Pro-autonomy ethnic group calls off hunger strike in Darjeeling

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Silliguri, Dec 20 (ANI): The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), the organisation spearheading a movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland in Darjeeling called off its nine-day long hunger strike on Saturday in order to maintain a peaceful atmosphere in the region before the upcoming tripartite talks, scheduled to be held on Monday.

"We decided to suspend this hunger strike up to December 22. We will plan our future strategy after tripartite talks which will be held here on Monday," said Pradip Pradhan, Assistant Secretary of Central Committee of the GJM.

The GJM also said that it would resume its strike if the talks fail.

Gorkhas, who are ethnic Nepalese, have been demanding that a separate state should be carved out of the Darjeeling region, which would help them to protect their culture and heritage.

The demand for Gorkhaland 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 GJM earlier said that the government ought to consider their demand and not prompt them to sacrifice their lives.

The GJM, however, said it would not settle for 'anything less than a separate state'. (ANI)

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