Gorkhatimes

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Tribals give ultimatum to clear Terai roads Threat of blockade & shutdown in Siliguri

Posted by Ramesh Khati on July 25, 2009

Members of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad demonstrate on NH55 at Dagapur near Siliguri on Friday. They were protesting against the halt in traffic because of the Morcha strike.

Members of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad demonstrate on NH55 at Dagapur near Siliguri on Friday. They were protesting against the halt in traffic because of the Morcha strike.

Siliguri, July 24: The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad today told the state government to restore transport movement in the Terai by Monday or else, face blockades and closure of offices and educational institutions in Siliguri.

“Ever since the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha launched its indefinite strike in the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling district on July 13, the residents living just outside Siliguri have been facing problems. Schools are open in Dagapur, Salbari Panchanoi, Belgachi, Hanskowa and tea estates of Naxalbari. But thousands of children have to walk around six-eight kilometres everyday to attend classes as no vehicle is plying in these areas,” said Rajesh Toppo, the working secretary of the Parishad at Dagapur near here.

Places like Dagapur and Naxalbari are not in the three subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong where the indefinite strike is being enforced. But roads leading to the hills from Siliguri pass through these areas and as the Morcha is halting traffic, people living there, too, have to bear the brunt of the bandh.

“We will submit a memorandum addressed to the Siliguri subdivisional officer through the inspector-in-charge of Pradhannagar police station this evening, offering two days (Saturday and Sunday) to regularise the traffic on NH55 and state highways which pass through the Terai. If our demand is not met, we will walk to Siliguri on Monday and close down educational institutions and cripple traffic across the town. Our people can no longer face the inconveniences caused by the Morcha strike. The administration should initiate steps to bring normalcy, instead of sitting idle and allowing the Morcha a free hand,” said the Parishad leader at a news conference.

Another Parishad leader, Samuel Bag, was also present.

“The Morcha supporters are using vehicles with party flags perched on them to reach markets. Common people like us, on the other hand, have to walk miles to buy essential items. We carry grocery items and vegetables either on bicycles or heads. Why should we face such troubles when we live in the Siliguri subdivision where the Morcha is not enforcing the bandh? It is high time that the government acted to resolve the problem,” said Bag.

The Parishad also demanded “appropriate administrative steps” to ensure that there were no law and order problems when the Morcha launches hunger strikes at Metelli, Birpara and Kalchini in the Dooars tomorrow.

Release

All 19 supporters of the Morcha, who had been arrested for allegedly attacking the house of a local GNLF leader and policemen at Panighata on July 10, were released on bail on Friday.

The bail was granted by the court of additional chief judicial magistrate in Siliguri. “After the hearing, the judge, Amit Chakraborty, released all the 19 people on bail against a security of Rs 2,000 each,” said Manik Verma, the lawyer who represented the Morcha supporters.

“However, they will have to appear in the court after 14 days,” said Verma.

Source: The Telegraph

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