Will continue to push for Gorkhaland: GJM chief

Saturday, December 12, 2009

SILIGURI - Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung said Saturday they would continue to push for a separate Gorkhaland state until the central government conceded their demand.

Meanwhile, GJM activists continued their protest rallies and fast-unto-death protests in different parts of the hills areas in northern West Bengal.

“The Gorkhaland demand is 102-years old but we are yet to get our own identity. If the centre can promise a separate Telangana state, then why not Gorkhaland?” Gurung said.

He said the GJM would carry out its protests in a non-violent and democratic manner.

“We don’t want any violence in the hills. We believe in Gandhian philosophy. We think if the Telangana demand, which is about 50 years old, can be met by the centre, why will the union government not consider our cry for a separate state.

“Now our workers are carrying out the fast, if necessary I can also join them in achieving the goal,” Gurung said, when asked if he would join the fast in future.

The GJM activists began a fast-unto-death in the three hills and plains of Darjeeling district and in the Dooars area of Jalpaiguri district Friday. Altogether 105 GJM activists in three hill subdivisions - Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong - and in the plains of Siliguri and the Dooars (foothills) at Matigara are taking part in the hunger strike.

The outfit also announced a 96 hour-shutdown in the region from Dec 14 to 17. Protest rallies are also continuing since Friday.

GJM activists have been demanding a separate Gorkhaland state, besides opposing special status to the hill governing body Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).

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

The GJM organised indefinite shutdowns twice in the hills last year and once in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls this year, severely hitting tea, timber and tourism - the bread and butter of the region.

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