Sikkim CM backs Gorkhaland demand
Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling has come out in support of the demand for a separate Gorkhaland to be carved out of North Bengal hills.
In a letter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday, Chamling wrote: "The fulfilment of the constitutional demand of the people in the Darjeeling Hills, which is deeply connected with the national identity of the Indian Gorkhas, will provide long-awaited justice to their patriotism, which has been second to none.
"Creation of a Gorkhaland state will also restore permanent peace and prosperity of the region and Sikkim will be hugely benefited as her developmental tempo can be maintained undisturbed."
Chamling also highlighted the problems Sikkim faced with "recurring blockage of its one and only lifeline, NH-10, during the last 30 years of Gorkhaland agitation.
"The blockage of the transportation of essential goods and the unrest causes unmanageable inconvenience. Also, the atmosphere of uncertainty along NH-10 poses great threat to lives as well."
Chamling said Sikkimese students studying in Darjeeling and the rest of India, along with people needing medical treatment, have no option but to take the tension-ridden highway to travel.
He said the Sikkim Assembly had passed a resolution in 2011 aseeking "a permanent solution to the pressing and longstanding problem of the people of Darjeeling Hills".
Chamling's comments come amid an indefinite strike called by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha in the West Bengal hills demanding a separate Gorkhaland state.
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