GJM ups ante, to start indefinite rail roko from Wednesday

Jalpaiguri (WB), Feb 6 (PTI) The Gorkha JanmuktiMorcha (GJM) today stepped up its agitation for separateGorkhaland state announcing various programmes including anindefinite ''rail roko'' from Wednesday.

Besides the rail blockade, there would be alternateclosure of government offices and banks, relay hunger strikesand marches by various wings of the GJM, party GeneralSecretary Roshan Giri and spokesman Harka Bahadur Chhetri tolda joint press conference.

The indefinite rail blockade would be put up byphysically handicapped people from February 9, Giri said butdid not mention the spots where the blockade would be put up.

"It would be informed to you later."

The press conference was held at Kumani tea estate,located at the border of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri district,in the plains.

"If tourists visit the hills and face difficulties dueto the agitation, we will not be held responsible," Chhetrisaid at the press conference, held after GJM central committeemeeting in which President Bimal Gurung was present.

The GJM agitation follows the rejection by the stategovernment the setting up of an interim council before thestate assembly polls, scheduled for later this year. Railwayminister and major opposition party Trinamool Congress chiefMamata Banerjee was also against any such arrangement.

Students in Darjeeling hills should also not not cometo schools at least for a month for the same reason, he saidadding parents should send their wards to hostels of schoolsonly after the GJM tells them to.

Chhetri yesterday cautioned students in the hills tobe ''mentally prepared'' to lose a year due to the agitation astheir upcoming board examinations was likely to be affected byit. Several prestigious schools are situated in the Hills andtheir students hail from various parts of the country.

From Wednesday, government offices including foodsupply and pension and banks, post-offices and ATMs would beopen only on alternate days, Giri said.

Only the offices of superintendent of police, districtmagistrate, sub-divisional officers and sub-divisional policeofficers would be open on all days, he said.

Party chief Bimal Gurung would embark on a march fromKumani to Sankosh at Dooars from Wednesday. Women and seniorcitizens would also organise separate marches, he said.

GJM cadres would also start relay hunger strikes atdifferent parts of the hills as part of the agitation. PTICOR NN

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