Saturday, February 23, 2008

Gorkhaland Demand

Ghising goes to Kolkata; to meet Buddhadeb
Special Correspondent: THE HINDU

GJM supporters to go to Kolkata and gherao him

Basu: Ghising finds himself in a difficult situation

KOLKATA: Subhas Ghising, administrator of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), who had decided against returning to Darjeeling and stayed on in Siliguri since his arrival there from New Delhi four days ago in view of blocks set up on the roads leading to the hill town by activists of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), came here on Friday.

He is to meet Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, on Saturday.

The bandh called by the GJM leadership in the hills — demanding the immediate removal of Mr. Ghising from the post and the scrapping of the move to grant Sixth Schedule status to the region — entered its third day on Friday.

The GJM is also demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland to be carved out of the Darjeeling hills and certain areas contiguous to it.

“Mr. Ghising, who could not return to Darjeeling as he had hoped, has now fled to Kolkata,” GJM president Bimal Gurung told The Hindu over telephone from Darjeeling. “Our supporters will now go to Kolkata and gherao him at the place he has put up.”

On the developments in the hills, veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu said: “Mr. Ghising finds himself in a difficult situation with many of his supporters [who are now with the GJM] having turned against him”.
CM reviewing situation

Mr. Bhattacharjee was monitoring the situation in Darjeeling and holding talks with the Centre to press for the speedy passage in Parliament of the two amendment Bills aimed at granting Sixth Schedule status to the region, Mr. Basu said.
‘Bandh will continue’

“The bandh in the Darjeeling hills will continue till our demands are met”, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri said. Thirty-three GJM activists were on hunger strike since February 17 in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong and the condition of some of them was serious, he added.

The GJM leadership announced that Municipal Affairs Minister Ashok Bhattacharya too would be prevented from entering the hills. This follows Mr. Bhattacharya’s comments here on Thursday, describing the GJM’s supporters as “outsiders” who were trying to foment trouble in Siliguri.

There could be no further talks here with the State government on the demands, Mr. Giri said, referring to Mr. Bhattacharya’s appeal for a dialogue with the GJM. “If the State government is keen on discussions, it will have to send its officials to Darjeeling to sit for talks with us,” he added.

andamansikkim: vehicles from sikkim (SK numbered) allowed to ply between Siliguri and Sikkim in the NH 31A..Schools and essential services are functioning normally in the hills.

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