Monday, June 27, 2005

BANGLADESH: Pondering over Gissing's surprise and a later development

Gissing has placed four alternative proposals for New Delhi and the West Bengal government to mull over. He wants autonomy for his ethnic district of Darjeeling in West Bengal, or a separate state, or integration with Bihar, or unification with Bangladesh. If none of these are granted, then he has demanded a sovereign independent state of "Gorkhaland". The head of the Gorkha Hill Council has advanced several arguments for his extraordinary proposal of integration with Bangladesh: that a hundred years ago Darjeeling was part of Rajshahi, now in Bangladesh, and that the indigenous hill people of Bangladesh lead a happy life in that country. Geesing's demands have the backing of the GNLF's performance in the 22 May 2005 Gorkha Hill Council election, where its candidates bagged all of the available seats. The West Bengal government and New Delhi have some thinking to do, and reportedly are engaged in some serious thinking.

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