Anti-Gorkhaland groups detain vehicles carrying replenishments

SILIGURI, 20 JULY: The anti-Gorkhaland Siliguri-based pressure group “Bangla O Bangla Bhasa Bachao Committee” and another radical outfit, the “Aamra Bangli”, detained vehicles purportedly carrying replenishments to the Darjeeling hills at several important intersections of the town today, protesting against the GJMM sponsored indefinite shutdown in the Hills. The police later made way for the vehicles to move towards their destinations.
According to the BOBBBC president, Dr Mukunda Majumder, they resorted to roadblock at Darjeeling More and Burdwan Road to prevent provisions from being transported into the hills from Siliguri. “We blockaded Darjeeling More from 7 am to 10 am and Burdwan Road-Nehru Raod junction at around 11.30 am with the same purpose. We withdrew the blockade following police intervention,” he added. Dwelling on the objective of such an obstructionist programme, Dr Majumder said: “Today’s agitation was a mere trailer of what is to come if the GJMM strike drags on. Besides, we might convene a north Bengal bandh and stage a total roadblock to the Hills the day the GJMM withdraws its agitation,” he said.
Expressing anguish on the revival of the Sixth Schedule proposal, the pressure group leader said that it was more dangerous than Gorkhaland from the point of view of the state’s interests. “If the hills are incorporated in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, several embargoes on the movement and rights of the ‘outsiders’ would be legitimised, resulting in the non-Nepali populace being reduced to as aliens. We would never brook such nonsense and would resist it tooth and nail,” he affirmed. The “Aamra Bangali” also staged roadblocks at Darjeeling More and Hashmi Chowk, demanding prompt action against ‘the GJMM disruptionists’. The party activists burnt the Union Home minister Mr P Chidambaram and the GJMM president Mr Bimal Gurung in effigy at Hashmi Chowk. “We also served a memorandum to the President of India, the Union Home minister and the Darjeeling district magistrate through the office of the Siliguri sub divisional officer, demanding stringent action against the disruptionisits, masquerading as Grokhaland protagonists,” said the outfit’s district president Mr Khusi Ranjan Mondal, hinting that they might resort to roadblocks in a big way in near future if the present state of things continued.
(The Statesman)

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Pranab rules out Gorkhaland demand

Statesman News Service
RAIGANJ, 19 JULY: The Union finance minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee (in picture) categorically ruled out any possibility of a formation of a separate Gorkhaland state comprising three sub-divisions in the Darjeeling hills. “The GJMM leadership should see reason and stay focused on evolving a achievable solution to the prolonged tangle instead of harping on the statehood agenda. We are ready to consider anything sans the statehood demand,” he said here today.
Clarifying the Centre’s stand on the proposed setting up of an AIIMS pattern hospital in Raiganj Mr Mukharjee said there was no room for confusion in the matter. ‘The Union cabinet had approved the proposal in February last year and it is final. We would release the required funds for the ambitious project soon,” he affirmed.
The West Dinajpur Chambers of Commerce members demanded special tax exemption measures for the industries in north Bengal from the Union finance ministry on the lines on which several north eastern states were enjoying such facilities for years. “The cost of production is higher in north Bengal and so we are lagging in competition. This is coming in the way of the entrepreneurs evincing interest in investing in the industrially long-neglected region,” the trade body members are reported to have argued.
Mr Mukherjee is supposed to have assured them to announce some incentives to accelerate the pace of industrialization in the region.