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28 Jul 2017

Morcha rice protest to Nabanna

TT, Calcutta, July 27: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has decided to launch a " mushti daan" movement that would involve collecting a fistful of foodgrain from those attending Gorkhaland rallies across the hills.
The collected rice would be sent to the state secretariat in Nabanna to protest against the government's alleged clampdown on food supplies, party leaders said.
" Cadres of the party that is in power in the state are stopping the hill people from bringing in foodgrain from the plains. The police in Siliguri are aware of these activities.
The cadres and the police are even harassing people bringing medicines. They think that their clampdowns on the Internet, foodgrain and other essential supplies will dilute our demand," said Tilak Chand Roka, a central committee member of the Morcha, in Darjeeling today.
The Internet ban in the hills, which has started from June 20, has been extended till August 5.
Yesterday, Morcha supporters had burnt cellphones at Ghoom to protest against the ban on Internet services and because of poor connectivity of phones.
The Morcha leaders said that for five days starting from July 30, the party will start receiving " rice as donation". " We will collect the foodgrain and deposit them at the offices of the district magistrates, the sub- divisional officers and block development officers, requesting them to send them to Nabanna. The state government has taken everything from us but we are ready to party even with the foodgrain as a mark of protest," Roka said.
Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling, who called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi yesterday, had also levelled similar charges.
He had alleged that Sikkim- bound trucks at the Food Corporation of India or oil depots were being forcibly unloaded at New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri by miscreants.
There were also allegations that vehicles with Sikkim registration numbers were attacked in Siliguri after Chamling overtly extended support for Gorkhaland and wrote to Union home minister Rajnath Singh.
Sikkim is landlocked and has to depend on Bengal for transporting foodgrain and other items to the state.
Earlier, the Gorkhaland Movement Co- ordination Committee had also threatened to arrange a march of the hill residents to Siliguri if the alleged clampdown on entry of foodgrain to the hills is not stopped.
DM visit Joyoshi Das Gupta, the district magistrate of Darjeeling, visited Chowrasta this evening where three members of the Yuva Morcha are on a " fast- unto- death". She requested the agitators to call of the hunger strike.

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