News Desk: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday accused the saffron camp of creating unrest in north Bengal, referring to the sudden demand from some BJP leaders in the region, including legislators, who have been publicly talking about the need to confer Union territory status or separate statehood for north Bengal.
“It is not easy to divide our state. We will never allow any further partition of Bengal. The proponents of such separate status should know that they will get a befitting reply from people of the state,” she said in reply to a question made on the issue.
Over the past few days, a number of BJP leaders, including MPs like John Barla, who has considerable influence in the tea belt, have lent support to the demand.
It was initially discussed at a virtual BJP internal meeting that some state and central leaders of the party had attended earlier this week and then leaders started talking about it publicly.
“If such separatist movement resumes in north Bengal, it will be a security threat for the country,” said a source close to the chief minister referring to the strategic importance of north Bengal in the region’s geopolitics because of the Siliguri corridor, which connects the entire northeast with the rest of the country.
Known as “chicken’s neck,” the width of the sub-continent is the thinnest here, where it is perched between Nepal in the north and Bangladesh in the south. The China border is hardly around 200 kilometres away.
“What does this central-controlled region (Union territory) mean? Does it mean they will sell out the land of Alipurduar, or Jalpaiguri, or Siliguri? On one hand, they talk so much about China and now, such demands are being raised,” asserted Mamata.
It was not clear why Mamata broached the issue of China while referring to the statehood or Union territory demand for north Bengal.
The chief minister also spoke about a video that has been recently released by the self-styled chief of Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), a terrorist outfit comprising Rajbanshi youths, demanding the separate Kamtapur state that would cover the north Bengal region.
“We have also come across a video where it has been mentioned that terror activities would be resumed. The CID, STF and the state police have been asked to start an investigation,” the chief minister said.
In the six-minute-forty-second long video tape, self-styled KLO chief Jeevan Singha had reasserted their demand and backed Ananta Maharaj, one of the key proponents of the demand and a leader of Greater Cooch Behar Peoples’ Association.
Ananta, who has a number of police cases pending against him, stays in Assam. He is close to the saffron camp and has always supported the BJP in recent elections.
Ananta’s demand, Trinamul insiders believe, is part of a saffron strategy to create unrest in the region and that’s why the party has decided to tackle it politically.
On Thursday, Trinamul youth supporters demonstrated in Alipurduar town where they carried placards and shouted slogans against the BJP for trying to divide the state. “Our political activities will intensify in the coming days. We will not let the BJP play the divisive card here,” said Ranjan Sarkar, the Darjeeling (plains) district Trinamul president.