WBengal's new leader claims deal with separatists

AP News
Posted: Jun 08, 2011 8:23 AM
WBengal's new leader claims deal with separatists

The new leader of a northeastern Indian state says she has resolved a decades-old separatist conflict with a deal offering Gorkhas self-rule in their Himalayan foothill homeland.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called the deal historic. However, it leaves open the thorny issue of which territories the area's Gorkhas, or ethnic Nepalese, would control.

Gorkhas have been agitating since the 1980s for a separate Gorkhaland state. Gorkha party leader Roshan Giri said Wednesday they have not abandoned that demand, but would wait for recommendations from a committee set up under Tuesday's agreement.

The deal envisions Gorkhas governing their areas through an elected council.

Dozens have died over the years in clashes between Gorkhas and police.