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30 Jun 2017

Darjeeling unrest: West Bengal child rights body raps GJM for using children in political protest

Indrajit Kundu | India Today | Kolkata, June 29, 2017 : After being pulled up by the Calcutta High Court for its indefinite strike call in the Darjeeling hills, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has now been served a show-cause notice by the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR).
Taking suo-moto cognizance, the WBCPCR on Thursday served a notice to the Morcha seeking explanation as to why children were used in its political rallies. The commission states that the move could potentially 'damage' the physical and cognitive development of those children who were made to take part in the rally.
On Wednesday, the Morcha had taken out a rally in Darjeeling where children were seen walking with Khukuris or traditional Nepali knives in their hands.
The commission states that it has taken cognisance of the matter where "children in shackled conditions were exposed to violent activities and were used in a political procession". The Morcha has been given a week's time to explain why action should not be initiated against the party for violating the rights of children.
Meanwhile, a meeting of fourteen hill based political and social organisations convened by the GJM took place in Kalimpong district. The meeting decided to continue the indefinite shutdown in the hills to push forth its separate Gorkhaland state demand.Darjeeling protests
Though Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee once again reiterated her government's stand that there was no question of dividing Bengal. Slamming the BJP for stoking the unrest in the hills, Mamata said, "They can't fix the unrest in Kashmir and they are trying to foment trouble in Darjeeling. Will never allow division of Bengal till my last breath."

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