As the indefinite shutdown called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) demanding for a separate state of Gorkhaland entered its eighth day, markets and shops continued to remain shut, with supporters for Gorkhaland shouting protest slogans in Kurseong.
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJMM) leader Vinod Prakash Sharma said that if Telangana is India's 29th state, then Gorkhaland should be the 30th state, and added that the indefinite strike will continue till the government agrees to their demands.
"Now that Telangana has become the 29th state, we want that the 30th state should be Gorkhaland. We are demanding Gorkhaland under Article 3A of the Constitution. Indefinite strike will continue and today our GJMM President has clearly said that there is no other solution than Gorkhaland," he said.
"This is our eighth day that we are protesting. We will not have any kind of violence and we are protesting peacefully. It is a Gandhian protest," he added.
Sharma also criticized the central government for ignoring their prolonged demand for Gorkhaland and said that it has become a social demand with a political solution.
"I believe our Indian government is deaf. Jaswant Singh and even Mayawati have raised the issue of Gorkhaland on behalf of us. It has become a social demand with a political solution. It is a 160 year old demand. Every community here is only demanding for one thing- We want Gorkhaland," he added.
He further condemned the West Bengal government's decision to shut down the cable TV network on Friday resulting in a TV blackout in the region.
"It is our right to express and even listen to news. We are been cutoff from all the news. What kind of justice is this?" he asked.
According to reports, the district administration sent a written notice to the major cable operators ordering them to stop the service resulting in a TV blackout in Darjeeling. GJMM president Bimal Gurung claimed that the cable TV service has been blocked as the local channels aired programmes in support of the Gorkhaland movement.
However, reports state that the cable TV operators termed the order as a "political decision" taken by the government. They claimed to have received a hand written notice without any government seal asking them to close down their control rooms.
The Gorkhaland agitation had scorched the hill districts of Bengal for most parts of last year leading to chaos in the region.