GJM Yuva Morcha starts fast-unto-death in hills

DARJEELING
21 Jul 2017

The youth wing of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha began a hunger strike today on the 37th day of the indefinite agitation in the Darjeeling hills to press for the demand of a separate state of Gorkhaland out of West Bengal.

Thirteen GJM Yuva Morcha activists started a fast-unto- death at four places - Kurseong, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Sonada.
GJM Yuva Morcha president Prakash Gurung told PTI that 13 members began the strike initially and their number would increase gradually. "We will continue our fight till Gorkhaland is achieved," Gurung said. Meanwhile, the 30-member Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC), a body of hill parties, which has postponed its decision to hold hunger strike till its next meeting in New Delhi on August 1, said it had nothing to do with the hunger strike.

"The GJM Yuva morcha is doing this hunger strike on its own. It has nothing to do with GMCC," a GMCC member said. This despite the fact that the GJM leadership threw its support for the hunger strike by its youth wing. Meanwhile, GNLF and other hill parties today lodged a missing complaint against Darjeeling MP and BJP leader S S Ahluwalia who, they alleged, "has not been seen in the hills in the last few months."  "The hills are burning. We want to know where our MP is. He has been missing for the last few months. We have not seen him since the unrest began in the hills. So we have filed a missing complaint," a GNLF leader said.

Ahluwalia could not be contacted for a reaction. The supporters of the GJM and other hill parties also held a demonstration today outside the district magistrate's office demanding restoration of Internet services which remained suspended. Some political party activists, dressed in traditional Nepali attire, took out rallies in the morning. The police and security forces patrolled the streets and kept a tight vigil at every entry and exit points. All shops, restaurants, hotels, schools and colleges remained closed except pharmacies.

It deserves mention here that The West Bengal CID has freezed bank accounts of top Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders, including its president Bimal Gurung, alleging that the funds were being "misused". The accounts of GJM general secretary Roshan Giri and assistant general secretary Binay Tamang were also freezed, a senior Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer confirmed to news agency PTI on Thursday night. "Bank accounts of Gurung, Tamang and Roshan Giri have been freezed on July 17 after it was found that the funds were misused for illegal operations such as purchasing arms," the officer said.

"All these three accounts were in a private bank in Darjeeling and belonged to the GJM leaders who were using the fund for all sort of illegal activities starting from purchasing arms and weapons. Hence, we decided to freeze the accounts," the officer said, adding around Rs 26 lakh was seized from the three accounts. Asked how long the accounts would be freezed, the officer said, "It's still unclear. We have to look into the details of the transactions and a probe has been ongoing." When contacted, Giri said he had no clue that the account, used as the salary account for the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), has been freezed.

"I have no clue that my account has been freezed. But my question is what could be the reason behind this. This account was used for my GTA salary account. I used this account to pay my house rent also," he told PTI. "I have all the I-T details and my papers are up to date. I think this is absolutely unnecessary," Giri added. Gurung and Tamang could not be contacted for their reactions. The hills is on the boil since June 8, when GJM supporters clashed with police when they tried to break the barricades following which police restored to lathicharge. The GJM supporters damaged police vehicles and set some of them ablaze as the state government held a Cabinet meeting at the Raj Bhawan. (PTI)