Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung on Wednesday threatened to launch a militant agitation in the Darjeeling hills to press for the original demand for a Gorkhaland state, a day after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee firmly ruled out any division of the state.
Raising the Gorkhaland issue in the midst of the chief minister's visit to the Darjeeling hills, Gurung alleged after inaugurating a bridge at Bijonbari, near Darjeeling, that the state government had been trying to suppress the demands of the hill people.
Gurung also made a brief reference to the Telengana statehood demand and said, "Our movement is old and we will fight for its realisation."
When a reporter asked for the nature of the movement he wants to launch, Gurung said, "The police may open fire at us. We may die. But we will fight for realising our demand for a separate Gorkhaland."
He said that GJM would be holding a rally at Sukna on February 10.
Gurung, who is the chief executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, which was recently formed after a tripartite agreement, alleged, "She is trying to set a divide and rule policy for the hills and drive a wedge between the Lepchas and the Gorkhas, which we will not tolerate."
He was referring to Banerjee's proposal on Wednesday to form a separate development body for the ethnic Lepcha community in the hills.
While reacting to Banerjee's snub of a section of GJM workers -- who shouted slogans for Gorkhaland and held aloft posters on Tuesday during a programme in Darjeeling, Gurung said he was 'shocked'.
Taking exception to the chief minister's warning that she could be both "rough and tough", the GJM president, who shared the dais with the chief minister on Tuesday, alleged that the state government was trying to act "in a dictatorial manner".
Gurung alleged that the state government did not bother to consult the GTA principal secretary while organising the North Bengal festival.
"GTA has been empowered and it can hold such a festival. We will not allow any dictatorship which the state government seeks to impose on us," he said.