the hills."
Referring to the CBI naming senior GJM leaders in the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang's murder, Banerjee said its chief Bimal Gurung was a "corrupt leader" trying to sell off the hills and hampering the development work taken up by the state government there. She repeatedly urged the people of the hills not to pay heed to Gurung and withdraw the indefinite bandh.