Gorkhaland demand revived, calls for shutdown

Written by: Manoj Kumar Ramesh
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Siliguri, Jan 10 (ANI): Renewing demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has called for a prolonged shutdown beginning from January 12.

Announcing the decision, party general secretary Roshan Giri has said that the first shutdown would be from January 12 to 15.

"This would be followed by a second shutdown from January 19 to 25 and a third from January 29 to February 12, Giri added.

According to Giri, the members of the Central Committee of GJMM would also hold a 'fast unto death' strike, slated to begin from February 16.

"The Central Government must clear its stance on the Gorkhaland issue. It has been our demand and is intrinsically linked with the people's aspirations. 99 percent of people in this region want a separate state.

The government must clarify its position on the matter. We do not have any option but to protest through democratic means. This is why, the region would be closed down and following this, our party leaders would fast unto death," said Giri.

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.

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.

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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