Lepchas now fast unto death against ‘politics’ over council

Demanding an end to the "unnecessary politics" over setting up of Lepcha Development Council (LDC), a group of 50 Lepcha leaders with hundreds of their supporters began a hunger strike unto death in Kalimpong in Darjeeling district on Thursday.

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on Wednesday called a bandh in the Hills on February 9 to protest the state government's decision to set up a separate development council for the Lepchas. The GJM had vehemently opposed the idea terming it as an attempt by the government to divide and rule the Hills. However, the Trinamool Congress government went ahead and gave nod to the setting up of the council, which will have its headquarters in Kalimpong.

Bhupinder Lepcha, convener of Lepcha Rights Movement, said, "We will sacrifice our lives here in Kalimpong. We have been demanding it for several years. But now with a political interest, the government has approved the council. The government and and the political parties of the Hills (read GJM) are doing unnecessary politics over our identity and our lives. We do not have a demand. We have realized that our lives do not have value in the state. And that is why we want to sacrifice our lives through hunger strike."

Stating that the Lepcha community has never demanded for a separate territory, the leader said: "We are innocent people and we are not into politics. We only wanted right to education, employment guarantee and preservation of our culture. But we are seeing how the government and the local political parties are doing politics over our rights."


DM stopped from entering GTA office

GJM activists on Thursday prevented Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Principal Secretary Saumitra Mohan, also Darjeeling DM, from entering his office. "We have not allowed him entry to his Lalkuthi office since our demands for regularisation of casual workers have not been conceded to," said a GJM leader.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.