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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Posters slam involvement of students in Hills protest

Amitava Bannerjee, Hindustan Times  Darjeeling, August 30, 2013
First Published: 13:02 IST(30/8/2013) | Last Updated: 14:32 IST(30/8/2013)

Posters appeared in Kalimpong criticising the involvement of students and the indefinite bandh in the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha agitation.

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The posters appeared on the main road off Kalimpong warning Gurung and his intellectuals against dragging students into politics.

“They have sent their children abroad for education but drag the children of the public into politics thereby spoiling their future. Public rise up against this to ensure that the future of the students become bright,” the posters said.

The posters also questioned as to why Gurung remained silent when GTA members of Kurseong and Kalimpong were arrested but chose to speak out and clamped an indefinite bandh when GTA member Binay Tamang was arrested.

“What is the agitation for? Why the indefinite bandh? Is it for Gorkhaland or Binay Tamang?” questioned the posters, signed Public.

Similar posters also appeared in Darjeeling town but were ripped off at around 7:30 am on Thursday.

“These are baseless allegations and handiwork of anti-GJM parties. Gurung’s children are not studying abroad. While his daughter is practicing law, his son is an actor. It was the students who came out on the streets for Gorkhaland. It was a spontaneous movement by the students,” clarified GJM central committee member Jyoti Rai.

Students from 12 to 18 have been holding rallies and public meetings since August 27 in Darjeeling.

The student agitation for Gorkhaland is scheduled to continue till August 31. Regarding allegations revolving around Binay Tamang’s arrest, Rai said, “The GJM has been constantly protesting the arrests of our supporters and leaders.

However the manner in which Binay Tamang and Satish Pokhrel were hunted down in Sikkim in the middle of the night, like hardcore criminals, sparked off strong protests.”

Meanwhile, at around 4:30pm around 200 people from the Lepcha community under the banner of “Hill people” sat in a “peace protest” at the triangular park near the Kalimpong police station demanding the restoration of normalcy and peace.

The “Shanti Dharna” is to continue till peace and normalcy is restored. Agitation leader Nima Lepcha waved off allegations that the sudden protest could have been propped by the state government to defuse the ongoing GJM agitation.

“It has nothing to do with the West Bengal government. We want peace and normalcy to be reinstated in the Hills. For this the bandh has to be withdrawn. Let the situation be peaceful as it was before. We do not want uncertainty and fear to prevail in the Hills. The present agitation has made the situation highly volatile,” he said.

When questioned as to whether the dharna was connected to chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s scheduled visit to Kalimpong on September 2, Lepcha said, “We have not even decided yet whether we will meet the CM or not. It has nothing to do with her visit.”

The GJM have been training guns at Mamata saying that as part of the state’s “divide and rule policy,” Mamata had suddenly formed a Lepcha Development Board. The GJM feels that the state is using the Lepchas to derail the ongoing agitation. Regarding the CM’s Hills visit, Rai said, “The GJM has nothing to do with it. We would not like to comment on it also.”

Regarding CM’s claim that the state has lived up to its commitment towards the GTA, Rai said, “Neither the memorandum of agreement nor the GTA Act has been followed by the state.”


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