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28 Jun 2017

Youths bleed for Gorkhaland

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, June 27: A group of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters today bled themselves with tube lights to prove that they "can bleed for Gorkhaland" as the party took out a procession here to burn the copies of the GTA agreement and the Act.

The Morcha burnt the copies across the hills and "requested" other political parties not to contest if the state government decided to hold polls to the administrative set-up.

In Darjeeling, more than 20,000 people came out onto the streets and took out a march from the railway station to the Motor Stand. Eight youths asked some other processionists who were carrying bundles of tube lights to hit their back with the same.

The eight were wearing black trousers and shoes and bare up from the waist. The crowd shouted slogans in support of Gorkhaland when tube lights broke with each lashing and shards pierced the youths' back. Blood oozed out of their bodies as the lashing continued throughout the 1km long march which ended with the burning of the GTA Act and agreement's copies at the Motor Stand.
"We proved today that we can bleed for Gorkhaland. The movement will intensify in coming days," said Tilak Chhetri, one of the eight youths.

They were later given first-aid by doctors and Morcha supporters.

Those who bled themselves are members of the Darjeeling town committee of the Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the hill party. During the 2013 leg of the agitation, the same youths whipped themselves and rolled on the streets.

After burning the copies, Binay Tamang, the assistant general secretary of the Morcha, declared "this is the funeral of the GTA".

"We will no longer talk about any interim arrangement now. We request other political parties not to contest if Mamata Banerjee decides to conduct GTA polls. Those who contest the elections will have to do so at their own risk," he added.

With the Morcha dumping the GTA, the state government basically has two options.

As per the Act, the government can either call for immediate elections or appoint an administrator to the hill body for a period of six months. The administrator can be given an extension of another six months but by the end of one year, elections have to be held.

All GTA Sabha members of the Morcha had already put in their papers.

Tamang's "request" suggests that the Morcha leadership fears that despite all political parties coming together for a joint Gorkhaland movement, there are chances that once things settle down, polls might be called to the hill body and other parties might respond to it.

"In the present circumstances, no party would dare to contest the election. But what will happen in politics after things settle down cannot be predicted now," said an observer.

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