Hill Statehood Movement Gets Jolted at the Beginning
Under pressure from hill population and a tough resistance from Siliguri and doors plains, Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) back tracked by declaring a relief of 60 hours in the strike schedule on the very second day of the indefinite strike started in the Darjeeling on 10th June’08. The strike has been relaxed from 6.00 PM on Wednesday through 6.00 AM on Saturday indicating a softening of GJM stand.
Declaring the relief schedule, Bimal Gurung, the President of GJM at a hurriedly called meeting at Darjeeling Town, asserted, “We are giving time up to 27th June’08 (to the Central Government) to grant our statehood demand or else we would go all out for a greater movement.
On the other hand, Amra Bangali, a communal outfit declared that they would go tit for tat and teach GJM a lesson. They also declared a 48 hours strike in the six districts of the northern part of Bengal as retaliation. Elsewhere in the adjoining doors region, GJM supporters attacked six tourists and also burned their car while they were retuning after holidaying in Champamari forest.
Two elderly couples in their sixties suffered deep cuts in the incident. In a spontaneous counter offensive, the peoples of doors forcibly lifted the blockade by GJM supporters on the national highway 31 at Birpara and on railway tracks at Bagrakot and foiled all attempts to enforce the strike and cause disruptions by GJM supporters. Another mob, in a counter attack, burned two vehicles and one ambulance of GJM supporters forcing the GJM supporters to flee.
In a guarded reaction, the chief minister of West Bengal, Mr. Buddhadev Bhattacharya said that barring statehood anything could be discussed including giving wider power and more autonomy to the DGHAC. However, the Urban Development & Hill affairs minister was straight forward in his assertions and said that the Morcha (GJM) needed to understand that the demand for separate state is a utopian concept and would never be realized. He also said, “ The Morcha is toeing the line of ULFA in Assam and there could be external backing to their movement”.
Tags: Hill Statehood , Movement
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