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5 Jun 2017

Mamata to visit hills today

Mamata to visit hills todayAmitava Banerjee |MP |2017-06-04 | Darjeeling,: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on a four-day visit to the Hills will be arriving at Mirik on Monday. This visit is expected to have major political implications as the Hills are in the grip of unrest over the three language policy of the state government. The GJM has asked the people of Mirik to switch off their lights from 6 pm to 8 pm on Monday as a mark of protest. The BJP, however, has preferred to distance itself from Morcha's language agitation.

Though there is no official confirmation, the sources state that the CM is scheduled to attend a programme in Mirik at 4 pm on Monday and proceed to Darjeeling from Mirik. In Darjeeling, she will be holding administrative meetings tentatively on June 7. On June 8th, a Cabinet meeting will be held at the Raj Bhawan, Darjeeling. She will be returning on June 9th.

Meanwhile, the GJM has lined up a series of agitation programmes during the CM's stay in the Hills protesting the alleged "forceful imposition of the Bengali language in the Hills, Terai and Dooars".

"We have appealed to the general public of Mirik to switch off their lights from 6 pm to 8 pm in Mirik on Monday as a mark of protest. The ones who are pro-Gorkhaland, an pro-Nepali language will do so," stated Binay Tamang, Assistant General Secretary, GJM.

Amid anticipations of clashes, the first day of GJM's protests rallies throughout the Hills passed off peacefully on Sunday. Rallies were held in Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong and Mirik. GJM president Bimal Gurung took part in the rally from Ghoom to Darjeeling, an 8 km stretch. Thousands joined in the rally sporting black badges and black armbands shouting slogans.

"We have lined up rallies throughout the Hills till June 8th. On Monday, the rally will start from Singamari to Chowk Bazar via Gandhi Road and Kak Jhora. On Tuesday, the rally will commence from Gorkha Ranga Mancha Bhawan to Chowk Bazar via Kak Jhora. We will later announce the route for the Wednesday rally," stated Roshan Giri, GJM general secretary.

"Students studying in Classes V and above have to wear black badges to school and colleges from Monday as a mark of protest," added Giri.

"We have given permission for rallies on Monday also. However, from June 6 till June 9, permissions will not be given for rallies in Darjeeling and Kurseong owing to VIP movement including ministers. Adequate police bandobast has been made to ensure peace and tranquility in the Hills," stated Amit P Javalgi, Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling.

Many feel that in order to diffuse the situation, CM Mamata Banerjee could announce an exemption of the three language policy in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration area.

In another development, talking to mediapersons in Siliguri on Sunday, BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya stated that the BJP is not a part of the language agitation of the GJM.

When questioned on Gurung's appeal to the BJP against the alleged forceful imposition of Bengali language, Vijayvargiya stated: "When taking such a decision, the Bengal government should sit and discuss it across the table rather than go in for a show of might. However, the BJP is not a part of the language agitation of the GJM. It is their issue and they can agitate over it."

Meanwhile, a GJM press release by Giri claimed that Vijayavargia has stated that with public mandate, Gorkhaland can be created.

"The people of West Bengal are fed up with Mamata Banerjee Government. In 2019, the BJP will definitely form the Government in Bengal. This will pave way for the formation of Gorkhaland as the West Bengal BJP is sincere towards the creation of Gorkhaland. Vijayavargia's statement is a testimony to this," claimed Giri.

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