Centre aiding stir in hills, not helping Bengal government: Minister

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Darjeeling, July 13 (IANS) Alleging that the central government is influencing the Gorkhaland movement in the northern West Bengal hills, a state minister on Thursday said that the Centre is not providing necessary support to the state as per the federal structure.

“The central government is influencing the movement for separate Gorkhaland. We have no hesitation in saying that they are not providing the necessary support to the state government under the federal structure,” state Tourism Minister Gautam Deb said.

“The state has repeatedly asked for more army deployment in the violence-stricken regions in the hills, but the Centre is neglecting the state government’s rightful demand,” he alleged.

Deb also accused Darjeeling MP and central minister S.S. Ahluwalia of supporting the ongoing “vengeful agitation” in the Darjeeling hills and said it was unfortunate that the Centre was not condemning repeated incidents of arson in the region.

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“The local MP, also a central minister, is clearly supporting the movement. It is unfortunate that the central government is not condemning the vengeful agitation in the region,” Deb said.

On Thursday morning, the minister’s convoy was allegedly stopped and attacked when he was on his way to Darjeeling’s Panighatta to attend a programme on the occasion of poet Bhanubhakta Acharya’s birth anniversary. A police vehicle was also stoned and vandalised while coming back from the spot.

Condemning the attack, Deb said the state government would not tolerate any conspiracy to isolate Darjeeling from Bengal.

“An independent citizen has every right to go anywhere in the country, be it Darjeeling or somewhere else. We will not tolerate any conspiracy to isolate Darjeeling from Bengal,” he added.

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