Gorkhaland stir may mar New Year revelry in Darjeeling

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Darjeeling, Dec 31 (ANI): Holidaymakers frequenting Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong the popular tourist destinations are an upset lot.

Their pre-planned festivities of heralding the ensuing New Year have turnes topsy-turvy due to the ongoing stir for separate state of Gorkhaland.

Activists of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJMM) have blocked national highways, preventing tourists from reaching Darjeeling and other places from Siliguri.

A majority of the tourists are stranded in Siliguri and Jalpaiguri.

"We have come here from so far and we came to know that everything is closed. Then our time is wasted and now that is New Year Eve, our plans will be ruined. We will not be able to enjoy the tour and will definitely suffer," lamented Sunil Joshi, a tourist from Mumbai.

The ongoing protest by the students' wing of GJMM has affected the tourism industry.

The State government's silence on the Gorkhaland issue has angered people owing allegiance to the GJMM.

"Now, we are carrying off silent protests. But today, we have called up maximum number of students from various places. This is because our every activity is not heard and nothing from the government has been assured to us in writing. So, we have decided to hasten our protest," said Deep Thapa, Assistant Secretary of Students' Wing of GJMM, Sevoke.

A relay hunger strike began on December 26 is also underway in different sub-divisions of the Darjeeling hills.

The womens cell of the GJM started their hunger strike on Monday.

Gorkhas have been demanding a separate state, to be carved out of West Bengal, to protect their culture and heritage.

The demand for Gorkhaland gained momentum after New Delhi announced that it would initiate the process for a new state of Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh.

The Gorkha population in West Bengal is estimated to be around a million. (ANI)

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