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7 Jul 2017

Strike to go on, say hill parties

Leaders of different hill parties at Pedong near Kalimpong. (Passang Yolmo)
RAJEEV RAVIDAS, TT, Kalimpong, July 6: The committee constituted for the statehood movement today decided to continue with the indefinite strike in the hills and appealed to the chairpersons of 15 development boards to resign in solidarity with the agitation.
The decisions were taken at the first meeting of the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC) at Pedong, 21km from here.
The constituents of the committee are all parties espousing the Gorkhaland cause and the hill units of the BJP and the Congress, and various social organisations.
"All of us have unanimously decided to continue with the indefinite strike," said Binay Tamang, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha assistant general secretary.
The decision to carry on with the strike did not come as a surprise, given that both the Morcha and the Gorkha National Liberation Front, the major constituents of the committee, had earlier said they were in favour of the agitation's continuation.
The committee asked the chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of the 15 community-based development boards in the Darjeeling hills to resign from their posts. "The GMCC appeals to the chairpersons and vice-chairpersons and member secretaries of the boards to resign and come back home for the sake of Gorkhaland," he said.
Senior officials of the 15 boards set up by the Bengal government have been living away from the hills since the latest flare-up in June. Houses and offices of some them have come under attack also.
Tamang said the geographical area of Gorkhaland that they had been demanding would extend from the Mechi river in the west to the Sunkosh river in the east.
"The Gorkhaland we have been demanding should have Siliguri, Terai and the Dooars, including parts of Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts," he said.
The co-ordination panel today formed three sub-committees also to address various issues that could crop up during the course of the agitation. The sub-panels would handle issues that are legal, related to human rights and "data and research".
The co-ordination committee said it had no plan to approach the Union government on the Gorkhaland issue.

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