Heavy rains forces GJM to halt Gorkhaland agitation

Darjeeling, Aug 20 : With the Darjeeling Hills lashed by heavy rains and thunderstorm, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha-led Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee (GJAC) Tuesday deferred its ongoing agitation for a separate state by two days to enable relief work go unhindered.

"The hills have been hit by rains and thunderstorms. Roads and houses have been damaged. There is no power supply. So, we have decided to keep on hold our 'Janta Sadak Ma (people in the streets) programme for two days. It will now be held Aug 22-23," GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told IANS.

The GJAC had earlier chalked out the 'Janta Sadak Ma' agitation, calling upon the people to pour out on the streets Aug 20-23 and voice their demand for Gorkhaland to be created out of Darjeeling district and parts of Jalpaiguri district.

"In view of the natural calamity, we have decided to defer the 'Janta Sadar Ma' programme," said Giri.

The thunderstorm struck Darejeeling Monday night, disrupting electricity supply in major parts of the three Darjeeling Hills sub-divisions -- Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong -- damaging roads and bringing down houses.

The newly-formed GJAC has organised protest rallies Aug 24 and 25. On Aug 26, a human chain will be formed. Thje people will petition central political leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi for creation of Gorkahland.

The GJAC has also announced it planned to launch an economic blockade of tea and timber -- two mainstays of the hill economy besides tourism. However, the dates for the movement was yet to be finalised.

Several pro-Gorkhaland parties Friday came together to form the GJAC.

Trouble started afresh in the hills after the GJM intensified the Gorkhaland movement following the United Progressive Alliance's (UPA) green light to a separate Telangana.

Two GJM activists have attempted self-immolation and one of them succumbed. The Trinamool Congress government has however ruled out any division of the state.

The Gorkhaland movement has left many dead over the past two-and-half decades, besides affecting the region's economy.

--IANS (Posted on 20-08-2013)

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