GJM calls series of strikes in Darjeeling

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The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) today renewed its demand for a separate Gorkhaland state, calling for a series of strikes in Darjeeling district next month and advising tourists not to visit the Hills during the bandh days.

At a rally in Kalimpong today, GJM president Bimal Gurung announced four days of bandh in two phases — on March 14 and 15 and again on March 21 and 22 — in the three subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong. He also called for closure of all government offices from March 9 to 27.

The Morcha leaders are planning to visit Delhi soon to meet President Pranab Mukherjee and other central ministers to press for their demand for President's rule in the Hills.

Gurung said that the days of the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA), which assumed office in August last year, were numbered. "The way they are encroaching on the territory of the GTA, the chief minister is trying to create ethnic division in the Hills by forming a separate Lepcha Board, she is coming here and organising a North Bengal festival, she is distributing pattas, inaugurating a bridge without informing the GTA, all this is not acceptable to us. This cannot go on. We want President's rule and after that Gorkhaland will be here because that is our goal," Gurung said at the rally.

He incidentally praised the CPM, saying they were better than the Trinamool Congress. "They at least had a principle, their leadership had quality," the Morcha president said.

Last month Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had participated in a North Bengal festival at Siliguri, during which land pattas were distributed among landless people.

What irked the Morcha recently were the renewed activities of the CBI, which is investigating the murder of Gorkha League president Madan Tamang. Last week the agency arrested five activists of the Morcha for their alleged involvement in the murder.

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