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8 Aug 2017

Morcha’s agitation to meet with stiff resistance in the plains

Amitava Banerjee, One india news, August 8, 2017, Darjeeling : With the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's (GJM) deadline expiring on Tuesday evening without any response from the Union Government, the hill party will be going in for an intensive agitation from Wednesday.

Plans are to spill the ongoing Hill agitation to Terai and Dooars regions (plains of the Darjeeling district along with Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar) in North Bengal. The GJM's plan is likely to meet with stiff resistance from different quarters in the plains thereby increasing chances of flashpoints from Wednesday.

On Tuesday West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressing the West Bengal Assembly stated that the State Government is ready for talks with the agitators provided the agitators shun violence and lift the ongoing bandh. The indefinite bandh clamped in the Hills hit the 55thday mark on Tuesday while the fast unto death in the Hills touched the 19thday mark. 

GJM President Bimal Gurung had issued a deadline to the Union Government to intervene in the ongoing Darjeeling impasse by August 8 failing which the GJM would beef up the agitation. On Monday Gurung gave a clarion call to the Adivasis (indigenous tribes residing in the Terai and Dooars region) to support the Gorkhaland agitation. Gurung assured them that with the creation of Gorkhland comprising of the Hills, Terai and contiguous areas of Dooars) the 6th Schedule status will be granted to the Adivasi majority areas thereby protecting and promoting the unique culture, traditions and language of the Adivasi population. 

Gurung's sudden appeal has given rise to speculations that the Hill party wants to spill the Hill agitation to the plains. In the recent past there have been clashes between security forces and GJM supporters over rallies in different areas of Terai and Dooars. Interestingly more than the administration, the GJM has been meeting with stiff opposition from the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikash Parishad (ABAVP- a pan Indian organization working for the welfare of the Tribes) in the past. A mixed demography makes Terai and Dooars vulnerable. While in the Hills the separate state demands enjoys absolute majority, in Dooars there is mixed opinion regarding a separate state.

"We will not part with even an inch of land in Terai and Dooars. We have been living peacefully with the Gorkhas in Terai and Dooars since ages but why try to create unrest coming down from the Hills. If they (read GJM) want to come down and create unrest then they will have to face the consequences. As of now we have adopted a wait and watch strategy. We are prepared," warned Birsa Tirkey, State President, ABAVP, West Bengal. 
ABAVP will be commemorating Viswa Adivasi Diwas (World Tribe Day) in different parts of Terai and Dooars on Wednesday. "I will be present at Kadopani in Bagdogra. This issue will definitely be discussed on Wednesday" added Tirkey. The administration has also decided to take a strong stand.
"We will not allow the disturbance of peace, and tranquility. We will take stringent action in case of any such attempt. We are keeping a close tab. We will also be imposing prohibitory orders" stated Niraj Kumar Singh, Commissioner of Police, Siliguri Metropolitan Police. The Trinamool Congress has also decided to counter the GJM rallies in the plains. "We will have rallies throughout Terai and Dooars on August 8, 9, 10 for an unified Bengal" stated Gautam Deb, TMC leader and Tourism Minister, West Bengal. 

The GJM will be holding "Tiranga Yatra" from August 9 to 15,in the Hills, Terai and Dooars with the slogan "Bengal Quit the Hills. " The other programmes for the intensified agitation will be announced on Wednesday. The GJM held a central committee meeting in Patleybash, 8 km from Darjeeling town on Tuesday. However the meeting could not continue owing to police raids in Patleybash claimed a GJM source. Since the past few days security forces have been conduction area domination in the Singmari, Patleybash area. 

One Bishal Chettri was arrested from the Methibari area near Siliguri on Tuesday in connection with the clashes in Sukna on June 29. Two other persons namely Nitin Chettri, GJM youth leader from Sukna and one Uday Fagu of Ilam District of Nepal were arrested on Monday in connection with the Sukna incident. They were produced at the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, SIliguri on Tuesday and remanded to 12 days of police custody. Fagu's relatives however claimed that he was in Siliguri for his mother's treatment and does not have anything to do with the agitation. The police however claim that he was present in the Sukna incident on June 29. On that day Security forces and GJM supporters had locked horns at Sukna over a GJM rally brandishing "Khukuris" (traditional Gorkha sword) being stopped by the police.
(Source & Courtesy: http://www.oneindia.com/india/morchas-agitation-meet-with-stiff-resistance-the-plains-2517771.html)

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