Strategic importance of Gorkhaland stressed by Jaswant Singh

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New Delhi/Siliguri, July 17 (ANI): Jaswant Singh, who successfully contested in the elections to Lok Sabha from Darjeeling as a candidate of the BJP with the support of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has said that the Centre should realise the strategic importance of Gorkhaland.

He noted that this region shares international borders with Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and Nepal.

"The demand is for a small state within the country, within India and within the territorial limits. It is very important to remember that it is the only district in the country which actually adjoins three international borders and is very close to the fourth," Singh said while releasing a book 'Why Gorkhaland?' in New Delhi last evening.

Singh added that the BJP has always been in favour of small states like the Gorkhaland in West Bengal and Telangana in Andhra Pradesh.

In Siliguri, the GJM continued the blockade of National Highway 31-A on Thursday.

Consequently, hundreds of vehicles were stranded along the road leading to the foothills with the drivers unaware as to when this blockade will end.

However, the GJM activists said that only vehicles of the defence forces and other emergency services will be allowed to ply on the highway from Sikkim until their demand is heard by the Central and State Governments.

"Sikkim is also giving 100 percent to us. You can see why vehicles are not coming towards this side that's because Sikkim is supporting our cause. We are allowing only important vehicles like ambulances and that too due to humanitarian reasons," said Dilip Chettri, a leader of GJM.

Sikkim-bound tourists too were detained at the main bus stop in Siliguri. For the commoners, the sole means of communication to Sikkim is by road.

"If such strikes take place frequently then we would think twice to come back here. Such uncalled strikes paralyse the system which is very bad," said Sunil Jain, a tourist from Maharashtra.

In the latest development, the Central Government has mooted a tripartite meeting on August 24. The Governments of India and West Bengal will discuss the problem with the pro-Gorkhaland parties at this meeting. (ANI)

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