GJM withdraws hunger strike, to hold rally on May 7

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Siliguri, May 3 (UNI) Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) activists today withdrew their fast-unto-death agitation following the district administration's permission to hold a public rally here on May 7.

Divisional Commissioner B L Meena gave the permission on behalf of the West Bengal government.

SDO Smitha Pandey sustained minor injuries when the GJM activists hurled bricks at the police and Darjeeling administrative staff in Dagapur after they were not allowed to begin their hunger strike at Darjeeling crossing earlier today.

GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri said they will stick to their demand for a separate Gorkhaland.

North Bengal IG K L Tamta said, ''A 8,000-strong rally of GJM supporters proceeded towards Darjeeling to sit on the hunger strike but were not allowed despite having a permission from the district administration.'' ''We had orders to stall them until the permission was granted.

But the Morcha activists were not ready to wait. They turned violent and began hurling stones and bricks at us,'' he added.

However, after they were granted permission, they calmed down and began their scheduled fast-unto-death on the third day of their agitation.

''Although tension persists in the area, the situation is under control and additional security arrangement has been made to avoid any untoward incident,'' the IG said.

Official sources said a meeting between GJM leaders and the district administration at Pintail village was held this morning in this regard.

However, when the Morcha supporters reached the location, they were not allowed to stage their demonstration saying their request was pending.

However, prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC continued to be in force within a radius of 200 metres around the Siliguri court and Sub-Divisional Office (SDO).

Police said additional security forces as well as the Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been deployed at strategic locations across Siliguri and Darjeeling to maintain peace.

No untoward incident had been reported from anywhere so far although tension prevailed both in Siliguri and Darjeeling districts, the police said.

Yesterday, veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu called for immediate steps to prevent the political situation in West Bengal from becoming ''dangerous''.

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