GJM Delegation Meets Rajnath, Presses for Gorkhaland

The shutdown in the hills will continue until and unless a'positive step is taken to restore normalcy by the Centre GMCC apex body of 30 hill parties participating in the stir for a separate Gorkhaland stated at an emergency meeting at Kalimpong. Rep

The delegation submitted a memorandum of their demands to the Home Minister.

The demand for a separate Gorkhaland resurfaced before the 2016 Assembly elections when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced several "development boards" for different communities in Darjeeling district - such as the Lepchas and Tamangs.

"We told the Home Minister that that there can not be any other solution besides a separate state for the entire region". Violence can never be a solution to any problem, ? "In a democracy, solutions are always found through restraint, mutual dialogue and within the legal ambit", he told the six-member delegation led by GJM leader Swaraj Thapa which called on him. "In the meantime, the state government should restore all civil supplies and also restore Internet services, Cable TV and local channels", the statement said. "We all are aware of the strategic importance of the locality and the challenges that we face in the region", he said.

The BJP's Darjeeling MP S S Ahluwalia also attended the meeting.

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"He said he was very mindful of the sufferings faced by Gorkha and non-Gorkha people of the entire region". "We urged him to start the process for (creation of) a separate state. The state is suppressing our democratic movement", Thapa said. Two top leaders of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which has been ruling the autonomous hill council, Bimal Gurung and Roshan Giri, did not attend Sunday's meeting.

Two vehicles were set ablaze by the Gorkhaland agitators in the Darjeeling hills on Wednesday amidst special security arrangements as the indefinite shutdown called by the GJM entered its 56th day.

Besides the GJM, various other hill parties and intellectuals marched the streets of Darjeeling with black flags and placards demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.

Barring medicine shops, all other shops, business establishments, schools and colleges remained closed in the hills.

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