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IN PICS: Tripartite accord on Darjeeling signed

Last updated on: July 18, 2011 19:33 IST

IN PICS: Tripartite accord on Darjeeling signed

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The historic tripartite agreement for the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) was on Monday signed to resolve the vexed Darjeeling problem amidst protests and bandhs in the Terai and Dooars areas.

The agreement was signed by West Bengal Home Secretary G D Gautama, Union Home Ministry Joint Secretary K K Pathak and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha General Secretary Roshan Giri at the Pintail village, about 8 km from Siliguri.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and GJM chief Bimal Gurung and the Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Darjeeling Jaswant Singh were present at the accord-signing ceremony, among others.

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Image: The accord-signing ceremony
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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'Both WB and India govt will stand by you'

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Describing the occasion as 'historic,' Chidambaram said the Centre and the state government would fully back the GTA.

"Both the Government of West Bengal and the Government of India will stand by you and hold your hand. The task before you is stupendous. There will be many hurdles, but there is no hurdle that cannot be solved through dialogue, determination and spirit of give and take," the home minister said.

Pointing out that the area under the GTA jurisdiction had a pluralistic society, he said, "There will be many races, different languages, different cultures. But we are one people. The new administration must respect the plurality of the region."

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Image: Supporters celebrate the signing of the tripartite agreement.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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Mamata Banerjee assures economic package to GTA

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Categorically ruling out any division of the state, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the new memorandum of agreement sought to confer to the GTA maximum possible autonomy within the constitutional framework and within various state and central acts.

Banerjee assured a complete economic package to the GTA which, she said, would function within West Bengal.

The Amra Bangali, Jana Jagaran and Jaja Chetana, backed by the Adivasi Bikash Parishad, have called a 48-hour bandh in the Terai and Dooars in the plains area against the signing of the treaty. GTA accord signed by WB Home Secretary G D Gautama, GJM's Roshan Giri and Joint Secretary, MHA, K K Pathak.

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Image: WB Chief Minister Mamata Mamata Banerjee and Home Minister P Chidambaram at accord-signing ceremony
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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Gorkhaland supporters celebrate treaty signing

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Thousands of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters gathered at the Pintal Village, near Sukna, in West Bengal to witness and celebrate the signing of the tripartite agreement for the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration on Monday.

Clad in traditional dresses, the supporters including women gathered under the tents erected on the sprawling ground near the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council bungalow amidst tight security.

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Image: GJM supporters on their way to witness the tripartite agreement.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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'This is a turning point in our movement'

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Activists of the GJM women's wing, Gorkha Nari Morcha, took to the stage, dancing and singing to celebrate the occasion. Many of the supporters were heard shouting slogans like, 'Mamata Banerjee zindabad,' and 'Bimal Gurung zindabad,' while shouts of 'we want Gorkhaland,' 'we want a separate state,' were also heard. "This is a turning point in our movement and not a permanent settlement. This is only a temporary settlement to address the basic problem.

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'Attitude demonstrated by Mamata not shown by Left govt'

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The separate state issue must not be a closed chapter," P Arjun, a member of the GJM think tank 16-member Study Forum, told reporters. Describing the signing of the agreement as the result of a reciprocal attitude on both sides, Arjun, a former member of the West Bengal Civil Service, said, "This attitude, which is demonstrated by Mamata Banerjee, was not displayed by the previous Left Front government in finding out a solution."

Arjun said GJM president Bimal Gurung would not hold any position in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. A section of the Gorkha people, however, said it would have been better if the agreement was signed after demarcation of the boundaries of the GTA. The GJM has been demanding inclusion of the Gorkha-dominated areas of the Dooars and Terai under the GTA.


Image: Activists of the GJM women's wing, sing and dance to celebrate the treaty signing.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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