Day-long strike relief in memory of ‘martyrs’ – Morcha distributes ration to poor families

The Telegraph

Darjeeling, July 26: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has announced a day-long relaxation in its indefinite strike tomorrow to commemorate “martyrs’ day”.

However, there is little indication of the protest being withdrawn despite the tripartite meeting on Gorkhaland scheduled for August 11, as the hill party today went on an overdrive distributing rice and lentil to BPL families.

Morcha president Bimal Gurung said: “We have to provide a relaxation to commemorate martyrs’ day. Many had laid down their lives for the cause of Gorkhaland.”

On July 27, 1986, at least 14 people were killed during a police firing in Kalimpong when the GNLF under Subhas Ghisingh was spearheading the Gorkhaland agitation. Ever since, the day has been observed as “martyrs’ day” in memory of the 1,200 people killed during the 28-month long agitation. Offices will not be exempt from the strike. “Transport and business establishments will remain open, along with banks and post offices,” said Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha, while addressing a rally at Chowrastha. This is the third relaxation the Morcha is providing since it launched its indefinite strike on July 13.

However, members of the party which is demanding transfer of senior police officers as a condition for lifting its strike, today distributed 10 kg of rice and a kg of lentil to 2,000 BPL families in and around Darjeeling.

“I had said I would not keep my supporters hungry. We held camps at Darjeeling Gymkhana Club and at Singamari, Sukhiapokhri and Takdha to provide the food items. We will undertake a similar exercise in Kurseong and Kalimpong also,” said Gurung, while overseeing the distribution at Gymkhana.

Hundreds had lined up at the club for more than six-seven hours to take their ration home. “I have a family of 11 and only two of us are working. We are day workers and it is difficult for us during strikes,” said Phurba Tamang, standing in front of Gymkhana.

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