Morcha holds rally in Darjeeling, burns Gorkhaland Territorial Administration accord papers

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Gorkha Janamukti Morcha burnt the documents of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration agreement
Gorkha Janamukti Morcha burnt the documents of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration agreement

Darjeeling : In a bid to sever all ties with the West Bengal government, the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha on Tuesday burnt the documents of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration agreement to protest the development board of north hills.

The GTA activists gathered at the Chowk Bazar and publicly set fire to the GTA agreement documents. They announced more rallies and warned all other parties against taking part in any fresh elections to the GTA in the hills.

The scheduled demonstration drew a huge crowd from all over the North Bengal hill town. The demonstrators carried the Tricolour along with the GJM party flag and raised pro-Gorkhaland slogans, demanding statehood.

GJM chief Bimal Gurung had announced this rally on June 23. 

The GJM leadership present at the Chowk Bazar said similar demonstrations would be held at 45 other places in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and the Dooars region.

They said the burning of the GTA documents officially marked the end of the developmental board in the hills.

"Today (Tuesday) we are burning the GTA memorandum agreement and the GTA Act that was signed in August 2011. From today, GTA would be a non-entity in the hills. We do not want the GTA anymore. The only thing we want now is Gorkhaland," Binay Tamang, GJM's Assistant General Secretary, said.

"None of the political parties in the hills would participate in any form of GTA election. But if the state government tries to impose the election here and anyone tries to fight the election even as an independent candidate, they would have to do that at their own risk," Tamang warned.

Earlier in the day, in a unique form of protest against the state government and police actions, several activists of Yuba Morcha - the youth wing of GJM -- conducted a 'tube light rally' and broke the tube light rods on their back.

"This is a protest against Bengal's constant oppression of the Nepali community. We have different cultures, different language. We should have a different state," said an activist who participated in the demonstration.

On Monday, Prakash Gurung, President of the Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha (GJYM), vowed to resort to hunger strike and self-immolation and urged the Centre to start a dialogue on the issue of separate Gorkhaland.

"We will intensify our agitation for Gorkhaland by taking the path of self-sacrifice and fasting unto death from now on," he said.

The picturesque Darjeeling district in northern West Bengal is on the boil for more than two weeks now over the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland. 

It has been facing an indefinite shutdown for the past 13 days.

The GJM, which is spearheading the movement for Gorkhaland, has repeatedly rejected any possibility of talks with the Mamata Banerjee government, accusing it of "oppression and high-handedness".

The Trinamool Congress government in the state maintains that it is ready for a discussion on the situation in the area becomes normal.