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4 Aug 2017

TMC lines up marches

AVIJIT SINHA and BIRESWAR BANERJEE, TT, Siliguri, Aug. 3: Trinamul has decided to hold marches in Siliguri and the surroundings from August 9 to seek restoration of peace in the Darjeeling hills and to protest the demand for the separate state.
This is the first time that the ruling party has announced political programmes against the Gorkhaland demand after the current movement began in the hills in June.
Trinamul has announced the rallies at a time there are indications that the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is trying to bring the agitation down to the plains. The Morcha had already said it would intensify the movement if there was no response from the Centre by August 8.
"We will take up a series of political activities across Siliguri subdivision and the adjoining areas in Jalpaiguri district for peace and to protest the Gorkhaland demand. First, there will be a procession from Kanchenjungha Stadium to Darjeeling More in Siliguri on August 9," Bengal tourism minister and Trinamul leader Gautam Deb said here today.
So far, apolitical organisations and common people have held anti-Gorkhaland rallies in the town.
The district Left Front had also held a rally for peace and amity in the hills.
None of the marches were allowed to move beyond Mahananda Bridge at Airview More that is in the heart of the town.
Among other programmes which the minister announced today are marches in Bagdogra, Naxalbari, Salugara and Kadamtala, all in the Siliguri subdivision, and a meeting at Debidanga near here.
"Those programmes will be held from the third week of August. From August 10, there will be street corner meetings at different locations in Siliguri. At all these programmes, we will highlight how the BJP is trying to foment tension in the state," said Deb.
The announcement of the processions came a day after chief minister Mamata Banerjee had returned from Siliguri to Calcutta. She had spoken to Deb and other Trinamul leaders on the situation in the hills.
"It seems the party now wants to use the strong anti-Gorkhaland sentiments in the plains to# expand its support base," an observer said.

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