GJM on indefinite hunger strike demanding Gorkhaland state

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Siliguri, May 01 (UNI) The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) activists today launched an indefinite hunger strike at several places in Darjeeling to demand creation of a separate state of Gorkhaland.

The GJM members sat on an indefinite hunger strike in front of the Darjeeling District Magistrate's office, Kurseong and Kalimpong Sub-Divisional Offices (SDO), Mirik Block Development Office (BDO) under Kurseong sub-division as well as in front of a few BDOs at Dooars area.

A team of 11 members sat on hunger strike in each of these places.

However, as the Siliguri district administration did not grant permission to the GJM to go ahead with the agitation there, the activists protested and staged demonstrations.

Police said 175 GJM supporters were arrested so far and Section 144 CrPC clamped indefinitely in the entire area around the Siliguri SDO.

Security had also been beefed up in the hills to prevent any untoward incident, police added.

A three-member GJM central committee, led by its general secretary Roshan Giri, proceeded towards Siliguri to take stock of the situation.

GJM supporters also started a non-cooperation movement by refusing to pay the land revenue, electricity bills and other official dues to protest non-granting of permission for carrying out agitational activities in Siliguri.

Meanwhile, Mr Giri demanded the resignation of West Benagl Urban Development Minister Ashok Bhattacharya for advising tourists to avoid visiting Darjeeling owing to the volatile situation there.

In Kolkata yesterday the minister had said they were apprehending political unrest because of the GJM's fast-till-death resolution and asked tourists not to visit Darjeeling this summer, ''or else they will have to face problems like scarcity of water, blackouts and frequent road blockades''.

GJM spokesperson Binoy Tamang said, ''Our agitation for Gorkhaland cannot be suppressed by such statements and we will continue with the struggle until the government gives in to our demands.'' UNI XC DPM PL KLC1449

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