Gorkha Janmukti Morcha activists to launch fast (Lead)

April 30th, 2008 - 9:02 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, April 30 (IANS) Leaders and activists of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which is demanding a separate statehood for Darjeeling Hills, decided to go on a fast for an indefinite period from May 1 in Darjeeling district of West Bengal. “We have taken this stand to protest the state government’s decision not to allow us to hold any political programmes in Siliguri, which is an integral part of Darjeeling district. If other political parties can be allowed to hold rallies and meetings there, why can’t we organise these?” GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said to IANS by phone from Darjeeling Wednesday.

He said like all other political parties, GJM should be given the freedom of expression.

“Altogether 86 people from Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong, Siliguri and Dooars will take part in the fast unto death, starting from May 1 in the hills. Everyday seven more people would also join in the programme,” he said.

Giri said: “We will also stop paying our taxes, landline telephone bills, electricity bills as a mark of protest against the step-motherly treatment of the West Bengal government.”

West Bengal Municipal Affairs Minister Ashok Bhattacharya, taking note of the growing discontent in the area, advised the tourists not to go to Darjeeling this summer to avoid any unforeseen trouble.

“I would advise people not to visit Darjeeling this season. They might face trouble due to the agitation programme by the GJM supporters, if they go the hills,” Bhattacharya said here Wednesday.

West Bengal Chief Secretary Amit Kiran Deb and Home Secretary Asoke Mohan Chakrabarty held two rounds of discussions with the GJM activists at Siliguri to find an amicable solution. But both meetings failed, prompting the protest programme to continue in the hills.

The GJM, led by its president Bimal Gurung, has been spearheading the movement to demand a separate state and to oppose the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling.

The central government in 2005 announced the sixth Schedule status to the Gorkha National Liberation Front-led Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |