Gorkhatimes

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Morcha to revive Dooars agitation with fast – Hunger strike at three places from July 25

Posted by Ramesh Khati on July 21, 2009

Students play on the Loreto Convent school premises on Monday.

Students play on the Loreto Convent school premises on Monday.

Darjeeling, July 20: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has decided to renew its agitation in the Dooars where its movement had led to bloodshed and ethnic strife earlier this year.

Amar Lama, a central committee member of the Morcha, said the party would organise relay hunger strikes at three places in the Dooars from July 25 for the fulfilment of the party’s four demands.

“On Saturday, we had a meeting with the party’s Dooars leaders at Gorubathan in Kalimpong subdivision and we have decided to launch an agitation in the region. The movement will be limited to hunger strikes initially,” he said.

The Morcha has formed three co-ordination committees for eastern, central and western Dooars to organise the strike. “The committees will finalise three places where Morcha teams comprising seven persons each will sit on a relay hunger strike in front of administrative offices. The strike will commence from July 25,” said Lama.

The fast will start at 10am and end at 6pm every day. The agitation has been called demanding the fulfilment of four demands.

“In January this year, the chief minister had assured the Morcha at a meeting in Calcutta that Samsing, Ramjhora and Kathalguri tea gardens would re-open in a month. The gardens are still closed and their re-opening will be one of our major demands,” said Lama.

Bhattcharjee had called the meeting on January 21 to avert “ethnic clashes” after the Morcha supporters had been prevented from holding a public meeting in the Dooars by the Adivasi community on January 16.

The houses of many Morcha supporters had been vandalised in the ethnic clash in the Dooars earlier this year and adequate compensation for the victims is the other demand.” “We want a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for every house that was damaged in the January-February violence,” said Lama.

The riot had also claimed a Morcha supporter, Akbar Lama, on February 7. “We want that Lama’s family be given Rs 5 lakh as compensation,” said Lama. The Morcha has already given Rs 2 lakh to the deceased’s family, but the party demands the payment of adequate compensation by the government.

The fourth demand is a tripartite meeting at political level and the transfer of senior police officers, including K. L. Tamta, the inspector-general (north Bengal).

The Centre has already advanced the talks to August 11 from August 24 but it is not clear whether the meeting will be held at political level on the sole agenda of Gorkhaland as demanded by the Morcha.

Source: The Telegraph

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