GJM launches indefinite stir, withdraws hunger-strike

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Siliguri/Kolkata, Jun 10 (UNI) The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) today launched an indefinite strike demanding a separate Gorkhaland, even as Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhatacharjee asked them to forego the demand and sit for negotiations for the sake of the region's development.

GJM supporters, who had begun a hunger-strike yesterday at Naxalbari, Bagdogra, Gorungbusty and Shalugara, withdrew it once the party decided to launch the indefinite strike.

''The hunger-strike was observed to fight for the right to organise meetings and rallies in Naxalbari. As the party is now going all out for a separate Gorkhaland, it has directed its supporters to withdraw the hunger-strike.'' GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri told newspersons here.

The stir followed despite Mr Bhattacharjee asked the Morcha to sit for negotiations for the sake of the region's development and forego the demand for separate statehood for Darjeeling.

''I once again appeal to them to sit for dialogues without the demand for a separate state. If the present agitation continues, the development in the region will be stalled,'' the Chief Minister said in Kolkata.

Meanwhile, Union Minister P R Das Munshi expressing concern over the current agitation, said he had taken up the matter with the Railway Ministry to facilitate the tourists' departure from New Jalpaiguri. He also appealed to the hill leaders and other political parties to co-operate with the state administration and maintain law and order.

''However, no force should be applied by any individual or group in the given circumstances, to breach the existing harmony and unity,'' Mr Munshi said.

Earlier, in Siliguri, all GJM supporters, who were observing the fast in the four places, gathered at Darjeeling More to call it off.

They had also been dropped at their respective places, police sources said.

SP (Darjeeling) Rahul Srivastava said out of 500 tourists stranded in Darjeeling, five buses had already ferried 250 tourists to Siliguri. A control room had also been set up here to aid them, he said, adding that about 1,000 visitors are still stranded in Tistabajar areas under Kalimpong sub-division.

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