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5 Jul 2017

Hill Unrest: Daily wage earners: flee their homes fearing starvation.

SNS, SILIGURI, 4 JULY 2017: Several daily wage earners have started fleeing their homes in the Hills to avoid starvation due to continuous indefinite strike since early June. They have left for Sikkim, Nepal and other areas including Siliguri to save their lives.
The CPI-M leadership in Darjeeling hills apprehends that a large number of daily wage earners will die due to lack of food. 
A senior communist leader in Darjeeling Hills, KB Watter, who is also Darjeeling district CPI-M secretariat body member, today, said that hundreds of daily wage earners have left their homes for Sikkim, Nepal and Siliguri for their livelihood and to avoid starvation as public distribution system (PDS) has totally collapsed. 
"But significantly the top district administrative officials are reluctant to restore the PDS to avoid starvation during continuous indefinite strike," said Mr Wattar, adding, "Both Darjeeling district magistrate and superintendent of police are allegedly working as per the guidance of the Trinamul party chief cutting off supply line for food items." 
The people in the Hills have been facing deadlock situation since first week of June on the issue of introduction of Bengali language in the Hills as chief minister Mamata Banerjee came to visit Darjeeling and held her Cabinet meeting, according to him. 
" Had chief minister Mamata wanted to maintain peace and started dialogue with the Hill leaders and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) officials such a situation could have been averted,' Mr Walter claimed today. Mr Watter, who politically will not be able to attend all party meeting convened by the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morchia (GIMM) on 6 July, today said, 'We are in favour of autonomy within the state for people. If the Hill people achieve Gorkhaland we do not have objection." 
"But we are worried about the present situation and plight of large section of people associated with tea plantations.total economy of Darjeeling depends on tea industry. But due to the ongoing strike June the tea sector is being affected badly harvesting season,' he added. "In order to resolve the crisis the Centre should take up the matter immediately and start dialogue for amicable statement by providing more autonomy for the Hills or Union Territory or a separate state of Gorkhaland,"he said. "If the centre and the state give agitators a separate state of Gorkhaland, we donot have objection." he disclosed.
"But the centre is playing the role of a mute spectator and the state has unleashed a terror tactic with state machineries._
"Even the Union minister as well as the MP from Darjeeling S S Ahluwalia should come forward and make his party's stand clear. But the BJP is politically cheating the Hill people," senior CP1-M leader said.
According to Mr Watter, the situation turned critical as violence keep erupting on racial issues in different places between Bengali and Nepali speaking people including residents of Sikkim.
However, the state will continue its 'power play' if the agitators led by the GJMM and other political parties do not control 'miscreants'. who have been torching government offices and properties.
"All party leaders, who are leading the Gorkhaland movement, should prevent miscreants from committing crimes. If it continues, a peaceful and democratic movement will go in a wrong direction led by miscreants following which the state will get a scope to curb people's demand." Mr Watter said.

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