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6 Jun 2017

Defiant Gurung continues protest despite CM's assurance to Hills

Defiant Gurung continues protest despite CMAmitava Banerjee |MP | 5 Jun 2017 | Darjeeling: Despite Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee categorically stating that Bengali language subject is not compulsory in Hill schools but is optional, Bimal Gurung has decided to go ahead with his agitation.

The GJM has launched a series of agitation programmes in the Hills against what they have dubbed as forceful imposition of Bengali language. Education institutes had been shut down for two days with students asked to wear black badges; protest rallies have hit the streets and black flags put up all over the Hills.

Mamata Banerjee addressing a government programme stated: "Bengali is not compulsory in the Hills. It is optional." GJM president Bimal Gurung reacting to this stated: "We will not withdraw our agitation programme. I do not believe here word of mouth. She has adopted a resolution in the Cabinet meeting and should not impose it in the plains of the Darjeeling district, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts,"

Gurung has been issuing threat statements time and again. Earlier he had asked hoteliers and transporters to remain prepared to evacuate tourists within half an hour.

He asked everyone to gather in front of the Gorkha Ranga Mancha Bhawan, (a short distance away from Richmond Hill Guest House where the CM puts up) dressed in traditional attire from where a protest rally would commence. He even asked tea garden workers to join in. The police has not given permission for the rally.

"If they stop our rally or take any action against us we will immediately call an indefinite bandh. Hoteliers, tourists and businessmen have to remain prepared for this," reiterated Gurung. He even asked all vehicles plying in the Hills to display black flags from Tuesday. "DM, SP and all government officers posted in the Hills have to converse in Nepali else we will shut down offices," threatened Gurung. He said that henceforth the CM would always be greeted with black flags. The tourism industry has already started feeling the pinch of Gurung's repeated threats. While many tourists have already cut short their stay and left, there has been a large number of cancellations also.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee vehemently criticised Gurung's bandh threat. "What will Darjeeling do without tourists? Tourists come from all over India. It is the local people who will suffer. The leaders have strong sources of income," scorned Mamata.

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