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13 Jul 2017

Women fast in Dooars

TT, Alipurduar, July 12: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today launched a relay hunger strike in the Dooars as part of the party's decision to spread the Gorkhaland movement to the plains. 
Twelve Nari Morcha members started the fast at Monglabari, close to the Indo-Bhutan border, in Jaigaon. The area is in the eastern Dooars. 
From tomorrow, Morcha supporters will sit on a hunger strike at two places in the central and western Dooars.
Ashoke Lama, a central committee member of the Morcha, said a new group of 12 Nari Morcha members would fast at Monglabari tomorrow. A temporary camp has been set up adjacent to Jaigaon-I gram panchayat for the hunger strike.
Lama said the spots for the fast in the central and western Dooars would be finalised tonight.
On Saturday, Morcha leaders in the Dooars met in Kalchini and it was decided that relay hunger strikes and demonstrations would be organised as part of the statehood agitation. The demonstrations were held in front of police stations in the Dooars on Monday.
Political observers said the Morcha had lost its base in the Dooars. After the current round of the statehood movement began, the Morcha had called a strike in the Dooars. Most shops remained open on the strike day, though the number of vehicles that hit the road were less. On Monday, hardly 100 Morcha supporters took part in the demonstration in front of Kalchini police station. In Jaigaon, which used to be the hub of the Morcha in the eastern Dooars, just about 250 people participated in the demonstration and in Birpara, where the BJP won the Assembly election last year with the support of the Morcha, only 10 persons sat on the dharna in front of the police station.
"The main reason for the Morcha's decline in the Dooars was the desertion of a large number of leaders who joined the Trinamul Congress. In the immediate years after the Morcha's formation, the entire Dooars used to be shut during strikes. But the situation has changed a lot of late," said an observer.
Mohon Sharma, the president of Alipurduar district Committee of Trinamul, said: "Any political party can organise a peaceful movement to fulfil a demand. We are determined to maintain peace in the Dooars because people don't want violence."
The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad had already declared that it would scuttle any attempt by the Morcha to spread the statehood agitation to the Dooars.

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