Half-day hunger strike staged in West Bengal against Gorkhaland demand

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Siliguri, Dec.16 (ANI): An apolitical body in West Bengal observed half-day hunger strike in protest against the demand for a separate Gorkhaland by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJMM), as eleven members of the committee observed the hunger strike on Tuesday.

Eleven members of the committee observed a 12-hour hunger strike on Tuesday.

"Today we have started fasting or hunger strike from 8 o' clock in the morning to 8 o' clock in the evening. This is a symbolic fasting," said Mukunda Majumdar, President of Bangla O Bangla Bhasa Bachao committee.

According to the committee members, people who are demanding separate statehood are not the original citizens of India.

"We are opposing Gorkhaland. These Nepalese, they are not citizens of India, half of them are foreigners, and therefore they have got no right to call any strike or any fast or anything. They should not have any right to demand any Gorkhaland," added Mukunda Majumdar.

Gorkhas, who are ethnic Nepalese, have been demanding that a separate state of Gorkhaland in Darjeeling hills region be carved out to protect their culture and heritage.

The demand for Gokhaland gained momentum after New Delhi announced last week that it would carve out a new state of Telangana out of the present state of Andhra Pradesh in south India.

Activists of GJMM earlier said that the government ought to consider their demand and not prompt them too to sacrifice their lives.

At least 1,200 people died in the first Gorkhaland campaign in the 1980s, but protests ended a few years later after Gorkha leaders accepted limited autonomy.

The Gorkha population in West Bengal is around one million out of over 80 million.

Meanwhile, GJMM withdrew its call for the four-day long shutdown in the region on Monday (December 14) following request from country's Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram and Bharatiya Janata Party.

The Bangla O Bangla Bhasa Bachao (Oh Bengal! Save the Bengali Language) committee, a Bengali organization has been carrying out protests against the demand of Gorkhaland by the GJMM. (ANI)

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