Trouble in store for Sikkim after chamling backs Gorkhaland stir | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Trouble in store for Sikkim after chamling backs Gorkhaland stir

Trouble in the Himalayan state of Sikkim is set to rise after its chief minister Pawan Chamling extended support to the struggle for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

india Updated: Jun 24, 2017 23:54 IST
Pramod Giri
People raise slogans as they participate in a mass rally to demand for separate state of 'Gorkhaland' in Darjeeling on Saturday.
People raise slogans as they participate in a mass rally to demand for separate state of 'Gorkhaland' in Darjeeling on Saturday. (PTI Photo)

Trouble in the Himalayan state of Sikkim is set to rise after its chief minister Pawan Chamling extended support to the struggle for a separate state of Gorkhaland.

On Friday, Trinamool Congress supporters and a section of car drivers and owners protested in Siliguri and stopped vehicles from going to Sikkim. They were protesting against Chamling’s letter to Union home minister Rajnath Singh, requesting him to form Gorkhaland.

Sikkim is dependent on Siliguri for supply of essential commodities and fuel, which are carried along National Highway 10 that passes through Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts. The hills are observing an indefinite bandh since June 15.

“There were minor problems till Thursday. But from Friday, the troubles increased,” said DT Lepcha, minister of Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT) that runs trucks and buses. “Senior officials of Sikkim are in touch with their Bengal counterparts to sort out the issues,” he told HT.

On Friday, the Mamata Banerjee administration shot off a letter to the Union home minister, describing Chamling’s move as interference in Bengal’s affairs.

In the evening, some Sikkim-bound vehicles were vandalised at Champasari More. On Saturday, the SNT terminus remained closed, increasing the troubles of hundreds of tourists and local passengers. Because of the road connections through Bengal, Sikkim suffers whenever there is a bandh in Darjeeling.

Though the Chamling administration has started bracing up for the interruption in supply of vital goods, the state’s official support to the cause has added to the troubles.

“Sikkim and its people always suffer. If we do not support Gorkhaland demand, those involved in the movement don’t allow the vehicles to ply along NH10. If we support it, those in the plains of Siliguri don’t allow the vehicles to move towards Sikkim,” said an information department officer.