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3 Jun 2017

Stay prepared to evacuate tourists: Gurung to hoteliers & transporters

Stay prepared to evacuate tourists: Gurung to hoteliers & transportersAmitava Banerjee | MP | 2 Jun 2017 | Darjeeling: At a time when the Darjeeling is brimming with tourists, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha President Bimal Gurung asked hoteliers and transporters to remain prepared to evacuate tourists at a short notice of half an hour. Gurung on Friday threatened to launch a prolonged agitation against the "forceful imposition of Bengali language" and for Gorkhaland from June 4.

In the past too, there have been instances of tourists being asked to leave the Hills on a short notice prompting panic and chaos. On July 10, 2009, Gurung had asked all tourists to leave the Hills along with asking all the boarding schools to send the boarders back by July 13 noon.

Gurung's diktat comes on the heels of the Darjeeling Police initiating suo moto cases against key GJM leaders including Gurung along with representatives of education institutions and organisations. They have been charged under different sections of the IPC including criminal conspiracy; creating unrest and disharmony.

Gurung has already announced an agitation programme against the alleged forceful imposition of Bengali language. The agitation includes closure of education institutes on June 1 and 2nd; regular protest marches displaying black badges and arm-bands from June 4 to 8th from Ghoom to the District Collectorate, Darjeeling.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to visit the Hills from June 5 and will be holding a Cabinet meeting at the Raj Bhawan, Darjeeling on June 8.

"We will carry on with our protest programme. If any of our school representatives, members of the civil society or intellectuals are arrested by the police or our rally is stopped, the Hills will burn. It will spread like wildfire. Hoteliers and transporters should be ready to evacuate tourists at a notice of half an hour. At that time don't request us to allow tourists to stay in hotels or arrange vehicles," threatened Gurung hinting at an indefinite bandh call. Gurung was addressing an organisational meeting at Gorkha Ranga Mancha Bhawan in Darjeeling on Friday.

The GJM has in the past clamped a 40-day long bandh in the Hills. "By forcefully imposing the Bengali language they are trying to finish our language and culture. Under no circumstances will we tolerate this. We will not study Bengali. Forceful imposition will make matters worse. The situation in the Hills is like a volcano, any moment it can erupt," stated Gurung.

Gurung alleged that Mamata Banerjee is trying to create unrest in the Hills. "She will be to blame for any untoward situation in the Hills and not me. I will chose the jungle over the jail. They are trying to hunt me down like Maoist leader Kishanji. We are not scared. I tried to do everything democratically but there is too much suppression by the Bengal government," alleged Gurung.

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