Gorkha outfit stages protest in Siliguri

Siliguri, Dec 7 (ANI): Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJMM) staged a protest here demanding the formation of an interim council on the issue of separate Gorkhaland state.

"The protest demonstration was observed demanding the formation of an interim council and inclusion of Doars and Terai regions of Jalpaiguri district in the separate Gorkhaland state," said Mahipal Chettri, member of GJMM.

"We also want the inclusion of Siliguri, Terai and Doars in Gorkhaland. This is what we want; this is the demand of Gorkhaland," he added.

Earlier on November 18, Bimal Gurung chief of GJMM had said that if the interim council was not finalised by November 20, then they would close down all government offices and resume strike in the hills from the next day onwards.

But, finalisation of issues like territorial jurisdiction and composition of the council had delayed the process.

Meanwhile, the date for the next round of talks has not been confirmed yet.

The tripartite talks pertained to the setting up of a regional authority before the next round of political discussions.

The four issues obstructing the interim authority are territorial jurisdiction, its authority to manage the regional tea gardens, the selection of its members and a description of the council's legislative powers.

A renewed demand for a separate Gorkhaland region, which would include Darjeeling and some contiguous areas of Jalpaiguri District, has created fresh turmoil over the past few months.

At the fifth round of tripartite talks in New Delhi, the GJM had agreed to the constitution of an interim council by 2011 prior to the creation of a separate state.

The Gorkhas are demanding a separate state to protect their culture and heritage.

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

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