After J&K bifurcation, hill parties want Darjeeling to be Union territory

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  1. The Centre has revoked provisions of Article 370 which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.It has also proposed bifurcation of the state into two Union territories Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
  2. This has led to the demand from Darjeeling which has asked for a separate Union territory with a legislature.
  3. Darjeeling is a picturesque hill town and the area is ethnically dominated by Gorkhas.The place is also inhabited by the Lepchas,Sherpas,Bhutias among others.
  4. Several political parties have over the years promised the people of the hills a separate state and implementation of the sixth schedule which grants more autonomy to a region.
  5. The demand for a separate state was first made in the 1980s with the Gorkha National Liberation Front(GNLF) launching a violent agitation in 1986.
  6. The movement culminated in the formation of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council in 1988 following the intervention of the then Prime minister and West Bengal chief minister.
  7. The separate statehood demand gained momentum yet again in 2007 after the formation of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha(GJM) under the leadership of Bimal Gurung.
  8. However,after the ruling government changed in West Bengal,the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration(GTA) was formed.But peace was short-lived in the area as GTA led an agitation in support of the statehood demand accusing the West Bengal government of trying to wipe out Gorkha identity.