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GJM-backed GTA prevents to enter office

Posted on Feb 09, 11:20AM | UNI

Darjeeling, Feb 8 : Security arrangements have been beefed up in Darjeeling hills to combat if any exigency following an indefinite hunger strike by Lepcha Movement Rights and 12-hour bandh called by GTA ruling Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) protesting a government move to set up Lepcha Development Board.

The situation was turning volatile after GJM-backed Gorkha Territorial Adminstration's employees refused to allow Darjeeling District Magistrate Soumitra Mohan to enter the GTA office since yesterday. The district magistrate by his capacity is also the principal secretary of the GTA, which is headed by GJM's president Bimal Gurung as the chief executive.

GJM's Austayee Karmachari Sanghatan leader Machendra Subba today said they would like to have a senior IAS officer in the rank of additional chief secretary or for now Donbosco Lepcha, a junior officer to Soumitra Mohan, at the GTA.

He said they were not satisfied with the work of the present district magistrate.

The activists of Lepcha Movement Rights (LMR), meawhile, began an indefinite hunger strike at Kalimpong yesterday to counter the GJM sponsored 12-hour Darjeeling bandh tomorrow.

The GJM called the strike to protest the West Bengal government move to set up a Lepcha Development Board for all round development of the aboriginal tribe in the hills.

The GJM said they would not allow any separate board to run on the hills, and if any, all should come under the GTA.

LMR's Chief Convener NT Lepcha today said their hunger strike was getting huge response as number of strikers went up to 60 today from 45 yesterday.

He said there was also a move to break the unity in the Lepcha community, which has been demanding a separate board for improvement of dying Lepcha culture and tradition.

Opposing the 12-hour strike tomorrow, LMR convener said if there was any differences of opinions over the formation of Lepcha Development Board then it should be settled between the government and GTA.