West Bengal governor asks GJM to withdraw hunger strike

February 10th, 2009 - 9:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Siliguri, Feb 10 (IANS) West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi Tuesday requested Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung to withdraw the indefinite hunger strike at Darjeeling district by Morcha supporters.

“Gandhi called Gurung Tuesday afternoon and requested him to withdraw the indefinite hunger strike at Gorubathan area of Kalimpong sub-division of Darjeeling. He also said he will personally take up the issue and see that it is solved as soon as possible,” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said.

Giri further said Gandhi has asked them to maintain peace and harmony in the region.

“We will hold a party meeting soon to decide whether to withdraw the hunger strike or not,” Giri said.

At least 22 GJM supporters are observing a fast-till-death since Jan 29 at Gorubathan over issues like re-opening the closed tea gardens in the hills, allowing GJM to hold public meetings in the Dooars region of Jalpaiguri district and immediate arrest of the anti-GJM activists who assaulted their supporters in various clashes in January.

According to district sources, the condition of the 22 activists, who are fasting, is critical.

The GJM, led by Gurung, has been leading a movement in the hills for a separate state, besides opposing the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling district.

The central government in 2005 conferred the Sixth Schedule status on the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)-led Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), ensuring greater autonomy to the governing body.

The DGHC was formed in 1988 through an agreement between the central and state governments and the GNLF after the hills witnessed violence for about two years.

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