Kolkata, July 31 (IANS) The BJP on Monday said the West Bengal government is trying to take the hill-centric unrest over the Gorkhaland issue to the plains of north Bengal and accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of luring tribal leaders of Dooars region to clash with the agitating Gorkha community.
The former president of Dooars Terai regional unit of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parshad (ABAVP), John Barla, was being pressured by the Trinamool heavyweights to join their party and repeatedly asked about his stand on the ongoing Gorkha agitation, the BJP claimed.
“State Tourism Minister Gautam Deb went to Barla’s house, asking him to join hands with the Trinamool Congress and lead the adivasis in the Terai-Dooars region to clash with the agitating Gorkhas,” Bharatiya Janata Party state Secretary Sayantan Basu told reporters here.
“We have got call recordings that show how the TMC leaders are putting pressure on Barla to take a stand against the Gorkhas. He is being followed by the state police and CID wherever he is going. They have followed him even to the BJP MLA guest house and state committee meetings,” he alleged.
Echoing Basu’s claims, Manoj Tigga, the BJP legislator from north Bengal’s Madarihat, alleged that the state government was trying to bring back the atmosphere of unrest in the Dooars region that prevailed during the clash between Gorkhas and tribals in 2008.
“The state government does not want to solve the dispute in the hills; rather they are trying to spread the arson in the plains of Dooars and Terai and bring back the environment of violence that prevailed during 2008-09,” he said.
“This a conspiracy to gain political benefit but the government is not considering the problems that the local people would face if there are clashes,” Tigga said.
Barla, who joined the BJP last year, alleged he was being constantly followed by the police and said several Trinamool leaders met him during the present unrest in the hills and enquired about his stand on the Gorkha agitation.
“Police are constantly following me. They have followed us from north Bengal, all the way to Kolkata. I want to know why is this happening. Is this the administration’s tactics to put me under pressure?” he said.
“Trinamool leadership has repeatedly asked me about our stand and course of action on the Gorkhaland agitation. I told them if they want to do any developmental work for the adivasi communities, they are welcome, but will not involve ourselves in any clashes,” he added.