New Delhi : A day after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh appealed to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and other hill-based parties to call off the two-month-long indefinite shutdown in northern West Bengal hills, GJM chief Bimal Gurung on Monday has responded to the request by instructing his party’s youth wing to withdraw their ongoing hunger strike.
The GJM leadership has also decided to withdraw the picketers from the roads in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts for 12 hours on Tuesday on the occasion of Independence Day, but said the shutdown would continue. “The Home Minister has issued an appeal to GJM and other stakeholders in the Gorkhaland issue. I am also of the opinion that his appeal should be respected and the hunger strike of the Yuba Morcha should be withdrawn as a first step to achieving our goal of Gorkhaland. I therefore direct the Yuba Morcha (the youth wing of GJM) to call off the hunger strike on the eve of Independence Day,” Gurung said.
The GJM chief also revealed that the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC) that was formed with representatives of 30 hill based parties, also urged him to call off the ongoing hunger strike. A dozen activists of Yuba Morcha have been sitting in hunger strike since last 23 days to press the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland. “The health condition of all the 12 participants is critical. Two of them had to be hospitalised as their blood pressure got alarmingly low due to fasting,” GJM General Secretary Binay Tamang said.
He also said the picketers will be withdrawn from the hill roads for 12 hours on Tuesday. “Keeping in mind the occasion of India’s 70th Independence Day, the GJM has decided to withdraw the picketers from the roads of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and other adjoining areas from 6.00am to 6.00pm on Tuesday. However, the shutdown would continue until a positive response to the statehood demand is received,” he added.