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Hills extend hands for Gorkhaland Proud to be first in human chain

Posted by Ramesh Khati on August 12, 2009

Giri in Darjeeling.

Giri in Darjeeling.

Darjeeling, Aug. 11: Jas Bahadur Rai today started a chain from Gorkha Stadium in Lebong that snaked its way down, shutting Darjeeling on its way, bringing traffic to a halt and drawing hundreds of people out of their homes to hold each other’s hands for Gorkhaland.

Rai, a 72-year-old from Middle Harsingh — a village of the Lebong catchment area, 7km from here, was the first man in the chain.

“Gorkhaland has to be a reality one day or the other. This is the time to show our unity and tell the government about our demand. I have been taking part in all the rallies in favour of Gorkhaland and am proud to start this chain,” said Rai.

A few metres away stood Anjana Lama Sherpa (40), the first woman in the chain. Most of the participants were dressed in the traditional attires — women in chowbandi choli and men in daura sural even though there was no such directive from the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which had organised the human chain. In fact, Morcha president Bimal Gurung, who came to inspect the human chain at Singamari, was dressed in casuals. But general secretary Roshan Giri was in traditional attires along with other central committee members.

Gurung did not take part in the chain but Giri did for the whole hour after it started at 11.19am. During the time, the town remained shut and no vehicles plied.

In areas where there are no settlements (example Tenzing Rock and Chitray in Darjeeling), schoolchildren filled up the gap. Almost every school and college had sent their students to participate in the chain. A double chain had to be formed in Darjeeling town because of the number of people who had turned up.

However, the chain was non-existent from Panchanoi to Siliguri, a 1km stretch which police did not allow the Morcha to cover. The area is part of the plains where there is a strong anti-Morcha sentiment.

Thanking the hill for the response, Roshan Giri said: “This is a historic human chain. A similar chain was also formed along NH31A from Rangpo (on the Sikkim border) till Sevoke.” He, however, was quick to blame the state government for trying to crush a democratic movement. “Our supporters were not allowed to go beyond Panchanoi (river) by the police. This was a peaceful programme yet the police acted on the directive of the government which wants to crush our movement,” said Giri.

Source:The Telegraph


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