Emboldened by the Centre's move to initiate process for carving Telengana state out of Andhra Pradesh, members of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on Friday began fast-unto-death at five places in Darjeeling hills and Dooars demanding Gorkhaland state.
GJM press and publicity secretary Benoy Tamang said the agitation started in front of district magistrate's office in Darjeeling as also in Kurseong, Kalimpong and Kalchini in Dooars from 10 am. A batch of 21 members each began the fast.
The GJM also called a 96-hour general strike in the hills and Dooars from December 14. At least 150 members of the Nari Mukti Morcha, the women's wing of the GJM would sit for an indefinite hunger strike in New Delhi on December 13.
The employees of Gorkha Bhawan in Kolkata were also asked to sit on a hunger strike soon, Tamang said.
He said GJM's immediate demand was that a Gorkhaland bill be simultaneously raised with the Telengana statehood bill in Parliament.
A four-member GJM delegation, led by its general secretary Roshan Giri, went to Delhi on Thursday to convince the central leadership and the opposition parties of the merit of their demand, he said.
Asked about the forthcoming fourth round of tripartite talks scheduled for December 21, Tamang said the hill people were eagerly waiting for the talks.