Enough is enough: Chamling on NH 31 A blockades

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Gangtok, Aug 8 (UNI) 'Enough is enough,' thundered Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling today in an unprecedented outburst against the frequent blockade of the Himalayan state's only lifeline, National Highway 31 A-- during the Gorkhaland movement in the neighbouring district of Darjeeling in West Bengal.

'' Sikkim and Darjeeling shares brotherly relations and we have good wishes for their Gorkhaland movement. But why are they blocking our roads (NH 31 A) regularly? Why are they suppressing the Sikkimese people by threatening and closing our roads?'' lashed out Chamling. Chamling was speaking at the state level celebrations of Tendong Lho Rum Faat, a festival of the ethnic tribal Lepcha community, here.

Though the Chief Minister did not name any political outfit for NH 31 A blockade, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which is now spearheading the Gorkhaland movement in Darjeeling hills, was the obvious target.

Chamling's public announcement that 'Sikkim will not accept suppression or domination by outside forces' stems from his outrage over the regular blockade of NH 31 A by GJM, resulting in the sudden choking of the supply lines of Sikkim.

Last evening also GJM picketers set up blockades along the highway after its party workers were temporarily picked up by Sikkim police at Gangtok during a Gorkhaland signature campaign.

Moments after the signature campaigners were detained by Sikkim police for questioning, GJM stopped vehicular movement along the NH 31 A from entering or leaving Sikkim till the campaign was allowed to continue and the supporters were released.

However, Kamlimpong GJM workers again picketed the NH 31 A later in the evening for almost two hours.

Sikkim transport minister Menlom Lepcha had to enter Sikkim by foot after his vehicle was also caught in the flash strike.

'' Why are they creating trouble here in Sikkim and then block our roads? How long will we tolerate the threats and road blockades? This is too much,'' said Chamling.

''We have nothing to say or do against them but we are also not ready to be suppressed,'' he said.

The Chief Minister pointed out that the national highway had been disrupted leading to a daily loss of Rs.3.70 crores for Sikkim.

'' Who will compensate the losses of Sikkim?'' he asked.

Highlighting that Sikkimese people became Indians after joining the Indian Union by a popular mandate, Chamling said that every Sikkimese is working as an unpaid soldier in protecting the nation's sovereignty in the border state of Sikkim.

''We have not become Indians to be subdued or abused,'' Chamling said.

The Chief Minister pledged that he will not allow the dishonour of Sikkimese people.

UNI BG KK RN1706

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