A woman dances to a song in favour of Gorkhaland in Darjeeling on Monday. Picture by Suman Tamang
Darjeeling, Aug. 26: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has decided to hold pro-Gorkhaland rallies in different parts of the country at a time its agitation in Darjeeling has failed to evoke any response from the Centre.
Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha, today said: “The Assam-based All Gorkha Students’ Union and the party’s Northeast wing will jointly organise a rally in Guwahati on August 28. Supporters of the statehood demand from across the Northeast will take part in the rally.”
Giri said Morcha supporters were organising such rallies in Mizoram and Mumbai. “A pro-Gorkhaland rally was also held in Delhi yesterday. We are, however, looking at conducting bigger and more rallies across the country. We are making an appeal to all pro-Gorkhaland supporters to start mobilising people for such rallies in as many places as possible.”
Although the Morcha has been taking out rallies in Darjeeling everyday, they couldn’t elicit any response from the Union government. The Morcha had already said it would not be speaking to Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and wanted the Centre’s intervention.
“In a democracy, the government has to listen to the people’s aspirations and the Gorkhaland movement is no longer party-centric. It has now been turned into a people’s movement,” said Giri.
In Darjeeling, a group of artistes under the banner of Musicians of Darjeeling today hit the streets with pro-Gorkhaland songs. The artistes performed soon after a joint rally by the Morcha and the CPRM had ended.
Rakesh Bhusal, a musician, said: “Members of different bands from Darjeeling have come together to espouse the statehood cause. We are not politicians and we cannot deliver speeches. The only thing we know is to compose and sing songs and we have decided to provide moral support for the statehood cause by singing songs.”
Suman Lakhandri, another singer, said: “We will perform for an hour after rallies everyday. We appeal to artistes from Kurseong and Kalimpong also to do so. We have come out on the streets on our own will.”
Well-known singers in Darjeeling like Ajnish Rai, Hira Rasaily, Prabal Thapa and Sangeeta Gurung performed at the Darjeeling Motor Stand today. Even as a shutdown being enforced by the Morcha entered its eighth day today, nobody turned out to take rations that were being distributed by the government from Sukhiapokhri police station, about 25km from Darjeeling. The ration delivery was re-launched after a gap of a few days.
The Morcha today also reiterated that its elected members would not attend the GTA Sabha meeting convened on September 4 to elect a new chief executive. “We will not attend the meeting unless our jailed supporters are freed. We want the release of not only the 10 elected members but also all Gorkhaland supporters who have been picked up by police,” said Giri.
Since July 29, over 800 Morcha supporters have been arrested in various cases.
The GTA Sabha member and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha assistant secretary, Binay Tamang, was granted bail by a Jalpaiguri court on Monday in connection with the Sibchu incident, but he was remanded in judicial custody in connection with another case.
The chief judicial magistrate’s court will announce on Tuesday the term of Tamang’s jail custody. He was arrested on Monday in connection with a clash in 2009.