Govt ready to listen to demands for states: Shinde
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, however, ruled out formation of a Second States Reorganisation Commission to consider the demands for separate statehood and made it clear that no commitment has been given to any organisation for creating any Union Territory.
"I appeal to everyone who are demanding new states that they should not resort to violence. They can agitate but follow the democratic process, peaceful agitation. The government of India is ready to listen to everyone carefully," he told a press conference here.
Shinde said there have been demands for creation of five- six states in the northeast, four in Uttar Pradesh, one in West Bengal and two-three more in other parts in the country.
"They can agitate but should do peaceful demonstration. They should maintain peace. Through democratic ways, they should agitate," he said.
The Home Minister said the government was aware of the demands for creation of separate states in Cooch Behar (North Bengal), Bodoland, Gorkhaland and Karbi Anglong.
"It is not that the government is neglecting them. We are ready to listen to them. Wherever workable, the government will take a decision. We have done in the past in Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and in Chhattisgarh," he said.
Referring to violence in some parts of the northeast and in Darjeeling, Shinde said situation there was not going out of hand and hoped that the organisations would not do anything which was undemocratic.
"Situation in the northeast is calm, peaceful," he said.
Shinde said there was no possibility of formation of the Second States Reorganisation Commission to consider the demands of separate statehood.
"We have no such plans yet," he said.
The First States Reorganisation Commission was constituted by the Centre in 1953 to recommend reorganisation of state boundaries.
In 1955, after nearly two years of study, the Commission recommended that India's state boundaries should be reorganised to form 16 states and three Union Territories. Some of its recommendations were implemented in the States Reorganisation Act of 1956.
Asked whether he had given any commitment for creation of an Union Territory for Gorkhas in Darjeeling, Shinde replied in the negative.
"I have not given any commitment on any Union Territory. I listen to everyone but do not say anything. I do not give any commitment," he said.
The Home Minister said the government no longer follows the policy of creating new states on the basis of language which was the precedence in the past.
"Earlier, states were formed on the linguistic line. But no more we follow that, not on linguistic line now," he said.
Asked why demand for separate Vidarbha was not conceded by the Centre along with Telangana, Shinde said not only Vidharbha, many organisations have been demanding states for different regions.
"But Telangana was the oldest demand. Telangana issue was first raised in 1951 and then in 1956. It was the oldest demand for separate state," he said.
The Home Minister said demand for Vidarbha has been pending for last 25-30 years and the region joined with Maharashtra when the state was formed in 1960.
Shinde also discounted the possibility of growth of Naxals in small states, saying there could be some incidents in some states but there should not be any concern.