We feel Centre and West Bengal will awaken if educational institutions & tourism sector are closed: Gurung

Even as the 72-hour strike called in the Darjeeling hills by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in support of its demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland drew to an end on Wednesday, the party has decided to launch an indefinite strike from Saturday and urged students and tourists to leave.

“We feel that both the Centre and West Bengal will awaken if these [educational institutions and the tourism sector] are shut down,” GJM president Bimal Gurung said in a statement issued in Darjeeling on Wednesday, adding that the decision to shut down educational institutions and tourism was “harsh” but something that was “inevitable.”

“Don’t want them to starve”

“The decision to tell the students to go home is because I care for the children staying in the hostel and I am worried that there would not be ration for the children. I do not want them to starve during the indefinite strike,” he said.

In an indication that the strikes would continue for sometime to come, Mr. Gurung pointed out that “tourists also will have to miss Darjeeling the next tourist season.”

Referring to the Centre’s move for the creation of a separate State of Telangana, the GJM leader, who resigned as the chief executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration on Tuesday, said: “We have no grudge against Telangana. Our sentiments are hurt as we have been denied justice despite our movement being peaceful, democratic and Gandhian and will continue to be so”.

“Telangana was violent. Do we need to follow this path to achieve our goal?” Mr. Gurung asked.

For West Bengal, “Darjeeling is simply a crown,” he said, adding “All these years we have been made pawns! The time has come for the Centre to take a positive decision on our demand”.

“Does the [State] government really care? Is it really and genuinely concerned? We have seen this attitude of the previous governments and the present one is no less! We have always questioned the sincerity of the Centre,” Mr. Gurung said.

A six-member GJM delegation will go tot New Delhi later this week to meet Central leaders raising the party’s demand for creation of separate Gorkhaland.