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4 Aug 2017

MP to pass on Gorkhaland memorandum to PM Modi: GJM

Jayanta Gupta & Deep Gazmer | TNN |  Aug 4, 2017: BJP minister of state and Darjeeling MP S S Ahluwaliah finally reached out to the members of the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC) members, now camping in Delhi, on Thursday, setting the ball rolling for dialogue among the stakeholders in the Hills. "The minister has accepted our memorandum for a separate state and promised to hand it over to the Prime Minister on Friday," said GJM central committee member Ramesh Ale.
Ahluwaliah's response has raised hopes among the GMCC members who felt let down by the "studied silence" of the Centre since the Hills parties went on an indefinite strike demanding Gorkhaland. However, the GMCC is not calling off its one-day hunger strike in Delhi on Friday . "We are not ignoring the minister's response. But we don't think this is enough to call off the hunger strike.We are expecting the Centre to initiate a dialogue at the earliest," Ale said.
Heavy showers in parts of the Hills since early Thursday didn't stop GJM supporters from turning up in large numbers for public meetings on the 50th day of the strike.
Their demand got a shot in the arm with a Siliguri-based advocate, Ramesh Mothy, filing a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Calcutta high court seeking its approval for a Gorkhaland state within India. The petition is likely to be heard on Friday by the division bench of acting Chief Justice Nishitha Mahtre and Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty. The petition also sought the court's intervention in restoring internet connectivity in the Hills, arguing the ban that is in place for nearly two months infringed on the fundamental right of citizens and was an attempt to crush a democratic movement.
In Darjeeling, picketeers along the entire 70km stretch from Darjeeling to Sukna monitored movement of vehicles, carrying out checks to find out if people were leaving the Hills or secretly smuggling food from the plains. Party assistant general secretary Binay Tamang made it clear during the day that there are no plans to relax the bandh, even temporarily .
"We have already sent an ultimatum to the Centre. Unless the Union government intervenes by August 8, we will commence the second phase of our agitation. Our central committee will meet before that to decide the nature of the agitation," Tamang said.
"There is no restriction on movement of essential commodities or patients," he added.
Meanwhile, the NCP -a constituent of the UPA -made it clear it will support the demand for Gorkhaland both in Parliament and on the streets.Faizal Ahmed, Darjeeling district president, NCP , met GJM leaders at Patlewas and promised unconditional support.

'Tamang proof not concrete'
Lawyers of the accused in the Madan Tamang murder case argued the CBI does not have any concrete evidence against them.Advocate Tirthankar Ghosh said that being found near the place where Tamang was murdered does not make one guilty. Accused Puran Thami instead complained that he was harassed by police in Howrah. 

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