Gorkhaland activists call strike in Darjeeling hills from Jan 7


Siliguri (West Bengal) : The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM),
which is spearheading a movement for a separate Gorkhaland state, called for
an indefinite office strike in West Bengal’s Darjeeling Hills from Jan 7.

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“We’ve taken a decision not to allow any central government, state
government and Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) office to reopen in the
Darjeeling hills from Jan 7,” GJM press and publicity secretary Binoy Tamang
said Monday.

He said GJM activists would not allow any government office to reopen in
Darjeeling from Wednesday as part of the protest for Gorkhaland.

“However, the banks, post offices and the BSNL’s emergency services will be
kept out of the purview of our agitation programme,” Tamang said.

Following a decision taken in the party’s central committee, the GJM
leadership decided to allow the government offices to reopen in Darjeeling
hills from Dec 26 last year.

Tamang said the payment boycott of all telephone bills, electricity bills
and other government taxes would continue till the demand for a separate
state was met by the government.

The GJM, led by its president Bimal Gurung, has been mobilising a movement
in the hills for a separate state, besides opposing the Sixth Schedule
status for Darjeeling district.

The central government in 2005 conferred the Sixth Schedule status on the
Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF)-led Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council
(DGHC) that ensures greater autonomy to the governing body.

The DGHC was formed in 1988 through an agreement between the central and
state governments and the GNLF after the hills witnessed violence for about
two years.