Darjeeling: Despite an earlier show cause notice by the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR), a defiant Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on Monday held a rally for Gorkhaland in Darjeeling town in which children took part. GJM Chief Bimal Gurung has been summoned by the WBCPCR to Kolkata on July 11.
Incidentally on June 28 the GJM had organized a rally in which children from the age group of 3 years to 13 years had participated. While some of the children were dressed in traditional clothes, some were bare bodied and sported symbolic shackles with slogans like "We want Gorkhaland" painted on their body.
On June 29, the WBCPCR show caused the GJM stating that the Commission has taken suo moto cognizance of the matter. In the show cause notice to the GJM the commission stated that children in shackled condition were exposed to violent activities and used in a political process by the GJM on 28/6/2007.
Children dressed in traditional clothes and carrying pro-Gorkhaland placards were seen in Monday's rally in Darjeeling. When questioned on Monday's rally with children, GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri stated "Even children want separation from West Bengal. We do not have any future in West Bengal. They have come out for Gorkhaland."
Gautam Deb, Tourism Minister, Government of West Bengal labeled this as a barbaric act. "The GJM do not have any regard for the law of the land, the judiciary and directives of the courts." stated Deb.
Annanya Chakroborty, Chairperson, WBCPCR stated "This is a clear violation of a Calcutta High Court order that children cannot take part in any political activities even on holidays. Today being Monday is a school day. It is against rights to education. The situation is highly volatile in Darjeeling and the children are unsafe in such rallies on the streets. We have summoned Bimal Gurung to be present at our Kolkata office on July 11."
The youth and women's wing of the GJM demonstrated on Lebong Cart Road in front of the District Collectorate in Darjeeling on Monday. The GJM has clamped an indefinite bandh in the Hills of North Bengal since June 15. Ridiculing Government employees who are attending office, Nari Morcha activists offered "Khadas" (traditional scarves on the lines of garlanding.) "Hope you all want Gorkhaland too" scorned the Nari Morcha activists while offering Khadas.
"We also support Gorkhaland but we are compelled to attend office. The Government has threatened employees with no work no pay along with service break for all who do not attend office. We are helpless" stated an employee requesting anonymity.
The GJM has demanded Central intervention to resolve the ongoing impasse. "The centre should immediately initiate dialogues for Gorkhaland" stated Giri. The GJM General Secretary had met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi on June 15. However the Centre is yet to respond to GJM's pleas.
"We will launch fast unto death in Delhi and Darjeeling after July 6 if the Centre continues turning a deaf ear" warned Amrit Yonzon, General Secretary, Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha (youth wing of the GJM.)
The day saw alleged GJM activists torching a police vehicle at 6th Mile near Ghoom. Another police vehicle was torched on Rohini Road in Kurseong. Police arrested 4 persons from Kurseong in connection with the attack on the Fire Station at Kurseong and torching of 3 fire engines on July 1 night.