ON DAY 14 of its indefinite bandh call for a separate state of Gorkhaland, hundreds of GJM supporters on Tuesday hit the streets, burning copies of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) accord in several places across the Hills, Dooars and Terai region of North Bengal.
Many protesters, belonging to the GJM’s youth wing, were seen participating in the demonstration bare-chested, and breaking tubelights and glass bottles on their backs, leading to injuries. “The youth did this to send out a very clear and unambiguous message to the central government that we can, at this point of time, go to any extent to achieve our goal of a separate Gorkhaland. We are willing to make painful sacrifices,” said GJM spokesperson Binoy Tamang.
GJM supporters pointed out that cases of self-immolation were reported during Telangana’s fight for a separate state. Tuesday’s protests spilled outside the Darjeeling Hills — which includes Darjeeling town, Kurseong, Kalimpong and Mirik — to reach the Terai and Dooars regions.
“We had all resigned from the GTA on June 23. The burning of the GTA agreement, which was a tripartite agreement signed between the Gorkhas, the West Bengal government and the Centre in August 2011, is symbolic. Simple autonomy is no longer acceptable to us. A GTA is no longer acceptable. It’s a one-point agenda of a separate state. The GTA was anyway temporary, we want a permanent solution,” said Tamang.