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GJM diktat bans ‘love’ in the Hills

Posted by Ramesh Khati on September 4, 2009

DARJEELING(Telegraph): If you are going to Darjeeling on honeymoon, forget snuggling up at lover’s point or holding hands at
the Mall as you gaze up at Kanchenjuga. Gorkha Janmukti Morcha – which has been playing the role of moral police
in the Hills – has come up with this new diktat to “clean up” Darjeeling.

It doesn’t matter if you are married. It doesn’t matter if you are lovers and local. GJM won’t have you “hold hands in public, and walk or sit in a compromising position”. This campaign will be spearheaded by GJM’s Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP), who recently made headlines for `seizing’ liquor from tourists.

The Queen of Hills has always been where love blossomed, in real life or reel. You had Rajesh Khanna wooing a coy Sharmila Tagore along the toy train tracks and Amitabh Bachchan romancing Rakhi in the backdrop of the Himalayas. Countless couples treasure memories of the sweet-nothings whispered in Shrubbery Park.

Apparently, not any more. If GJM has its way, lovers might soon have to pack their bags in Darjeeling.

Two married couples, who were apparently not aware of the diktat, faced the GLP’s wrath at Chowrasta on Wednesday. They were severely reprimanded for “getting physical” in public. One of the couples beat a hasty retreat, but the other protested. According to an eyewitness, the man argued with GLP squad that they had no right to act as the moral police. “Who are you to tell me how to behave? I am married and you can see that. My wife has vermilion on her forehead. Do I need your approval to move around in Darjeeling?” asked the local. GLP refused to budge.

GJM is keeping an eye on all known lovers’ points in Darjeeling, including the Mall, Mall Road, Chowrasta, Love Road and Shrubbery Park, now known as Nightingale Park. Smoking has been banned in these areas and those carrying `illegal substances’ are being caught.

While tourists have preferred to play it safe, locals are upset. “I have been walking down Chowrasta for 30 years. Even now, my wife and I often hold hands there. There is nothing wrong with that and GLP have no business banning it,” said Rajiv, a local. An eyewitness to this incident reacted angrily. “This should be protested or else no personal freedom will be left in Darjeeling,” he said.

GLP, however, claimed one of the couples at Chowrasta had been kissing in public. GLP `commandant’ Ramesh Allay was evasive when asked about the incident, but remarked that whatever they were doing was for the “good of Darjeeling”. “I am not aware of what has happened. But I will enquire,” said Ramesh Allay, GLP `commandant’.


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