Support separate Gorkhaland cause, says official

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Darjeeling, Jan 13 (ANI): As the shutdown for a separate Gorkhaland State continued for the second consecutive day here on Thursday, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) General Secretary Roshan Giri made an earnest appeal to the people to support the cause.

"Everywhere else it is closed and we appeal to everyone that they should follow the shutdown because this is for the cause of a separate state. Until and unless we get a separate state, there will be issues with tribals of other regions, and it won't be solved," said Giri.

He further assured the locals that the National Highway 31 would not be blocked, as it is the lifeline of many in Sikkim.

Streets in Darjeeling wore a deserted look and shops remained shut as GJM activists marched on roads, shouting slogans for the creation of Gorkhaland.

Earlier on Wednesday, the activists also blocked various parts of the National Highway 55 by burning tyres, and disrupting vehicular traffic completely during the shutdown.

Giri had announced on January 6 that a 25-day long shutdown would be enforced in Darjeeling.

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

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 councils 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 Gorkha population in West Bengal estimated to be around a million has been demanding a separate state. (ANI)

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