Talks on mind, strike pushed back once again

The Telegraph

Darjeeling, Aug. 30: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has decided to postpone its indefinite strike once again, keeping in mind the official-level tripartite meeting scheduled for September 7.

However, the party has decided to organise relay hunger strike from September 1 to demand that their party leader Nickole Tamang be produced in court alive.

The Morcha had earlier threatened to start an indefinite general strike across the hills if Nickole was not produced alive in court today. Nickole’s 14-day police remand ended today.

In fact, soon after Nickole escaped from the CID custody, the Morcha had called a strike from August 22 to 24. The party had given a two-day breather to the indefinite strike before postponing it on Friday till August 30.

Roshan Giri, general secretary of the Morcha, today said: “We have decided to postpone the general strike keeping in mind the scheduled tripartite talks. We will however start a 24-hour relay hunger strike from September 1 which we will carry on unless Nickole is produced alive in court. Seven Morcha supporters will sit for the hunger strike in shifts.”

The relay hunger strike will take place in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong. Giri said preparations were on to stretch the fast till September 17. “We are ready till September 17 and if Nickole is not produced alive even by then we will stretch the hunger strike.”

The fast will be held in front of the district magistrate’s office in Darjeeling and on the subdivisional office premises in Kurseong and Kalimpong.

Binay Tamang, assistant secretary of the Morcha, said the party would form its own “investigating team” to find out the whereabouts of Nickole. The Morcha has not yet ruled out “foul play” by the CID.

The party had earlier alleged that the CID was staging the escape drama to cover up Nickole’s death in custody.

“We will not disclose the name of our investigating team and we are ready to go anywhere including Bhutan and Nepal to trace Nickole. We will inform the police about our movement but if we find that Nickole has been killed by the CID, the state government and the police must be held responsible,” said Binay Tamang.

The Morcha said it would not close down the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council offices this time.

“We will keep them open but the DGHC authorities must start the regularisation process against the 3,472 sanctioned posts in the council,” said Binay Tamang.


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