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As its separatist campaign in the Darjeeling hills spiralled deeper into violence, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today sought central intervention to bring back peace in the district and "foil" the West Bengal government's "attempt" to make Bengali mandatory in schools. GJM general secretary Roshan Giri and BJP's Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and placed their demands before him. "We have apprised the home minister of the prevailing situation in Darjeeling and the Mamata Banerjee government's attempts to impose Bengali in the district-based schools.
We have urged him for immediate central intervention to bring back peace there," Giri told reporters after meeting Singh. The GJM leader said they will not participate in the June 19 tripartite meeting called by the Home Ministry to discuss issues related to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration and his party would talk only about a separate state. Giri said the West Bengal government is conspiring to suppress the democratic movement for Gorkhaland brutally by using force. "We strongly condemn the raids on our offices in Darjeeling. Whatever the police found in our offices were planted by police themselves," he said. Giri said both Bengali and Nepali, the languages spoken in Darjeeling, are in the Eight Schedule of the Constitution and hence, equal respect should be given to both. "We will not accept the imposition of Bengali in Darjeeling," he said. The GJM leader said the home minister assured them that he would speak to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue and try to find a solution. Ahluwalia said the Mamata Banerjee government must issue an official order declaring Bengali will not be made mandatory in Darjeeling, to assuage the feelings of the people of the hills. He said there should be political action and a political solution to the Gorkhaland issue and the use of police force cannot be acceptable. Protesters and riot police today hurled stones at each other, while a series of raids uncovered weapons from premises connected to the movement's chief, Bimal Gurung. The demand by the GJM for a separate state of Gorkhaland to be carved out of the Darjeeling hills of West Bengal is fast turning into a major political crisis for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and is likely to cripple the critical tourist industry during the peak summer season.