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27 Jun 2017

Immolation and fast threat - Morcha asks Centre to intervene in statehood issue

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, June 26: The youth wing of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today threatened that its members would set themselves on fire and sit on indefinite hunger strikes in the hills if the Centre did not make its stand clear on the statehood issue.
"We are ready for self-immolation. We will also start indefinite hunger strikes, probably when the monsoon session of Parliament begins, if the Centre doesn't intervene on the Gorkhaland demand," said Prakash Gurung, the chief of the Yuva Morcha.
The BJP, which had traditionally been in favour of smaller states, is yet to make its stand clear on Gorkhaland despite being an ally of the Morcha.
The threats of self-immolation and fast come at a time the Morcha leadership is said to be facing questions from within on its ability to spearhead the statehood agitation.
At two rallies brought out yesterday demanding statehood, many speakers who were not necessarily Morcha leaders had hinted that they would not hesitate to revolt against the leadership if the party-led agitation failed to yield much.
"If the leaders get tired, people will take the agitation forward," a speaker told the rally in Mirik.
Asked if the Morcha leadership was under pressure from the hill people, party assistant general secretary Binay Tamang said: "We are leading the agitation for a separate state. We are committed to the cause. However, some people are spreading canards against the leadership and we urge the common people to remain guarded against such attempts. An agitation cannot be successful without leadership even if it is a mass movement."

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