Siliguri (West Bengal), Mar 1 (ANI): Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJMM) activists, who are spearheading the movement for a separate Gorkhaland state staged a protest and later courted arrest in Siliguri.
The activists gathered up before different police stations across the proposed Gorkhaland area and staged protest demonstrations as a part of their current 'Jail Bharo' (crowding of prisons) campaign.
The agitators raised slogans for a separate Gorkhaland state and when the police tried to stop them from marching forward, the activists courted arrest.
Gorkha Janamukti Morcha General Secretary Roshan Giri said that their activists were courting arrest to protest against the government's high handedness.
Roshan Giri further said, "Look at the incident which happened in Sukna Police Station where the police had arrested the innocent people by claiming that they were involved in torching of a police station."
"In order to suppress the moment of Gorkhaland, the Chief Minister of West Bengal Buddhadeb Bhattacharya is doing this. We are protesting against this and we are courting arrest," he added.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty in the course of his visit to Siliguri disapproved the GJMM's stance and blocking of the national highway (NH-31) to Sikkim.
He also mentioned that the state government has decided to deploy extra forces along the NH-31 to help prevent its blockade.
Ashok Mohan Chakraborty said, "Two aspects emerge. One is this movement by GJMM and their agitation, blocking the national highway (NH-31) to Sikkim, which is the lifeline to that state. Both the state and federal governments are keen to keep this national highway open as per the Supreme Court's directive."
"Presently, we have no intentions to deploy any extra force in the region. Rather some extra force is likely to be deployed in the NH-31a to help the flow of the road clear," he added.
Gorkhas have been demanding a separate state, to be carved out of West Bengal, to protect their culture and heritage.
The Gorkha population in West Bengal is estimated to be around a million. (ANI)