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By A Newsman
Siliguri, 06 July: IN a desperate attempt to draw Centre’s intervention, political parties in Darjeeling Hills have now decided to take the Gorkhaland agitation to the adjacent Terai and Dooars region.
The move is likely to result in unrest in Terai and Dooars which are house to people from various linguistic communities, with Bengali’s in the majority and the number of Nepalis being far less but not negligible.
A conglomeration of 13 political and social outfits of the Hills, which recently floated a common platform named Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee, took the decision during a meeting held at Pedong in Kalimpong today.
After the meeting that lasted until late in the afternoon since 12 noon, the leaders announced that the on-going indefinite shutdown in the Hills would continue at least until 18 July.
The shutdown was called by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on 15 June after police raided and found sharp arms-weapons and huge stash of money in the house of its president Bimal Gurung at Pateybas in Darjeeling. The party subsequently tagged the shutdown with the emotive demand for separate Gorkhaland state.
But despite the shutdown entering the 22nd day today and with arson on government properties and attack on security personnel in the Hills at regular intervals, the Centre is not yet intervening in the Hills. Despite the violence, the latest being at Kalimpong yesterday, the state government too has adopted a wait-and-watch policy.
Caught in this situation, the parties in the Hills now feel that the agitation must be spread to Terai-Dooars so to compel the Centre intervene.
Although in some parts of the Teria-Dooars, such as Bagdogra, Salbari, Sukna, Milan More on the outskirts of Siliguri, and Gorubathan, Birpara, etc, in the Dooars, Nepali-speaking population have been taking out rallies in support of Gorkhaland, it so far lacked a central command and strategy.
Thus, the meeting today formally adopted a resolution that Gorkhaland state could not happen without the Terai-Dooars and that the agitation needed to be taken down there vigorously.
It also decided to compile evidences of human rights violations in the Hills by the administration and the police while trying to quell the agitation and take legal recourse against the state government in appropriate forums. The coordination committee will meet again on 18 July.